After this, I only write about Ernie

OK, unless something notable happens, here’s the last time I talk about Todd Bertuzzi this series.

As I predicted, he entered the lineup and the Wings lost. Now, obviously, there are countless factors in the game not named Todd, but take a look at this comparison from Game 3:

CLEARY: 0 g, 2 a, +2, 3 hits, 11:08 TOI
BERTUZZI: 0 g, 0 a, -1, 2 hits 13:30 TOI

How does Cleary feel? He’s a Plus 2, is ferocious physically and directly causes a goal with his hit on Phaneuf, and yet Bertuzzi gets more ice time because he’s out there on the power play. Say what you want about skill and past performance, if I’m Cleary, I’m pissed — and he’s probably not the only one. If it’s not Bertuzzi — in other words, if it’s a nice guy — maybe the players feel differently. But everything I’ve ever gleaned about Todd Bertuzzi says asshole, and I’m betting the dressing room doesn’t feel any different.

He’s apparently being moved up to the second line. I don’t get it. But I’m not going to complain.

Now, onto tonight. Firstly, you have to give it up to coach Jimmy for once, as his pre-game line juggling was clearly effective. The Amonte-Lombardi-Primeau group, I thouight, was particularly effective — there’s enough speed all over the place there, and there was no question in Lombardi’s head that he had to be the guy to make things happen. He was strong, got the power play goal, and Amonte and Primeau each had their best game in a month.

Iginla’s goal, meanwhile, was vintage Iggy — and the kind of marker he scores when he’s about to go on a run. And though it wasn’t a dominating performance, I thought he looked more dangerous with Langkow and Huselius than he had with Conroy and Tanguay.

For the Flames, the key tonight will be to remember that just two games ago, they were decimated and embarrassed — one win doesn’t a Stanley Cup champion make, and they’ve acted like that after wins numerous times this year. Letting off the gas is a Calgary specialty, which has been one of the longtime criticisms of Canary Shirt. And while I’m still convinced that Calgary’s best is better than Detroit’s best, it’s not like there’s a huge divergence of talent between these two clubs. And the Red Wings have shown focus that the Flames just don’t possess. They don’t waver.

So? The message has to be, just keep finishing your checks in both zones, go to the net and watch your skill find those open spaces that suddenly existed in the ice in Game 2.

(Plus, leave Giordano in the lineup regardless of Regehr’s status — though, with Warrener and Phaneuf still kinda in doubt, there’s probably no choice there.)

Go Flames!


~ by duncan on April 19, 2007.

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