I think we've had a reasonable amount of games to discern a few things for ourselves about this Flames team and the individual players on it. After a hard fought win last night it was clear where the weak spots were and where the bright spots were. Rinklighter commented he was in the 300's on Vetter's blog and could see the face off domination. I could see a few things from my couch too that maybe would otherwise be missed... after all I can rewind.
First off, Oiler fans, nothing to hang your head about here. That was a great game, this will be a fun season to watch the battle of Alberta, it's already intense! That is good news for us all.
So the Flames... Well... I'll start at the back. Kipper was his usual outstanding self although Khabby was pretty great at the other end too, I just want to focus on Flames here, sorry Oiler fans who read my flames blog religiously.
The D was a split for me. Regehr had a better game highlighted by his usual big hit on Hemsky on the side boards, this is now par for the course during a Calgary/ Edmonton game. Giordano made a few gaffes but overall was pretty strong. Sarich actually looked really good, no idea why he was chosen to sit if not for trade purposes. Staios got exposed a few times again but was not nearly as bad as he was against Florida which was embarrassing for him really. I liked how he gave a Hall a shot after the play, not an intent to injure shot, just a "welcome to Calgary" shot. Bouwmeester and White have both been atrocious. I literally get angry watching White and Bouwmeester continually get beat in battles for the puck. White was hit in the face with a puck that bounced in the net and that about sums up his contribution, simply horrible. Bouwmeester just tries too hard. Someone tell him to play like he earns 4 million instead of 7 million and maybe he'll calm down a bit.
The Flames would do well to sit White for a game or two and let him watch the game from upstairs. T.J. Brodie could draw in and do just as well if not better than White at this point.
On the forwards I won't run through them all because it's a lot of typing and I'm lazy by nature. I can say I've read some comments and really disagree with some. Most importantly Backlund. Someone commented on Vetter's Blog (p.s. after your done here go read it!) about how Backlund was horrible. I was watching the real game though and he was great. He made some passes that didn't seem tough but the were one handed saucer passes to Glencross, notice how good Glencross has been? That's because he's being fed great passes on the fly. Backlund also dominated the face off circle and I lost count after he turned the puck over against the Oilers ten times. He has not been a point guy but he does EVERYTHING else.
Taking Jokinen off the top line was the right move, he is so bad it's hard to watch. Just so bad. He has had scoring chances that guys in a ball hockey league could have converted so far and come away with nothing. Stajan looked really good along with Tanguay and Iggy. Tanguay has so far been very solid and a great signing.
Iginla in my opinion is looking really great, he just hasn't scored a lot. He's toe dragging, making moves, powering past guys...doing what made him successful in the past. Wait for it because he's going to get the jets going soon, he always starts slow.
Meyer is already a crowd favourite and I think he's like Nieminen was. A pesky guy who just irritates the hell out of the opposing team and has some skill to compliment that. I really like how he's played in his role so far.
Hagman was almost invisible last night until the shift prior to scoring, he just motivates himself and becomes dangerous. Sutter's job is to find out how to provoke that motivation.
All in all it was a fun game to watch, so fluke goals, some skill goals, some big hits. If every game was like that and we lost or won by one goal how could you not think this was the best game ever invented?
I did not like the Gilbert hit on Stajan and think it's suspend-able, Stajan didn't even have the puck. In addition Bourque looks to return for the trip to Nashville and Columbus.