A Hale of a post, and to Hell with high numbers

Well, it’s been a nice little run again, hasn’t it. And L.A. on Saturday night was particularly enjoyable, partly because of its yucky portions. Sure, it would have inspired confidence if the 2-0 and 3-1 leads were maintained and the Flames cruised to victory all Red Wings-style. On the other hand, I can’t remember the last time the Flames were capable of recovering, in a matter of minutes, from a complete third-period implosion. In recent seasons, especially last year, that 4-3 L.A. lead would have become 6-3, and Jim Playfair would have rubbed his own chin bloody during that time.

For some reason, the only other thing I gleaned from the game that isn’t continued praise for Jarome Iginla, Kristian Huselius, Robyn Regehr and Cory Sarich was a new appreciation for:

DAVID HALE

I did no pre-game research, and our friends from FSN West weren’t forthcoming with Calgary roster info, so when I realized that Rhett Warrener had drawn in for Adrian Aucoin and not David Hale, I figured AA was a healthy scratch rather than a groin-injury victim, and suddenly became quite fixated on Hale. Either that, or Hale had the puck for most of the first two periods.

What I discovered: It’s no wonder he’s never scored a goal. I don’t know that I’ve ever spent that much time watching an NHL player so closely and being so sure he would not score. His plays: Skate across the red line and dump it in; get a pass at the blue line and dump it in; drop pass to an oncoming forward. THAT’S IT.

This is no revelation, I realize. But this might be a bit of one: I think he’s among the best the Flames have in his own zone. He’s confident and makes good decisions behind the net, isn’t afraid to take the body, is generally very well positioned, either during a period of sustained pressure by the opposition, or backing in during a rush.

Now, most of Paragraph 2 in this segment (on offense) could also be said of Rhett Warrener. But at this point in his career, you couldn’t say the same about Paragraph 3. So assuming you still want Aucoin’s offense in the lineup, and that Anders Eriksson is going to play regardless, do you eventually sit Hale in favour of Warrener? Or do you have Rhett join Nilson and Primeau in the long-term contract millionaires club in the press box?

TONIGHT

Wayne Gretzky has done his best to make noted detractor MetroGnome look bad this season. Not only is Phoenix a highly unexpected three games above .500, they’re RED HOT right now with four wins in a row. Couple that with the Flames’ current five gamer and we have a real clash of the titans on our hands, don’t we. GOOD TIMES!

Predictions aren’t normally my bag, but tonight I say it’s all Calgary, as they’ll be lifted to victory by the fact they’re not weighed down with any ridiculous high numbers like Peter Mueller’s 88. Seriously buddy, I know you were good in junior and stuff, but those numbers are reserved for the best players of all, not above average forwards from the Everett Silvertips. Look at what 89’s done for Mike Comrie. And boy, Eric Lindros sure lived up to his potential, too, wearing that 88.

P.S.: Patrick Kane, I have my eyes on you.

OH, AND FINALLY: Glad to see Jarome Iginla (most deserved) and Dion Phaneuf (mostly deserved) voted in as all-start starters. But seriously, where does The Dion get his hair done? I know I saw a lot of unfortunate fauxhawks when I was in Calgary over the holidays, but somebody’s gotta step in here.

dionhair.jpg

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~ by duncan on January 8, 2008.

2 Responses to “A Hale of a post, and to Hell with high numbers”

  1. Or do you have Rhett join Nilson and Primeau in the long-term contract millionaires club in the press box?

    yep. that one. warrener looks terrible (i saw it firsthand tonight) and hale very nearly scored his first ever on an end-to-end shot on goal that bounced just enough to scare bryzgalov and make 20K flames faithful ‘ooh’ just a little… hale also managed to lose his stick no less than twice in the second period in the defensive zone. BUT also managed to recover the hardware and finish his check whilst doing so….

    i don’t love hale. he will never (in my opinion) be a top 4 guy. but he is definitely a solid 5/6 skater, and looks pretty solid. i LIKE hale. alot….

  2. Hale definitely looks capable when he’s on his game. Two problems he has when he’s not: taking dumb penalties and making REALLY bad passes in his own end (especially when he’s rushed). The tools are there though. He’s a better skater than both Warrener and Eriksson and he plays a physical, but simple, game most of the time.

    haha…and thanks for digging up that Coyotes post. They are playing well above their heads right now and Im pretty impressed with their results thus far. But a nosedive is in the cards for those guys at some point. You just can’t consistently win with that kind of roster.

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