Kristian: Your time needs to come

Earlier this year, one of my few posts of 2007-08 led off with a yarn about how Kristian Huselius was as streaky a player as there is. At the time, he was on. Now — and for the past month — he’s off. And it hurts like a cross-check to the kidney.

The loss to Nashville is a real downer at this time of year, but I can forgive Adrian Aucoin for that mistake, and Miikka Kiprusoff for the weaky to Scott “I Can’t Believe I’m In The NHL” Nichol. I can, because the Flames ought to win every game in which they give up two or less — especially in 65 minutes instead of 60. Perhaps it’s unfair, but I’m going to pin that loss right on Huselius, because for all of Roger Millions’ praise of the Predators’ “pressure penalty kill,” my throat was sore from the number of times Juice coughed it up when the Flames had the man advantage. Huselius’s role on that power play is clear: He’s the puck-control guy. It’s his whole game. Yes, he can spot the open man and fire a nice shot and undress a goaltender, but all of that comes after he’s mesmerized opposing guy X with his puckhandling.

And right now, everything he tries is a failure.

I don’t think it’s something like the jig is up, and opposing players have figured out his game. I think he’s hesitating. He’s lost his confidence. That was never more clear than on a 2-on-1 against Nashville. Earlier this season, it would have been either a goal or a perfect pass to his teammate. Friday night? Hesitation and a harmless push into Dan Ellis’s right pad.

This slump is making him cheaper, but at this point of the season the Flames need him to contribute now a lot more than they need to afford him next year. Division’s just way too tight.

Couple of Here Here’s for some recent takes on Flames blogs that aren’t “flames blog”:

MetroGnome on Matthew Lombardi. An entirely well thought and accurate take on his season. (Lombo bonus courtesy walkinvisible.)

• I really liked Matt’s takes on Craig Conroy and Owen Nolan here. I couldn’t have put it any better, but that’s nothing new when it comes to Matt and MetroGnome, who are more insightful Flames writers than any of the guys at the Herald and Sun right now.

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~ by duncan on March 9, 2008.

4 Responses to “Kristian: Your time needs to come”

  1. Thanks for the links and kind words!

    Looks like your pep-talk had an effect on Juice last night…

  2. No sweat. It won’t always be out of a month-long slumber, but perhaps I should preface every game by calling somebody out.

  3. Hi! I also think that he WAS lacking confidence, overthinking, but he is OUT of the slump. 2 goals in 2 games, and one assist. Get some confidence, just in time for the playoffs where the Flames with need as much sniping support as Jarome can get. The Flames are too dependent on Iggy. Others can and will step up. Go Flames.

  4. It’s good there’s signs he’s emerging, but I don’t think he’s out just yet. Do agree others can step up, but I’m not convinced they will yet — especially not after last night against the Caps. (But here’s hoping!)

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