Sunday pre-game (mostly more post-game)

A day later and a good night’s sleep under me, I’m still disappointed with everything about Game 5. So was the NHL, in their special way: Noodles got five games for his slash on Franzen, Ken King will have to sign a cheque for $100,000 and Jimmy will have to wear his canary shirt for another year, because he won’t have that extra $25,000 to spend at Moores.

The point I made yesterday was that, in the final moments, the Flames’ actions were that of a team of spoiled brats that was utterly and completely defeated. A team that realized that it had no possible answer for its opponents when it came to hockey plays, so it thought it had better bring the goonery so it at least looked like it cared a little bit. I’ve seen these actions defended in a few places today — most notably Kyle at Real Deal — and I’m not going to tell anyone that they’re wrong in their analysis.

But I’ve also seen precious little acknowledgement from Detroit fans that their heroes are anything but saints. Cleary did drive his shoulder into Kiprusoff at the end of Game 1, and toss a flying elbow at Phaneuf during Game 3. Holmstrom threw Stuart into Kipper. Lebda did low-bridge Langkow, at a meaningless time of the game.

None of this excuses McLennan or Langkow for what they did, but the train goes both ways, my friends.

Now, Iginla’s prompted the most debate between worlds here. I, for one, am on the record as being unhappy with his actions at the end of the game — for the same reasons I gave above. That said, I don’t believe that was a butt-end, the cross-check was to Schneider’s ass, and the Wings don’t have anyone who Iginla could challenge to a proper fight if he was mad for, say, that check from Franzen (IIRC) earlier in the game that made his head bleed.

I also don’t think Wings fans have any place, at all, judging Iginla’s overall ability as a player or a leader based on a five-game sample — and likely don’t remember the effect he had on Calgary’s win over Detroit in ’04. That series, incidentally, featured Derian Hatcher’s cross-ice elbow on Matthew Lombardi, a hit far more dirty, dangerous and injury-causing than anything that’s gone down in this series. So, is Detroit a dirty team and organization because of what Hatcher did? Of course not, just as you can’t paint broad strokes on Iginla or the Flames based on Saturday afternoon. The fine strokes, the inability of the 2006-07 Flames to stay focused and play a strong game, a lack of discipline and a petulance during Game 5: Yeah, that’s there. But Leanne points out everything you need to know about Iginla in her excellent post today.

And finally, stop comparing Iginla to Steve Yzerman. We all know about his class, history, great career, etc., etc., etc. When I was a kid, I had two non-Flames posters on my wall: His and Joe Sakic’s. They would both still be there if I still had hockey posters on my wall. But every captain doesn’t act the same way, nor are they supposed to. Gordie Howe did unspeakable things when he was with the Red Wings. Would Detroit fans disown him for them? Of course not, and I’m not about to dismiss Jarome Iginla for some minor poor judgment in one game of one playoff series.

So, let’s get back to the series. Matt at Battle of Alberta recalls a couple of games similar to Game 5 from the 2004 run in his pre-game post, then remembers that the Flames followed each of those with a win. The evidence from earlier in this series would lead one to predict a Calgary victory tonight too, lest Kiprusoff quit the team in disgust and force former Calgary Hitmen goalie and Flames first-rounder Brent Krahn into the crease to shit his pants.Whatever happens, I’m a little bummed because I love a Game 7 and, if it gets that far, I’ll have -15% confidence in the Flames in that game. Maybe that’ll make it easier to watch.

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~ by duncan on April 22, 2007.

3 Responses to “Sunday pre-game (mostly more post-game)”

  1. We would like to express our condolences to the Calgary Flames and their fans. It was a hard fought series for both teams, and close all the way to the end. Thanks for a good series.

  2. Thanks — although I wouldn’t exactly call that series close, six games flattered the Flames. Best of luck to you in Round 2, I’ll be reading.

  3. Very good post and analysis from the series. As an Avs fan watching from afar I was suprised and disapointed in Iginla and Co’s actions, but I noticed too in some of the Red Wings blogs that they were painting themselves as saints. I saw plenty in the series that was fairly dirty, if not cheap, and Detroit has had their fair share of dirty players over the years (as well as all teams).

    I personally was harsh on Iginla, and Co. in my own blog, but I more or less am harsh on the NHL. They need to suspend that stuff so it doesn’t escalate.

    While game 5 is a dark spot on Iginla’s resume, it is not a testament to his ability. He is still one of the better captains in the league and understands what being a captain is all about.

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