Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Flames-Wings: Game 3 Review

So Kelly Hrudey was looking at Iginla's GWG tonight, and concluded that (A) Lidstrom's whiff on the pass and (B) Hasek's whiff on the shot were, and I paraphrase, unlikely things that just happen once in a while. Mr. Hrudey should be careful; his failure to attribute this event to something like who wanted it more may get him excommunicated from the hockey media.

Fortunately, there's no actual consistent logic through these things, so the same event that can be viewed as a rare Oops for the Detroit captain can also be viewed as the Calgary captain taking the game by the throat.

That said, I thought Calgary deserved to win tonight. Kipper made (and had to make) fewer spectacular saves than in the first two games. 8 minutes of Wings PP produced, what, one scoring chance? I hardly ever noticed Zyuzin or Nilson, which means that they were doing their jobs...

The good news for Wings fans is that Hrudey's right; that play on the game-winning goal won't happen again. The good news for Flames fans is that Iginla still hasn't played that well, to my eye. Certainly in the 1st period, when Don Wittman noted 400 times or so that the Flames were playing better, I thought Iginla was noticeably identical to G1/G2: no good handle on the puck (except for when he did and was then patient to a fault); couldn't get a shot through; and couldn't get open -- with the sick feed from Huselius on the PP (his goalpost) being the exception.

Kudos to Mark Giordano! Sits out the first two games, comes in and scores a goal, and then tells Steve Armitage that all the credit belongs to Iginla. This guy is a prize, and it's not like Susan/Hale are impenetrable defenders. If Gio sits out again these playoffs, I won't be calling for Playfair's firing in the offseason, I'll be rounding up a posse to pull out his bangs (3 hairs at a time).

It's still incredibly important that Calgary win G4 on Thursday, but tonight's result is meaningful. Go Flames.

[Private note to DR: just because the corporate job is more prestigious, and you're a talented guy, doesn't mean that the job is right for you. If you know you'll be happier going back to a branch office job, do it. Life's short.] [Also, thanks to Don at BoO for the countdown pic.]


Calgary was clearly the better side tonight -- not so dominant as Detroit was at home, but still -- even when the Wings took the lead on the Cleary cheap shot in the third, the result was never in doubt (note to Rexall fans -- did you hear the Go Flames Go chant after the second Detroit goal? No, I didn't think so. Trust me, it was there. The C of Red is more than a fashion statement).

Let's just bring it again Thursday.

Go Flames Go

That was a Cleary!!!!

Hard to imagine that Phion Daneuf will be passing any baseline tests before the passing of this series. I know he came back to finish the game but he was out of his fucking feet after the hit and lots of guys finish games after taking the big knock but then are shelved once morning arrives. It was bound to happen to him anyway. The guy is super talented but he can't hit anyone without trying to hurt them and that shit comes back on just about everyone. Nice to see a former Oiler doing that trick and I'm sure that somewhere MacT is smiling.

As for the Flames win, I'd need to see them outchance the Wings by a greater margain to believe that Cgy has a chance to take the series. There's no doubt they're up against it without The Sheepherder and that's an undeniably big loss, still though, coming back to a rink you never lose in, you'd expect the Flames to rip the cover off the Wings in terms of scoring chances and that just didn't happen.

I thought the fans were super tenative as well. Can't say I blame them but I just got the feeling that everyone had watched the tape of last year's G7 vs the team that Earl Sleek makes everyone hate.

It is worth noting, I think, Pleasure Motors prediction:

1:22 Prediction: the game Todd Bertuzzi comes back to play in is the first game the Wings lose.

No word on how he thinks they will do in Big Bert's second game; but his use of the word 'first' implies that the Wings just might lose one more game before lifting the cup.

Cleary cheap shot, eh?

Oh, the irony....what goes around, comes around. I'm normally not one to laugh at an injury (save a broken foot to Pronger here and Matt Cooke getting elbowed by Joe Thornton there), especially a possible concussion (those are serious business), but I think the words "couldn't happen to a nicer guy" would apply here.

As for the game, the Flames were a lot better than G1 and 2 in Detroit. Then again, it would have been hard for them to be worse.

Is it safe to say that the whole series might hinge on game 4? I think so. A Detroit win, and it's probably over on Saturday. A Calgary win, and it probably goes seven.

the team that Earl Sleek makes everyone hate

Hehe, just like the weather man makes you hate shoveling snow, huh?


Dennis: Agree on Dion, he's going to have a Jim Dorey future. Nice to see Iginla score the winner on an old fashioned style shot from an old fashioned spot on the ice. Hasek wsa wandering like Suitcase Smith in the third, he's not the hockey equivalent of Mitch Williams.

The guy is super talented but he can't hit anyone without trying to hurt them and that shit comes back on just about everyone.

I'm not sure if I follow here. Does a body check serve any other purpose? I guess you could argue that the primary function of some body checks is to remove an opposing player off the puck, and to a degree that's true and certainly in some circumstances it's the best way to go about achieving that goal. But let's be serious, you check a guy to hurt him, to force him to make a decision a little faster than he might have liked, to make him look over his shoulder next time he plays the puck. It's the threat of violence or pain that forces the opposing team to make bad decisions, or deters them from making the optimal play. You don't have to look any further than that Cleary hit to see evidence of what I'm trying to say. If Cleary didn't rattle Phaneuf's dome, they wouldn't have scored that goal.

If bodychecks didn't hurt, then their usefulness would drop significantly. A lot of the time you're actually taking yourself out of the play to finish a check after a player has already played the puck, so it stands to reason that those checks must serve some purpose, otherwise no one would ever execute them.

But having said that, maybe you meant injure and not hurt. Who knows.

You might get to the babybear pic but if I see The Count I'll be surprised!

Flames did, indeed, deserve that win. They played a solid game and stepped up in a lot of areas they needed to address.

Having said that, this is one of the stupidest comments I've seen in a long time:

"but still -- even when the Wings took the lead on the Cleary cheap shot in the third, the result was never in doubt".

I'm sure you're a nice guy Peter, but you could very well be an idiot.

ow. That hurts.

What I was trying to say in my intoxicated glee last night was that even when the Wings scored early in the third, I wasn't worried about it. I knew the Flames were going to get it back.

Just like I know we're gonna even this pooch up on Thursday.

Go Flames

mclea, you have obviously never played hockey. Well, I doubt you have anyways based on your comment. The purpose of a bodycheck should never be to hurt an opposing player. Granted, they often do sting, but any player will tell you that 99% of checks do not actually hurt, but rather serve the purpose intended, which you mentioned, to be to either remove a player from the puck, or at least disrupt the player's control of the puck. I agree with the point made by dennis, that phaneuf often looks to hurt players with his checks. Phaneuf is known as a hard hitter for a reason, as he is often looking for, and successfully landing large open ice hits. As mentioned, what goes around will eventually come back around. A relevant comparison would be any number of players, even robyn regear, who throw a lot of big hits, but use bodychecking to serve a purpose of checking the opposing player away from the puck. Body checks can be just as useful without hurting a player, and i disagree with your point that if they didn't hurt their effectiveness would drop significantly. In fact, I disagree with almost everything you said. Cleary's hit was not successful becasue it was so hard and hurt phaneuf, but rather was an elbow, and should have been called a penalty. Dirty hits that result in a goal should not be viewed as successful, but rather a bad break for the team that didn't get the call. Watch any successful defensive forwards such as pisani, yelle, cooke, lehtinen, and you will see that they very consistently employ body checks that do not hurt opposing players, but successfuly use their bodies to check the opposing players off or away from the puck.


dennis: You are way off base about the tentativeness of fans. The place was deafening 5 minutes before puck drop and there were constant chants and cheers. It took about 5 seconds after Detroit scored teh go ahead marker for the fans to start a 'Go Flames Go' chant.

Anonymous matthew: bodychecks are designed to intimidate, hurt, and knock players off the puck. That is why physicality is emphasized in a forecheck system: After a defenseman gets checked enough times when retrieving that puck behind the goal line, he eventually starts to worry about it, and is more prone to making mistakes.

I am still very amused by the hardon the Edmonton crew has for hating Dion. Dion is a dirty cheapshot but Raffi is physical...right?

I know that this is off topic a bit.. this gives you an idea of how big of a joke the other statistics are. Cleary wasn't credited with a hit all night. Was it me or was he physical all night? Plus you throw in the hit on Dion.

I'm sure I'm breaking some kind of Oilogosphere rule here, but I actually kind of agree with Mclea on this one.

Well, not necessarily about Phaneuf: dude's a big, dirty hitter, who likes to get way out of position (as most "hitters" do) just to lay a licking on someone (often in a suspect, leave-his-feet kind of way), which makes for a highlight reel play, but one that's generally not a sound positional hockey decision and occasionally dangerous (see Colby Armstrong, Raffi Torres, Scott Stevens, etc).

Having said that, I don't think you can deny that at least part of the intent of a hit is to hurt (assuming this means something lesser than injure). If it's just about the puck, a stick check can well enough do the trick, and while there is a certain element of taking a player out of the play that the stick-check doesn't allow for, it seems intuitive to me that a body check is by its very nature about physical intimidation. Maybe not everyone hurts properly—though from my own experience, I seem to remember that enough of them did—but they do serve the purpose, as Mclea alluded to, of making you think twice about making certain plays: there's a reason people don't cut through the middle a whole lot, or hit the streaking winger with a defenceman four feet in front of him. I mean, isn't the standard criticism of people who won't go into the corners that they shy away from physical play?

Part of this might just stem from how you're defininig "hurt" (again, though, Phaneuf is a head-hunter, and deserves whatever he gets (spits)), but it seems strange to me to argue that a 200-pound man throwing his body shoulder-first at another 200-pound man isn't at least a little bit about hurting someone, though not perhaps seriously.

I'm pretty sure Dennis meant "hurt" in the "injure or at least cause some damage" sense rather than the "inflict momentary pain" sense.

Mclea has a point, but I think he's arguing about the wrong thing.

Yeah I meant to say injure but I thought that was pretty much implied. My mistake though.

Phaneuf gave Datsyuk a forearm in G2, I believe, and it was just the latest example of him trying to end people. I'm not saying that people are gonna get breaks anyway but there's a difference in softening someone up and trying to knock them out of the league. Pretty soon a guy like Cleary says, "If I see that prick with his head down I'm giving it the extra gear", and then you have things like last night. Cleary's blood and guts but I haven't ever seen him go after anyone like he did last night. I don't know where I stand the on the whole "players don't respect each other anymore" but just the same way that people might let up on Sakic but wouldn't on Tootoo, no one's ever gonna cut Phaneuf any slack. Last night was the first time I saw anyone really really drill him and it won't be the last unless he changes his ways. There's a risk and reward to his exeuberance and last night we saw the former. And to break Earl Sleek into this;) I'd be surprised if the Oilers don't take out Pahlsson next season given that he started Stoll's concussion problems with a very dirty hit back in Jan. Moreau went after Markov early on so I'd imagine him or someone else will have a word for Sammy come next year.

Granted, a Torres might have to worry about this stuff as well;)

Back to this series, I just didn't see the Flames outchance the Wings to the point where I think they're really back in the series. If Reghr can come back and be effective, then they've got a shot.

And let me get this out of the way, I thought that Raffi's hit on Michalek in last year's playoffs was dirty. I might not have thought it at the time but I think it was the same thing as the Neil hit on Drury that started the brawl in Buf. Both hits were dirty IMO and times when guys could've pulled up but didn't, and instead decided to really stick it to their check.

Attack Pahlsson at your own risk. It may have been a dirty hit (I don't recall it), but he's not really a dirty player, not along the lines of what this discussion has been.

All I can say is I bet of Ducks stand up for Sammy in this theoretical future melodrama.


I actually agree with a lot of what you said. I think the biggest issue is that we're using the term bodycheck is describe multiple different things. For example, I agree with what you said with respect to Regher in his own zone, although I wouldn't exactly refer to that as bodychecking, but rather "taking the man out" or "creating seperation between the man and the puck." For instance, I wouldn't consider rubbing a guy out on the boards as a bodycheck, but whatever...

But having said that, if you're going to take the position that 99% of checks don't hurt and that they aren't designed to harm the opposing player, then you're going to have to explain why anybody would ever body check a guy after he has released the puck. I'd say those kind of checks make up a large portion of the checks you see during a game, and if what you say is true, then you wouldn't expect to ever see this sort of check, because according to your logic, they wouldn't serve any purpose.

Fair enough, the definition of body checking I was going with was a narrow one, and I only used it in contrast to your opinion that bodychecking is meant to hurt (not injure). Once again, fair enough. Intimidation is a big part of hockey, especially the playoffs, and finishing checks can mean the difference between the first and second round. I'm alluding to a lot of past Senators' series here. I agree with what you and pleasure motors have said, that intimidation and making players think twice is an important defensive strategy. I really do stand by what i've said though, and if you watch the truly talented defensive forwards in the game, you will see that body positioning, and checking to remove players from the puck is the strategy they will use much more often than large punishing checks. Players like Raffi Torres, Chris neil, and Dion phaneuf can change a series with a big, concussion giving, hit but really, that's not what most hockey fans want to see, nor is it really good hockey. So, I guess both points have their validity. I was only writing in to comment on the exception mclea took to dennis' comment, which i thought was a good one...Phaneuf is a seat-sniffing prick, and it seems that working on his defensive game would be more fruitful than throwing head shots.

-Matthew (again)

Question for Dennis saying that Raffi and Neil's hits were dirty: are you using "dirty" in the sense of "they were unnecessary" or in the sense of "they were outside the rules of the game"?

I can agree on the former but not the latter.

Like I said Ty, I thought both guys could've pulled up and they didn't. Borderline dirty but most certainly unnecessary.

As for attacking Pahlsson at your own rish, MEH. I know you've got meatheads like Parros, Thornton etc but if Staios, Moreau, Smith and maybe Greene were healthy, that's a couple of guys right there plus maybe a couple of young guys looking to make some hay.

In any case, I hope Pahlsson gets what he deserves because that was a bad hit, 16's back was turned the whole way and Sammy didn't bother stoping. And also, someone should tell brian hayward that ana hasn't won the last five games. I hate to keep saying this to you but you're the only ducks fan i know:)

Pahlsson deserves the Selke, and Hayward deserves a personal mute button, what are you going to do?

Again, it may have been a bad hit, but I watch enough Pahlsson to say he's not a dirty player, and I'm pretty sure the Ducks would drop what they're doing and respond accordingly.

Unlike, say, if Brad May were attacked viciously, which might draw a collective shrug from the bench.

If I played pro-hockey, whenever I would unload on someone I think the ideal scenario would be to leave him hurt and to not draw a penalty. Every single time, and ecspecially in a playoff series.

Perhaps, in la la land, NHL'ers, coaches and staff don't think the exact same way.

Of course, I'm not refering to uncontrolled stick swinging and pre-meditated charges from behind that leave people fucked for life.

these threads always turn out the same way..

these threads always turn out the same way..

You mean with mutual respect, admiration, love, and general warm fuzzy feelings about the fellow commentors and hockey in general?

There's no doubt that Pahlsson is great at what he does. He's certainly underrated for sure, but if the Oilers went after Markov for hitting Stoll then I'd suspect Sammy will find the same circumstance when the teams meet next year. Let me also say something about the Ducks and their toughness, I believe most of their fighting majors come from the meatheads. It isn't like they have five Iginla's ie useful people, who fight so for sure the Ducks want to get into brawls with people because the ana guys that are going to the box are junk in the first place.

As for Hayward, I'd like to see Boogaard go up to the pressbox and knee him.

True on the fighters, especially now that we've parted ways with Fedoruk and O'Brien, now probably T. Moen is the only one who fights who plays useful minutes (Pahlsson minutes).

Well, Beauchemin fights Iginla, also :)

It's the way of the league, though. I doubt the Ducks are that unique in sheltering their fighter minutes.

Yeah, one of the things that I've never read about is how Moen went from being a Hawks goon to playing on arguably the Ducks best line. There's a story there isn't it?

And yes I revelled in Beachemin's Jarmoe-beatdown last spring but it would be interesting to see how he'd fare without Neidermayer. I guess he did it earlier this year and how did he look? I know that Ana didn't look the same without him in G4 but that might be more of an indictment regarding their depth beyond Prongers/Scott N than it is a testiomonial to Francois's abilities.

In any case, yes, I guess the way of the league is for the meatheads to take the fighting majors but what I don't like is Burke blowing off about you can't come into our building looking for fights and blah blah blah. I've never read anyone retort with my point about just how his fighters are and Burke makes my point ever more salient with the way his old Van/Bertuzzi/Steve Moore beating-goading buddy Brad May acted the other night vs Kim Jonnsson.

Don't get me wrong, in the interest of fairness I'll say that I was enjoying things getting rough down the stretch in Min the other night, ie the game was over and there was one Pronger/Battle where Chris did everything but stab the Wild winger;) and I'll also allow that in Dallas in '03, not sure if it was G2 or G5 but I know the Oilers were getting pounded, my boys got all goony in the third period as well as they were in the mode of "we can't win so we'll send a message." The difference was that they weren't going around punching soft guys in the face. But that's the kind of shit that Brad May does and that's the kind of players that Burke likes and the kind of behavior he encourages. Yet no one will call one of the NHL's powerbrokers on this bullshit.

Well no one outside of Al Strachan which is one of the reasons I got hooked on the Hot Stove and the primary reason why I'm one of the few guys who really likes that old crumudgeon.

Yeah, Brad May is a puke. Not much I can say there.

But generally, the 'goon squad' (Fedoruk, Thornton, Parros) plays a pretty honest fighter game, they're fighting against fighters, and standing up for the little ducklings. Thornton was a bit overboard at the end last game, but he wasn't throwing punches, just pulling a Wild guy down and off Huskins.

O'Brien, maybe not so much. That guy had a bad habit of punching people before they had their gloves off, something I was pretty sure was going to come back and burn him. Now it'll have to burn him in Tampa.

I saw Thornton plenty down here with the Baby Leaves and that guy is a dirtbag.

Surprisingly puck-capable, though. Can skate decently as well. I'm not nearly as down on Thornton as I am on Parros--who in my mind should not play another road game for ANA this playoffs.

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