Out Last Hawks in Afternoon Snoozer
Flames 3 - Hawks 2
January 2nd, 2006
the emotion spent in the New Years Eve win on Saturday night, it could be
somewhat expected that the Calgary Flames would come out against a lesser team
in the Chicago Balackhawks somewhat flat and uninspired. A mere 38 hours after
climbing to the top of the NW division, it would also be understandable if they
showed some fatigue, especially in the latter part of the game. Both these
factors showed their unwanted presence on Monday afternoon at the Saddledome. So
did something else the Calgary Flames possess in spades....determination.
latter knocked the stuffing out of the former, and the results were a satisfying
3-2 victory over a team that spanked them less than a month ago on the same ice.
Some say hard work, grit, and determination aren't enough to win in the NHL any
longer. They would be wrong.
that momentum gained between Christmas and New Years going forward, adding onto
their lead in the toughest division in the league, and a bit of a gut check to
see if they can make lower tiered teams a regular victim rather than letting
points get away. Mission accomplished on all fronts.
actually started fairly strong for the first 5 minutes or so, and then faded
into bad habits of watching instead of moving. The fatigue factor is a hard one
to gauge, but it certainly seemed as if there was little gas in the tank for
about 35 minutes of hockey. With the shot clocked tilted heavily in one
direction after two periods (30-16 in favor of Chicago) one wonders if Darryl
Sutter didn't express his dissatisfaction with his troops between periods 2 and
3. For the Hawks came out in the 3rd and managed just 7 shots on an overworked,
but stellar Miikka Kiprusoff and the Flames played the Hawks very even for the
last 20 minutes.
– Miikka Kiprusoff. Many
have stated that when Kiprusoff is playing well, the Flames always have a chance
to win. Never was this more evident than during today's game. With 35 saves on
the night, behind an injury riddled defense and frontline, the Fabulous Finn was
rock solid and allowed his team to stay close and eventually win this thing.
There just aren't enough superlatives to describe what he has meant to the
Flames since his arrival in November of 2003.
2 – Jim Vandermeer. The Hawks D line is loaded with young promising
dmen, but on this night this particular 23 year old was the best player on his
team. With both a goal and an assist, the former Brent Sutter coached Hawk
logged 16 minutes and was +2 on the night.
3 – Darren McCarty. "Grinder" made his return 2 nights ago,
but made his presence felt today. With an amazing piece of hard work and
determination to fight off Jason Cullimore behind the net, he one handed a pass
directly to a streaking Matthew Lombardi who promptly deked Hawk G Craig
Anderson out of his jock and scored the winning goal. He also got into a fight
with fellow midweight Matthew Barnaby and was a thorn in the Hawks side all
There were many a nice meeting of the shoulders today, but veteran Flame dman
Bryan Marchment gets the nod for tonight's big hit, when he caught Radim Vrbata
in mid-ice and crumpled him like a Styrofoam cup. Welcome back to the NHL and
your new team Radim.
Miikka Kiprusoff absolutely robbed young Hawk Tuomo Ruutu about 30 seconds
previous to the game winner. After sliding post to post following a bullet pass,
Kipper held his ground and kept the Hawks from taking the lead. Ruutu is still
wondering what happened to all the daylight he was sure he saw when making the
This is going to go on one guy and one guy only. Jaroslav Spacek. What in the
hell were you thinking? During a
line change, Flame C Byron Ritchie was carrying the puck up the ice and was
looking across for a team mate when Spacek came off the bench and absolutely
submarined the unsuspecting Ritchie with a knee blow that has to be reviewed by
the NHL. If a guy like Marchment had committed this offense, fans from Toronto
to Florida would be screaming for a suspension. This should be treated no
differently, and it's a farce that Spacek was only given 2 minutes for tripping.
It was as blatant an attempt to injure as anything seen since March of 2003.
However, with Colin Campbell in charge, Spacek will likely be given a stern
talking to, a bouquet of flowers to temper those harsh words, and a spot in the
next "my NHL" commercial.
Matthew Lombardi. Welcome back young man and thank you. With both Marcus Nilson
and Byron Ritchie out of the game with injuries, someone needed to step up and
fill in those minutes. He did so admirably and was rewarded with the game winner
after a terrific deke from an equally impressive pass by McCarty.
Odds and Ends
Calgary special teams were not so special in this one. The PK was fine and went
5 for 5 in those situations, but the PP was horrendous, and never more than a 5
on 3 in the 3rd period that was 1:43 long. Ugly doesn't begin to describe
it......OK. Lets do a quick check of sick bay. Roman Hamrlik, Rhett Warrener,
Stephane Yelle, Tony Amonte were all scratched for this one. Clearly in today's
game, you can add Byron Ritchie and Marcus Nilson to that list at least short
term. Also Bryan Marchment and Jarome Iginla are not anywhere near 100%. Ouch.
Thats 6 regulars and 2 guys that have played a bunch in relief. Who's next in
line from Omaha? Giordano on D IF needed, but up front a MacDonald has to be
summoned, or a Carsen Germyn. Amonte mentioned to Roger Millions that Nilson has
been playing hurt for a while, and this particular one looked pretty painful as
he squirmed on the ice before getting up. Ribs? Shoulder? And I would be
dumbfounded if Ritchie isn't out a good chunk of time. That was just brutal
looking. If his knee is anything but torn up, he has some real good stuff inside
there.......Jarome Iginla led all Flame players with a yeoman 25+ minutes of
ice. Welcome back El Captain. Low man who wasn't injured, was Chuck Kobasew with
less than 10. I just don't understand that.....Flames won the physical battle
according to the off ice officials, getting credit for 29 hits while the Hawks
landed 18....and another interesting night in the face off circle. Though they
were losers overall at only 47%, in the two important zones of Offense and
Defense, they were dominant going 52% in the O zone, and 56% in the D zone. They
were clobbered in the neutral zone however, losing 72% of the time...
Next up – A
Friday night date with the much hated Toronto Maple Leafs.