Rubber Hits the Road

February 19th, 2009 | Posted in CPuck Blog
By: D'Arcy McGrath

An old saying “when rubber hits the road” describes a call to action, or when an event starts or begins.

For the Flames they’d like to see less action, as in less shots and hostility around goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff when they take to the ice against the Minnesota Wild tonight.

All teams; good, bad, great, terrible go through skids, and the Flames have been suffering through a skid for almost a month dating back to a pre-all star break contest in Colorado. A one month skid in a seven month season can be the death knell to a team in a bubble position, but it can be a handy retooling guide to a head coach of a contending hockey team.

The Flames have found a decent record in these games posting a 6-4-2 mark to keep the wolves at bay, but more importantly Mike Keenan and his brethren have been given the best gift a coaching staff could hope for.

A team rolling along was bound to hit a bump in the road. The key for said bump is the timing, the damage, the duration and the fix.

The timing of this one is perfect as it comes in the dog days where you’d expect it, and not close to the trade deadline or the playoffs themselves. The damage has been mitigated with the season’s best gift, the return of Miikka Kiprusoff to his 2004 Spring form, leaving just the duration of this slide to be determined before getting back on track for a playoff drive.

The Flames are a hard working team with skill that came out of the gates playing individually, a process that had them barely over .500 through mid November. Things were not working out on the ice.

That spell of mediocrity was all the motivation the team needed to find a better method of play and reel off two and half months of dominant hockey.

It says here that they’ve been afforded a refresher course at the best possible time.

Get things worked out now with Kiprusoff now thinking he can stop anything and the Flames should be a pretty dangerous club to face when the playoffs start in roughly eight weeks.

Losing can be good, trust me.


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