Saturday, March 03, 2007


Battle Game Night

10:50PM - That's it, 4-2 Final. The Oilers were pretty game, but are simply the weaker team at this point. I don't think I have the stomach for Kevin Lowe on After Hours (advertised specifically by Kelly Hrudey as friendly puffery. That's fine, is what it is, but that's not the venue I'm interested in seeing Lowe in.)

Flames are now in 6th in the conference standings (points). Baseball-wise, they're half a game behind Vancouver and half a game ahead of the Sharks and Wild. Next up is the Blues in St. Louise on Tuesday, then the Preds in Music City on Thursday. Points are points, but I'm looking past whatever they do in St.Lou. The Flames need a road win against a quality opponent; they don't have one since November against the Canucks, and the Canucks sucked then. (Their only other road win against a playoff team was @ Ottawa in October, and the Sens sucked then.)


10:37PM - yeah that was sarcasm. They're booing The refs/Phaneuf and heading to the exits right now with one minute left.

10:34PM - as it's been through most of the game, hard to hear much through the "Let's Go Oilers" chants.

10:29PM - it ticks away still. Interesting stat from Hughson: Phaneuf/Hamrlik are combined +48 at home, -7 on the road. Serious question: let's say the conclusion here is that opposing coaches on the road "pick on" that pairing. Is a combined -7 bad?

10:23PM - Time continues to tick away, Flames are going on the PP with about 9 minutes left. And a shoutout to Metrognome, apparently the only hockey fan in this house. The game thread on Jan.13 had about 65 comments by this time; right now we're sitting with 7.

10:17PM - Pace Jim Hughson, I'd love to see the Flames score that 5th goal, and soon would be fine. For one, I already brought up the Dec.19/05 game, and for two, I don't believe the Flames have given up a 3+ goal lead since the lockout.

10:10PM - Iginla with an absolutely signature goal, 4-2 Flames. This is another post too, but I heard a lot early in the season about Tanguay's contract being a benchmark (i.e. an overpay), and I heard a bunch more in the Smyth aftermath. Whatever. All dude does is produce.

10:08PM - Kipper makes solid saves on Sykora and Pouliot. That's one thing Millen is getting right; Pouliot has been great. What's his top-side for next year, either in G-A-Pts or as a comp?

10:04PM - Laser by Langkow (who's having an excellent game) into the top corner, 3-2 Flames.

10:03PM - 3rd period underway... You know what would be dull? A Craig Conroy-Ladislav Smid Hardest Shot competition.

9:44PM - 2nd intermission. Flames outplayed the Oil in that period too, but not by the same margin as the 1st. Hell of a save by Roloson on Wayne Primeau on the play resulting in the 2nd PP. Scoreboard Saturday coming up.

9:40PM - Lupul drops to block a Regehr slapshot, and the play breaks up. Hell of a play for a guy in only his 2nd full year in the NHL. Another Flames PP here, hopefully it's a better effort than the last one.

9:37PM - now the Flames get to take the PP out for a spin for the first time tonight. Let's see how she goes.

9:27PM - Pisani from Pouliot again, 2-2 Tie. This is looking like the December 19 '05 game all over again, notwithstanding the absence of Igor Ulanov.


9:20PM - Another dangerous Oiler 5-on-3 killed off. My heart was in my throat there. Reports that a fan dumped a beer on Craig Simpson, provoking Sasha Lakovic to climb up the glass, have not been confirmed.

9:13PM - another Oiler PP. Noooooo!!! Oops, 5-on-3 now. Nooo?

9:03PM - So yeah, Smyth got his first goal as a NYI tonight, but how about Bergeron's line?
1G 2A, +2, 19:22 TOI
That puts him at 2-5-7, +6 in 6GP by my calculations.

8:52PM - Marc-Andre Pouliot: "I think we're going to bury our chances in the next two periods". The way the balance of play is going so far, I'm not sure that'd guarantee a win... of course, things can change. Nice first period for the Flames. Messier on Behind The Mask? Alright, laundry time it is.

8:49PM - Earth to Ladislav Smid: Alex Tanguay is 2nd in the NHL in shooting%, and maybe not a guy you want to give 15 feet of room to in your zone.

8:42PM - Controversy over! Greg Millen has weighed in, and it looks like the Oil are going to be OK... rest easy, folks. ("In this new cap world, I really believe you need a lot of good young talent." -- indeed, and boy is that in stark contrast to pre-lockout, where the key was to have lots of aging veterans & character players. HONK )

8:34PM - Hey, Yelle karma! 2-1 Flames. Matt Greene isn't that good... if you missed Dennis' take on #2, go read (most awkward chant ever).

8:28PM - Fernando Pisani just after a PP expires, 1-1 Tie. This is a whole other post really, but here's a slight concern: the Flames have virtually their entire core signed for next year, but not too many complementary players. The exceptions are Warrener and Yelle, who coincidentally are the two Flames who have gotten noticeably worse as this season has gone on.

8:23PM - David Moss, 1-0 Calgary. Nice little play by Huselius there.

8:17PM - Old Beyond His Years: tells me that Rhett Warrener is barely 31, but jeez, I think he just pulled something reaching for the puck. I love the guy, but he might need another lockout year to rejuvenate.

8:12PM - If the Flames had gone with red pants for one night, the whole retro uni thing would be perfect.

8:10PM - Paul Lorieau has a great voice, one of the best, why mess with success -- but could someone introduce him to a metronome?

8:05PM - Whew, Greg Millen on the colour mike. I thought we might be stuck with someone bad. Where is that mute button? Just in case...

8:01PM - Alright, the knuckleheads (uh, it's a term of endearment) are abed, time for a pick I suppose. I'll say the Oil plays a decent game, but it's Too Much Iginla. Calgary 3 (Iginla x2, Tanguay) Edmonton 2 (Horcoff x2). Go Flames.

7:54PM - This business of players resigning with teams that traded them away is overblown, imo, but why should Ryan Smyth be prohibited from re-signing with the Oilers, exactly? Are the hockey media really that unanimous on it? Smyth didn't trade himself away, and now he's supposed to be prohibited from signing with 1 of the (say) 8 teams who'll need him, can afford him, and play somewhere he's willing to be? Does anyone out there know what the word Unrestricted means?

7:24 PM - Interesting bit in the Calgary Sun game day piece:
The Oilers, who will wear their Vintage sweaters tonight, have gone 130 minutes without scoring a goal ... By comparison, the Flames have skated 83 games without being blanked, the longest current streak in the league.

Also, loved the hed/subhed on the top story, Sports page:
Kiprusoff loses his rear view
Miikka Kiprusoff won't miss staring at Ryan Smyth's backside

6:46PM - A BofA first tonight (IIRC), I'm going to try to roll a liveblog. Events may intervene -- Mrs. Matt and my daughter are away this weekend, and I'm home watching after the lads -- but I'll certainly try to keep it going.

I'm expecting a lot livelier (if not intense) Reachall crowd tonight than Tue/Thu. I think the really disillusioned types will stay home, and the legions of sweatpants will be ready to cheer. They're down on the org, not Smith, Staios & Co.

Also, I see Mark Messier was at the Oilers' skate this morning. Hey, who needs Ryan Smyth when you can just get a jolt of Messier LeadershipTM? Back in an hour-ish.


Joe Moss is dressed and does the Gordie Howe trick. Schools Celine old school with a beauty elbow. Raffi tunes Jarmoe like cheap guitar. Stortini scores winner on back hand coming down the wrong wing.
Now back to reality the team collectively takes a huge dump on the Oilers logo at center ice to show support for the gutted fans.

COilers 5 Lames 4

That faint rumble from the east: Smyth has scored for the Isle.

"I still marvel at the fact nobody was killed in any of those games. And believe me, everybody tried."

- Jim Peplinski, on the 1980s Battles of Alberta.

They don't play hockey like they used to, folks. But maybe if Calgary donned their vintage sweaters, too, they might be inspired to, just this once.

Raffi "accidentally" lowers the boom on Kiprusoff, line brawl ensues, Roli gets ejected for tangling with Celine, but the Oilers take advantage of McLennan, and win a squeaker 4-3.

Ohhhh two men short...

What a horrible play by Primeau. Wow.

Roloson let's in a softy. Thank you!


Sooooo, are Stortini and Godard gonna roll tonight, or what?

Heh...I can't help but be on hand for more Edmonton humiliation Matt.

I don't blame Oilers fans for not being here, frankly.

The NW division title is going to come right down to the wire.

Annnnddd that's the season series in Calgary's favor. Again.

Nice liveblog -- keep 'em coming. Couple of breakdowns and bonehead moves for the good guys, but that's the second straight game I've been satisfied with d-zone coverage. And I'm more than satisfied with Phaneuf going out of his way to piss off Oilers, even though it doesn't mean anything at this point!

D-zone coverage was much better. Stuart made a couple of passes that had my heart in my throat, but none of them backfired. Tanguay didn't look sharp most of the game to me, but the play to set up Iginla's goal was very crafty, so he gets a pass. Kipper was amazing in the 3rd, at least 2 of those saves were sure goals on just about any other goalie. Nice game overall by the Flames. Here's hoping they can continue on St. Louis on Tues.

BTW, I wasn't in front of the computer for the whole game, but I kinda like the live blog thing. You brought up a lot of things I thought of as I was watching, but was too lazy to run to the computer to post.

10:29PM - it ticks away still. Interesting stat from Hughson: Phaneuf/Hamrlik are combined +48 at home, -7 on the road. Serious question: let's say the conclusion here is that opposing coaches on the road "pick on" that pairing. Is a combined -7 bad?

Everything is relative, right? It's quite a drop-off, that's for sure.

The marker would be to look at a similar number for the Regehr and whomever he's played the most games with (Warrener).

It's still clear that whatever pairing 28 is on for the Flames is THE top pairing. It begs the question: when will Phaneuf be ready to play that role? He will be someday, but can the Flames afford to lose Regehr after next season as a UFA (or earlier, via trade)?

Annnnddd that's the season series in Calgary's favor. Again.

Yep. Silver lining is that the Flames season, if they don't win the NW Division, is going to be only 4-7 games longer than the Oilers at this point.

If I'm Anaheim or Nashville, I'm not one bit scared of drawing the Flames in the first round. Ditto for San Jose, Detroit, and even Vancouver (if they get home ice).

Bottom line, how far the Flames go is VERY dependent on if they can snag that third seed. Then again, you guys can all read the road record, I might just be saying the obvious here. What I did see tonight (and in a few other games that I've seen the Flames play in the past few weeks) is that the Flames have started to produce more offensively, but are nowhere near as solid defensively under Playfair as compared to when Sutter ran the bench.

Anything can happen come playoff time, but if I'm a betting man, my money is not on a repeat of 2004.

This isn't trash talk or sour grapes....I know the Oilers stink right now. All too well. Just giving an honest opinion of what I've seen out of the Flames in the 20 or so times I've watched them this year.


Ah, who cares. Today's little dagger in the heart is The Hockey News Prospects Guide arriving in the mail.

Hey, Horc's on the tube.

What can I say. Betting that Team X will *not* win the Stanley Cup, or even *not* go on a great run, is a wise one. Flames are no exception.

That said, if they win 8 of their last 11 road games (or something), no one will or should care what their overall road record is.

Also, even if they continue to suck on the road, what? They finish in the 7th seed, say. What happens if they win one of the 1st two games in the series? If they go home with a 1-1 split, wouldn't they be favourites at that point, against anyone?

I want to see them prove something on the road more than anybody. But if I'm Anaheim, I'm petrified that the Flames end up as the 7.

Wow the Lames beat the Oilers, who knew... Jeebus better get out the Stanley Cup parade route. The 1 and out team won wee haw. Fucking Magoo I wonder if he got cross checked to the ribs how he would like it? And if you are going to call a game when a Flame shoots the puck over the glass in their end it is penalty not much question there. Oh and on Iginla's goal he should be skating to the Penalty box for hooking using the same justification that was used to put an Oiler in earlier. Not that this would made a rats ass difference. I just want Magoo fired. The team who executed better won. Looks like Celine is going to be getting a beat down next meeting. The Oilers will have nothing to lose....


In 2004, it was apparent to me in mid-March that the Flames were a threat. I actually made a pile of money (and Pilsner) betting that they were going to beat the Canucks in the first round (Vancouver fans were at their peak level of being annoying back then, so that series was the one time in my life I actually quitely rooted for the Flaming C).

You say something interesting though....the Flames winning 8 of their last 11 road games to "make an impression". From where I sit, that's what it's going to take.

If I'm Anaheim, right now? I'm not scared of them one bit. But the Ducks are certainly a better matchup than the Predators for the Flames right now (hasn't Nashville basically owned the Flames since 2004 in the head-to-head series?).

Detroit could be a good HTH match for the Flames. Vancouver's got Luongo, so I'm betting they win their first round series no matter who they play at this point. And San Jose is my cup pick at this point.

I've got a little study going on right now to try and determine who's for real and who isn't. Once I get year end totals for a few categories, I'm going to write a summary and ask Grabia to post it on my behalf. Bottom line, I've got Calgary rated 8th out of the 8 playoff teams in the west (the field is set, let's not kid oureselves here) based on the NHL stats as of Wednesday evening.

I'll unveil this methodology later.....(this is what we "in the industry" call a teaser, mwahahahaha).

The New Energy

got to be crazy to not like Pouliot's game tonight.

Great pass to Pisani on the 2nd Oilers goal.

Lupul? +2?

speeds, I love your optimism.

speeds, I love your optimism.

I'm not gonna lie, I had a couple beers while watching the game tonight at a house party. I have no idea what I was watching tonight, lol, excpet that WAS a nice pass from Pouliot to Pisani on the 2-2 goal. Really nice finish as well.

I only saw the first, but Pisani and Pouliot's line really impressed me. Just about the only one, too.

Any idea what happened to Hemmer? Aggravate the injury he got from Boogaard, or is this something new?

I've got a suspicion that he dislocated his shoulder earlier this year and is playing with a brace. He's left several games this year since returning from that injury, which was never really adequately described.

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