by D'Arcy McGrath
October 12th, 2002

AP Photo

Starlight Star Bright Flames best have to be their best.


Amazing how much hope and promise can literally disappear with sixty minutes of a hockey season. I guess what they say is true ... one is only as good as their last game ... what have you done for me lately, says the Calgary fan to the hockey club.

Well they did very little, and if they are as good as their last game they are damn awful.

Fortunately there are 81 other chances to redeem, with tonight being the first against the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Flyers and Flames hooked one just one time last season, with the Flames handing the Flyers a surprising 4-2 setback on a road trip in early March.

Philadelphia managed an overtime tie with the Oilers to open their season two nights ago, and are fresh off a Banff training camp stop over to work on team building skills.


The Flyers first game in Edmonton only featured 15 powerplays, low by preseason standards. Six of the 15 advantages were dulled out to the road team, while the Oilers were on the powerplay nine times. ... The Flames and Canucks only shared 12 powerplays (six apiece), hinting that maybe the preseason was more of a test with the regular season showing a reality. ... The Flames have a 23 way tie in goal scoring with zero. The same 23 players are also sharing the lead in assists and points. Jamie McLennan leads the team in goals against average. ... John Leclair, a former start that has struggled through back ailments each of the past two seasons scored both goals for Philadelphia. Former Flame Marty Murray picked up an assist.


Calgary: Jordan Leopold (concussion) is out.

Philadelphia: The Flyers had some nagging injuries through training camp, including Mark Recchi, Eric Desjardins and Jeremy Roenick. All three played opening night in Edmonton


Calgary: Calgary's best players ... as a group the Flames "core" all came up empty on opening night, leaving a lot to prove for eight or so hockey players. The Flames big line has to be the Flames big line. The clubs veteran defence have to take a leading role in the physical and defensive game. Their second line has to show signs of life. ... Roman Turek ... though included in the "core" above, it will be interesting to see what type of start Turek has tonight. Even on his own admission he struggled in the first against Vancouver, setting the table for a tough night. ... Craig Berube ... the Flames nuckle duster is set to play his 1000 game should he start tonight. Considering the fact that Berube broke in with the Flyers in the 80's, Gilbert will likely insert him tonight.

Vancouver: The Flyers style ... with former Dallas bench boss Ken Hitchcock calling the signals from the bench it will be interesting to see if the offence first Flyers find a defense first mantra. Htichcock is an old school transition coach that relies on prevention before turning the puck the other way and letting the stars do their things. Tough coach ... coach killing team ... something has to bend. ... Pavel Brendl ... the former Hitmen star made the Flyers out of camp but was a healthy scratch to start the season. He may get the nod tonight.


"I don't have any doubt in my mind that things can work. I know things will work and our line can contribute. In the third period, we started clicking together and reading off each other and were more relaxed." - Chuck Kobasew on his NHL debut.

"My first game was against Pittsburgh. I was called up because we had back-to-back games against the Penguins, and I think I took 45 minutes in penalties that night because I wanted to make a good showing. That (Flyer) organization means a lot to me. They gave me my first opportunity to play. We went to the (Stanley Cup) finals my first year, and we had one of the best teams in the league." - Craig Berube on his momentous evening.


The Flames and Flyers met once last season:

NEXT MEETING: Tonight's clash is the only meeting between Philadelphia and Calgary this season.

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