I haven't had the opportunity to watch many Flames games this year while living in Vancouver, but of the games I have watched, this was Calgary's best game.
I slam Dwayne Roloson every chance I get. I feel he's the most overrated goaltender in the league. But he's played well in both of the last 2 games. If he continues to play well, it should allow the Oil to gain some confidence and start winning some games.
Raffi Torres is a headhunter, always has been. He leaves his feet when he hits all the time and he hits high. Last night was no exception. Although he did not leave his feet to hit Moss; he blindsided him. Torres lacks any class on an oganization that usually thrives in that area. He should be suspended at least one game. I don't think the hit was that bad, but it was a cowardly act by a player who hits to injure.
Andrew Cogliano is the REAL deal. He is going to be a superstar. Everyone raves about Gagner, but Cogliano is a better player.
On the Calgary side of things. Our top lines can be scary good. However, I think Craig Conroy has overstayed his welcome on the top line. He's not winning enough draws and too often he turns the puck over on bonehead plays you'd expect from rookies. Last night, he had 2 blatent turnovers that both led to Breakaways for the Oilers.
I love Owen Nolan. He's a leader. He plays hard all the time and is nothing but a good influence on this team. Not only did he crush Stortini with a hit, but when the goon wanted to get his revenge, he didn't back down a la Matt Cooke or Jozef Stumpel, he dropped his mitts and beat up the big lug. Obviously this sparked the Flames as Warrener stuck up for Moss later in the game and although he didn't exactly beat up Torres, he got the message across. This was a part of our team that has been missing the last 2 seasons.
Kipper looked better last night. But even the Gagner goal is a save he used to make. On the left to right move, he used to dig his left blade into the ice and slide over quickly WHILE taking away the angle. On the play last night, he shuffled over using his pads like an overweight novice goalie too lazy to use his skates (okay, it wasn't THAT bad, just trying to make a point! lol). But that is a save I've seen him make a number of times with ease. The only other goaltender in the league that does it as well as him is Luongo.
How about the Anders Erikkson factor? Well, as I did with Zyuzin last year, I like to keep track of a few statistics that the box scores generally overlook, with focus entirely on that meathead swede. He has cost us a total of 3 points in the standings already this year and has scored more goals on Kipper than he has against other teams in the league. Stay tuned as I will update this as the season progresses. Hale is more than capable to fill that slot. But I can't help but wonder how Giordano would have done.
So the Flames win the first battle in a game that was arguably closer than the 4-1 score indicated. We're 2-0 so far on the 7-game homestand, a great start.
Keep in mind that the Flames were 4-9-2 the previous 2 years just 15 games into the season. I blogged earlier that another slow start from the Flames would mean another long year for us. But we're 4-2-2 so far this season and still haven't played a complete 60 minute game. With room to improve on an already solid team, I have to say that I'm feeling much better about this team.