Gameday Preview: Colorado Avalanche (part II)

DENVER - OCTOBER 28:  Peter Forsberg, Dan Hinote, Adam Foote, and Joe Sakic watch as retired goalie Patrick Roy of the Colorado Avalanche helps retire his number 33 prior to an Avalanche game against the Calgary Flames October 28, 2003 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.  Roy retired after last season.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)


The Flames have all manner of rivals in the NW division: The Stinktown Shelbyvillians up north and the ever hate-able Vancouver Canucks  are the pimaries. The relationship with Colorado has been of a different sort over the years, with the Avalanche spending a better part of their history operating as the Flames NW nemesis.

Prior to the current "cheap out and rebuild" movement, the Avalanche kicked the Flames around for years because they were the far superior club. With names like Sakic, Forsberg, Blake, Foote, Roy, Hejduk, Tanguay and Drury, the Avalanche were heavyweights during a time when the Flames were just glad they didn’t lose by 4 goals every night. In fact, in the early part of the decade I would tune in to games between the two clubs expecting Calgary to lose, but still enjoying the match because Colorado was such a pleasure to watch.

The times have changed. Sakic, Forsberg and Blake are retired and the Flames have a roster that is nearly $20M more expensive than the Avs. And yet…Colorado remains a thorn in our collective sides. Thanks to some great goaltending, some favorable bounces and the Flames general offensive ineptitude, the ‘Lanche won the seasons series last season despite a similar disparity between the two payrolls. This season started out on the same, utterly frustrating foot with Colorado storming back from several deficits to take the first contest 6-5. That stinker was the catalyst for the Flames current four game losing streak. It was also the last time the club managed to put more than two pucks behind an opposition goaltender in a game.

Things get pretty serious for the Flames after this contest, with PHX (X2), SJS, DET, PIT and PHI on the docket this month. There aren’t a lot of weak sisters on the sched in November and the Flames will need to start garnering points wherever they can lest they begin to fall too far out of the race. I’m not going to break out the dreaded "must win" cliche, especially for a game six weeks in to the season, but…let’s just say Flames should really, really try to get some points out of this one.

  • BobB

    If I’m not mistaken, the Flames have a first round pick this year correct?

    If they’re going to play like this all year, at least we’ll have a good prospect to show for it. Granted Sutter will almost surely choose a big ugly D man from Northern Alberta who’s primary focus is pugilism, and has a projected ranking of 300+ and take him 5th overall.

  • BobB

    Chris Dingman?

    Wait…nope, he wasn’t a defenseman. And he wasn’t taken by Sutter. And …. he was 19th overall.

    Close enough. He did score 15 career goals.

  • Robert Cleave

    One thing that caught my eye while I was looking at some numbers is how much mileage the Avs are getting out of O’Reilly and Winnik. Those two are playing the toughs, out-shooting them, and are about neutral in terms of ZoneStarts. That lets guys like Stewart and Stastny start in the offensive zone over 60% of the time. Nice luxury.

    My suspicion is that if the Flames are going to accomplish anything tonight, they might want to keep the game a bit more compact between the blue lines. I don’t relish a game where everything is spread out, because that will benefit one team greatly. That team isn’t Calgary. In other words, the forwards can’t spend all night standing around the Avs’ line hoping they get a pass.

  • BobB

    Prediction: Iginla scores 3 goals 2 assists and a fight, Kipper gets a shutout, and today the Flames a start a 10 game winning streak! … somebody slap me… I’m delusional.

  • Robert Cleave

    Based on no facts at all I have a feeling that the Flames will win tonight. I only look at their trends and they seem to be slowly trending back toward the win column. I predict either a low scoring 2-1 or a OT/shootout victory. Either way, I think the Flames are rested and motivated for this game.

  • Was looking at Calgary’s draft picks on Wikipedia and noticed that we drafted Craig Anderson, thought that was interesting.

    It’s kind of depressing looking at the drafts and seeing us pick guys like Nystrom & then a couple picks after see superstars like Semin go.

    Seems to be a constant pattern, every year teams like Washington & Detroit draft so well & we grab duds. I think the lone exception was last year, seemed to grab a bunch of great prospects, maybe things are turning around in our scouting department.

    • Washington like other teams such as Pittsburgh, Edmonton, etc had to pay the price to draft well-finishing last and having horrible seasons.When you pick top 5 it takes alot of the guess work and risk out of the equation.

      Detroit has not recently drafted high and without question in the category of of non top 5 picks they are top of the class. However they have had some luck as well. Who could possibly predict that Lidstrom would still be playing at Norris Trophy calibre at age 40.

      Their top 3 players;

      Datsyuk 6rd round 171 overall 1998
      Zetterberg 7th round 210 overall 1989
      Lidstrom 3 rd round 53 overall 1989

      Obviously what this means is that all teams passed these players over a number of times including Detroit.

      they deserve credit for eventueally picking them however a bit of luck goes along way.

      Oh and just so this doesn’t bring on a series of anti-Sutter comments this was all pre Sutter.