Thursday, March 09, 2006


All set

I gave my take last week that a trade won't solve anything for the Flames up front. Having watched their unfortunate 3-2 loss to Nashville on Tuesday, I would like to repeat, reiterate, and reinforce that opinion.

That might have been the best game that Calgary's forwards, as a group, have played all season. All four lines created sustained offensive pressure numerous times. It was only Vokoun's solid play and a bit of bad luck (bouncing pucks etc.) that kept the Flames from getting on the scoresheet several more times. (Not to mention having a Jordan Leopold goal called back on a Too Many Men penalty. How on earth does that happen at the end of 20+ seconds of offensive zone pressure? Unbelievable.)

I'm completely comfortable with Darryl Sutter standing pat today, as he has rudely indicated that he will. That said, I think I'd like to see a notarized statement or something, from the scorekeeper in Anaheim, confirming that Mike Leclerc really did have a 20-goal season a few years back.

There's a few skills that I expect to see from a 20-goal scorer. The least of those is the ability to intentionally redirect the puck with his stick in some particular approximate direction (say, North). Thus far, Mike Leclerc seems unable to manage even this simplest of attacking moves; his "touch", as it were, appears Peca-like. As I've said before (and apparently so did someone on HNIC last week), even more than Iginla needs someone to feed him the puck, he needs someone who can finish on the chances that he creates on the boards. Leclerc has shown himself to be woefully ill-suited for this task to date. (I'm still not sure why they took Lombardi off of Jarome's line; it seemed to me to be a very promising combination, the 3-1 win over the Oilers in January being the prime example.)

All that said, Leclerc can't possibly be as bad with the puck going forward as he has been so far. I think Calgary is in good shape to be mighty tough in the playoffs. It's Go Time.

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