Calgary Flames: Sutter Hockey at Its Best

Ryan PowellCorrespondent INovember 11, 2009

MONTREAL- NOVEMBER 10:  Miikka Kiprusoff #34 of the Calgary Flames watches the rebounding puck during the NHL game against the Montreal Canadiens on November 10, 2009 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Flames defeated the Canadiens 1-0.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

It is definitely too early in the season to start a parade; however I believe as a loyal Calgary Flames fan that this team has finally found a coach, in Brent Sutter, who has the ability to create some much needed consistency in this team.

Since the Calgary Flames unpropable run to the cup in 2004 this team has been plagued by moves which do not compliment the teams foundation which has always been defense first.  Jim Playfair was a coach who seemed to lack control.  Iron Mike Keenan played out his frustration with the team and his goaltender in the press.  This action led to Flames goaltender Mikka Kiprusoff playing at best average during Iron Mike Keenan's reign.

The Calgary Flames have finally found the coach they need to compliment the identity GM Daryl Sutter helped create.  The Flames organization welcomed Brent Sutter to the Calgary Flames organization this year in the offseason.

The Calgary Flames organization was definitely about to be shaken up and it was.  The players who have been part of the organization since 2004 had to go back to a defense first style which became less evident in the last couple of years.  Players like Iginla, Conroy, Regehr and Kiprusoff had all seen this style before but all struggled early to find their game. 

Even though they struggled to find their defensive game the younger players on the team gave in to Sutter style hockey from day one and helped the Flames to open the season with four straight wins.  The Flames defense also helped in the early wins, but not because of their superb defensive skills.  Phaneuf has an amazing blast from the point which seemed to not have the same effect last season as the year before; however with the team generating traffic and the appearance of the tip in being a regular practice drill expect him to be very high in point totals amongst defensemen.  Also Robyn Regehr and his surprising high point production in October was a sign that he is really buying into Brent Suttér's system.

Mikka Kiprusoff has always been a solid goaltender, but with sliding stats year after year since the lockout, many claimed that he was overplayed and unhappy.  Maybe he was unhappy playing under Mike Keenan; however it appears that he has regained confidence and is playing like the Kipper of old.  A happy and confident Kipper has probably worn off on his younger counterpart Curtis McElhinney who seems to be playing with more confidence himself.  With McElhinney playing with confidence Kipper can expect to play less games and be more prepared for the pressures of playoff hockey.

Early in November the Flames are brimming with confidence.  They have won four straight games and have a record of 11-4-1.  The true identity of this team is definitely shining through at the moment.  The team is very reminicent of the team that was one game shy of the Stanley Cup in 2004.  They have the same core players, the same attitude and the same style of coach. 

The biggest test for this team is going to be offensive production.  Jokinen needs to pick up his game.  The team needs to be looking for a three goal game to ensure they are winning the one goal games that are going to be very prevalent during the rest of the season.