Welcome to the Game Day Fire Drill, for this, Calgary’s 23rd game of the season on Nov. 25, 2009.
The Coyotes are, I think, an interesting team.
Their defense and goaltending is pretty good. They’ve allowed fewer goals and goals per game the Flames, at least. And that’s interesting because they have four regulars — Adrian Aucoin, Jim Vandermeer, Sami Lepisto and Keith Yandle — and a hodgepodge of others. In fact, six other defensemen have suited up for the Dogs this year, including but not limited to Ed Jovanovski, Zybnek Michalek, Paul Bissonnette, Shaun Heska and Dave Schlemko for at least a third of their games. Obviously Jovo and Z should be regulars, but these other guys? They’re the definition of Borderline NHL/AHL players. And somehow they’re better than league average. Seriously, how is a defense anchored by a couple of Flames rejects better than the Flames’?
But the problem is that the offense is well below average. The only player close to a point a game is the aforementioned Mr. Jovanovski, who has 13 points in 16 games. And he’s their second leading scorer behind (you guessed it) Shane Doan, who has 16 in 24. Only allowing 59 goals so far is good, but only scoring that many? Not so much. The leading goalscorers are Radim Vrbata and Scottie Upshall for crying out loud.
It’s weird, too, that the teams they’ve beaten are teams Calgary cannot beat. Chicago, for one. Dallas. Detroit. Columbus. And the teams they’ve lost to aren’t great. The Kings twice. Montreal. Edmonton (okay so Calgary can’t beat them either).
Just all-around strange.
The Calgary Flames (13-6-3 for 29 points. Tied for fourth in the West, second in the Northwest) and the Phoenix Coyotes (13-10-1 for 27 points. Tied for seventh in the West, fourth in the Pacific).
7:30 p.m. Mountain time and 9:30 p.m. Eastern time. All other time zones should ride the subway for a week and half.
Pengrowth Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta.
Calgary is 6-5-0 at home this year, and probably doesn’t want to drop to .500. The Coyotes are 6-5-1 away from home, which is very similar to Calgary’s home record isn’t it?
What (to hate about the Coyotes)
What they’re doing to Shane Doan — How many years in a row does this really great player have to go around losing? They’ve had ONE better-than-.500 season since 2001. They went 38-37-7 that year, and missed the playoffs. Poor Shane Doan. Poor, poor Shane Doan.
Ed Jovanovski — Will you, as a Flames fan, ever, ever get tired of The Monkey Video? I know I sure won’t.
Their reclamation projects seem to be semi-successful — Unlike Darryl Sutter, whose trash heap pickups are almost always disasters, Phoenix seems to do well with their guys-no-one-wants. Upshall cost them almost nothing and leads them in goals. Vrbata got bought out by Tampa, and leads them in goals. They have four or five former Flames nobody wants, and all are doing better than they did in Calgary. It’s crazy
Because why not? Enjoy the game and don’t get in a shoving match in the comments section.