Monday, November 5, 2007

Avalanche Dowse Flames 4-1

I'm back. Not 100% yet but enough that I can do a write up or two to get my mind going again. It's amazing what 2 weeks of lying on a couch will do to your mental capacity.

This was a game I had to shell out $12.95 to watch on Flames PPV. With that cash, I was treated to a sloppy team in the Calgary Flames and a sloppy drunk in Theo Fleury, who was doing color commentary.

Ok, I can't say for sure if he was drunk but he took a long time to finish sentences and had trouble with words like "opportunities". But that's as much as I'll rag on Theo. He's had a life filled with crazy highs - last one I swear - and some pretty terrible lows.

First Period
This one started off looking like it might be a rough night. With the Flames on the PP and Theodore playing "snow angel", Alex Tanguay snagged the puck and roofed it for the first goal of the game. They later gave credit to Iginla for the goal but I didn't see Iginla touch it. Unless Iginla truly is that good that he can deflect pucks simply by being in their presence. Kind of like a black hole of suckitude.

You'd think the Flames at this point would turn things up and put the pressure on. Instead, they found themselves worrying more about keeping Ryan Smyth and the rest of the Avs away from Kiprusoff than from keeping the puck out of their net. Or clearing the puck. Or maintaining possession of the puck.

The Avs got their own PP goal to even things up late in the period. With Conroy in the box for the second time of the period, Joe Sakic found Andrew Brunette at the side of the goal. Joe rocketed a pass to Brunette and he buried it in the twine. Did they ever actually make goal nets out of twine?

The Flames ended the period a man down as Tanguay shot the puck over the glass. Roger Millions and Fleury figured that since it hit the camera, it shouldn't count. Well, since the camera is above the glass...well I think you can see where I'm going with this.

Second Period
The Flames came out flat and soft in this period and the Avalanche did their best to make them pay. Kiprusoff was up to the task for the most part and really kept his team in the game.

Halfway through the period though, the Avalanche were able to break through. Hejduk and Wolski went flying in and Wolski tipped a beauty Hejduk feed through Kipper's pads. Wolsk is flying lately and playing like a completely player. Goals, checking and backchecking. Great to see.

The Avs had two glorious chances to salt this one away early but Kiprusoff made two even more glorious saves. The first was an amazing glove save on Stastny which had everyone in the arena off their seats thinking it was a goal. He then proceeded to deny Andrew Brunette on an in tight chance by what appeared to be the ability to dislocate both his hips to get his toenail on the puck.

Third Period
The Wolski-Stastny-Hejduk line continued their domination this period and were able to get on the score sheet twice to finish this one off.

Just 45 seconds in, this line put on a beauty of a rush. These 3 were reading each other so well tonight I wondered if they had mic'd their helmets on a private frequency. Either that or they learned telepathy. They were passing behind each other, across the crease and finally into the back of the net. Just exciting hockey to watch when this line was on the ice.

Then about halfway through Stastny found himself wide open and staring into a wide open net. Wolski appeared to bat the puck back to him and Stastny made no mistake. That ended the night for Kiprusoff but through no fault of his own.

The Avalanche then fell back into defensive mode and looked like they actually knew what they were doing. At the end of the night, they had dealt the Flames their third straight 4-1 loss. Ouch. The Flames self-destructed in this one after about 10 minutes of decent effort.

Odds and Ends
- Guite plastered Phaneuf at least twice, once sending him flying from the blue line back to the red line
- Laperriere and Nystrom scrapped and Lappy got the worst of it (why was Parker dressed if he wasn't going to do this?)
- Lappy congratuled Matt Keetley on his first NHL save (it was a pretty decent one)
- Parker got a 10 minute misconduct at the end of the second but I wasn't privy to why

Dion Phaneuf finished at -2 on the night and I'd mark him as -4 for the two times Guite crushed him.

Liles and Clark put in the most minutes with 22:17 and 22:18 respectively. Liles had 6:46 of PP time. And no points to show for it.

The Wolski-Stastny-Hejduk line was a +9 collectively on the night. Hejduk had 3 assists, Stastny 2 assists and Wolski 1 goal and 2 assists. Clark and Sauer finished at +2

The Avs fired off 36 shots with 7 coming from Sakic's stick. Stastny had 5 and Liles had 4.

Story Time
I couldn't resist on this one as someone sent Theo Fleury a question asking about the point scoring race he had with Joe Sakic in juniors. In the WHL, Theo played for the Moose Jaw Warriors and Joe of course played with the Swift Current Broncos. These two had a long running rivalry in their time, particularly since the Broncos and Warriors were always rivals due to their proximity.

Well, my dad had season tickets to the Broncos from the minute they came back to Swift and we made that 50 minute trip more times than I can remember. The game Fleury referred to tonight was the one I remember most of all. Well, that and the game against the Raiders when there were 5 fights in the final 10 seconds. Friggin' PA I tell ya.

Now, here is where I may be fuzzy on a detail or two - I was only 8 at the time! - but I'll do my best.

Going into the game, Sakic and Fleury were tied in the point scoring race in the WHL with 150 each and all the buzz around the game was about who would walk away with the title. Nobody cared who won the game, it was all about the personal accolade for our hero. Obviously we all were rooting for Sakic, especially since Fleury was that little, tenacious, loud-mouthed bastard who everybody just hated with a passion. Ask me about the "It must have been your mom" comment if you want to hear what Theo was like on the ice. He knew how to get under players - and fans - skin.

The game ended up being an absolutely ridiculous game. The final score was 14-9 - at least that's what Theo said on the broadcast - with Fleury and Sakic matching each other point for point. Now I can't remember what time the final goal happened for the Broncos, but it was late in the game and everybody was on the edge of their seats. Joe needed one more point to claim the glory.

And as always, he didn't disappoint. It was an assist that put him over the top and as soon as that puck went in the net, the roof damn near blew off the Civic Center. Sure, the Broncos had won the game but by golly, Joe had won the scoring title. Never was that city more proud.

They didn't win the Memorial Cup that year but did manage to capture it the following year. By then Joe had moved on to the NHL but I'm sure he still played a part in that win.

Related Links
In the Cheap Seats Game Notes Recap
TSN Recap


AddRyan said...

HA! "...kind of like a black hole of suckitude." I love it.

Jibblescribbits said...

Nice recap, as usual and good story. I need to find myself a good minor league hockey rink and watch some games.

They always seem to have the best stories associated with them.

Shane Giroux said...

Thanks Jib. Yep, minor hockey is great. You get to see the stars before they're in the big leagues so you can often get all kinds of dirt on them ;)

We used to have a good slo-pitch tournament in the summer and a lot of the Broncos would come down and put in a team. I think Chris Szysky was the best combo of non-dickery and athleticism. And the best open ice hitter I've ever seen in the CHL.