Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Flames Game Day

The Flames take on Nashville in the 'Dome tonight at 7PM. I hope the result is better, but there's no way I'll be having as much fun as the last time Bubba was in town. Also of interest to no one but me: we had StarChoice installed a couple of weeks ago, so this will be my 1st Flames PPV contest viewed from the comforts of my own living room.

I hope this site's readers have by now run across Colby Cosh's discussion of the Great Terrors of Sport, spurred on by The Ocho's arrival to the Pantheon. I don't think there can be any doubt that Wayne Gretzky and Pavel Bure are far and away the #1 and #2 hockey figures there (certainly from the perspective of a Flames fan!). But if there was one other guy I'd nominate, it would be the pre-concussion Paul Kariya.

I strongly suspect that newer hockey fans, or even those of you in the East, don't appreciate just how excellent Kariya was in his first few years in the league, marked especially by his speed. He's probably still one of the fastest guys in the league end-to-end, but in his early years, opponents simply could not deal with how quickly he moved around. The idea of a "battle for the puck" was often ludicrous; he'd simply go get it and take it somewhere else before a defender had the chance to battle him for it. Similarly, the goal of obstructing him was academic only, because all too often, by the time a defender realized that he ought to be obstructing him, he was gone in a puff of smoke (meep! meep!).

He's the only guy besides 99 and Bure that I vividly remember being terrified of when he was on the ice against the Flames. I can't say just how high an arc his career would have followed if Gary Suter had kept his stick down, but I'm pretty sure that we as hockey fans missed out on some special performances.

I like Calgary's chances tonight. The keys, as always against the Preds, are staying out of the penalty box, and taking advantage on some of the numerous and inevitable powerplays, with a pinch of let's hope Vokoun is merely very good. Sounds plausible... I'll call a 4-2 win. Go Flames.


Besides his speed, what has always impressed me most about Kariya's game is his movement away from the puck. He is always moving, and it is usually to the place the puck eventually ends up.

Calgary should win this one if the Nasvhille Penalty-takers put in a performance similar to the one against Edmonton.

Here is a complete list of the opposing starters in Calgary's four-goal games* this season:

Aebischer (twice)
Markkanen (twice)
Auld (twice)
Some dude named Munro

*(Not counting games in which the fourth goal was an empty-netter)

I'm surprised no one mentioned Joe Sakic as a terror. Being the staunch Canucks fan that I am, I've been "terrorized" by him more than once on occasion.

Burnaby Bastard seems more appropriate than Burnaby Joe. Is it possible to love him and hate him at the same time?

As far as the game goes, here's hoping Calgary softens 'em up for the Canucks. I think the Flames will win, though.

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