Postgame: Good Third, Big Win

Pat Steinberg
November 09 2010 10:41PM

Calgary Flames' David Moss (L) can't get the puck past Colorado Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj (C) and John-Michael Liles in the first period of their NHL hockey game in Denver November 9, 2010. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)

Looking at this game on paper heading in, it was a game you thought the Calgary Flames should win if they made life difficult on the Colorado Avalanche.  Well, that wasn't always the case Tuesday night in Denver, but it happened when it counted most and the Flames took a 4-2 come from behind win over the Colorado Avalanche.

What Happened

The Avalanche opened the scoring early thanks to Brandon Yip's fourth of the season...it came at the tail end of a bad Cory Sarich penalty, and it put the Avalanche up 1-0.  The Avs would outshoot the visitors and carry their lead into the second period.

The middle frame saw Calgary take advantage of some early powerplay time, as a Daniel Winnik hooking call carried over from late in the first.  Jay Bouwmeester's point shot was deflected nicely by Curtis Glencross who got credit for his fourth of the season.  Shots ended up 13-6 for the Avs in the middle frame, as they really started to work the Flames as the period progressed, but a couple saves from Miikka Kiprusoff would end up being key for the final 20 minutes.

The third period saw some odd bad fortune for the Calgary Flames, as a scrum at the end of the second saw both Mikael Backlund and Cory Sarich penalized, and with the penalty situation as it was, the Avs found themselves on a 5-on-3 powerplay 39 seconds into the frame.  A Chris Stewart goal would put Colorado back on top, as he potted his 10th off a rebound.  The goal came at 1:25 and the Avalanche had a few chances to go up by two before the Flames tied it back the other way, thanks to Mikael Backlund's first in eight games at 9:03.  It came after a strong shift by both David Moss and Niklas Hagman, and spurred things on for the Moss winner at 15:45.  Again, it was some nice down low work by both Hagman and Moss, as the latter would outwork Colorado's Ryan O'Reilly to put the Flames in front.  Glencross sealed it at 19:26 in an empty net.

One Good Reason...

...why the Flames won?  Becuase they exerted their advantage at even strength when it really counted, in the third period.  This was an odd game, with a lot of penalty calls messing with the flow of the game, so it was difficult for a lot of even strength success.  However, there was a span in the second period where Calgary really gained some momentum, and the third period as well.  That third period is where they did their most important damage, and took advantage of a beat up Avalanche team the way they were supposed to.  Good on em.

Red Warrior

Solid night for David Moss, as he picks up a goal and a helper and really helped drive things on a line with Hagman and Backlund.  Those three were put together in the second period, after Brent Sutter made the call to staple Brendan Morrison to the bench.  Moss had a number of pretty good opportunities in the second and third period, and then helped things materialize on the tying goal.  He really worked on the winning goal as well and deserves the tip of the hat here.

Sum It Up

Hey, they'll take it, regardless of whether it was a perfect effort or not.  I do think the disjointed nature of the opening 40 played into some of the lethargic nature of the Flames, but there really isn't any excuse for it either.  Calgary responded after the Avs took their third period lead, and when this thing got to even strength for an extended period of time, they leaned on the Avs and were able to score some goals.

Couple notes...both Morrison and Craig Conroy were both benched by Sutter in this game, and were not battling any injuries.  Morrison played just 5:54 while Conroy only saw 6:00 of ice time.  Sutter said they were both fighting it.  On the Avs side, T.J. Galiardi suffered a broken wrist and David van der Gulik suffered a torn MCL.  Yikes, that team is injury riddled to say the least.

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Pat Steinberg can be heard daily on the Fan960 in Calgary at can be read at the FAN 960. Born and raised in Calgary, Steinberg considers himself a huge fan of all sports including the CFL, MMA and 13 round bare knuckle boxing matches. Follow Steinberg on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Fan960Steinberg.
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#1 Tach
November 10 2010, 12:03AM
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I know the Flames got the win, but lets be honest. Those goals were grinder hard work goals. Against a more talented team, those don't come.

This team is just bereft of talent. There is a plethora of mishandled passes, pucks mishandled and given away in the offensive zone and dear god can someone just pass it through the neutral zone without hitting the other teams shin pad.

Some are giving Jokinen props on his play tonight, but I challenge them to find a single play where he generated positive pressue, except maybe the assist on the empty netter. Otherwise all the pressure from his line was generated by Bourque and Glencross.

Kudos also to Kipper for keeping them in. Neither goal was really his fault and he did make some good saves during the run of stink in the second.

A win is a win, but I don't see this as much to build on for Phoenix. Hope I am wrong.

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#2 Smitty
November 10 2010, 12:56AM
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Interesting game tonight.

Yes, I'm happy they won. It wasn't their best or most exciting win of the season, but it's one in the right column. Again, a lack of offence from our 1st line. It's starting to make me wonder what's going on. I like the fact that our grinders will chip in a win when they need to but it's happening far too often now.

The reffing was frustrating. Chincy calls on both sides and I'm still not sure how we ended up a man short after that scrum.

I wondered about Galliardi's wrist and the possibility of it being broken. I'm no big city doctor, but the way I saw him go into the boards and immediately drop his glove, I figured it was more than a jammed wrist.

At least all the blue jerseyed Canadian teams lost tonight.

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#3 Greg
November 10 2010, 07:59AM
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I just read the pre-game post. Yikes. What a lineup of defencemen! I never thought I'd get a chance to say this, but they could actually use Staois on their team right now.

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#4 PrairieStew
November 10 2010, 08:15AM
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Obviously the 3rd line combo of Moss with Backlund and Hagman pulled the rabbit out of the hat last night. I like that combo going forward since it means Glencross and Bourque with Jokinen.

I didn't see the first half of the game, but by the scoring chances and gamethreads it looks like Iggy and his line were less of a factor than they were in Minny - I thought he showed good signs in that game.

Phoenix game is huge, that's a team that is competition for a playoff spot ( Note the Dogs already have 5 loser points). With it being back to back with San Jose, do you play Kipper in Phoenix and throw Karlsson in vs San Jose who have been struggling a bit lately.

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#5 Kent Wilson
November 10 2010, 08:33AM
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@PrairieStew

I'd play Karlsson against the Coyotes, who are having a problem generating shots and scoring goals.

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#6 Austin
November 10 2010, 08:35AM
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@PrairieStew

were Morisson and Conroy benched due to bad play or just because of the Flames have extremely nice depth.

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#7 Rain Dogs
November 10 2010, 09:37AM
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I tend to agree that the win wasn't anywhere near as convincing as I would like to see, but I'll take it over a loss obviously.

To me, it looked liked the Flames had no business being in that game after two and the first five of the third, but maybe that was all penalties.

I agree with Kent that Karlsson should go against Phoenix. The Sharks are a bit of an enigma right now, but they can score in bunches. Last thing we want is Karlsson getting lit up again.

I guess part of the "problem" in San Jose is the NHL is finally seeing Niemi for who he actually is, which is a developing goalie, who's at backup level right now, the same thing he was in Chicago.

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#8 Rain Dogs
November 10 2010, 09:42AM
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I'm also beginning to wonder how long we stick with THIS iteration of the Iginla line, which is horrible. Tanguay isn't strong enough to carry them both.

And do we have any other combos that make any sense. Are we running out of options?

I really liked the second and third line combos last night. Hopefully they can keep it up.

Hagman, I think, needs to play with someone with hands (not Joker). Joker benefits playing with fast hard working guys (like GlenX) who go to the middle, which is where he inevitably throws the puck, whether a teammate is there or not.

So what's left? Morrison or Conroy with Iggy and Tanguay? Ugh.

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#9 Rain Dogs
November 10 2010, 09:48AM
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Lastly, something has to happen with Ian White. He is terrible, and much slower than I first saw. White's barely faster than Sarich, who penalties aside, has been really solid.

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#10 the-wolf
November 10 2010, 10:16AM
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What's the deal with Morrisson?

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#11 Kent Wilson
November 10 2010, 10:35AM
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I'm also beginning to wonder how long we stick with THIS iteration of the Iginla line, which is horrible. Tanguay isn't strong enough to carry them both.

That's a good question Lawrence. I think that answer is that no one on this team is good enough to carry the line under it's current role.

The ultimate paradox the Flames face was captured by Hagman's explosion last night: after moving down to the third line, he started hitting it out the park. Before then, he was getting killed in a tougher role. The Flames are team of guys who more or less can kick butt against the lesser lights, but struggle to saw things off against the better opposition. Iginla included.

So either we'll continue to have the Iginla line play a lot, but try to find ways to give them as cushy match-ups as possible by feeding some other line to the wolves...or Iginla will end up moving down the rotation himself. Example:

Tanguay-Stajan-Bourque

Glencross-Jokinen-Moss

Hagman-Backlund-Iginla

EDIT - looks like Beaker and I are on the same page.

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#12 Robert Cleave
November 10 2010, 10:36AM
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Rain Dogs wrote:

Lastly, something has to happen with Ian White. He is terrible, and much slower than I first saw. White's barely faster than Sarich, who penalties aside, has been really solid.

I wonder if White might not be on the block at some point this year? He likely retains some value as a trading chip, and Gio's extension indicates where the org.'s priorities lie.

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#13 Monaertchi
November 10 2010, 10:39AM
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@ Austin: they were benched because they were "fighting it" as per Brent and the article above.

@ Lawrence re Lines: Iggy isn't scoring. He didn't with Joker and hasn't with Stajan. He isn't a scoring, 1st line right winger now, so he shouldn't be on the 1st line. Bourque may be able to be a scoring, 1st line right wing if given 1st line quality mates.

Tanguay-Stajan-Bourque

Hagman-Backlund-Iginla

GlenX-Joker-Moss

Morrison-Conny-Jackman

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#14 Kent Wilson
November 10 2010, 10:39AM
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the-wolf wrote:

What's the deal with Morrisson?

Just didn't play all that well so Sutter sat him down. Especially in the face of both the second and third line kicking butt without him.

As I said on OT with Pat last night, Morrison is a 35 year old guy the Flames picked up off the scrap heap. His October was nice, but there was little chance he was going to continue that in perpetuity.

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#15 Monaertchi
November 10 2010, 10:40AM
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@Kent Wilson

You beat me to it.

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#16 Kent Wilson
November 10 2010, 10:51AM
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@Monaertchi

Great minds and all that.

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#17 B
November 10 2010, 11:42AM
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...the Hagman, Backlund, Moss line looked very balanced last night. Still would like to see a Jokinen, Stajan, Borque second line. Would like to see either Morrison or Conroy centre for Tanguay and Iginla. I wonder where White gets traded to?

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#18 FireOnIce
November 10 2010, 12:19PM
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What was up with some of this scraps last night? Colby Cohen looked like he wanted Iginla to bash his head in, and hid behind the refs everytime Iginla obliged. Liles went after Backlund a couple times as well, and McLeod just wanted a piece of all our old defenders.

PS, Staios is awful. He's slow, falls over, can't fight, and can't score. Why do we have him again?

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#19 the-wolf
November 10 2010, 12:26PM
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Yeah, I wonder if moving Jokinen to the wing might improve his positional play. Less of the east-west thing and more of a straight north-south game. Maybe going to the wing will allow his size and strength to be utilized more.

I doubt it.

But maybe.

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#20 Kent Wilson
November 10 2010, 12:32PM
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the-wolf wrote:

Yeah, I wonder if moving Jokinen to the wing might improve his positional play. Less of the east-west thing and more of a straight north-south game. Maybe going to the wing will allow his size and strength to be utilized more.

I doubt it.

But maybe.

I've been advocating that since last summer. Just isn't going to happen I guess.

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#21 everton fc
November 10 2010, 01:01PM
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Random Thoughts:

I suppose starting Karlsson v. Coyotes has to happen. Have to see if he can get over his last effort. I'd still like to see a more savvy, experienced vet, and Alex Auld type, taking on some of the load. But I hope Karlsson does well.

I like Jokinen between Glencross and Moss. I like Moss better, between Glencross and Jokinen (could Joker play on the right side?) I also like Hagman and Moss on either side of Backlund.

We are beginning to really see the value of David Moss, as a hockey player. They type of guy winning teams have. Willing to go places no one else wants to these days.

Iggy included.

Jokinen-Stajan-Bourque would be interesting. And why not put Morrison w/Iggy and Tanguay? What do we have to lose?

@Kent

Tanguay-Stajan-Bourque

Glencross-Jokinen-Moss

Hagman-Backlund-Iginla

I like these lines.

With Morrison/Conroy/Jackman as a fourth line that gets a bit more minutes than most fourth lines... For I think this fourth line can put some points on the board.

Could White and some filler be used to get the Flames someone who can fit on the first line? Hagman is playing okay, in spurts... could he be moved with White for a bona fide first line centre? At least someone close to "bona fide"? He's 31 years old... Get Brodie back up here, keep Mikkelson, have Pardy when he's ready and dump Staois... Waivers, then AHL. Maybe if we waive him today, the Avs will pick him up?!

As for Morrison, we are not even half way through November, and everyone's writing him off. He'll produce. If given the right situation.

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#22 Kent Wilson
November 10 2010, 01:07PM
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@everton fc

I don't see anyone writing off Morrison. In fact, most were really surprised he was benched.

My point was only that his outburst has raised expectations, probably a little beyond what is reasonable. I think he's a fine player at his price point and will make his way back into action here. People just shouldn't use his first couple of weeks as benchmark for his performance going forward.

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#23 the-wolf
November 10 2010, 01:30PM
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@everton fc

It's the only way Moss can play to be successful. It's how he had his 20 goal season. I hope last year taught him "how not to play hockey" because he psent the season thinking he was a sniper ("Iggy-itis") and was terrible.

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#24 everton fc
November 10 2010, 01:37PM
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I hear you, Kent. I'm not so sure I'd call it an outburst, though. Maybe more than anyone thought he could produce. I always thought he'd produce here, if given the right linemates and matchups. He's got fuel in the tank.

Playing the wing - less skating - might have something to do with his output, as well. He seems to like the wing. At 35, why not!?

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#25 everton fc
November 10 2010, 01:39PM
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@wolf

Perhaps Moss was called to be a sniper.

He isn't. Agreed.

He's a grinder. A guy who goes places no one will go. A poacher. And a good one.

Utilized correctly, Moss is special. Utilized wrong, he's nothing special.

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#26 B
November 10 2010, 02:15PM
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...I realize we could speculate and create different lines all day, but here's another combination that looks interesting:

Tanguay Morrison Iginla

Jokinen Backlund Borque

Hagman Stajan Moss

Glencross Conroy Jackman

...didn't realize you were advocating putting Jokinen on the wing that far back Kent. Quite the foresight. I'm with you 100%. What's the deal with Kotalik? Are he and Langkow out for the season (I realize Langkow might be forced to retire)?

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#27 Kent Wilson
November 10 2010, 02:31PM
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@B

BTW - Here's the article in case people don't believe me:

http://flamesnation.ca/2009/7/4/fantasy-gming-move-jokinen-to-left-wing

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#28 PrairieStew
November 10 2010, 02:42PM
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We really have the line blender (s) going now don't we? I think we can all agree the Flames have the best 3rd line in Hockey. Problem is we have 3 of them.

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#30 Kent Wilson
November 10 2010, 03:12PM
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@Pat Steinberg

I find NHL coaches tend to "stick with what works". I imagine Sutter will at least start the game in PHX with the same lines that finished the game in COL as a result.

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#31 Monaertchi
November 10 2010, 03:32PM
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PrairieStew wrote:

We really have the line blender (s) going now don't we? I think we can all agree the Flames have the best 3rd line in Hockey. Problem is we have 3 of them.

Correct. Except, maybe not the very best in Hockey. But yes, that is definitely a problem.

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#32 Gange
November 10 2010, 04:27PM
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Threadjack Alert!

You know, in all, I kind of hope the Flames don't keep winning. It's these wins that leave me somewhat concerned. Sure they won but they looked less than convincing doing so.

If they keep losing and fall into the bottom 5 I'd love to see the following wearing the flaming C

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriel_Landeskog

Seems like just what the doctor ordered for this team.

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#34 SmellOfVictory
November 10 2010, 06:43PM
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At this point I don't even care if the Flames are a good team. I hope they hit an eight-month streak of great luck at this point and just ride it all the way to a cup. Iggy gets his cup (which he deserves from his history, despite his recent efforts; Conroy deserves it for being such an amicable guy as well), Calgary gets another cup before Edmonton, we can relax about the current state of the team, and everyone gets to party on the Red Mile while we're still young enough to do it.

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#35 GermanFlame
November 11 2010, 01:25AM
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@Gange

Im pretty sure that TSN did a report on this guy, and from what I saw, Im all for that.

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#36 Gange
November 11 2010, 09:40AM
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As much as I don't want to see Iggy go, maybe it's time.

Maybe it's time to forsake this season, and target Landeskog. He just seems like the perfect "next generation" for this team.

It seems clear that if this current team can't take a depleted Avs team to task, then other plans need to be made.

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#37 Resolute
November 11 2010, 11:22AM
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Ugh. In my view, there is no worse trait in a "fan" than hoping to lose.

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#38 Luc
November 11 2010, 12:07PM
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i love line juggling as much as anyone but we need that one line to hold other teams'top line down. joker seems only available center to do it so let that line be

glenx joker bourque.

we need to hold them off the score sheet and seems to me this is best way to do that.

@kent

i wouldnt mind moss there instead of bourque (so he can play first line) but i just loved moss backlund and hagman to much together to break that up for now at least

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#39 dotfras
November 11 2010, 12:25PM
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Yeah we need that Joker line to face the heavies, I would presume Scoreface & RBQ would be the two guys who's skills fit the requirements for that line.

Moss-Backs-Hags dominated the other night, definitely don't see them getting separated.

1st line is the 1st line, nothing good will come out of it until they get out of the funk they've been in for 95% of the year.

4th line has been pretty great all year, not as much last game, but they can do some damage as well.

Wonder what's going to happen with Kotalsuck.

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#40 R O
November 11 2010, 03:27PM
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Olli playing against good players. That's a sad proposition.

Though what other choice is there, really?

I mean is there even a centre on this roster that has experience playing against good players, is healthy and showing that he can yet move the puck to the offensive zone and scoring areas with great zeal and effect?

Even if we could hypothetically name such a player on this roster (and this man would be highly paid, not a chance that he would play for minimum wage), wouldn't he still be much worse than Olli, because despite the latter's lack of non-icetime-driven success at any point in his career, he's still Our First Line Centre?

And though we daily read on these boards pleas of swift unemployment for Sutter Sr., does it not still make sense to embrace his most flawed assertion, that in fact Olli Jokinen is, was, and ever will be one of the 30 best centres in the game?

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#41 B
November 11 2010, 09:06PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

BTW - Here's the article in case people don't believe me:

http://flamesnation.ca/2009/7/4/fantasy-gming-move-jokinen-to-left-wing

...I wasn't being sarcastic when I praised your foresight. I am being sarcastic when I say I enjoyed your shameless self promotion ;)

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#42 B
November 11 2010, 09:06PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

BTW - Here's the article in case people don't believe me:

http://flamesnation.ca/2009/7/4/fantasy-gming-move-jokinen-to-left-wing

...I wasn't being sarcastic when I praised your foresight. I am being sarcastic when I say I enjoyed your shameless self promotion ;)

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#43 Kent Wilson
November 11 2010, 10:46PM
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B wrote:

...I wasn't being sarcastic when I praised your foresight. I am being sarcastic when I say I enjoyed your shameless self promotion ;)

haha, fair enough. Just wanted to prove I wasn't talking out of my ass.

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