What a start to the 2010-11 National Hockey League season for the Calgary Flames.
They looked fast, they looked hungry, and their power play was really clicking. Oh, no wait, that was the Edmonton Oilers. Damn.
I don’t really know where to begin.
How do you describe such a pathetic effort? How do you wait five and a half months to redeem yourself for a disappointing season with an effort like that?
New season, but the Flames are still the same. They couldn’t score. The power play was heinously unorganized for a majority of the game. They were beat in almost every footrace that was up for grabs. And, to make it more insulting, the Flames "tough guy" was knocked the F$%K out.
Watching Ivanans getting carried off the ice was not great to see and I hope he is alright, but that image (to steal a line from my buddy sitting next to me) pretty much summed up the entire game. The Flames left the Drugstore bloody and bruised and in search of answers.
Now I am aware this is the first game so don’t go getting your panties in a twist in saying I’m not giving them a chance to make amends, because I will, I always do; heck I stuck through the lean years in the late 90’s, this is child’s play.
However, it is time to air some of my grievances:
1) The Flames practiced all pre-season with Backlund on the 2nd power play unit. One of his specialties is being a creative power play specialist. He is a gifted passer and has a great vision of the ice. So you think you would see Backlund out there with Bourque and Hagman on the second unit, right? Wrong! Brendan Morrison is centering the second unit, as god forbid you break your line combinations to create some offence when you have put up all of ZERO goals in the first two periods and your scoring chances are hovering around 1.5. Backlund had all of ONE SECOND of power play time tonight for those keeping track. This is typical Sutter mentality and it pisses me right off. You want the young talented kids to make an impact on the team, then put him on the freakin’ ice! Don’t relegate him to playing with Glencross and the pseudo-goon Tim Jackman. Do you happen to see what the Oilers young studs—Eberle in particular -- did out there tonight? Yeah, I thought so.
2) “I got the need—the need for speed!” –Maverick and Goose
Did anyone else notice how fast Edmonton is compared to the Flames? Did you notice that almost every time there was a race for a puck, the Oilers won that race, thus creating ample scoring chances for themselves. Speed creates offence. It was like the Oilers were Secretariat and the Flames were the ‘other horses;’ it wasn’t a fair. The Flames preached speed all training camp long. Something, somewhere, went terribly wrong in bringing that game into the regular season.
If there was a turning point in the game it was Jordan Eberle’s shorthanded tally which becomes a very early candidate for highlight of year. The goal came moments after the Flames had a pretty solid chance at potting a goal (a rarity in this game). Former Flame Jim Vandermeer starts the breakout and the rest is well, history.
Sure, Kipper let in a couple softies, but it was the Eberle’s tally that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I am not mad the Flames lost the game, so much as I am pissed off that they went away from exactly the things they preached since the outset of training camp – speed and a better, more creative power play.
This is only game one, and the season is just getting started so I’m not overly concerned with the result, but I’m not sure I can watch 82 games of that garbage.
Hoping game two is slightly better versus the Kings. Yikes! Help!