Buds Blast Flames; End Slump

D'Arcy McGrath

January 22nd, 2002

Hard work? Check.

Effective work? Back to the drawing board.

Calgary coach Greg Gilbert must be ready to pull his hair out at this point, given his team's inability to follow simple instructions.

It's doesn't take a hockey genius to sniff out the principal factor that is currently sinking the Flames like a lead balloon falling from the Calgary Tower.

He's said it a million times.

Attention to detail.


Neither were in abundance on Tuesday night as the Flames fell 6-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Center ... er ... Pengrowth Saddledome.

The Flames played physical, the Flames played with emotion, but they didn't play with that little space between each of their ears, and for that like I say - back to the drawing board.

The Flames got off to a good start, riding the strong early goaltending of Roman Turek to a 1-0 lead when Dave Lowry collected his second goal in three months, seconds after a powerplay expired. On the play Jukka Hentunen fanned on a rebound attempt instead sliding the puck to Lowry, who beat Curtis Joseph high for his 7th of the season.

Then the brain cramps began.

With less than a minute left in the first period Jarome Iginla wisely followed his check, Jonas Hoglund, to the Flames crease before unwisely letting him go to convert a rebound and tie the score.

As the second began the Flames mistakes continued when neither within the trio of Dave Lowry, Clarke Wilm and Ron Petrovicky felt it necessary to pick up a streaking Alex Mogilny who found himself with a wide open net and a gimme for his first of two on the night.

A few minutes later a blind clearing attempt by Toni Lydman turned the puck over, resulting in another Leaf goal, this one authored by Bryan McCabe on a deflection off of a Flame defender.

The mistakes continued in the third when the Leafs added three more to complete the rout and send the Flames to a frustrating defeat.

One can understand the collision course of a defensive minded coach and a "offence first" forward like Marc Savard. They speak a different language, and need to find common ground to work out their problems.

But when players like Dave Lowry, Ron Petrovicky, Clarke Wilm, Denis Gauthier, Jarome Iginla and Toni Lydman blow chalk board defensive assignments things have gone well off the track.

No one is suggesting that the team is no longer listening to or responding to coach Gilbert, but this crew may need a serious shake up to change the psyche of the dressing room.

They've been confidence bankrupt for some time and despite the sound clips reverberating off the hallowed Saddledome walls, the answer may not come from within.

The fix this time may have to come from Craig Button.



Toronto Maple Leafs 6
Calgary Flames 1

Box Score


Saprykin Conroy Iginla
McAmmond Savard Clark
Lowry Wilm Petrovicky
Allison Nichol Berube
Morris Regehr
Gauthier Boughner
Lydman Kravchuk


1 Alex Mogilny - Shifty Russian returns from injury to single handedly sink the Flames. 

2 Curtis Joseph - particularly solid in the second period to ensure the eventual blow out. 

3 Darcy Tucker - Pain in the side forward notches a goal and two assists.


Roman Turek managed to at least water down a dominant night by Leaf winger Alex Mogilny when he stabbed out his glove to stone the sniper on a partial break in the third period. 


In the first period Derek Morris set his sights on Leaf Darcy Tucker, flattening him as he crossed the Leaf blueline.


As per usual this season the Flames provided a perfect tonic to a slumping hockey team and it's slumping star players. The Leafs had solid performances from Curtis Joseph (28 saves), Alex Mogilny (3 pts), Robert Reichel (2 pts), and a host of others. Twelve different Leafs managed to hit the scoresheet on the night. ... The Flames out shot the Leafs 14 to 7 in the second period, but surrendered the frame's only two goals. On the night the Leafs held a 31-29 edge. ... You could call the battle of the special teams in the Flames favour, though it wasn't much to write home about. The Leafs came up empty on six opportunities, while the Flames missed on three of their own. Lowry's goal came seconds after a Leaf penalty expired. ... The Oleg Saprykin experiment didn't have a banner night, though his linemates had a share in that development. Saprykin had three shots, no points, and was a -2 on the night in just over 12 minutes of action. His linemates Jarome Iginla and Craig Conroy were both -2 as well, with four and one shot respectively. ... With Toronto in town the game was of course a sell out with 17,409 clanging the turnstiles. ... The game featured two fights; Clarke Wilm getting fed by Shayne Corson in the first, then a non-fight between Tie Domi and Bob Boughner in the third.



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