January 11 2011 04:35PM
Nothing says excitement like Flames/'Canes.
If you can think of a duller game than this one that's taken place in the last month, you are surely better at remembering dull things than me.
This is just one of those mid-season games where if anything, anything at all that's even remotely interesting takes place, you would be absolutely and totally shocked. A friend of mine works for the Hurricanes on their gameday staff and even he believes that this game will be rather boring, with almost nothing to talk about before, during or after.
Let's be honest: it's an out of conference game between two teams who have little reason to feel anything resembling enmity, except for the fact that maybe Ian White or Anton Babchuk are kind of upset about the trade? But even then, it's not like those dudes are going to be looking for someone to scrap with. Tom Kostopoulos already dodged this one by clobbering Brad Stuart into March or so.
If the closest thing to a storyline this game has is the first game between White/Babchuk and his old team, then that's not very much at all. Well, I mean I guess Olli Jokinen will get the chance to square off against brother Jussi. And what a barnburner that will be. Or maybe father against son! Brent and Brandon! Except the 2011 version of Brandon hasn't exactly been the force he was at times last year with just 13 points in 40 games, down from 40 in 72 last year. Or maybe future All-Star teammates/opponents Jarome Iginla, Eric Staal and Cam Ward will exchange pleasantries. Except that it's more like they will not take that as a euphemism for being mean to each other, but rather actually exchange some friendly words prior to or perhaps after the game.
Games like this, it gets tough to manufacture storylines.
The good news for Calgary fans is that the last two meetings between these teams, on March 6, 2009, and Feb. 3, 2010, were both won by the Flames, by a combined score of 10-2, and getting off on the right foot here would be a hell of a way to start off a four game road set against some pretty weak teams (and the Canadiens).
Problem is, these Hurricanes aren't the ones from a year or two ago. They're actually playing semi-decently in a shockingly tough division. Ward, who gets the go tonight, has been standing on his head, and Staal can do some major damage against the league's minnows (among which we must count Calgary), if given compelling reason to do so.
Unfortunately, I can't imagine he'll get one from this tilt.