October 19 2011 01:14PM
Well needless to say the first week of the 2011-12 season has not exactly gone as hoped. The Flames went 1-3 in their first four games, and well there are a lot of unhappy people in Flamesland. One of the bright spots this week though came in the Flames only win; a 4-1 victory over the Habs. Not only was it a win, but it was a good win for the team; and it was a pretty special evening in a different manner.
It was a night where the storied Montreal franchise was celebrating their 102nd home opener, but the night would end with the Flames fans celebrating a different number; two-hundred and sixty-three. It was the 263rd win by Miikka Kiprusoff in a Flames uniform. Why is that so important? Well it's one more than Mike Vernon had, who held the record for most wins by a Flames goaltender.
It was also a night that we didn't hear the usual banter about whether the Flames should trade Kiprusoff or not, whether he is or isn't elite, it was just a night that everyone could be happy for the guy and most of the debates could be about whether fans could someday see his #34 up in the rafters beside #30. That's an article for another day though, but I will say he did it in about 50-60 games less than Vernon, but it's a decision far above my pay-grade, so I'll leave it at that. If you're kind of on the fence about the whole thing, maybe need a little convincing? Check out Domebeers for his opinion. I personally found it quite moving.
Prior to the game versus the Oilers last night, the Flames honoured Miikka for the record breaking performance.
It was a pretty classy move by the Flames, acknowledging this achievement right away. Before the game started, Mike Vernon came out and presented Miikka with a fifty thousand dollar check to be donated on Kiprusoff's behalf to charity. He wouldn't disappoint the fans or the former record holder. In a game that was more exciting in the FlamesNation chat room, Kiprusoff was consistently solid all night, and was a huge reason for the Flames' win.
In keeping with the theme of informational humour, I made sure to read from The Book of Loob, whom I'm positive is Domebeer's doppleganger, for my weekly sermon. It's story time from TBOL, and he has some interesting breakdowns on Flames players and what they actually are doing right so far. He even talks about the Flames misuse of Iginla so far. Big surprise eh? It's not bad enough that the captain is off to a slow start... again, but now after 12 seasons, they can't figure out to deploy him right in the line-up. What's funny is, just as you start getting all fired up with something insightful to comment, BoL hands it back over to his once conjoined twin for the last word on Elvis. And no, he hasn't left the building.
On the injury front, the Flames welcomed back Brendan Morrison last night. On Monday B-Mo was skating with Hagman and Bourque, which led us to believe that Moss was going to stay on the top line with Iginla and Tanguay. many thought that it would be an automatic move to put Morrison on the top line and move Moss back to the OMG line. I wasn't surprised to see this not happen.
After missing so much time, the coaching staff probably wanted to ease Brendan back into the line-up.As Scott Cruickshank talks about, the Flames locker room is starting to become crowded, like training camp crowded.The addition of Morrison and the bazzar decision to dress PL3 took Roman Horak and Tom Kostopoulos out of the line-up. I didn't have a problem with Tom coming out, but it was more of a non-decision since he was substituted by PL3, and I still scratch my head as to why he is still on this team. We'll have to wait and see what this means to Horak's spot on the roster.
As for the bad news on the injuries, it looks like Mikael Backlund is going to need a second surgery. Now while this came as a surprise to me reading this on Saturday night, it was quite evident from Backlund's tweet, that this was not a shock to the team or the player. In fact, it was planned, and shouldn't extend his recovery time by any means.
IF YOU BUILD IT THEY WILL COME
On the development front, what a week for Sven Baertschi! With 7 pts in 2 games, Baertschi was named the WHL's Player of the Week. Sven now has 14 pts in 7 games and sits 10th in WHL scoring, however he has played at least 2 games less than the nine players above him in the standings. Some other prospect notes worth noting... Max Reinhart sits 18th in WHL scoring, with 13 pts. Patrick Holland has tallied 9 pts (all assists) in 9 games and was named one of the rotating Assistant Captains with the Tri-City Americans.
Last night Darren Dreger decided it was time to stir up the pot a little for Flames fans with his Insider Training segment. Suggestions made about the potential availability or interest in Rene Bourque. No official word or what teams having been suggested as a suitable dance partner, but Scott Lepp over at M&G tackles the question, is Rene Bourque up for Grabs?
Flames Jambalaya launched their new mobile app for Android phone users. Check it out for updates not just on the Flames, but the Abbotsford Heat as well. It's a pretty cool app... and it's free.