Ryan is out of commission today, so the game thread snark will have to come from me.
Yesterday did a lot to undermine both the fans and the coaches belief in the top end of the roster: Iginla to some degree, but Jokinen mostly. Why there was faith there in the first place is probably truer mystery, given the manner in which the previous Jokinen experiment failed so spectacularly. And althogh we’re just six games into the new year, it’s safe to say the theorized "Alex Tanguay can feed the two snipers!!1!" fix…ain’t.
With all the new stats and analysis and graphs and discussion of player types, one very simple truth sometimes gets lost in the mix: having a good team is about having good players. While discussions of chemistry and fitting sniper A with passer B provides fodder for messageboards and water coolers, what really matters is how effective you versus other good players. As such, nothing was going to make Jokinen a better player when he landed back in Calgary, short of a miralce and drastic change in how he was being by Sutter. We collectively didn’t pray enough, so the former hasn’t happened (yet). With Joker being benched last night and slowly being filtered down the line-up, we may be moving closer to the latter.
New kid Mikkelson will be in the line-up tonight and he’s performance will hopefully good enough to push Staios even closer to Abbotsford. The Blue Jackets have proven to be a formidable foe for the Flames over the years (despite being rather mediocre) and this being a second night of back-to-back means the 23 year old won’t exactly be coddled in his Flames debut.
Fire it up.