4 Canucks 1
Camp Notes: 9/23 --
Any GM wants a
competitive training camp and Flames GM Darryl
Sutter is having his wish granted with a number of
younger players pushing veterans seriously hard for
Strong battles for
all positions, after all, is the competitive straw
that stirs the drink within any organization.
In that vein,
Sutter must be liking what he's seeing from younger
players like Chuck Kobasew, Blair Betts, Matthew
Lombardi, Dany Sabourin and even the enigmatic
Robert Dome midway through the 2003-2004 Flames
Playing their third
straight home exhibition, the Flames rolled over
Vancouver last night on goals by Kobasew, Betts,
Robyn Regehr and Josh Green while riding the 21 save
performance of goaltending tandem of Jamie McLennan
and Dany Sabourin.
Probably the most
stunning statistic of the night was the fact the
Flames scored all four of their goals on the power
play, an incredible revelation for last year's 29th
The victory leaves
the Flames 2-0-1 in the pre-season with Minnesota up
No shortage of
sweaty foreheads in this one as a number of players
at all positions tried to make an impression, hoping
to avoid the next round of inevitable cuts that can
only be hours or days away.
The most intriguing
question of the night may have come before the game
even started as veteran Denis Gauthier dressed for
the third straight game, raising eyebrows for the
conspiracy inspired given old war horses like
Gauthier would typically be used sparingly early in
Is Gauthier being
showcased for a trade? Inquiring minds want to know.
Certainly the three
defencemen most likely to benefit from Gauthier's
potential demise stepped forward to meet the
challenge, all of Steve Montador, Mike Commodore and
Jesse Wallin looking to secure the one or possibly
two jobs available.
Two jobs that is,
if Gauthier disappears.
Montador, a guy who
took most of last season to pick up a single point,
had two assists in this game, racking up 17:37 in
ice time over 23 shifts, being very involved
physically and finally being named the second star
of the game.
Wallin were also physically challenging while
logging 19:15 and 18:37 of ice time respectively.
Robyn Regehr scored
his first goal in more than a year and again spent
the game attached at the hip to Jordan Leopold, the
only two players on the Flames side to log more than
20 minutes in ice time as the coach rolled four
lines and three defence combo's fairly consistently.
Scoring in his
third straight game, Kobasew is probably well on his
way to solidifying a spot as Calgary's second line
right wing while Blair Betts, with four points in
his first three games, is almost certainly going to
open the season as the Flame's fourth line centre.
Kobasew, with 15:48
in ice time and 21 shifts, seems to be gaining
confidence with each passing game, his speed
beginning to come to the fore while he shows no
reticence in getting involved physically.
Betts has been
racking up points while playing an NHL calibre
two-way game, helping his team this night with 15:37
in ice time, 22 shifts and a a 57% percentage in the
being groomed as a future second line centre, is
likely pegged eventually for a full year of work in
the minors but still logged 16:20 in ice time
through 22 shifts, making a nice play at the
blueline to hold the puck in the zone on Regehr's
of Dome continues to be interesting if not puzzling.
Dome managed only eight minutes of ice time on
Saturday against the Oil while logging 10:40 in 15
shifts in this game - obviously far different
numbers than others you would suppose he would be
competing with for a job. Is Sutter going through
the motions with Dome or giving him a legitimate
Green has probably
safely propelled himself in front of Matt Davidson
as a third or fourth line checker with another
strong game, logging 17:28 in ice time in 17 shifts
and scoring once, albeit mostly because he had his
skates in the right place to deflect a Dome pass.
meanwhile, played a fairly nondescript 13:42 through
perhaps feeling the heat of competition from within
the ranks, was generally skating hard, battling for
pucks and made a nice play to set up a goal by
Betts. Clark logged 15:15 of ice time in 20 shifts.
If Jamie McLennan
had any doubts he was in a battle for his job they
were probably settled when he picked up the
newspaper this morning and saw Sutter saying
experience wouldn't be a factor in whomever he
eventually settled on as backup to Roman Turek.
McLennan got off to
a rocky start, allowing a powerplay goal only 54
seconds into the game but settled down after that,
although not seriously tested.
With the game tied
1-1 midway through the second period, Sabourin faced
down Matt Cooke on a breakaway.
play in this camp has been impressive - in spite of
three goals allowed in a start against Edmonton -
while rookie pro Brent Krahn been equally stingy.
There's more to be
written before this battle will be decided.