October 03 2013 03:01PM
The frosty bite of winter beckons.
Like clockwork, a requiem for a dying season, the fall harvest too marks the ceremony of the game of hockey being born anew. And it's a beautiful thing, friends. Hockey is a beautiful thing. Grace, speed, and poise, all in a perfect, simultaneous symmetry, the essence of sport in its fullest display. A virgin sheet of pristine ice serves as a peerless canvas in which teams of artists create art in motion, day after day, until the quest for the game's ultimate prize, itself a timeless piece of art, is earned.
This is more or less what's in store for your Calgary Flames this season.
Or kinda not really.
Today is game 1 of 82, or as I've been calling it "UGHty-two", and while it's been beaten so squarely into the middle of our collective foreheads that this is going to be a season of transition, of tested patience, and of Christ Butler, that doesn't mean that there's no reason to watch the games, to pick new favourite Flames (all you people stuck in your Comeau Comas have to come out of them eventually), and perhaps most importantly, absolutely hating the opposition.
That starts now.
The Recognizable Calgary Hockey Team Lineup
Courtesy of our friends at Daily Faceoff, of whom WE OWN NOW and can use for our own evil intentioned ruses (but are also just a tremendous resource).
- Glencross - Stajan - Stempniak
- Hudler - Backlund - Galiardi
- Baertschi - Monahan - Jones (!)
- Bouma - Street - McGrattan
- Brodie - Giordano
- Russell - Wideman
- Butler - O'Brien
If not for the fact that all the Citizens of the Nations Network are well educated and informed hockey fans (and we love you and you look really nice today), there would be no judgment if the beleaguered cries of "who the hell are these guys?!!?" were uttered by the unwashed masses (you guys should wash).
Indeed, everyone with an interest in the Flames of Calgary probably has his or her own vision of how these lines should look, but hey, most of these guys are more or less interchangeable with each other, so this is about as good as it's going to get, one way or another.
There's going to be some growing pains with this lineup. Hell, even when Mike Cammalleri returns from injury, we'll all be wondering how long it's going to be before he gets shuttled out to another team (REBUILD!!!).
But let's put aside the uncertainty and the overall gloomy outlook at the collection of mostly young men we're looking at here. Line 3, man, Line 3. The Sven and the Svean. That's a thing that's happening. That's the future, sorta. David Jones is going to score 30 goals this year. All break aways and 3on1's. In my head.
Also, it will be interesting to see if the Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman combination continues to look anywhere near as good as they did during prolonged stretches in the preseason, notably on the power play. They done good. If it's something that can continue, perhaps, well...no, nevermind.
- Obama - Backstrom - Ovechkin
- Laich - Grabovski - Obama
- Chimera - Obama - Ward
- Obama - Biden - Booker T. Washington
- Obama - Obama
- Obama - Obama
- Hillen - Carrick
(Actual lines here, I guess)
The Washington Capitals, apparently, are an essential service, because if you've been paying attention to the news lately, the team are amongst the very few people in DC who will be working tomorrow.
If you think it's hard to hate the Capitals based on the fact that their history with the Calgary Flames is almost nothing, well, think again; you can hate anyone.
Especially when we're talking about a team that drops off after 1.1 lines and used to rolling through a division that used to call the Florida Panthers COMPETITION. Tough break there, hey Oatesy?
Indeed, that top line is bonkers, and Mikhail Grabovski managed to score a hat trick the other night playing on a line with Broos Laich and Troy Brouwer somehow, but after that, this team is laughably bad. Like, so laughable it could sound like virtually any Alex Ovechkin tweet ever.
Admit it, you had no idea John Erskine and Jack Hillen were still in the league. I'm not even entirely sure they know about it.
This is a beatable team. So are the Flames, but if Ovechkin is contained and cannot keep up his alien scoring pace from the end of last season (which, uh...), then the Flames might even actually have a shot in this one. BRIGHTSIDE.
Probably not, but it's possible the Capitals are going to wish they had a slice of Obamacare. After all, McGrattan is in the lineup.
Playoff Race Implications
Players to Watch
How about all of them, jerk? It's the first game of the season and your eye for analysis and critical thought is still in midseason form. Ease into the season before you correctly explain why Matty Franchise is going to win the Vezina this year.
Still though, watch out for Matt Stajan. I assume he's going to do some things.
And Karri Ramo. Ramo is going to be under the spotlight all season, and hopefully this won't be like that time that douchebag Canucks fan shone a laser in Kipper's eyes. Ramo is, by default, the guy now, based on the fact that Reto Berra is not very good at stopping pucks and most of the other guys in the system are either too young or a loose assembly of of old bricks. Ramo has an opportunity to become NHL GOALIE GUY, but man, the pressure is on.
Probably Sean Monahan too. I'll bet that's going to be interesting.
Well it could be hazy days in Cowtown this season, friends, but at least Steve Begin isn't in the lineup.
The first day of the rest of the Flames' life starts tonight, and the path they take today could very well determine just which way this rebuild goes. Also, I wonder if I tend to overexaggerate about these sorts of things?
Nah. Go Flames Go! Hockey's back!