Slump Busters.....not quite. The big guns for Calgary: Phaneuf, Iginla and Jokinen all scored while others like Lundmark chipped in with a nice assist. It was not enough. Once again, some unlucky bounces did the Flames in. Not making excuses here at all, but when two unlucky goals go in after being up 3-1, for a fragile team like they are now, it's hard to recover. That doesn't make the Bourque penalty any easier to swallow, however. I remember learning in my second or third year of minor hockey that when you break your stick you drop it. Simple. No idea what on earth he was thinking there, but with the situation they're in, they can't afford bonehead plays like that. So on to a shootout, and with the hopes on our fearless leader, he shoots it right at the goalie. In these desperate times, why not give Backlund the go there, what did they have to lose? Iginla has not inspired any confidence in his shootout abilities, as he always skates in and completely stops skating, before letting go a predictable wrist shot. So chalk up loss number eight.
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I think one thing is becoming relatively clear with this team. For the majority, they are an honest, hard working bunch, which is all fine and good, however, this team needs an edge. They need and agitator. The last time they had one that I can remember, was the scrappy Finn Ville Neiminen, and he was great for this team. They need someone who will get the team going, and get the crowd into it again. The Flames are at there best when they are engaged in a physical hard nosed game, yet it seems it takes a lot for them to get going. Unless they're playing Vancouver, the edge just isn't there. They play an in your face game without any in your face players: Phaneuf, sometimes, Iginla usually at the end of games when they already lost, Nystrom and Prust try, but they don't get enough ice time and Nystrom's quite frankly too nice a guy. That's big in my opinion. Guys like Bo, Dawes, Moss, Glencross, Conroy, Boyd, Lundmark...I could go on for ever here, are just too honest it seems. We need a spark. If you look around the league at some of the good teams, they have these guys: Chicago's whole team plays that way it seems, Vancouver has Burrows and Kesler, Philadelphia has Carcillo, Pittsburgh has Cooke, Buffalo has Kaletta and so on. So, it begs the question: Who's available? Well, right now there are actually a few of these guys who could be had for cheap; Colby Armstrong (who played for Brent in Red Deer), Raffi Torres and Steve Downie for starters as they are all on teams on the outside of the playoff picture. In addition, they can all score. Darryl Sutter should definately consider one if not two of these guys and ship some of the drifters out.
Now, that isn't the solution to the problem entirely as they do need goal scoring desperately. However, I wouldn't expect any of the numerous blockbusters that have been suggested. So, that means no Kovalchuk, Stall, Carter or Lecavalier, because as much as people want him out, Phaneuf isn't going anywhere, at least not this season. Sutter will probably look at cheaper options that won't cost him too many of the few assets we have. So guys like Tanguay, Chris Higgins, Alex Ponicarovsky, Ray Whitney, Blake Wheeler and maybe Paul Kariya might be on his radar. However, I still wouldn't bank on Sutter doing anything until after the Olympics, when players salaries are cheaper.
In Phoenix tonight, and really is there anyone who has any idea of what to expect tonight?? I would love to think with the big guns scoring last night and the bounces going against them that tonight they will come out with confidnce and have the bounces go there way, but who knows with this team. I'll say 4-2 Flames. Got to be positive!
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