Risky business

Pat Steinberg
March 17 2010 04:15PM

Calgary Flames vs Vancouver Canucks

It's the biggest game of the season (we all know that), against a team the Calgary Flames have yet to beat this season. That's why some find it odd to see the Calgary Flames start Vesa Toskala in net over Miikka Kiprusoff tonight in Denver.

To be honest, I'm not sure what the pulse would be on this move... It's certainly ballsy and a big gamble. There's no question that it'll be much talked about regardless of what the result ends up being.

If the Flames end up losing this hockey game, every single goal will be scrutinized by many. "Vesa should have stopped that," or "Miikka would have stopped this," is probably going to be the tone of some conversations. And for good reason. It's Toskala's second start since joining the Flames in a deadline day deal from Anaheim. He's played five periods since then, picking up the "W" in a March 7th win over Minnesota. He also played on Sunday night, seeing action in the final 2 periods in Calgary's 3-1 loss in Vancouver. If they end up winning, well, maybe some will call it a gutsy move that paid off.

I don't really have a huge problem with it. Every game is as important as the next, so it's not as if this game looms any larger than Friday's at home against San Jose. If we were talking about Curtis McElhinney, who had yet to inspire ANY confidence, it's clearly a different story.

But, for me anyway, it's been five good periods from Toskala. How much confidence that inspires in you, that's up to you. Jarome Iginla said today he likes it, because you need both goalies going. Is he going to say that anyway? Probably. But, I happen to believe this isn't a huge deal one way or the other.

Kiprusoff hasn't beaten Colorado this season, neither have the Flames. Why not try something different? I don't think Toskala will be the reason Calgary loses this game. But then again, as happens far too often, I could be very, very wrong.

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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 Kent Wilson
March 17 2010, 05:32PM
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Every game is as important as the next

Right up until the Flames are mathematically eliminated, which is hastened with every loss. Which means it doesn't make sense to dress anything but the best line-up until that happens.

The coaching staff has pretty much run out of ideas.

Edited to add...your title is very appropriate.

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#3 Justin
March 17 2010, 06:12PM
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While it may be OK to think that you are going to win every game you play, it's unrealistic. Add in the fact that the other teams around you are unpredictable in terms of results, and you should never assume anything. Which, unfortunately, seems to be what Sutter is doing here.

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#4 Kent Wilson
March 17 2010, 06:41PM
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@ Steinberg. There can't really be any other goal in my mind.

The only "reason" I can think of for starting Toskala tonight is the team has lost to the Avs with Kipper in net every other time this year...so they figure "hell, might as well try something else."

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#5 Cordell Cummings
March 17 2010, 10:09PM
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@ Kent Wilson & Steinberg

Obviously, by starting Toskala, they're stating that goaltending/defense is not the issue. Flames have kept the goals against pretty low this season, the issue is at the other end of the ice, where a goaltender has no control.

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#6 jeff 32
March 17 2010, 10:51PM
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flames won, that's all that matters. kipper is still the #1 though

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