Game 4 preview: Something about crystals and how “bring it” means different things to different teams

Plenty of good information from the morning skate update provided by the Herald’s Jean Lefebvre, including:

  • Mike Keenan’s having a laugh trying to convince people that Curtis Joseph is REALLY STARTING tonight
  • Devin Setoguchi and the formerly injured defenceman Christian Ehrhoff will draw in for the Sharks (presumably in place of Jody Shelley and either Kyle McLaren or Matt Carle)
  • Looks like no lineup changes for the Flames

You’d like to think that Keenan would anticipate that Shelley might be scratched, and dress a hockey player in place of Eric Godard tonight, but we all know that isn’t going to happen. You know, the whole “winning lineup” thing and all, plus he wouldn’t scratch Godard if the Sharks announced they were dressing 20 Swarovski Crystals in teal and sending them out tonight. After all, Eric might take advantage of the glass jaw …

Anyway, longtime Flames observers know Miikka Kiprusoff’s long had a reputation of coming back strong from bad games. That legend goes back to some crazy stats in 2004 though, and I don’t believe that he has some kind of new resolve when returning to the crease after a bad effort. I just think he’s a good goalie and the percentages mean that he’s likely not going to have two bad games in a row. Doesn’t mean it’s impossible, and that’s going to depend on the guys in front of him.

I fully expect the Sharks to come with something different tonight, but not the “take it to ’em” physical grit that I get the feeling some San Jose fans are hoping for. Nor SHOULD they bring that. Why should the Sharks suddenly pretend to be a team of bruisers? This is a skating, rushing team that wins when it plays with speed and smarts. Seemingly, they haven’t been playing that way when the Flames assert themselves physically and appear to generally have fun playing the game.

In other words, WILL TO WIN means something, but WILL TO WIN doesn’t ONLY mean playing smash hockey. If the rest of the Sharks had responded to Marleau’s resolve the way Marleau had — with speed and try — they would have won on Sunday.

But they didn’t. They’re vulnerable. And they don’t respond to being physically challenged. So if you’re the Flames, what do you do in the first 29 seconds of the game?

1. Don’t take a slashing penalty.
2. Gain control of the puck, dump it in, and engage with every Sharks player physically on the very first shift. Knock guys down, set the tone.

Then they will be Swarovski Crystals. And you’re off to the races.

Oh, and I never do this, but:

PREDICTION: Dion Phaneuf does something to get Oilers fans all riled up on the Battle of Alberta game-day comments thread.


~ by duncan on April 15, 2008.

One Response to “Game 4 preview: Something about crystals and how “bring it” means different things to different teams”

  1. I heard the Flames put 17 shots on net last game. That’s pathetic. I’m also concerned by the referees on the payroll and probably try to put three Flames in the penaly box again.

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