Game No. 32: Hungry hungry home team

Ryan Lambert
December 16 2010 06:19PM



Nothing gets me excited like a game between the 24th- and 26th-place teams in the NHL.

There has been, of course, much foofaraw and arglebargle across the nation over this game.

Dion Phaneuf! Keith Aulie! Darryl Sutter's past mistakes revisited upon him ten-fold! Ron Wilson being remarkably smug about everything despite the fact that his team blows! Brian Burke giving gruff answers in which he says nothing!

Oh the excitement a game like this brings. There's been a good amount of debate over whether Calgary fans should boo Dion Phaneuf and what all that would mean if they did. Validation that he wasn't especially well-liked in town? A way for the fans to somehow hurt Darryl Sutter's feelings (and wouldn't a better way to do that be to boo every time Hagman and Stajan touch the puck)? And obviously, the correct answer is, "Who gives a rat's ass?" If the fans boo, we all expected it and if they don't then there's no story. And frankly, the media's gotta have stories.

You probably saw the media scrum around Dion at practice this morning: it was like the Beatles landing at Idlewild. All that was missing were the girls overcome with unbridled joy at seeing their beloved boy that they fainted (Eric Francis was a poor substitute, but he's resting comfortably by all accounts).

But what no one, in all this, has talked about, is that this game is kind of important for both these teams. A win for Toronto ties them for ninth in their conference, which, given the way they slumped after that initial surge, is no small feat. It would be their third win in a row despite their complete and total lack of offense. Their 69 goals are third-worst in the league ahead of only the Islanders and Devils.

For Calgary, a win tonight would mean the team actually won two on the trot. This would be a big deal. Obviously not because it would vault them into the enviable position of 13th in the conference with everyone on the planet having games in hand, or because beating a team that is actually lower than them in the standings would be a novel new approach to winning at hockey games. But this would be important to Calgary because these guys really need a goddamn win. Like, any way they can get it. It surely wouldn't matter to Brent Sutter if the Flames picked up two points in a 5-1 romp, a 46-round shootout win by the score of 14-13 or if a rampaging herd of hippopotami killed everyone on the Leafs bench.

Hell, he might've paid off the people at the Calgary Zoo already.

 

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Yer ol' buddy Lambert is handsome and great and everyone loves him. Also you can visit his regular blog at The Two-Line Pass or follow him on Twitter. Lucky you!
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#1 dickshilling
December 16 2010, 06:24PM
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heading to the game tonight i will have to imagine loubardias saying "phaneuf! high and wide.."

on a serious note, watch carefully folks: he rarely calls the play; instead, he just says names

dijon panuff

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#2 icedawg_42
December 16 2010, 06:26PM
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Love the title, all I can say to it is...let's hope so! Not a Dion fan, but I hope he doesn't get boo'ed. (though there will doubtless be a contingent of boo birds) I dont like to see/hear anyone get booed

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#3 SmellOfVictory
December 16 2010, 07:01PM
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I am kinda interested to see if a tussle between Regehr and Phaneuf occurs. No idea which folks on the team actually took issue with his attitude, but my supposition would be Regehr.

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#4 hal a pena
December 16 2010, 07:22PM
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the HAROLD BALLARD CUP is minutes away. the leafs east versus the leafs west.

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#5 hal a pena
December 16 2010, 07:24PM
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amen brother, sense the bad blood has been brewing since dion's big reward.

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#6 John Deere Green
December 16 2010, 07:26PM
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Was wondering if any of you caught the Ken King interview on 960 today? If this guy isn't ready to run for Prime Minister of Canada I don't know who is. 45 minutes of complete garbage. He talked around the "hard hitting" softball questions without answering anything. I caught myself laughing and shaking my head at his answers, pure politician this King guy is. I had to check the dial on the radio to make sure it wasn't on the old persons station, thought maybe I turned on a debate about senior's pensions or something.

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#7 coptin_
December 16 2010, 07:46PM
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the flames must teach all office staff to avoid the hard questions.jay feaster was avioding all the questions on otr with lansberg today

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#8 coptin_
December 16 2010, 07:53PM
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i was wondering if someone can answer a question.i noticed that the laffs are wearing their home jersey tonite ,they also did the other night in edmonton,is this a special leafs thing or what

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#9 dotfras
December 16 2010, 07:54PM
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According to TSN they only traveled with their blue jerseys.

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#10 coptin_
December 16 2010, 08:00PM
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wow our power play sucks

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#11 Robert Cleave
December 16 2010, 08:13PM
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Corsi.

CGY +13, EV shots 8-2 Flames. That 4 on 4 was as good or better than any Flame PP in recent memory. More please.

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#12 B
December 16 2010, 08:15PM
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...(chuckles) the Leafs TV announcer chuckles under his breath everytime Phaneuf wires a slap shot 5 feet wide.

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#13 SmellOfVictory
December 16 2010, 08:52PM
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Giguere is just stoning them. The Leafs can thank him for being tied at this point.

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#14 Kent Wilson
December 16 2010, 08:52PM
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Just catching up after getting home late. Flames look like the better team mostly, but they can't seem to finish.

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#15 dotfras
December 16 2010, 08:53PM
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Look at that! A primary assist from Stajan!

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#16 Robert Cleave
December 16 2010, 08:55PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Just catching up after getting home late. Flames look like the better team mostly, but they can't seem to finish.

Better by a ton when they get the forecheck going. Toronto has really struggled to handle the cycle.

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#17 B
December 16 2010, 08:57PM
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...what a shift by Jokinen. Flew by Phaneuf and got robbed by Giggy. One timer from Iggy to Jokinen, robbed by Giggy.

...awesome no look by Stajan to Tanguay for the second goal. He needed that after the break away miss.

...nice shot by Jokinen for the 3rd goal.

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#18 Kent Wilson
December 16 2010, 09:00PM
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Spoke too soon.

Jokinen needs to just stay at the top of the circle on the PP.

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#19 Kent Wilson
December 16 2010, 09:01PM
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Boy oh boy is Giguere struggling in the second. He's made some 10 bell saves, but in almost all of the goals against he's been way too slow and deep in his net.

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#20 Kent Wilson
December 16 2010, 09:07PM
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Alright, Im caught up fully here. Chances were 7-4 in favor of the Flames in the first and 11-4 in the second.

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#21 B
December 16 2010, 09:08PM
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@Kent Wilson

...Jokinen's goal was through a maze of players, but I agree with you on the Borque goal (at least compared to some of the other shots he stopped), it was kind of weak.

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#22 Robert Cleave
December 16 2010, 09:08PM
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Corsi.

CGY +22, +9 in the second, EV shots 22-9, 14-7 in the second. I don't know if the Flames are going to accomplish bugger all this year, but the Leafs are terrible, and people comparing the two teams really ought to give their heads a shake. Calgary's forwards are better by a mile.

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#23 Kent Wilson
December 16 2010, 09:10PM
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I think the only Leaf that has impressed me in this one is Grabovski. Dude is quick and pretty good with the puck.

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#24 icedawg_42
December 16 2010, 09:13PM
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they actually DO seem like the Hungry Hungry Home Team

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#25 Robert Cleave
December 16 2010, 09:13PM
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@Kent Wilson

Yup. His line has actually done OK when they've been against Iggy's line. The Tanguay goal was when they were out against the fourth line.

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#26 Kent Wilson
December 16 2010, 09:13PM
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Robert Cleave wrote:

Corsi.

CGY +22, +9 in the second, EV shots 22-9, 14-7 in the second. I don't know if the Flames are going to accomplish bugger all this year, but the Leafs are terrible, and people comparing the two teams really ought to give their heads a shake. Calgary's forwards are better by a mile.

Yeah, the Flames aren't great, but playing this group of forwards at home is making them look elite.

Jokinen was driving me nuts at ES tonight, but the dude has found his range on the PP. He should be put on the point every night with the man advantage. Period.

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#27 icedawg_42
December 16 2010, 09:14PM
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you look at Tanguay's goal, and the more I see it, that was a Beauty pass from Stajan. Wasn't a fluke, he was looking.

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#28 Robert Cleave
December 16 2010, 09:14PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Yeah, the Flames aren't great, but playing this group of forwards at home is making them look elite.

Jokinen was driving me nuts at ES tonight, but the dude has found his range on the PP. He should be put on the point every night with the man advantage. Period.

Hey, I know a guy who's been advocating that.

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#29 Kent Wilson
December 16 2010, 09:16PM
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Robert Cleave wrote:

Hey, I know a guy who's been advocating that.

I don't know what the resistance to it is. It's just plain good sense.

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#30 Robert Cleave
December 16 2010, 09:21PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I don't know what the resistance to it is. It's just plain good sense.

He's likely a bit of a target for an aggressive PK, because his puck handling is suspect, to be kind. Still, when he gets a bit of room, he certainly can shoot, and it limits his involvement to a place where he might actually be a potential asset. My expectations are pretty realistic about him at EV, but Brent gets a big minus for not using him in a spot where he's had success his entire career.

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#31 hal a pena
December 16 2010, 09:30PM
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Robert Cleave wrote:

He's likely a bit of a target for an aggressive PK, because his puck handling is suspect, to be kind. Still, when he gets a bit of room, he certainly can shoot, and it limits his involvement to a place where he might actually be a potential asset. My expectations are pretty realistic about him at EV, but Brent gets a big minus for not using him in a spot where he's had success his entire career.

don't forget to mention dave lowry, he heads the powerplay.

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#32 Kent Wilson
December 16 2010, 09:34PM
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Well, CGY missed two or three 10 bell chances in the early going, but they've gotten the bounces later to make up for it. The Hagman shot bounces off the defeder and deflected past Gustavsson.

Still, Flames were kinda owed a night like this. They're outchancing, so it's not like the score is deceiving either.

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#33 hal a pena
December 16 2010, 09:37PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Well, CGY missed two or three 10 bell chances in the early going, but they've gotten the bounces later to make up for it. The Hagman shot bounces off the defeder and deflected past Gustavsson.

Still, Flames were kinda owed a night like this. They're outchancing, so it's not like the score is deceiving either.

poor fundamentals for the leafs.the nhl should have relagation like soccer.

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#34 Robert Cleave
December 16 2010, 09:39PM
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hal a pena wrote:

don't forget to mention dave lowry, he heads the powerplay.

That's crazy. If Brent Sutter told Lowry, "Hey, use Olli on the right point when we're on the PP", I find it pretty damned unlikely he'd commit an act of insubordination. Lowry might run things tactically, and he has a few things to answer for in that regard, but he's sure as hell not choosing personnel.

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#35 hal a pena
December 16 2010, 09:47PM
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Robert Cleave wrote:

That's crazy. If Brent Sutter told Lowry, "Hey, use Olli on the right point when we're on the PP", I find it pretty damned unlikely he'd commit an act of insubordination. Lowry might run things tactically, and he has a few things to answer for in that regard, but he's sure as hell not choosing personnel.

i was saying that you should share the blame with the coach who is entrusted with that facet of the game. personnel is part of the tactic and strategy.not unlike the goalie coach etc.

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#36 Kent Wilson
December 16 2010, 09:51PM
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Jokinen showin' us how a 3on2 is done there at the end.

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#37 Robert Cleave
December 16 2010, 09:51PM
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Corsi.

CGY +15, EV shots 30-17. The Flames shut the engines down a bit after the Hagman goal, but they did exactly what they should against a poor team.

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#38 Kent Wilson
December 16 2010, 09:52PM
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Leafs with a solid push back in the middle third, but that's usually what happens when you're chasing.

Solid game overall for the Flames.

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#39 Kent Wilson
December 16 2010, 09:55PM
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Robert Cleave wrote:

Corsi.

CGY +15, EV shots 30-17. The Flames shut the engines down a bit after the Hagman goal, but they did exactly what they should against a poor team.

How the hell Iginla and Jokinen end up under water is beyond me. I know the Leafs had some time in the third, but sheezus.

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#40 Robert Cleave
December 16 2010, 10:00PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

How the hell Iginla and Jokinen end up under water is beyond me. I know the Leafs had some time in the third, but sheezus.

Until the goals went in, a lot of the possession was by the bottom six. Backlund and Kotalik were good, and the fourth line never seemed in trouble.

Grabovski was pretty good when he wasn't vacationing in the box. I don't watch the Leafs every night, but I have a sense the crap he takes from people in Toronto might be slightly out of proportion for what a middle of the order guy should receive.

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#41 dotfras
December 16 2010, 10:32PM
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We passed Minnesota in the standings. They have 2 games in hand but we play them next so a win there would help us.

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