There’s that shootout again…
There was a time when a Vancouver Canucks/Flames game was appointment viewing. If games against the Oilers over the past decade have been defined by speed and skill displays, contests against the Flames have traditionally been trench wars.
The rivalry has waned in recent years as the Flames and Canucks have chased completely different trajectories, leaving the results lopsided of late (though not of late late).
Vancouver’s hate meanwhile, which I’m told is actually finite, has been focused on a couple of original six teams.
This one wasn’t a Vancouver blowout, and it wasn’t a traditional gang war, but the game did provide a few opportunities to re-spark the flaccid rivalry, even if both teams had stretches of play where their performance was somehow worse than whatever Karmin was trying to do on Saturday Night Live (are we seriously, as a society, allowing girls to imitate both Nicki Minaj and spiders?).
Honestly, if Calgary adopted their retro jerseys full-time, I probably wouldn’t mind watching them as much.
On to the Love ‘Em & Hate ‘Em for the Canucks vs. Flames on Saturday night.
1. Count Duco
Based off a sample size of one Flames fan, very few people in Calgary were aware of Mike Duco before Saturday night.
He’s on their radar now after a strong game where he threw a couple of hits, had a fight with Lance Bouma, and creating enough havoc in front of Miikka Kiprusoff to allow Cody Hodgson to get the Canucks on the board.
Between Duco and Byron Bitz, the Canucks just may be able to add some bottom six grit purely in-house.
2. 3-on-3 Play
Offsetting penalties to Jay Bouwmeester and Daniel Sedin in overtime offered a rare chance to see some extended three-on-three action.
The move, while giving the game a new look, didn’t seem to fundamentally offer any real improvements to the on-ice product, quite like a Jay Feaster transaction.
3. ALBERT ALBERT
For a guy who’s most memorable moment as a Canuck is chasing a ref’s whistle thinking it was the puck, Saturday was a good reminder of what exactly Alberts can bring to the table. He threw a number of big hits, including two semi-awkward ones on Blake Comeau and Roman Horak, both of whom were shaken up.
He followed up the Comeau hit by accepting Mikael Backlund’s non-existent challenge to a fight and promptly destroying his shoulder. That in turn lead to a tilt with Tim Jackman that ended in a bloody nose for Jackman.
Odd Future Alberts Kill Em All?
1. Actually, Wait…
As cool as it was to see Andrew Alberts go all Bear Jew on the Flames, there is still the slight matter of the associated penalties. Alberts finished the game with 13 penalty minutes, all self-inflicted really.
The four minute powerplay Calgary was awarded after Alberts introduced himself to Backlund and Comeau could have let Calgary build a 3-0 lead and start to put this game away.
Luckily, that didn’t happen, but Alberts still skirted some dangerous territory.
2. The Eagle Has Landed
Not the strongest game for Alex Edler, who may or may not be in the Norris mix (Pierre LeBrun believes he is). The opening goal was able to deflect of Mike Cammalleri’s thigh purely because Edler wasn’t doing anything to clear Cammalleri from the front of the net.
Look Alex, we love you and all, but is it too much to ask to be perfect at every moment?
3. Iggy Pops
Ok, I don’t actually hate Jarome Iginla, no one can and still claim to be a decent human being.
But man do I hate when he’s on and it’s not during the Olympics.
Late in the third, Iginla was sprung on a breakaway thanks to a nifty little chip from Alex Tanguay and had the game on his stick.
Thankfully, Roberto Luongo flashed the glove to preserve the game and allow Jim Hughson to pull out GREAT SAVE LUONGO.
Life is all about second chances however and when Iginla and Luongo went one-on-one again in the shootout, Iginla made no mistake with a sublime deke that essentially won the game for the Flames.
You’re a class act Iggy, a diamond in Calgary’s rough.