It's August, the hottest part of the summer is over. The Stampede is here and gone and heck, even the most loyal CFL fan is getting tired of the Stampeders. What better way to spend an evening than talking about 2007-08 Flames Hockey.
First off, and others may not agree, the best thing the Flames did off-season was hire Mike Keenan. Last year this team lacked focus. There is no way a team can have such a solid home record and then reverse it and have a horrible road record. The talent is there it's just that Jim Playfair couldn't get it out of them. It's simple: Playfair's style of coaching did not suit the Flames style of play. Enter Mike Keenan. He will not tolerate laziness (sorry Huselius but good ole Keenan is back as your bench boss) and will get a more disciplined all-around game from this club.
Signing Owen Nolan was a better move than the Amonte/Friesen/McCarty signings. There is no way I would want a player such as Amonte or Friesen over Nolan. Nolan still has some game left and plays physical hockey. I still remember the all-star game where he pointed at Hasek's net and told him where he would score - and did. Solid pick up and don't be surprised to see Nolan post 15-20 goals.
Cory Sarich was a good signing. He plays a Regehr type game and really, isn't that what Flames hockey is about? I for one am excited about the D:
We're solid there.
After the first two lines, what do we have? Let's look:
I'm not convinced Conroy has much left unless he's with Iggy...and that's not a good idea. Also, we'll have a new backup this year. But with Iron Mike behind the bench, Kipper will probably see 70+ games.
The "We'll See"
Aucoin is a big "we'll see". He's had some rough seasons and everyone in Flame country is hoping being up here will turn it around for him. It better, he makes $4 million a year and that's a lot against the cap for someone who was ineffective last year.
So that's my brief take on the off-season moves. I predict the Flames will challenge for the division title and will have a successful playoffs. But then again, shouldn't every fan predict that for their team?