NHL Musings: Flames, Leafs, and Favre?

KP Wee@kpwee1Senior Writer IOctober 23, 2008

In the opening weeks of the NHL season, two head coaches were reported to be in the hot seat: Chicago's Denis Savard and Calgary's Mike Keenan.

If either of those two teams got off to a slow start, NHL analysts said, Savard and Iron Mike wouldn't be around for long.

One came to fruition. Savard was axed a week earlier, after the Blackhawks began the season 1-2-1.

Keenan's Flames? Calgary was 1-3-1 in its first five and were swept in home-and-home series with both the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers.

Most alarmingly, Flames netminder Miikka Kiprusoff was shaky in the 6-0 loss to the Canucks and blew two-goal leads in a pair of Calgary's three other defeats.

Kiprusoff, however, was the star in the Flames' last two contests, a 2-1 triumph over Washington Tuesday, and a 5-3 win in Nashville Thursday night.

In the Nashville game, Kiprusoff made 35 saves, 14 in the third period, as the Flames overcame a 3-0 deficit by reeling off five unanswered goals.

Of course, captain Jarome Iginla's offensive outbursts in the last two games have helped too. In fact, Iginla's hat trick was the difference in the Nashville game, and Calgary is 3-0-0 this season when he scores a goal.

In the Flames' four other games, Iginla has just one assist total. Their record? 0-3-1.

Suddenly though, after this two-game winning streak to put them at 3-3-1, the Flames are no longer in last place in the division.

Suddenly, the Edmonton Oilers, who were off to a 4-0-0 start, aren't so hot any more, having lost two straight.

The Canucks? A pedestrian 3-4-0, and now behind Calgary. (By the way, Vancouver has lost three straight and four of five ever since those back-to-back wins over Calgary to start the year.)

Of course, we don't hear any whispers of the Oilers' Craig MacTavish or the Canucks' Alain Vigneault getting the boot.

Thus, put the "Keenan-will-be-gone-soon" rumors to bed.

Certainly Kiprusoff and Iginla won't let the Flames continue to struggle the way they did to begin the campaign. You would think.

* * * *

While the Flames came from their 3-0 deficit in Nashville, the Toronto Maple Leafs had their own impressive rally in Boston.

Toronto ended a five-game slide (three of them shootout losses) with a 4-2 victory against the Bruins, coming back from being down 2-0 after the first 20 minutes.

The Leafs took a 3-2 advantage midway through the final stanza on defenseman Anton Stralman's first goal of the year, and unlike last season when they found ways to blow leads, hung on this time.

Vesa Toskala made 26 saves for the Leafs, coming back with a solid effort after being pulled in favor of backup Curtis Joseph at the start of the shootout Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

Speaking of the Anaheim debacle, what on earth was Leafs coach Ron Wilson thinking about in inserting Cujo for the shootout?

Sure, Cujo has been more successful in shootouts, but he's 41, for starters, and had been cold on the bench for the entire game. And Joseph was expected to miraculously get it done? 

* * * *

Now for some non-NHL thoughts: Oh, yes, Brett Favre.

"Benedict Brett" (and no, I didn't give this name to him, in case any of you decide to bash me for it) denied contacting the Detroit Lions to sell out on his former team, the Green Bay Packers.

Sure. We all believe you.

After all, when a professional athlete vehemently denies doing something, he's for real, right?

We've all seen the baseball players deny, deny, deny, deny all those steroid allegations. It all gets old. No one's going to admit to any wrongdoing. Duh.

As for FOXSports.com Senior Writer Jay Glazer, who broke the "Benedict Brett" story, Glazer has defended his story in his statement to the Associated Press.

Think about it. Why would Glazer make this up if he didn't have anything to back up his claims? Why would he ruin his own reputation?

As Glazer indicated, he had spoken "with several sources" before reporting on this Favre story.

Too bad there isn't any clause in the Pro Football Hall of Fame that requires inductees to show integrity and character in addition to contribution to the game. Or is there?

If there is, why should Favre be inducted after he finally decides to retire?


**Not only does KP Wee write for Bleacher Report, he’s also a published author. Check out his fiction novel, “Showing Their Scales,” on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.**