Sunday, September 2, 2007

2007-08 Preseason Foreplay: Calgary Flames

Dear Lord... It's... It's the mustache of Lanny McDonald!!
Quick hits
  • Flames Ice Crew girl/plaything/eye candy Kylah's favorite book is the Dictionary. I am not shitting you.
  • Jim Playfair wasn't a big hit with the fans up in Calgary. Nonetheless, he leaves with the highest winning percentage of any coach in team history. Ok, it was only one season. I'm just saying.
  • In case you need to be reminded, Mike Keenan might turn Calgary into a small, Canadian, post-apocalyptic world.
  • You probably knew this already, but Theo 'miniature hockey player who ingests powder through his nose' Fleury is the Flames' all-time leading scorer.
  • The Stampede Corral is still one of the best names for a venue. Ever.

Super Sweet Video Flashback

Way back in 1987, the Flames put together their version of the "Super Bowl Shuffle," and oh boy is it freakalicious.

Odds for the folks at gambler's

65 to 1: Kristian Huselius impales Mike Keenan with his stick sometime during the first 25 games.

133 to 1: Harvey the Hound will get his tongue yanked out again. This time, the perpetrator will not be Craig McTavish. It will be either an enraged Mike Keenan or a drunken Kevin Lowe.

Obligatory serious analysis

Things are a bit anxious up in Calgary right now. The coming season is going to be answering a lot of questions about a team who is on the verge of a potentially make or break year. The Flames got bounced in the first round of the playoffs last season and have had major personnel turnover. It will be interesting to see if they sink or swim this season. For the fans in Calgary, there are a lot of unanswered questions such as 'can we overcome a revolving door of defenders,' 'how much will Owen Nolan contribute?' and, of course, 'will Mike Keenan be a good coach, make nice with Huselius and not systematically destroy the team?'

The problem with the Flames is, there really aren't any easy answers.

If you haven't been scoring at home, the Flames defense has undergone a major change. Gone are Roman Hamrlik, Brad Stuart, Andrei Zyuzin, and Mark Giordano. In come Adrian Aucoin, Cory Sarich, and Anders Eriksson. On paper, the Flames don't come out on top of this deal. Anyone in their right mind would take the preceding four names for the following three. That being said, Stuart missed most of last season due to injury and so did Zyuzin. Their presence won't be missed entirely, and unlike Stuart, Zyuzin wasn't very effective when he was on the ice anyway. The questions that the Flames face on defense are: a) can a bunch of fresh faces who haven't played much together hold up the back line, and b) will Adrian Aucoin stay healthy? If my experience as an Islander fan shows me anything, it's that no, a team cannot be successful with a patchwork defense (then again, they're the Islanders). Aucoin's health is anyone's guess, but he's played only 82 games over the past two seasons, and that's never a good sign.

Behind Aucoin and Sarich, Owen Nolan was the Flames' biggest acquisition of the off season. Nolan has battled consistent injury problems over the past few years, but has played over 65 games in each season since the turn of the century except one. At 35 years of age, his decrease in production is also a concern, if not the more pressing one. He did put up 40 points in 76 games for a terrible Coyotes team last year, but if he can produce as he did prior to the lockout (48 points in 65 games during the 03-04 campaign), the Flames will be in good hands. Don't get me wrong, it's obvious Nolan is well past his prime, but I believe he still has the potential to contribute 55 points if he is able to play a full 82 games.

Finally, there is the wild card in all of this. Or should I say, 'devil'? Mike Keenan. Keenan famously won a Stanley Cup with the Rangers in 1993, but hasn't reached the playoffs since the 1995-96 season and has been run out of town in seemingly every coaching job he has taken. Most recently, as GM in Florida he supposedly lost a power struggle to coach Jacques Martin and was ousted. If Keenan can be successful behind the bench with a playoff caliber team in the new NHL remains to be seen. My bets are against it.

Side note: For his sake, I hope Keenan realizes how good Kiprusoff is, and doesn't switch him out every time he gives up a goal. He did just that with All-Star Roberto Luongo in Florida, which is more or less moronic in my book.

Prediction: There are too many questions on defense. Mike Keenan is behind the bench. This is a recipe for disaster, and I think the Flames will tank it and finish in 11th out West.

The best looking ice girls in Calgary
Flames' Ice Crew member Taymar. A name like that doesn't do her justice.

And obviously, I have to post this again. It's almost a crime not to.

Previous Editions of Preseason Foreplay


  1. This is Taymar's most memorable moment:

    "Most Memorable Moment in Your Job: When Harvey and I went into the back room."

  2. I had to do a double take. I though u were kidding for sure. Jeez... Well.. that's, um, interesting. Go Harvey! haha