Calgary Flames: Notes After Nine
Jarome Iginla finally made a splash Tuesday night, after lying mostly dormant for the first eight games. His three point (1G 2A) game earned him a first star of the night, and put many fans worries to rest. He now has seven points over nine games.
Jay Bouwmeester has been solid for Calgary, scoring his first goal as a Flame on Tuesday and adding an assist to bring his point total to six for the season. He also leads the entire Flames defensive corps with a healthy +5.
Dion Phaneuf seems to think his job description includes the word "sniper". His five goals lead the Flames, and for his latest display, he took the puck straight up the middle of the ice from his own blue line and snapped a nasty wrist shot past Steve Mason from between the tops of the circles. True to sniper stereotype, Phaneuf has been fairly lazy in his own end, be it coasting along while waiting for icing calls, or simply not paying attention. The latter of which resulted in a beautiful shorthanded goal by Rick Nash.
Rene Bourque picked up right where he left off before he got injured last season. His four goals and seven assists top the Calgary scoring shot, and he has been a consistent producer game in and game out. He has played with passion and energy, laying out hits and dishing up points at a whole new pace for him.
Olli Jokinen has been nothing more than average so far, recording one goal and four assists, with a dismal shooting percentage of 6.7. Hardly what one expects from a highly touted goal-scorer with a cap hit of 5.25 million.
Other notables include Curtis Glencross's four goals and +8 standing and Brandon Prust's five to go with his five fighting majors.
The Flames have shattered all the predictions made about them during the preseason, and then ground the leftovers into the dust.
They were supposed to have trouble scoring. They now lead the league with an average of 3.89 goals scored per game.
What scoring they did have, was supposed to come from Iginla and Jokinen. These two players combine for a Lilliputian four goals and twelve points.
They were supposed to have one of the best defensive units in the league. Well, a GAA of 3.44, good for 25th (just one spot ahead of the winless New York Islanders) doesn't say much for that does it? On the bright side, that puts them directly behind Detroit and Boston in that category.
Pretty much the only thing that critics DID get right, was that they would be in the running for the division title. They are currently tied with Colorado for that honour...come to think of it, I don't think critics got much right about the entire league.
In short, secondary scoring has come up HUGE for Flames, getting the job done night in and night out. Defense is still a concern, but hopefully that can simply be attributed to "still learning the system" under new head coach Brent Sutter (although I'm sure it couldn't hurt if Phaneuf would learn to play his position). And Miikka Kiprusoff has been quite good, despite a 3.23 GAA and .902 save percentage.
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