Thursday, March 09, 2006


Flames Game Day

It's Flames vs. Stars tonight on RSN West at 7PM MST. This is their 3rd meeting this season; the Stars won the previous two by a goal (the home opener, 3-2 in OT, and Game 9 in Dallas, 2-1).

I don't have much to say about this game except that a win would be pretty comforting. Based on the present standings, if the 1st round of the playoffs goes according to form (hah!), this would be the conference semifinal matchup.

I have one other thought relating to the Trade Deadline, and that is that you can dismiss Montreal and Philadelphia as contenders for anything. To explain, I have a newly articulated Theory: call it the Curse of the Flames' Failed Future.

Alert readers may recall that right about 10 years ago, the Flames were in a transition period. They were no longer good enough to be at the top of the division, as they had been most of the previous 10 years. However, we fans were pretty optimistic, as we had a glut of up-and-coming talent, particularly on the blueline. The CW was something like this:

"With their young defense corps of Todd Simpson, Joel Bouchard, Cale Hulse, Denis Gauthier, and Derek Morris, the Flames are well-positioned to rebuild quickly and regain their mojo."

Now, we know this:
(A) The Flames didn't make the playoffs again until 2004, and
(B) The five young up-and-comers mentioned above have basically never contributed to a winning team, ever.

Derek Morris was a Top 4 D-man for the Avalanche for a little while, but in his only postseason there (he was traded to PHX before the 2nd), they lost in the 1st round. Hulse has one career playoff games, with the Flames in '96. This is Todd Simpson's 9th full season; he has weak 1st-round losses with the Panthers ('00) and Coyotes ('02) to show for it. Joel Bouchard (age 32) has still never played in an NHL playoff game.

And Denis Gauthier (who I love by the way): he was with the Flames in the spring of 2004! However he was injured in the 3rd period of Game 6 vs. the Canucks, and it was Montador and Commodore who shored up the Flames D for the rest of the playoffs.

Suffice it to say, only bad things can happen to the Habs and Flyers for picking up Simpson and Gauthier, respectively. Equally obviously, if the Red Wings pick up Derek Morris in the next hour, I'll be thrilled.

But wait, Matt: didn't the Flames just acquire Cale Hulse, who by the way was generally a healthy scratch in Columbus? Yes they did, and you may notice there are no links to Hulse fan sites on the sidebar. But since his role appears destined to be 8th defenseman, I'm assuming he'll be no more of a bugaboo for the Flames from the pressbox than Gauthier was from the trainer's room in '04.

I don't have a good sense of how the game will go tonight, so I'll go with counter-intuition, and pick Calgary to win in a shootout. Kipper is the man to shut down Mr. Perfect. Go Flames.


Of course, now that Warrener is out 4-6 weeks, it looks like your man Hulse "is likely to step in to fill the void."


But I think Hamrlik is just about back, which will put Hulse back in street clothes.

As long as Warrener is expected back for the playoffs, I'll remain calm(-ish).

Dallas scares more than almost any team in the league. I haven't seen Calgary beat them in a lonnnnggg time.

Damn you Flames. Get off my TV so I can watch the Canada/Mexico WBC game.

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