FGD: On Frozen Pond

Ryan Pike
March 08 2013 11:26AM

 

 

Unlike most people, your Calgary Flames really hate going to Disneyland.

While other people go to Disneyland, ride Space Mountain and fill themselves up with cotton candy and childhood whimsy, all the Flames do in Anaheim is lose. The last time the Calgary Flames won a hockey game in Anaheim was January 19, 2004. That was before the last two NHL lockouts.

The Flames roster included Roman Turek, Jamie McLennan, Denis Gauthier, Jordan Leopold, Chuck Kobasew, Shean Donovan, Chris Clark, Matthew Lombardi, Oleg Saprykin, Lynn Loyns, Andrew Ference, Craig Conroy, Martin Gelinas, Josh Green, Steven Reinprecht, Robyn Regehr, Toni Lydman, Krzysztof Oliwa, Dean McAmmond and Rhett Warrener. Conroy had a four-point night and Gelinas had the game-winning goal in a 5-1 rout. Both are currently part of the Flames hockey operations department and both, oddly, will be in the building for the Flames' return to the house of horrors. The only Flames still around from that era are Miikka Kiprusoff and Jarome Iginla, who by sheer coincidence both missed that game due to injury.

Since January 2004, the Flames have lost 15 straight regular season visits to Anaheim's Honda Center, going 0-10-5 in the process. In a more encouraging note, the Flames have gone 0-3-5 over the last four seasons in Anaheim, so at least they're getting points. But they'd much rather get two points, particularly in a season where they're trying to stay above that pesky .500 mark.

Can the Flames change the House of Mouse from a house of horrors into a house of victory? Find out tonight at 8:30pm MT on Sportsnet 960 The Fan and Sportsnet West.

THE LINE-UP

The Flames have quietly been on a bit of a tear of late, going 4-1-1 in their last six and picking up wins over Minnesota, Phoenix, Vancouver and San Jose. That's got to give them some confidence. More encouragingly, the Flames have scored four or more goals in four of their last five games – the lone exception being their 2-1 overtime loss against Minnesota. Now that Miikka Kiprusoff is back in the saddle, the message is likely “if you can score four, you should always win.”

Jarome Iginla has six goals in his last five games. The Flames' PK has only allowed two goals in the last nine games (or two in the last 30 kills), while the PP has produced four goals in the same time-span. If that continues, the team will be in good shape.

Given Calgary's success last game it's not likely that they'll change up their line substantially. Here's how things ended last game.

  • Glencross – Stajan - Stempniak
  • Hudler – Cervenka – Iginla
  • Tanguay – Cammalleri - Comeau
  • Baertschi – Jackman - McGrattan

  • Giordano – Bouwmeester
  • Wideman – Butler
  • Brodie – Smith

  • Kiprusoff

The obvious change may come on the fourth line, as Comeau may stay on the third line but that leaves the fourth without an actual centre. So expect somebody to rotate out so that Steve Begin can slot back in. The top two lines both performed rather well against San Jose, while Chris Butler ate up a ton of minutes.

THE OPPOSITION

The Ducks are rolling, with just three regulation losses all season and a 3-0-2 record in their last five games. Oddly, their last three games have been against the Phoenix Coyotes. The club is second only to those pesky Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference standings.

Here's how their lines were last game.

  • Getzlaf – Perry - Ryan
  • Winnik – Koivu – Cogliano
  • Beleskey – Bonino – Selanne
  • McMillan – Holland - Etem

  • Fowler – Lydman
  • Beauchemin - Souray
  • Sbisa - Lovejoy

  • Fasth

I'd expect Victor Fasth to start, but that's merely a guess as he's their number-one nowadays. That Ducks top line is quite good (combining for 66 points so far), while their second line is also pretty solid. Their fourth line has potential, which is a polite way of saying they're not great yet but might be at some point down the road. Also, Ryan Getzlaf was re-signed for 8 years today, so expect him to be their first line center until the next lock-out.

The last time the Flames faced the Ducks, Ben Lovejoy was with the Penguins. His addition fills out their defense corps a bit and makes them a bit harder to play against. Of course, the thing that makes them tough to play against is the fact that the team has bought into Bruce Boudreau's systems and are playing a strong team game.

SUM IT UP

The Ducks are quite good and have already beaten Calgary this year. But with the Flames full of piss and vinegar with a handful of recent wins and the return of Miikka Kiprusoff, there may be no better time than the present for Calgary to exorcise some Disneyland demons.

After all, the losing streak in the O.C. has to end eventually, right? Right?

 

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Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's covered the Flames and the NHL since 2010. His work can also be found at The Hockey Writers and The Wrestling Observer.
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#1 funkyjaman
March 08 2013, 01:23PM
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@beloch

According to Vicki Hall Sven wasn't on the ice this morning for the pre-game skate. My guess is he is sent down this week at some point, and I'm fine with that if it means he is playing and getting his confidence built up. I think even if he is sent down we will see him again this season.

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#2 Parallex
March 08 2013, 01:24PM
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Backs is out of the yellow jersey? Excellent! But yes Baertschi will probably end up back in Abbotsford... better he play 20 a night there then 5 here so good on them. I imagine he'll (Backlund) slot in with Tanguay and Cammy leaving Comeau to center the 4th line.

Can't come soon enough.

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#3 Jeff In Lethbridge
March 08 2013, 01:42PM
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this weekend... we win three in a row, and establish ourselves as a true contender... as we've been on the cusp for several years now...

bwaaaahaaaaaaaahaaaaa haaaaaahahahahahaha hhheee heeee hoooo

i laughed so hard i think i peed a little

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#4 s_yav14
March 08 2013, 01:53PM
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We're all talking about how Sven is looking good and more confident out their, they put him on the pp for 20 seconds. Next thing we know hes sitting on the bench with the 4th line. Now apparently sitting out? Come on Hartley, Comeau is a plug...

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#5 Michael
March 08 2013, 03:09PM
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Abbotsford need the help, send Sven down and give him some serious playing time. Nothing better for your confidence than putting a few in the back of the net. Sven isn't getting the ice time or playing in situations with the big club that will further his development.

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#6 Q
March 08 2013, 11:17PM
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Is this really the team feasters settling with? Wow. They looked like little boys out there. Loved the quote by bob that said he wanted his biggest guys out there! Hilarious! Lol city tonight! We blow chunks!

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#7 SeanCharles
March 08 2013, 11:36AM
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Sven finally scores tonight! Gets some confidence and stays in top 9 for the remainder of the year...

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#8 FireOnIce
March 08 2013, 11:40AM
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Getzlaf with a fat new contract: 8 years @ $8M per. Probably light a fire under his ass, 3-1-4.

GlenX with a stupid penalty at 1min left of the game. Selanne scores in OT.

4-3. Ducks.

Oh, and we see a Flying V and Charlie Conway triple dekes.

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#9 Austin
March 08 2013, 12:26PM
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Will feaster go after perry?

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#10 the-wolf
March 08 2013, 12:36PM
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Austin wrote:

Will feaster go after perry?

After him how? Trade? Or in the summer?

With the way Anaheim is playing I can see the Ducks rolling the dice on this one and not moving him.

It's a big risk, you'd hate to lose a guy of that caliber for nothing, but they're in a tough situation. Moving him could have a poor effect on playoff aspiraations.

Of course, it depends what's offered too. But the Ducks would have the ebst idea of which way he may be leaning.

Even if were moved to Calgary in a trade (doubtful), I can't see Perry re-signing here.

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#11 Willi P
March 08 2013, 12:47PM
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Wow. Getzlaf @ 8.25 per for 8 years. No home town discount there.

Now 4th highest cap hit in the NHL (unless somebody goes higher between now and the start of next season)

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#12 lionlager
March 08 2013, 12:48PM
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A win here would be huge.

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#13 Kevin R
March 08 2013, 01:02PM
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Austin wrote:

Will feaster go after perry?

That Getlaff contract is nuts!!!! 8.25mill cap hit for 8 years. That is going to cripple Anaheim. So Perry is probably going to want 9.0 mill for 8 years seeing he was an MVP & his linemate got 8.25mill. How many years will it take for that contract to become an albatross? No thanks, let the Oilers or Canucks sign Perry for that kind of money. To me, 8 year deal should have gotten a discount to at least 6.0mill per. At least you have a chance to sign other players that might help you get to a Cup final.

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#14 funkyjaman
March 08 2013, 01:02PM
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Looks like Sven is watching from the press box tonight as per Steinberg.

Begin, Jackman, McGrattan, on the forth? Looking for some muscle I guess. Wonder how much these guys get out...could be entertaining.

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#15 funkyjaman
March 08 2013, 01:05PM
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Backlund with the team and is on the ice in a red Jersey this morning too.

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#16 Willi P
March 08 2013, 01:07PM
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Kevin R wrote:

That Getlaff contract is nuts!!!! 8.25mill cap hit for 8 years. That is going to cripple Anaheim. So Perry is probably going to want 9.0 mill for 8 years seeing he was an MVP & his linemate got 8.25mill. How many years will it take for that contract to become an albatross? No thanks, let the Oilers or Canucks sign Perry for that kind of money. To me, 8 year deal should have gotten a discount to at least 6.0mill per. At least you have a chance to sign other players that might help you get to a Cup final.

Mostly agree. Thinking 7 per year over 8 would have been more than fair. At these prices, the Flames will never get a 1C.

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#18 beloch
March 08 2013, 01:17PM
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funkyjaman wrote:

Backlund with the team and is on the ice in a red Jersey this morning too.

Good to hear he's close to ready. The Herald is reporting that tonight's lineup does not include Baertschi, and that someone has to be sent down to Abbotsford before Backlund can play. Did the Flames even take Baertschi to Anaheim?

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#19 Parallex
March 08 2013, 01:18PM
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@Kevin R

Ducks had little leverage and looking at free agent centers coming up this offseason it was basically Getzlaf and nobody. Someone was going to give Getzlaf that money... the Ducks just decided they would rather it be them.

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#20 Kevin R
March 08 2013, 01:20PM
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Willi P wrote:

Mostly agree. Thinking 7 per year over 8 would have been more than fair. At these prices, the Flames will never get a 1C.

Even at 7.0 mill with a declining Cap is going to severely handcuff the teams cap structure. Getlaff had a terrible year last year, I know, had him in a hockey pool. His numbers are only going to digress as he gets into his 30's. Well we for sure wont be able to afford a #1 C if we are going to continue to pay Cammi 6.0mill, Iggy 7.0 mill, JBO 6.68mill, Wideman 5.3mill. Add kippers 5.8mill & theres half of next years cap payroll.

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#21 ngthagg
March 08 2013, 01:41PM
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The only positive I can see with Baertschi on that fourth line is that after McGrattan has his five minutes of icetime and five minutes in the penalty box, someone better can rotate in.

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#22 Kevin R
March 08 2013, 02:03PM
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Jeff In Lethbridge wrote:

this weekend... we win three in a row, and establish ourselves as a true contender... as we've been on the cusp for several years now...

bwaaaahaaaaaaaahaaaaa haaaaaahahahahahaha hhheee heeee hoooo

i laughed so hard i think i peed a little

Thats freaking hilarious!!!!!!!!!

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#23 SeanCharles
March 08 2013, 02:32PM
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Make a trade, keep Sven on the 3rd line with Backlund..this is cr@p..

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#24 Derzie
March 08 2013, 03:02PM
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Look to Hartley's work with a young Tanguay for a preview of what he is doing with Sven. We'll see how it goes. He is very up and down as expected but the win-now mentality is not willing to give him ice Better on the farm (sadly).

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#25 Baalzamon
March 08 2013, 05:13PM
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Michael wrote:

Abbotsford need the help, send Sven down and give him some serious playing time. Nothing better for your confidence than putting a few in the back of the net. Sven isn't getting the ice time or playing in situations with the big club that will further his development.

this. Think of the experience Sven will get being a huge part of a mediocre team rather than a small part of a mediocre team. You have to think that Sven's presence will help the other guys down in Abbotsford, giving them a legitimate offensive threat.

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#26 ChinookArch
March 08 2013, 06:15PM
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Hartley is a bit puzzling to me. He seems to have figured out his top 6 on the defensive side and opted to sideline both Babchuck and Sarich. On the other hand he keeps rewarding Comeau, Begin and McGrattan, over Baertschi. While he obviously has a philosophical leaning toward grit and physical play that Begin brings (and McGrattan I guess, even though he has challenges playing hockey) I just don't understand his preference of Comeau over Sven. Puzzling what he sees in this guy. I hope he can turn the Comeau project into something more useful.

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#27 Jeff In Lethbridge
March 08 2013, 06:34PM
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Have you ever asked yourself, "what if MacGratton scores, and Iginla gets in a fight"? I'm so confused! Man, i admit it, this team has me all screwed up in the head. Are we any good? Or not? For gods sake please just tell me the truth. Quit toying with me!!!!

Love, Jeff

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#28 seve927
March 08 2013, 06:43PM
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@Baalzamon

Agreed. Send him down. Ducks have been the second luckiest team in the league this year, Flames one of the unluckiest. The streak ends tonight!

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#29 seve927
March 08 2013, 07:41PM
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Boston College game is available online at

http://www.nsnsports.net/index.php/nsn-channel-6

I think all Vermont games are on this site. Tomorrow as well.

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#30 Colin
March 08 2013, 08:57PM
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Looks like CHI is going to lose for the first time this season, that kinda sucks was hoping they could go on for a lot longer. Looks like ROR is also contributing as well, which makes me sad :(

Also the Oilers got the crap kicked out of them, WOW.

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#31 schevvy
March 08 2013, 09:03PM
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Comeau starts the game on the ice...why? He must have something on Hartley.

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#32 schevvy
March 08 2013, 09:04PM
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Damnit Daniel Winnik

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#33 Kent Wilson
March 08 2013, 09:04PM
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Well that's a good start.

I really wish the Flames had signed Winnik.

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#34 Kevin
March 08 2013, 09:04PM
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Of course,Winnik

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#35 FireOnIce
March 08 2013, 09:05PM
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Flames playin' the role of Winnik's fat chick. Slumpbustin' as always.

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#36 ChinookArch
March 08 2013, 09:05PM
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Nice defensive breakdown. And who scores to bust his slump - Winnik.

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#37 FireOnIce
March 08 2013, 09:07PM
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And a big HAH! at the Oilers. I thought this was their year, or at least they were going to rocket up the standings past the Flames. They really need a goalie. Or a defense that can stop freakin' Nashville.

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#38 ChinookArch
March 08 2013, 09:10PM
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Let me guess no shots or chances on the Flames PP.

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#39 Kent Wilson
March 08 2013, 09:11PM
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I would like to know what Hartley's obsession with Comeau is. This is getting ridiculous.

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#40 ChinookArch
March 08 2013, 09:12PM
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Why was waived off?

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#41 Kent Wilson
March 08 2013, 09:12PM
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And then Comeau has a good shift, making me look stupid. Now I dislike him even more.

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#42 schevvy
March 08 2013, 09:14PM
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Well at least that was an ok shift

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#43 ChinookArch
March 08 2013, 09:14PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I would like to know what Hartley's obsession with Comeau is. This is getting ridiculous.

I posted that earlier today. Puzzling!

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#44 Vintage Flame
March 08 2013, 09:19PM
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I won't be upset if Ryan doesn't return to this game..

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#45 Vintage Flame
March 08 2013, 09:21PM
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Nice to see the team not folding like a cheap tent after the early goal.

Some nice pressure over the last few minutes

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#46 Mitch P
March 08 2013, 09:30PM
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Has Simmer always been this horrible? I feel this year he's worse than past years... maybe I just blocked him out before.

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#47 Vintage Flame
March 08 2013, 09:31PM
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Now Perry goes down...

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#48 Bean-counting cowboy
March 08 2013, 09:33PM
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Weak shot by butler

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#49 schevvy
March 08 2013, 09:34PM
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How many people have been hurt tonight for Anaheim? 3?

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#50 ChinookArch
March 08 2013, 09:34PM
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Ducks were just a mess on the last shift.

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