by Daniel Sallows…
Christmas is upon us. It is time for sipping some egg nog, gathering around loved ones, decorating the tree, giving gifts…and making fun of Gary Bettman in a little something.
I hope will bring each and everyone of you joy this season. A new holiday classic that I call “How Gary Bettman Stole Christmas.”
Every player in the NHL liked Christmas a lot…But Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the league, simply did NOT!
Bettman hated Christmas, along with the entire NHL season!
Now, please don’t ask why. Maybe Colin Campbell knows his reasons?
It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps when he first tried on skates they were too tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all, may have been that his brain was two sizes too small. Whatever the reason, his skates or his brain, he stood there on Christmas Eve, hating the game.
“The only good thing about this game,” he said with a clue. “Is when teams are playing I make revenue!”
“But there are no games right now,” he snarled with a sneer, “all because of Christmas and it’s practically here!”
Then, he growled, with his fingers nervously drumming, “I must find some way to stop Christmas from coming!”
For he knew every year for at least two or three days, without any games he wouldn’t get paid.
The Evil Plan
The more Bettman thought of this entire Christmas break, the more he felt the need to stop it, for revenue sake.
‘Why, for seventeen years I have put up with it now!”
“I must stop this Christmas from coming! But HOW?”
Then he got an idea, an awful idea.
GARY BETTMAN GOT A WONDERFUL, AWFUL IDEA!
“I know just what to do!” Bettman laughed in his throat. And he made a quick Santy Clause hat and coat.
And he laughed to himself, “What a great Bettman trick.”
“With this coat, and this hat, I look just like Saint Nick!”
“All I need is a reindeer…” Bettman looked around. But reindeer are like wins for the Leafs, there were none to be found.
Did that stop Gary Bettman? No! He simply said, “If I can’t find a reindeer I’ll make one instead!”
So he called Colin Campbell. Then he took some red thread, and he tied a big horn on the top of his head.
Then, he loaded up some empty sacks, on a ramshackle sleigh and he hitched up Colin Campbell, and yelled out, “Away!”
Bettman Loves it When a Plan Comes Together
Bettman cracked the whip, and the sleigh started down, towards the players homes where they lay asnooze in their town.
All their windows were dark. Quiet snow filled the air, the players were dreaming of winning Lord Stanley’s Cup without any care.
Stop number one was the house of “Sid the Kid”, Bettman knew if he loaded up on goods they’d get a decent ebay bid.
So, he slid down the chimney, with his empty sacks in hand, thinking “if they won’t make me money on Christmas surely there memorabilia can!”
Bettman took everything in sight, from jersey’s to World Junior gold plates, a replica Stanley Cup and even took Sidney’s skates.
Then, he stuffed everything up through the chimney, and quickly he dashed,
“On to the next house!” he screamed, “We must make some cash!”
Martin St. Louis, That’s Who, and He is No More Than Five Foot Two
On to the street, Gary Bettman took his sleigh, and he encountered a few more NHL celeb’s along the way.
It was Donald S. Cherry, and you would never guess who, but Tampa’s Martin St. Louis, who is no more than five foot two.
“Give me all you have!” Bettman yelled out. Then Cherry turned to Marty and said, “what the hell’s this all about?”
“I am stopping Christmas this year you do see, so all that Rock’em Sock’em hockey cash can now go directly to me!”
Bettman continued on, robbing every NHLer in sight. Taking the Coyotes from Gretzky, it just wasn’t right.
His sleigh was overloaded as he headed back to his domain, and he laughed like a madman who was completely insane.
A Happy Ending
‘Well Colin I have finally done it!” Bettman started humming.
“The players are finding out now that Christmas isn’t coming!
“They’re just waking up, and I know just what they’ll do!
“They will all feel shame like they’ve gone to the penalty box for two
“Then those millionaire players will all cry BooHoo!”
“That’s a noise, grinned Bettman, “that I simply must hear!”
So, he paused. And Bettman put a hand to his ear.
And he did hear a sound rising over the snow. Which started in low, then started to grow.
But the sound wasn’t sad. Why the sound was full of laughter and cheer,
the players were still rich with a day off because Christmas was here.
So, Bettman headed back to the town, then popped his eye’s, he shook at what he saw…a shocking surprise!
Every player in the NHL, the tall and the small, was singing. Without any memorabilia or presents at all.
Bettman hadn’t stopped Christmas from coming, it came!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
He was puzzled for hours, till his puzzler was sore. Then Bettman thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.”
“It’s a day off with the players families, and that means a little bit more!”
And what happened then? Well, in the NHL, they say, that Gary Bettman’s brain grew two sizes that day.
And the minute his brain got a lot more big, he gave everyone back their stuff and gave up the gig.
“I’m sorry for everything I’ve done. Merry Christmas to all of ya. I want more revenue, so I’m going to expand back to Canada!”
by Daniel Sallows… It is said to be the toughest positions in hockey to step into the NHL as a 20-year-old outta the ranks of junior hockey, let alone an 18-year-old.
Yet Luke Schenn made the transition into the NHL last season smoother than a Luther Vandross album.
While other young defenceman like Drew Doughty struggled at times during last season, Schenn excelled at every area of his game playing upwards of 26 minutes per game on any given night.
This season Schenn has seen his ice time drop considerably and now has found himself on the outside looking in, as Ron Wilson has made his young defenceman a healthy scratch the last few games.
Though this may just be a sophomore jinx that numerous hockey players go through after exceeding expectations as a rookie, Brian Burke’s Leafs now find themselves in a bit of a situation due to their recent surge putting them within reach of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
With a slew of NHL caliber defenceman at Burke’s disposal, and still in need of another top six forward, the Leafs now face the decision of moving their former phenom or finding a place for him on the roster so that he may have yet another opportunity to redeem himself.
The situation is about as messy as a Kanye West acceptance speech at the Grammy’s.
The Leafs could send Schenn down to their AHL affiliate (the Marlies), for some seasoning, but that would eat up a year of his contract.
Though as the ship keeps rolling and the team keeps winning, inserting Schenn back into the lineup makes about as much sense as Saturday Night Live asking Steven Seagal to be their guest host—it doesn’t make them any better.
Which brings us to the often brash Brian Burke, who is never afraid to speak his mind and make a bold move in order to improve his club.
If Burke does indeed shop Schenn, one would have to think he would be very marketable despite his struggles so far this season, and a top three forward in return wouldn’t be out of the question.
Though that decision may be tougher than arguing who was the better singer for Van Halen.
That being said he doesn’t do the team any good sitting in the press box.
There is little doubt in my mind that Luke Schenn can redeem his NHL career, as his talents and size are something to behold, but I am not to sure if he can do it in Toronto.
After all, any of the Leafs nine blueliners are more than capable of playing on any given night.
For a team that now sits just two points out of the last playoff spot in the East, the move may just be simply a matter of time.
And for Luke Schenn, who has spent more time in the penalty and press box of late than on the ice, a move might just be his best chance at redemption.
by Daniel Sallows… He is about as complex as a history buff’s take on the Civil War, yet he is as open as Phil Kessel on a two-man advantage.
He is as charismatic as a Tony Robbins infomercial, yet he is a down to earth man who believes family comes first.
Brian Burke has truly become one of the NHL’s ambassadors over his stellar twenty-three years of service in the league.
And he is probably the perfect choice when it comes to being the head of Leafs Nation, maybe the most powerful namesake in the hockey world.
After a little over a year, Burke has stockpiled the Leafs with some good young talent in Phil Kessel, Jonas Gustavsson, Christian Hanson, and Tyler Bozak, which should more than make up for the loss of their two first round picks, from 2010 and 2011 and their second round pick in 2010 to get Kessel.
As well, with the sudden emergence of 23-year-old Carl Gunnarsson, the Leafs are sitting on a slew of NHL caliber defenceman.
Something that may just turn out to pay huge dividends come the trade deadline on March 3rd.
Throw in his first round selection from the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Nazim Kadri, and the Maple Leafs not too distant future looks brighter than a Don Cherry suit on Saturday Night.
And should we expect anything less from a general manager that makes moves as bold as he makes statements?
Probably not, as Burke can back it up with his rich history of NHL success.
From drafting Chris Pronger into the league with the Whalers in 1993, to the Sedin twins with the Canucks in 1999. To making the Canucks perennial contenders to guiding the Anaheim Ducks to the Stanley Cup in 2007.
That being said there is no reason to suggest that Brian Burke’s latest venture, that is the Toronto Maple Leafs, won’t just be added to his entire body of work that has been nothing short of brilliant in his time in the league.
And if Leafs fans can’t find solace in that, well try the fact the guy truly cares about the organization as much as he cares about his own family.
That may be the only reason the club has been performing lately, as they are reciprocating those same feelings to Burke with their play on the ice-which as a general manager is really all you can hope for from your players.
Let’s face it, the Leafs aren’t as horrible as their suggests, but they are still a work in progress.
Something, in the parody of the “new” NHL, can be made up in little over a week.
All is well in Leafs Nation of late, and it should be, because despite their record they truly have one of the brightest general managers in the league steering their ship.
There may be no “I” in team, but their is a “brain” in Brian, and because of that fans in Toronto have nothing to fear.
by Daniel Sallows… In the game of hockey, like in any sport, injuries will occur. It is as guaranteed as the Rolling Stones going on another world tour.
There are ways to prevent a serious injury, but at times so many things out of your control have to align.
Players have become bigger, stronger, faster and the equipment at times looks like something that could be worn by a Star Wars storm trooper.
So after the tragic events that unfolded Friday night in the Kitchener Rangers’ 4-0 win over the Erie Otters, that has left 16-year-old Rangers defenceman Ben Fanelli in critical condition, I got to thinking.
Would it have happened if the CHL made it mandatory for players to wear full face protection?
Ultimately, it comes down to respect amongst the players, as the hit was malicious on the part of Erie’s 20-year-old Michael Liambas, who had Fanelli lined up from the faceoff circle as he threw himself into the young defenceman behind the net.
But with all the talk of players respecting each other in the NHL, throwing vicious headshots on a nightly basis, why would it be any different in the junior leagues as these are the players that youngsters inspire to be.
A helmet and cage combo could pop off in a hit for sure, but it makes it a little less likely.
In any case, with a serious injury like the one suffered to Fanelli there are bound to be questions arise like what could have been done to prevent it from happening.
We can only hope for answers.
It could be as simple as bearing a cage?
Hopefully this incident will make players think twice before trying to eliminate an opponent who is in a fragile position.
My thoughts and prayers go out to young Ben Fanelli and his family.
by Daniel Sallows… Growing up playing hockey, I could never understand why the game wasn’t more popular south of the border.
If you go to any Rangers or Red Wings game the fans will tell you differently, but the fact is the Rangers or Red Wings isn’t on many Americans radar.
In the tradition of getting a rise outta readers I decided to compose a list of 10 things I feel are wrong with the “Coolest Game on Earth,” in no particular order.
10. The Throwback Jersey’s Should Just Be “The Jersey”
Okay, is it just me or do the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Buffalo Sabres “throwback jerseys” look alot sharper than their new ones?
And what’s with the Vancouver Canucks’ blue and green with a whale? I liked it the first time when it was called the Harftford Whalers. Too bad there aren’t whales in Carolina, their symbol looks like a Franz Kline painting.
At least the New York Islanders have got it right—hopefully more teams jump on board.
9. Gary Bettman
Are there not any knowledgeable hockey fans who have a law and business degree out there?
Everytime this guy comes out to hand over the Stanley Cup, I can’t help but thinking it’s like watching INXS with a new lead singer: it just doesn’t work.
8. The No-Trade Clause Loophole
I don’t mind when a player gets a “no-trade clause” put in his contract, but when that player demands a trade he shouldn’t be given the right to reject it.
Dany Heatley should have been an Oiler, but after Milan Michalek’s performance the other night I’m sure Sens’ fans ain’t complainin’.
7. The Salary Cap
Anyone who watched the Calgary Flames’ last game of the 2008-09 season will know that the salary cap isn’t working.
The Flames got hit with a rash of injuries and, facing cap issues, could only dress three lines for the game. It was just embarrassing.
6. NHL Players at the Olympics
Sorry Ovechkin and Malkin, but the Olympic break just makes for a more compressed schedule, which means more tired and injured players over the long haul.
As a Canadian fan, I like when the best in the world come together. But why not resurect the Canada Cup tournament every four years then?
Besides, the Canadian team won two silver medals the last time the NHL wasn’t involved, and no American fan can argue the “Miracle on Ice” wasn’t one of the most amazing victories in team sports.
Let the non-pros play.
5. The Overtime Loss Point
In no other sport does a team lose and gain a point.
All this does is create a league where everyone is over .500, which to me ruins the entire meaning of watching pro sports.
It’s like having an happy ending everytime you watch a movie.
Besides, it divides the true hockey fan from the fake one—the Leafs and Habs will sell out regardless if their teams stink.
It’s only a matter of time before they get good once again.
4. The Shoot-Out
Okay, so you like to see the breakaway.
Since eliminating the two-line pass rule there have been a few more, and every time a player is tripped or hooked up on a play that was going to be a breakway, it should be an automatic penalty shot.
So why do we need to watch this decide a game in the regular season?
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and it has ties.
If you are one of these people who absolutely needs to see a winner at the end of a hockey game or you won’t be happy, maybe you should be watching re-runs of The Partridge Family instead.
3. The Instigating Rule
Generally, fans stand at games for two reasons…the anthem, and a fight!
Since the instigating rule came into effect, the players definitely don’t play with the same respect they had in the 80s—where if you did hit a player like Wayne Gretzky, you may not only get beat down by Dave Semenko, you also may never play another shift or game in the NHL…see Bill McCreary.
Can you imagine what Sidney Crosby could do if he wasn’t getting run every shift?
2. Not Enough Canadian Teams
In my eyes there should be a team in Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Hamilton, and Quebec, as Canada is still the NHL’s bread and butter.
With a league that still toys with the notion of putting a team in Las Vegas, it isn’t any wonder they move teams from Winnipeg to Phoenix.
Another reason to get rid of Bettman and the powers that be I suppose, as they are about as good at running the NHL as Star Jones would be at running a marathon.
I could write an entire article devoted to the reasons for Canadian expansion, but I’m sure it be all too obvious. Besides, most of my time is spent wondering why Jennifer Aniston can’t keep a boyfriend.
1. Too Many Penalties/Power Plays
I like most of the clutching and grabbing rules, but it makes players dive or drop their sticks as soon as they feel the slightest touch, which makes for a ton of penalties and, in turn, a ton of power plays that slow down the pace of the game considerably.
Let’s face it, the best hockey periods are played in the playoffs in overtime, when the refs put their whistles away unless there is something blatant.
by Daniel Sallows… With the opening of the NHL regular season just a week away I thought it was a good time to make some predictions, even though I’ve been more miss then hit lately.
I thought I’d take a look at the Canadian clubs, and who might be the best hope to bring Lord Stanley’s Mug back to the great white north.
6. Calgary Flames
There isn’t much to like about this year’s installment of the Calgary Flames.
Mikka Kiprusoff continues to be on the decline, and as good as their defense looks with the addition of Jay Bouwmeester it will do very little to help a weak offensive attack that drops off considerably after Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen.
The Flames are looking to rely heavily on Nigel Dawes and Curtis Glencross to fill the void left by Mike Cammalleri, but lets face it the two have just 54 goals between them in 278 NHL games played with 7 different clubs.
Letting Fleury and his four points and plus four rating in four pre-season tilts was not a bright move considering he may have been the only positive on an otherwise very lackluster team.
Look for the Flames to finish 8th in the West and bow out in the first-round of the playoffs once again, it may be the only thing that is a guarantee now-a-days.
5. Montreal Canadiens
It isn’t too often a team makes a complete roster over-haul then makes an impression in the playoffs that season.
That will reign true for the Habs unfortunately.
While the Canadiens did get some fresh young legs to replace Saku Koivu and Alexei Kovalev, they did not gain any size or heart which has been a lot of the teams downfall in recent years.
To make matters worse the defense got older and slower with the additions of Hal Gill and Jaroslav Spacek, which should make it even tougher for Carey Price to rebound from a horrendous season.
In the end the Canadiens spent too much on the free agent market and should have spent the next few seasons in a rebuild phase similar to the Leafs.
4. Ottawa Senators
The Sens could go either way this season as they have seemed to be consistent underachievers since making the Cup finals in 2007.
But all signs point to a resurrection this season as the Senators have made some moves to get deeper even though they were forced to do so.
The addition of Alexei Kovalev, Jonathan Cheechoo and the best of the three in Milan Michalek, who at 24 years old could end up being a Hossa-like thoroughbred, will give the Sens a much needed boost of offense.
Ottawa has a congestion of puck-moving defenseman and may need more grit at the back end, but if their goaltenders Pascal Leclaire and Brian Elliott can play to their potential the Sens could be a dangerous team once again.
3. Edmonton Oilers
All in all the Edmonton Oilers underachieved last season due to injuries, uninspired play and a bit of the sophomore jinx to their stable of young phenoms.
Look for that to change this season with the subtle moves made by Steve Tambellini and company.
Nikolai Khabibulin carried the Chicago Blackhawks into the semi-finals last season, and at 36 years of age he is an upgrade on the 40 year old Roloson.
Pat Quinn and Tom Renney may represent the odd couple of NHL coaching tandems, but it may make sense as Renney is a doctor of the game and loves to coach the youth movement. While Quinn has always had a knack with the veterans.
If Mike Comrie continues to play with a fire lit under his arse, and Cogliano, Gagner, Penner and company can play to their potential then the possibilities are endless with this speedy Oiler squad.
Though that may be just too many if’s?
2. Toronto Maple Leafs
What a difference a year makes, but Toronto looks like a team built to contend in the playoffs after a little less than a year under the Brian Burke regime.
The goaltending is vastly improved with the addition of the “Monster” Jonas Gustavsson, which will only be enhanced by one of the best defense core’s in the league.
It is yet to be seen if the “Frat Line”(Tyler Bozak, Christian Hanson and Viktor Stalberg), can endure the rigors of an 82 game schedule, but they will have to as the offense will be resting squarely on the shoulders of new acquisition Phil Kessel otherwise.
If the Leafs can score by committee, and the defense lives up to the hype, then Toronto is in real good shape to make a run.
Leafs fans should thank Ron Wilson and Brian Burke for being the NHL’s version of “Pinky” and “the Brain”.
1. Vancouver Canucks
This may finally be the year that the Vancouver Canucks relinquish their playoff demons.
The Nucks have looked stellar in pre-season play so far and all signs point to a Western Conference championship considering the west isn’t home to the powerhouses any longer.
Vancouver can beat you in many ways including their strong transition game, thanks to the speed of their forwards. With the additions of Mikael Samuelsson and rookies Cody Hodgson and Sergei Shirokov the forward units just got a little deeper, meaning they can beat you with all four lines.
If the defense falters it doesn’t hurt that the Canucks can lean on their captain and best goaltender in the league Roberto Luongo.
The Nucks biggest test in the west may just be the upstart Chicago Blackhawks, but it remains to be seen if Christobal Huet has what it takes to lead a team deep into the playoffs.
Either way the Vancouver Canucks will have the pride of Canada on their backs this season, as maybe the best shot at bringing the Cup home.
by Daniel Sallows… The moves, or lack of moves, made by Brian Burke and Co. this offseason may be some of the outspoken general manager’s most impressive work to date.
In fact, the last time magic was worked so brilliantly, David Copperfield tricked Claudia Schiffer into marrying him.
The additions of Francois Beauchemin, Garnet Exelby, and Mike Komisarek to a blue line that already featured Tomas Kaberle, Jeff Finger, Luke Schenn, Ian White, Mike Van Ryn, and Jonas Frogren has easily transformed the Leafs into one of the deepest teams at the back end in the NHL.
That, coupled with the fact Burke signed free agent goaltender Jonas Gustavsson out of the Swedish Elite League to solidify the nets with Vesa Toskala, has definitely improved this already tenacious Leafs squad’s chances of making a playoff bid.
Yes, the forwards are lacking, and a few more free agent signings up front would have been nice.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to see Maxim Afinogenov skate alongside Mikhail Grabovski?
Maybe 28-year-old Mike Comrie could add a spark or two?
Either way, the subtle forward additions of Tyler Bozak, Rickard Wallin, and Wayne Primeau have given the Leafs a little more depth, and if free agent invite Jason Allison can make the club and do what he does best (get stupid amounts of points without being able to skate), then Toronto is a lock to hold down a playoff spot in the East.
He has been at the helm for a little less than a year, but Burke is beginning to put the pieces in place for this once-proud franchise to be competitive for years to come.
The Leafs just might be the NHL’s version of Hootie and the Blowfish, coming from obscurity only to make it to No. 1.
And while every good band needs a great producer, Burke is destined to bring home a gold record…or silver cup.
by Daniel Sallows… Every now and then, in the middle of $7 million-dollar players demanding trades, there is a feel good story in the NHL.
There are players who have battled their way into the league against the odds. They were undrafted, told they were too small or too old, or whatever the case may be.
Here are five names you will want to keep on your radar next season. They are five guys that are going have breakout years that will make you jump off the couch and spill your beers.
5. Andrew Ebbett (Anaheim Ducks)
Undrafted out of the University of Michigan, the 5′9″,172-pound Ebbett plays a lot bigger than he looks.
He has a pure natural vision that helped him rack up 24 assists in just 48 games last season for the Ducks, all while playing limited minutes.
If Anaheim gives the 26-year-old Ebbett a chance at more quality minutes, look for him to improve on the eight goals and 32 points he put up last season.
4. Adam Pardy (Calgary Flames)
A late-round pick by the Flames in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, the 6′4″, 211-pound Pardy just kept getting better as the season went on, becoming one of Calgary’s top four defensemen.
Don’t be surprised to see the 25-year-old Pardy paired with Regehr or Bouwmeester on one of the top two units this season, as he has all the makings of a quality NHL defensemen.
3. Mike Santorelli (Nashville Predators)
Drafted 178th overall by the Preds in 2004, the 23-year-old Santorelli will definetly get a longer look at making Nashville this season.
He has produced everywhere he has landed, and it won’t be any different once he sticks in the NHL.
Santorelli has all the makings of a legitimate point-producing center. He has great vision, and he can also snipe as well. He racked up 30 goals in 41 games at Northern Michigan and 27 goals and 70 points in 70 games with the Milwaukee Admirals.
This kid has as good of a chance at being a quality player in the NHL as Lady Gaga does at coming out with a new dance hit–it’s only a matter of time, people.
2. Michal Repik (Florida Panthers)
There hasn’t been much to cheer about in Florida over the past few years, but the swift skating soft hands of Michal Repik will give the fans just that this upcoming season.
With two goals in five apperaences last season for the Panthers, and with Richard Zednik not coming back into the fold, Repik is poised to get a shot on one of the top two lines.
With two other swift Czech youngsters in Michael Frolik and Rotislav Olesz, we just might see Repik on a wing making up the best Czech line since Jagr, Lang, and Straka.
1. Leafs Tyler Bozak (Toronto Maple Leafs)
When the Toronto Maple Leafs signed the free agent Bozak to a incentive-based contract that mirrors that of a top-five pick, they were solidifying what was already known to hockey fans of the University of Denver.
Bozak is a tenacious forward with all the makings of a solid NHL-er, which is why many teams were recruiting his services.
With a Leafs team that isn’t deep up front, Bozak should be able to get some quality minutes that will enable him to succeed.
by Daniel Sallows… Oh, the almighty female.
Oh, the coolest game on earth.
Many a Saturday I’ve racked my brain trying to decide which one I like more, so I composed a list to help my decision—and maybe yours as well?
In ice hockey, the referees break up fights and they tend to last no longer than five minutes. In a relationship, a girl can hit and yell at you all she wants and the fight can sometimes last five years.
In ice hockey, when you score three times in a game, it is called a “hat trick”. In a relationship, if you score three times in one night, it is called “Viagra”.
In ice hockey, if you do something wrong, you go to the penalty box for two minutes and feel shame. In a relationship, you sleep on the couch for two weeks and feel uncomfortable.
In ice hockey, if they don’t like you, you get traded. In a relationship, if they don’t like you, they get half.
In ice hockey, you measure your success by how many Stanley Cup rings you have. In a relationship, you are considered a success by having just one ring.
In ice hockey, a coach can help you perfect your game. In a relationship, this can be achieved from books and numerous trips to a marriage counselor.
In ice hockey, a coach will bench you and not allow you to play. In a relationship, this is called “that time of the month.”
In ice hockey, fans cheer when you put the puck in the net. In a relationship, she tells you “thats not where it goes!”
by Daniel Sallows… The Calgary Flames are about as up and down as Kyle McWellwoods career with the Canucks, so I decided to make a list of 5 things the team could do to improve and avoid finishing 8th place in the Western Conference once again this season.
5. Darryl Sutter Back Behind the Bench
It has become quite apparent that nobody is suited for coaching this team besides Sutter.
The Flames have responded to Keenan about as well as they did for Playfair.
So what gives?
Maybe Keenan needs to put the “iron” back in his name? I mean is it just me, or does this guy seem to smile behind the bench more than the hot blonde girl that always sits in section 109? You know the one that the camera always pans on that is sitting behind the players with an awestruck look on her face.
4. Get a Second Line
I don’t think I have ever seen a team go without second line scoring as long as the Flames have and actually succeed.
You have to go back to the early 90’s in fact to find a Calgary squad with a good second line.
After Iginla and Bertuzzi no forward has over 4 goals. Making it easy for the opposition to shut them down, and on some nights making it harder to watch then reruns of Full House.
3. Find a Back-up That Can Challenge Kiprusoff
Ever since Roman Turek departed Mikka has been in a steady decline, he came around at the end of last season when the team picked up Curtis Joseph so why not try it again.
The fact is Kiprusoff is way too comfortable knowing he is going to get his 75 games, even though he has a save percentage under .900 and a goals against over 3.00.
Where the heck is Roman Turek anyhow?
2. Somebody Teach Todd Bertuzzi to Back Check
Bertuzzi has been great when he is on the offense, and it’s been fun to watch, but jeesh his play away from the puck is about as good as listening to Celine Dion bust out a version of Rod Stewarts “Do You Think I’m Sexy.’
Big Bert is a team worst -9 on the year.
Sure he will out-score Owen Nolan, but it all equals out if he is -40 at the end of the season.
1. Step Up the Conditioning
The Flames seem to run outta gas come the third period, and good young teams are taking advantage.
time to start riding the bike a little more, maybe break out a Richard Simmons “Sweating to the Oldies” tape?
Whatever it is, the team looks old and sluggish on nights they even win, and that isn’t going to get them out of the first round of the playoffs…or in for that matter.
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