After the debacle against Edmonton Friday, I wrote down a few words about the current Blues and their struggles. Along the way I made the comment that the Flames have "like three good guys" which someone called me out for as being arrogant and dismissive or something. Dismissive I have been called before, arrogant was a new one.
So tonight the Flames come to town with like three good guys and look to wreck the now annual party we like to call Brett Hull Night. We celebrated wildly when we had Brett Hull Night to honor the re-naming of part of Clark Street to "Brett Hull Way." We celebrated even more wildly when we had Brett Hull Night to honor Hull and retire his iconic No. 16. Tonight we will celebrate, if maybe somewhat less wildly, Hull's unsurprising first-ballot selection to the Hockey Hall of Fame. And when we celebrate Brett Hull Night next year to celebrate the new statue they will surely erect outside for him, we will do so in wild, ticket-buying fashion.
Honestly, I have no problem with Brett Hull Night every year. He is a huge reason I became a fan, and likely a huge reason many of you became fans, too.
But what of the newly pissed-off Blues led by angry Barret Jackman, gruff Keith Tkachuk and their new heated practices? Will it be enough to leave a sell-out crowd happy as they leave, or will the home struggles continue?
The Flames are led by good guy Jarome Iginla, who has 17 goals and 32 points on the year, leading the team. For a franchise as old as the Flames, it's surprising when a player like Iginla, who has plenty of years left in the NHL, holds most of the franchise's offensive records. This isn't Nashville or San Jose, after all. But Iginla leads the franchise in games played (974), goals (426) and points (883), among other records. The Flames have other scorers and contributors, but the majority of the offense flows through Iginla (he has 19% of their goals himself and has a goal or an assist on 36% of the team's goals).
Another good guy is goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, who has 17 wins, a great goals-against (2.18) and a save percentage over 92%. Like Iginla, it's surprising when a guy like Kiprusoff holds franchise records, but he is the career leader in shutouts (30) and in goals-against (2.40). Kiprusoff gets the majority of the starts and with good reason: he gives them better than average odds of winning every time he starts.
A third good guy would be the montrosity known as Dion Phaneuf and Jay Bouwmeester. These two giant defensemen gobble up huge minutes (24 and 27 respectively) and can contribute offensively (14 points each). The difference between the two is that while Phaneuf plays a much more physical game, Bouwmeester plays the position technically better, using positioning and his stick to break up offensive chances.
The Flames can throw one or the other of their stalwart defenders out in front of Kiprusoff for effectively the whole game, guaranteeing that they won't give up many quality chances. On the front end, Iginla and whoever is lucky enough to be riding shotgun for him (this year it's Rene Bourque) can be counted on to contribute offensively, making the Flames a tough game every single time.
Extra effort required: It's Brett Hull Night.
This is your Game Day Thread. Do it to it.