Friday, September 16, 2005


First engagement, tonight @ 7PM

My disinterest in the scoreboard results of pre-season games is unmitigated; however, the puck drops tonight in the first of 12 encounters this season between the Flames and Oil.

It's so early, I'm not even sure what I'll be watching for (or rather, listening for). Over the course of the exhibition season, though, these are a few things for which I'll be checking for encouraging signs:
Hamrlik's success will be interesting to track. I think the expectations of some in Flame-land are excessive, considering the eyewitness accounts from his time in Edmonton:
I think Hamrlik, with his wonky knees and shoulder, will be the whipping-boy in Calgary at 7m/2 years.

He has always been a bit on the flakey side (Sutter's favourite), taking mental breaks that can last for a shift or a month. Plus, he hasn't thrown a hit in his own end in three seasons.

Oilers fans know well that Hamrlik simply loses the plot 30-40 nights a season.

My modest expectations are that he won't make me miss Lydman; I sincerely hope I'm setting the bar low enough. And I got some encouragement on the radio this morning; Peter Maher claims that in the intrasquad game yesterday, Hamrlik blocked a shot.

Searching for evidence of Hamrlik's competitiveness! No anecdote too insignificant!


With respect to both Phaneuf and Hamrlik, this made me smile:

"Plus, he'll [Hamrlik] be counted on to help mentor uber-prospect Dion Phaneuf, which could be a big plus to help the club's top prospect become a powerplay quarterback to Hamrlik's degree."

We can only hope.

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