Pessimism: The tradition continues

Predators 6 Flames 3

With about two minutes left in tonight’s game, esteemed colour commentator Ryan Walter declared that “the Flames put themselves in a position to compete in this hockey game.” I wholeheartedly disagree. For two periods, Calgary put itself in nothing better than a position to not be embarrassed against Nashville. And then they were embarrassed anyway.

After consecutive road wins at the tail end of a five-game winning streak put an air of optimism around Calgary for the first time in a couple of months, they came into their most important game of the season and were not prepared. There were some poor performances by a number of players, for certain, but first and foremost this game is a major indictment of the Flames’ coaching staff, who clearly couldn’t sketch a gameplan to defeat a major player. And this was a Predators team without several key cogs — no Peter Forsberg, no Steve Sullivan, no Scott Harnell, no Marek Zidlicky. Backup goalie, albeit a good one in Chris Mason.

And Calgary had all key hands on deck.

Yesterday, I declared four keys to victory for the Flames. How’d they do?

1. Smart, aggressive play from the 5/6 D-pair. For the most part, this happened. The team finally sat an ineffective Rhett Warrener, and I wasn’t disappointed with the play of Mark Giordano, finally back in the lineup, and Andrei Zyuzin. But any good play from that pair was cancelled out by Roman Hamrlik, who played his worst game in five months. Two bad penalties, bad decision-making, bad, bad, bad. The Brad Stuart/Robyn Regehr combo, meanwhile, were responsible for both penalties that put Calgary two men down and directly led to goals. So, yeah, good play from the 5/6 isn’t going to do much if 1 through 4 can’t get it done.

2. An A+ game from Kipper. Uh, no. The Flames were poor in general in giving up 36 shots, but give up six goals, and you aren’t getting the A+ from Miikka Kiprusoff.

3. The Iginla line, and Jarome in particular. Nothing wrong here. Jarome led with a pair of beauty goals, Craig Conroy made a great play and rattled one off the post. But nobody followed.

4. Jim Playfair needs to have a nice outfit. Nope, ugly. Bad gradient-style tie, ill-fitting jacket. I joke about the dress but, seriously, I put most of the blame for this on him and the rest of the coaching staff. This is the second straight game the Flames went down 2-0 in the first, and you can’t do that against Nashville and win the same way you can against the St. Louis Stempniaks.

And for Christ’s sake, if you can scratch Warrener and Matthew Lombardi like you did tonight, you can kick Tony Amonte all the way off the team. Whatever feel he had for the game is gone — he can’t anticipate plays, can’t convert opportunities, can’t do anything but declare that “the team is trying” in gracious interviews. How does he get a free ride? How? I absolutely cannot wait for him to be off this team.

I was sort of heartened by the emotion shown by Regehr and Stuart in the last seconds, but I’m grasping at straws here when it comes to positives. All the questions about Calgary’s ability to win on the road are going to come back now, and rightfully so. They can’t, and shouldn’t, get back to the ‘Dome and answer softball questions from the Calgary media with, “well, two out of three on that trip is a good start.” Two of the teams were vastly inferior personnel-wise, and should have been beaten. You won’t see those teams in the playoffs, you’ll see one of seven Nashvilles.

So anyway, I’m angry. And, you guessed it, it isn’t all OK.

Shit.

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~ by duncan on March 8, 2007.

4 Responses to “Pessimism: The tradition continues”

  1. I’m grasping at straws

    Well, I posed this same question to MG – Do you prefer bendy or regular? I’m offering you my Piglet straw since for some reason (maybe because I’m crazy), MG’s not taking it. 😉

    I have to tell you – Tony Amonte is good, really good, at one thing and that is sucking hard core. Just trying to add to your positives.

    They can’t, and shouldn’t, get back to the ‘Dome and answer softball questions from the Calgary media with, “well, two out of three on that trip is a good start.”

    If they do, maybe it’s time for us to start calling bullshit on them. Someone in the organization must read the blogs so if we all gang up on them…

  2. Do you prefer bendy or regular?

    I prefer those really wide “Froster” straws they offer at Mac’s.

    And I like your brand of positive outlook. How about this: The Flames have shown a lot of consistency in their ability to lose to Nashville, and also against good teams on the road.

  3. And I like your brand of positive outlook. How about this: The Flames have shown a lot of consistency in their ability to lose to Nashville, and also against good teams on the road.

    Excellent. Now we’re talking! I’ll let you know if I think of anything else.

  4. Good point about Playfair. I meant to add him to my list on the blame game but the thought got lost along the way.

    I also thought about commenting on Regehr’s attacking TooToo, but it probably wouldn’t have happened if Stuart didn’t get beat so badly, so I just left it out.

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