Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Would you buy berber from this man?

I think I would have enjoyed the sweater retirement a lot more last night if it was for a player that I liked more. That was driven home, boom, by the presence of Theoren Fleury. (By the way, can I get a moratorium on Jim Peplinski at Flames-related events for, say, two years? I'm as sick of his ubiquitous presence as Oiler fan is of Craig Simpson's continued baffling employment.)

First, Fleury comes out for the ceremony looking pretty healthy, but with a big ol' shiner under his left eye; I figured it was even-money that the explanation was innocuous.

Then (and this was the highlight of the broadcast), PPV host Mark "I Cut My Own Hair To Save On Production Costs" Stiles caught Fleury for an interview during a 1st period stoppage. Again, Theo looks pretty robust, it appears that he's taking care of himself. It took him about 5 seconds to think of a G-rated synonym ("I'm looking forward to getting upstairs with the guys and shooting the, uh, uh, uh, ...breeze!"). Last question, Stiles asks him how he got the shiner. Answer (I quote from memory):
"Oh, I was working, and had the grinder down on some aggregate. I wasn't wearing my safety goggles, and I got hit in the eye by a boulder."

**Charlie Simmer had what was by far his worst performance as an analyst this season. Not only did he fail to offer much in the way of insight the whole game, but he was having a hell of a time just speaking, like he was on some new medication or something.

**I'm not too down about the endgame and result -- it feels like something that belongs in the Shit Happens file. 2-0 lead, and Friesen takes a tripping penalty with 3:32 left. 16 seconds later, Conroy takes one of those hooking penalties we're all familiar with where the victim wasn't actually obstructed, but was certainly hooked. Fine -- down 5-on-3. Havlat snipes a beauty 33 seconds into the 2-man PP, Friesen comes out of the box, but it's still a Hawks PP and it's game on.

Then with 2:02 left, Zyuzin gets called on a pretty marginal interference penalty, putting his body on a guy driving to the net without the puck (both hands on his stick). Flames kill off the rest of the Conroy penalty to get back to merely one man down, but then the Hawks pull Bulin, get a semi-lucky bounce, and Havlat scores another pissah goal on the 6-on-4 to tie it up.

Frankly, the Flames were due to gas a lead. Before last night's game, their record when Leading After 2 was 22-0-0 (21 of which were in regulation). It's been a big improvement over last season when -- contrary to what you would expect from their GF/GA numbers -- they had some trouble holding leads but were OK at coming back from 1- and 2-goal deficits.

**The Flames' awfulness in the shootout is a near-complete mystery. Yes, Vezina Trophy holder Miikka Kiprusoff has a .000 SV% in shootouts this season (6 GA), which as Cosh notes "seems awfully non-random". But, I do think there's a bit of bad luck (or, randomness) in there too. They replayed Havlat's SO goal from the trailing angle, where you could see what he had to shoot at before he released, and there was nothing there -- as Simmer noted, it was a perfect shot. And I know both goals in the first MIN shootout ticked the inside of the post.

Though it keeps getting worse, I still can't get too exercised about this problem. Surely they've hit rock-bottom now, right? Surely(!) some opposing shooter is due to hit the post, or lose control of the puck on a rut, or something. Kipper is at least average on in-game breakaways -- he stops them regularly, if not routinely -- so this standard of futility is unlikely to be maintained. Fun Flames shootout facts:

That's got to be rock-bottom. Got to. [mutter mutter]


"Oh, I was working, and had the grinder down on some aggregate. I wasn't wearing my safety goggles, and I got hit in the eye by a boulder."

Maybe its all relative... a boulder to Fleury, a stone to the rest of us...

Of course, he never had a problem challenging things much larger than him...

All this being said, I know that if I lived in Calgary I'd be getting a concrete floor just so I could hang out with Theoren...

I wonder if they would be willing to do some work in Toronto...

I'm not sure I get this part : (As a famed offensive player, Theo is well suited to sales and marketing!)

Is he saying he dove alot? What does being an offensive player have to do with selling and marketing?

Hell of a good question, Julian, that had me stumped too. I think they should edit it to something like, "Having spent years selling dives to NHL referees, Theo is well suited..".

"Frankly, the Flames were due to gas a lead."
Sort of like the way they did the last time against Chicago.
With road games against the likes of Detroit and Buffalo coming up in the next while, Calgary might have been due to drop points, but they couldn't really afford to - the Flames have something like 6 games left against sub-500 teams, whereas I believe the Canucks have 10 or more.

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