No to robots, yes to victory
1. On Sarich’s demolishing of Marleau, from Eric Duhatschek’s game story:
“I was too busy getting scrummed up there to see the replay, but Patty came in and said it was a clean hit. He thought it was a clean hit.”
So said Ryane Clowe, the “Patty” being Marleau. When the player who was hit says it was a clean hit, and the player who made the hit says it was a clean hit, and the referees on the ice say it’s a clean hit, IT’S A CLEAN HIT. End of story, end of debate.
2. Cujo will not start tomorrow, nor should he, nor does he want to. He said pretty clearly at the end of the game that he think’s Miikka Kiprusoff is the best goalie in the league, and that’s not something that a guy who’s dying to start is going to say. There is no controversy.
3. It might have gone unnoticed in the comeback, but that was another great bench-management game from Keenan, who saw that Phaneuf-Vandermeer wasn’t working at all, and moved Aucoin — who was very steady last night — up to play with him. Surely part of that was also the need for more offense from a defence-pairing, but Hale-Vandermeer was fine together also.
4. Holy crap that was fun. The emotion and passion I called for yesterday was all there after the Sarich hit. I said this in comments somewhere already, but the Flames getting geared thanks to a nice, big, legal check instead of the last two years’ strategy, which was, “Let it get more out of hand, then instigate fights.”
It didn’t surprise me at all to see Nolan score the winner. I was seeing a lot of statistical comparisons at the end of the season between Nolan and his predecessor in the veteran winger department, Tony Amonte. The difference between the two, especially during the last half of the season, went way further than stats though. Amonte was never a top-set penalty killer, he wasn’t a clear dressing-room leader, he didn’t score the goals he scored at big moments, and he WENT OFFSIDE 10 TIMES A GAME. That was a huge game from Nolan last night — after Sarich, it was him leading the emotional charge.
Oddly, I was also thrilled to see Keenan raise his hands and celebrate on the bench after Nolan’s goal.
The coaches SHOULD be excited to win, and that was something that Sutter and Playfair never, ever did when they were the head guys.