October 11 2012 06:50PM
Well boys and girls, it's that time again: OPENING NIGHT HAPPY FUN TIME! Your Calgary Flames take on their classic foes, the Vancouver Suckiest Sucks Who Ever Sucked, and I don't know about you, but after what seemed like an especially long postseason, I could not be more excited for some down home professional hockey, the way it's supposed to be done.
Just as an aside, does it seem like all those exhibition games just didn't happen? I'm sure the Flames did pretty well, but I just can't remember how any of those games ended.
So here we are, opening night. The season is born anew like Gaia breathing the first breath of spring, ridding us of winter's frosty bite (looks outside...snow. Hmmm, that's weird). Hope springs eternal. Optimism abound. Not making the playoffs last year is a thing of the past, it's onwards and upwards. We're all starting at zero today, friends, and anything can happen over these next 82 games.
That said, it seems like no one is buying tickets for the game. It seems like the Saddledome faithful do not fancy the Flames chances this year, and are apparently boycotting something. Don't know what that's about.
Actually, I don't know, it seems like Coach Hartley hasn't released any kind of official looking lineup for tonight. In fact, I don't remember the Flames cutting any players down to Abbotsford. I'm just going to speculate on what the lineup is going to be based on past season's performances and preseason proficiency (assumed)
Tanguay - Cammalleri - Iginla
Roberts - Nieuwendyk - Fleury
Glencross - Yogi Bear - Uncle Joey from Full House
Jones - Jones - Jones
Bouwmeester - Giordano
MacGyver - MacInnis
Flying Pylon - Garfield
Say what you will about chemistry, I'm not a big advocate of myself, but if you look down the roster, there's a lot of grit but not a whole lot of scoring, so one hopes that the Flames find the right line combinations that somehow catch fire and allow these charges to overachieve down the stretch this season.
Everyone is talking about the Mike Cammalleri at Center experiment and how that's going to go, but equally intriguing to me is the notion that Yogi Bear can also perform as the central pivot on the checking line. I'm told his skating ability has improved with excess training over the past few months, but I can't help but get past the criticisms that have dogged him over his whole career, most notably that he's A F#@$%&*G BEAR.
The Other Guys
Likewise, it seems Alain Vigneault hasn't set any lines, and the Canucks have yet to finalize their lineup as well. What is with these clowns, don't they know there's a whole season ahead of us to play?!?! The march to Stanley starts today and no one seems prepared. Some professionals, I know.
Anyway, the Canucks have been pretty good over the years and haven't had to make many lineup changes to remain competitive, so once again, it should be able to project their lineup, so that's what I'm going to do.
D. Sedin - H. Sedin - Who cares, some guy who will benefit from it
Despatie - Louganis - Orca
Schnepts - Messier - Linden
Bure's Knee - Guy Who Falls A Lot, Rather Suspiciously - Odjick
Bieksa - Hamhius
Overturned Police Car - Smashed in Local Business
Luongo or Something
So that should work out pretty well for them. It's a solid blend of scoring, defense, being horizontal, and you know, intangibles. It'll be a tough egg for the Flames to crack, as the Sedins, predictably, should be the Sedins (My theory on this has always been that there is only one Sedin who is using some really elaborate smoke and mirror tricks to make it seem like there's two. I think the league should investigate this immediately, as it's not like they have anything better to do right now)
It's the first game of the year, it's a Division rival, it was a truly boring offseason where nothing of note happened, what's not to get excited about? I know the Canucks are a perennial powerhouse, and the Flames have been, let's say lacklustre over the past few campaigns, but I'll say this: The Canucks are all on steroids, Alex Burrows killed a guy in 1996 and has managed to escape justice, and Ryan Kesler gets pumped up by listening to light jazz and Robert Goulet and a light jazz album by Ryan Kesler and Robert Goulet with a guest appearance by Goulet's half brother, Michel Goulet. Also Roberto Luongo, I hear, cries. Kevin Bieksa in an unabashed fan of Whitney. In Sweden, a ponzi scheme is referred to as a "Sedin Brott".
And so forth.
Which, I guess, is to say that the Flames could win this one. They are wonderful, angelic young men with hearts of gold and sticks of fire. They will dole out justice on their deserved Pacific Coast nemesis, and who doesn't want to see that? Justice? I sure do. All I'm saying is that I promise this game won't be one we look back on and think "Wow, that game was so forgettable it's like it was never even played"