Finally Answer “The Alberta Question”
Canucks 4 - Flames 3 (OT)
January 7, 2006
On Hockey Day In Canada, something that could
almost be considered Canada Day here in the true North…strong and free, there
is nothing better than being able to watch 12 straight hours of Canadian hockey
content. The CBC managed to save the best for last with a highly entertaining
hockey game featuring a Northwest division battle.
I feel like I’ve been repeating myself
lately. Yes…ANOTHER Northwest division battle. With the Vancouver Canucks,
prior to this game, going oh-for-Alberta, at some point, some how, the Canucks
had to figure it out. Unfortunately they did against the Calgary Flames, but not
without some help from the men in black and white.
Pride, continued dominance over the Canucks,
continuing the Canuck fan misery that comes with playing a team from Alberta,
points in the Northwest, points in the WEST. You name it this game had it, and
it was felt by both teams.
WILD! That’s all I can say, for much of the
game the pace was torrid with chances at both ends of the rink, though the
second period saw a distinct angle to the ice directed at the Flames end of
things. The third was Calgary’s game until they started to sit back and
protect the lead allowing Vancouver to take over, out-skating, out-hitting, and
out-playing the Flames to draw even and take the game to overtime.
1 – Sami Salo. Two
goals from the Canucks howitzer elevates Salo to the number one star status on
this night. The legitimacy of the eventual game tying goal’s originating
circumstances aside, he got his team into the position to win.
2 – Jarome Iginla. Was sparked...Iginla continues to put up better
efforts since a large string of games where he was less a leader and more a
follower. He might have had the game winner if it hadn’t been for the penalty
trouble in the last two minutes of the game.
3 – Todd Bertuzzi. Unfortunately for Flames fans the big forward is
coming to life. He was a key part of the Canucks first goal and was causing
trouble all night. He drew the penalty in overtime that eventually led to the
Canucks game winning goal…Unfortunately
Dion Phaneuf was involved in it and believe it or not, but he was actually on
the receiving end of tonight’s big hit. “Handsome” Anson Carter lined up
with the Flames hulking uber-rookie and surprisingly Phaneuf took the worst of
it getting laid out near the Flames players’ bench.
Within the time remaining on Robyn Regehr’s penalty in overtime Miikka
Kiprusoff managed an amazing helmet save to preserve the game. This can also be
awarded to Kipper for numerous other miracle saves, such as stoning Brendan
Morrison on a cross crease play, the same for Anson Carter. Too bad he
couldn’t stop them all.
Until the two-minute mark of the third period this one was all locked up by
Canucks Captain Marcus Naslund for his ill-advised pass to Bryan Allen that
Daymond Langkow picked off and fed over to Flames Captain Jarome Iginla for the
Flames third goal. But then, in the last two minutes of the game, Kristian
Huselius was called for a penalty that would cost the Flames dearly. Huselius
was nailed for holding the stick. Now I don’t think this is really all that
debatable unless you’re asking a Canuck/Oiler fan looking to rub it in the
faces of “disgruntled” Flames fans making excuses for the loss…But the
only stick that Huselius was holding was his own, and you’re not going to
convince me otherwise. So this one goes to the referees…thanks for that one!
Ignoring the fact that there shouldn’t have been a penalty forcing Robyn
Regehr to take another ACTUAL penalty leading to a Canucks five-on-three Sami
Salo did what was needed blasting a shot over the shoulder of Flames goalie
Miikka Kiprusoff to tie the game with less than a minute remaining. A goal that
was eerily reminiscent of Dion Phaneuf in a Flames 4-3 victory in the Pengrowth
Saddledome earlier this season.
Odds and Ends
I have to ask this plainly to any Vancouver Canuck fan who can actually tell me
a GOOD reason to cheer for Jarko Ruutu. This guy is a disgrace to the game of
hockey. He is cheap, he’s dirty, and he never backs up his constant talk.
I’ll give him credit for doing his job and getting under the skin of the
Flames, but his behaviour is unacceptable as far as I’m concerned. Akin to fan
favourite Ville Nieminen, who was just as bad, but at least a funny interview,
this kind of play really gets me going. How is it that these guys are allowed to
get away with all the rough play after whistles, so many times, is beyond me.
I’d ask the league to do something about this, and I would say the same thing
for Flames players, but everyone knows that they wouldn’t do anything. I enjoy
watching hockey games, not watching a guy who’s so silly he tries things like
shaving with Chris Clark’s skate (see game 5 2003-2004 Quarter-finals), my
prayers would be answered if players like Ruutu were weeded out of the game.
Okay…on to other topics! Does anyone else think that Anson Carter looks like a
black hole with that tinted visor of his? It’s like he’s a shadow or
something, it’s kind of creepy. Eeehhh…I’ve had enough of talking about
the Canucks, so here’s some Flames content. Did you know that this is the
first time this season that the Flames have lost a game on CBC? Indeed. They
went the entire length of the 2005 section of the season without suffering a
single loss on Hockey Night in Canada. One last thing before I finish. I think I
may have found a weakness in the Flames armour. When you watch a team match the
intensity or up the intensity demanded by the Flames game, they can’t seem to
deal with it. I would suggest that the solution to this is Iginla at the top of
his game, but watch the next game where the Flames opponent is skating as hard,
hitting as much, and forechecking to the same degree as the Flames. This seems
to be ones of the only ways to crack the armour...Something the Canucks sadly
figured out…But I guess we should have known the only way to beat the Flames
is to out-work them…
Next up – Flames
head out on an Eastern road trip starting on Long Island to take on the New York
Islanders on Tuesday night starting at 5 PM MST. Catch all the action on Rogers
Sportsnet West and the Fan 960.
Amonte - Yelle - McCarty
Huselius – Langkow – Iginla
Reinprecht – Lombardi - Kobasew
Simon - Nilson – Donovan
Leopold - Regehr v1.0
Warrener - Phaneuf
Ference – Regehr v2.0