Normally, I take considerable satisfaction in a Flame victory over the Grease, even in pre-season. I won’t throw the win tonight back or anything, but the quality of the opposition tonight was poor enough that the injuries Calgary suffered are much more noteworthy.
David Moss appeared to injure his forearm or wrist in the second period on a seemingly innocuous play along the boards, and the post-game radio report had him leaving Rexall with the wounded appendage in a sling. Meanwhile, Ales Kotalik went down in a goalmouth collision a few minutes later and departed the building on the limp. For a team already short a forward or four, that’s sub-optimal news.
As for the game itself, it was poor through the first two, with not much in the way of flow. Jay Bouwmeester was shaky in the first period before setting down, and the forwards weren’t doing much for either club until Jarome Iginla decided to get his act together. The captain had good legs this evening, and he and Backlund made a nice rush for the ultimate winner. Iginla followed with a marker to open the third, but that was clearly an own-goal by Horcoff and company. Jon Rheault scored a nice goal off a broken play to end the game as a competitive affair, and T.J. Brodie added the final tally on the PP as the Flames rolled through an easy third period.
As I said, a win’s a win, and a few Flames did distinguish themselves as the evening progressed. The Brodie-Pardy duo played mostly against the Oiler bottom six with minimal fuss, and Brodie, following a bit of a poor read, saved himself a few blushes by catching Ales Hemsky from behind as the Oiler forward headed in on a breakaway. The kid can likely survive against the other team’s bottom six most nights. Whether utilizing him in that manner is a good idea or not is another story altogether, but he certainly didn’t look out of place against an Oiler lineup missing only the Penner-Cogliano-Brule set from the regulars. Henrik Karlsson also looked the part. He’s not the quickest goalie around, but he seems to get himself in place, and he certainly blocks a pile of the net. I suspect that a club that can quickly move the puck laterally on the PP might be able to expose him at some point, but we haven’t had a chance to see that sort of action so far in the pre-season.
The Oilers were poor this evening, and that’s even noting the fact that every team has a stinker on occasion. As I mentioned this morning, the Oil are selling the future to their fans, but when a club goes that route, there are going to be nights where things aren’t so easy for their young players. Taylor Hall might end up being a wonderful player someday, possibly even this season, but he, Paajarvi and Eberle have a long way to go at EV. Paajarvi still looks like the best of the three to my eye, and to be fair, if Ales Hemsky was a touch sharper around the net, the Swede might have had a point or two. Oh, and ReKhab was pretty blah. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that the Oilers would be better off if he were in Sheriff Joe’s outdoor hoosegow…actually, yes I am.
The Flames finish the pre-season at home against the same opposition Sunday. It would be nice if they managed to finish a game with the roster intact.