Friday, March 27, 2009

Flame Out

Being an Oilers fan, I love it when the Flames fall flat on their face and when people talk up Calgary as being a Stanley Cup contender when truly that is not the case. While the Oilers playoff chances remain remote at best(and didn't they put up a great effort in Phoenix), they don't have unrealistic expectations placed upon them like Calgary does. Acquiring Olli Jokinen at the trade deadline had everyone salivating about another long playoff run and how Lord Stanley will come back to Canada wearing a stetson. The last two nights should tell hockey fans that Calgary isn't going anywhere this playoff season. I will be the first to tell you the Flames have a good team with the likes of Iggy, Camalleri, Phaneuf and Kiprusoff but they are missing something. While good on home ice, they can not get it together on the road where they are barely 500. They have been blanked in their last two road games and they have been giving up a lot of goals. That isn't the formula to have going into the playoffs. Home ice advantage isn't what it used to be in the playoffs and if whoever finishes 6th in the West can steal a game in Calgary it could be another season of asking what if in Calgary. If that does happen, I can't see Mike Keenan being back for year number 3.

I also can't see Craig MacTavish being back in Edmonton if the Oilers should fail to make the playoffs. They were as flat as could be against the Coyotes for two periods and by the time they started to play it was too late. Coming out flat at this time of year when you are fighting for a playoff spot is unacceptable. MacTavish may be guilty of being in one spot for too long. I wonder if he lacks what is needed to motivate the team now. Last nite's loss against a Phoenix team they should have beat may have been the difference between being out and getting in.


The Toronto Star has a nice little write-up on former Pat Jamie Heward. He hasn't played for a while after suffering a concussion earlier this year but he is hoping to get a few more NHL games under his belt this year. Take a read....

I don't need to tell Pats fans what type of hockey player Heward is. Here's hoping he gets his chance to play a couple of more games this year because time is ticking.


The SJHL final begins tonight in Humboldt. The Broncos take on the Millionaires in what should be a good series. The Broncos were the better team in the regular season but Melville won three of the four meetings between the two. A trip to the RBC Cup likely awaits the winner as SJHL teams usually have little problems with the Manitoba Junior Champs in the Anavet Cup.


Some pivotal Game 5's tonight in the WHL playoffs. Lethbridge is in Saskatoon and Swift Current is home to Medicine Hat. No doubt the story of the Hurricanes-Blades series has been Zach Boychuk. He has scored 5 goals in the two Lethbridge victories and has been held off the scoresheet in the two losses. I'm guessing the Blades will be keeping a very close eye on where the Carolina Hurricanes first round draft pick is at all times. If they don't, they may be heading back to Chinook Country needing a victory to force a Game 7 on home ice. While the Blades have to worry about Boychuk, the Swift Current Broncos have to watch for Tyler Ennis. The flashy Medicine Hat forward led his team to victory in Game 4 with a hat-trick and with the playoff experience he has he will turn his game up another notch in what could be his last ever game in Swift Current. Knowing the Tigers-Broncos rivalry, he would love nothing more than to have that potential last game be a memorable one. Both should be outstanding contests so if you are in Saskatoon or Swift Current get out there and cheer your team on.


Villanova, Pittsburgh, Missouri and Connecticut have moved on to the elite 8 at the NC double A mens basketball tournament. I have to say I was disappointed with the nights play. I thought all four games would be closer than what they were with the exception of the Xavier-Pittsburgh game which was just a poor shooting effort by both. Gonzaga-North Carolina tonight should be a treat.

If you want to get into a big money hockey draft than the Press Box Sports Bar is where you want to be.

400 bucks per team. Who's in????? No fooling around in this one. Who would you take with the number one pick. I'm guessing it would have to be Ovechkin but is Washington heading to the Stanley Cup. Maybe it would be Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg.


Anonymous said...

Blair, every Western playoff team other than Detroit is basically .500 on the road when you include OT/Shootout losses. If that's all you've got for an argument against that Flames that's not much of one. They're giving up goals in some games but has also shown that they can keep the puck out of their net - they had a long stretch where they played strong defensive hockey. And did you even watch either game? The Columbus game wasn't pretty I'll admit, but the consensus for the Pittsburgh game was that the Flames outchanced the Pens, but that Fleury played a perfect game. I won't say the Flames will win the Cup, but they are good enough to do it - they can beat both the Sharks and the Red Wings as well as any other team in the West.

I mean at the end of the day - two games is two games - they don't make or break a season and they sure don't indicate how a team's playoffs are going to go.

Anonymous said...

Vancouver will go further than Calgary this year. The Flames are terrible when they are on the road. Jeff you must not have watched the game against Pittsburgh because the Penguins were by far and away the most dominant team and would have won that game by more had it not been for Kiprusoff.
Calgary can put the puck in the net but they can't keep it out of theirs. Phaneuf is world class but Regehr has been brutal this year and after that they have nothing. If Calgary plays Columbus in the first round, I take the Jackets.
One other thing, the Oilers aren't making the playoffs Mitch so don't enter that Press Box draft. You will waste your money.


Noel said...

Man! you scared the bejesus outta me when you said the Blades game is tonight. I have tickets and am working tonight but heading in for the game tomorrow. I see the Dub site has there scoreboard a day ahead for some reason?

Mitchell Blair said...

My apologies Coach and anyone else. I was of the belief Game 5 was tonight. It is tomorrow. OOPS!!! Bad blogger...very bad blogger!!!