Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Flames-Ducks Game 3 review

Boy, not much to complain about from that effort. The Flames turned in a simply dominating performance on both ends for their 5-2 victory.

I blabbed way back at the beginning of the season that good penalty killing is not all that separable from defensive effort/success as a whole; for the most part, the things you do to kill penalties well are the same things you do to defend 5-on-5 well.

Last night was a great example of how you can say the same thing about the offensive end. If you're dominating the puck and creating good 5-on-5 chances, the powerplay suddenly looks like a piece of cake.

The Flames outplayed the Ducks for the majority of the first, and got their first PP 13 minutes in. It took a whole 29 seconds to score. They got their 2nd PP a minute into the 2nd period; this time it took a whole 33 seconds to score.

Huselius was just fantastic. He's always a good puckhandler, but last night, his legs were moving too, and he looked really serious about not giving up possession. It truly looked like he had the puck on a string.

I'm not sure what Randy Carlyle's next move is. Selanne, if not McDonald, is playing well, and Scott Niedermayer is doing what he does. The Ducks need to play with a lot more fire than that to win another game, let alone the series, but the value of the ol' dressing room tongue-lashing is questionable.

The exception might be Ryan Getzlaf, who at this point needs someone loudly in his face, probably spraying spittle. He's 20 years old and had a two-stride lead on 34-year-old speedster Chris Simon in a tie game, yet somehow managed to lose a race to the puck and allow Simon to make a sweet pass into the slot to Kobasew, for the goal that turned out to be the game winner.

Getzlaf's critics, when he was whackin' it with the Hitmen last season, claimed that he lacked the maturity to be a good NHL player. He's got a lot of years ahead of him, but last night, his critics looked 100% right.

CBC Notes:
Don Wittman is starting to wear. I enjoyed him the 1st couple of games, as his cliches are a nice break from the cliches of the regular guys (he hasn't used the word "footrace" once). But he uses the stats off the game sheet as a crutch, and how many frickin' times in a game can you refer to Randy Carlyle's comments at the morning skate! (I lost count. I do, however, know how many times he referred to Gary Bettman's presence at the game: it was 16, once for every minor penalty the refs whistled.)

Andy Murray might have had the crack of the year, demonstrating some actual humility, not the phony "Ha Ha I Was a Sieve" humility of Garrett/Millen. McCarty took a penalty late in the 2nd period, and the Ducks had Getzlaf out there with Niedermayer on the PP point, despite the fact that Francois "Bob" Beauchemin already had two goals from that very position. Murray:

"This is their normal #1 unit out there, but I'm surprised that Beauchemin isn't back out there... [very brief pause] ... that's why Randy Carlyle is in the playoffs, and I'm sitting here..."

Good stuff coach. Anyway, the Flames are suddenly back in the driver's seat. They played tremendously in a game they really needed, when the doubts were creeping in: they've done that all year. Next, they need to show some killer instinct, and kick someone when they're down: they haven't done that all year. Show it to me!!!


I think the 7-2 humiliation of the Blues later on in the season was the very definition of "kicking someone while they're down".

However, I know what you mean - they don't do it very often.

Welcome to the side of reason and justice on the crucial Wittman issue. Now there are two of us, apparently. Guy's a douche.

It's kind of weird, but one of the refreshing things about Kelly Hrudey is that he doesn't subscribe to the CBC-goalie "I used to spend more time flat on my ass with my legs in the air than Madonna in mating season" school of comedy. If anything Hrudey probably has a slightly-too-high estimate of his own abilities and place in the game, but different = good.

I've always thought of Hrudey as being extremely underrated. If he played today, he wouldn't be first tier alongside Kiprusoff, Luongo et al. but he'd be a solid second tier goalie; say a better than average starter.

Maybe one day the CBC will hire Kiprusoff as a commentator, and we'll be treated to his insightful commentary of "I stopped him, and him, and him, and him too. And remember 2004 when I took the Flames to the Cup finals? Those were good times."

and we will all miss Kelly Hrudey.

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