Tonight presents Calgary with a helluva chance to get its act together against a concussion-addled, injury-depleted Avalanche team.
Calgary’s roster will fortunately be bolstered by the return of the previously-absent Curtis Glencross, who was sorely missed in Friday’s loss, but will also, unfortunately, feature the likes of Steve Staios, again, as Brendan Mikkelsson seems to have run over at least one of the Sutters’ dogs.
(Let’s be perfectly clear with regard to the Staios situation: he was barely a viable option when there were literally no other defensemen on the roster. Now that there is one, and, it should be noted, one who doesn’t completely and totally suck the life out of every single shift, he shouldn’t be an option. No one is going to sit here and say Brendan Mikkelsson has been good, but he sure hasn’t been Staios-bad. This concludes Today in Completely Logical Steve Staios Bashing and we now return you to your regularly scheduled game thread post.)
Luckily, the Flames’ recent offensive woes may soon find a cure, as Colorado’s defense is, shall we say, rather loosely patched together with that kinda slightly old hockey tape that still has some adhesion to it, but reminds you to go out and buy a fresh roll before your next beer league game. Scott Hannan and JM Liles is your top pairing and they’re going to be asked to eat two helpings of minutes tonight.
I’m going to list the combined NHL games played of their four other defensemen in order, and you’ll notice I won’t once have to use double digits. Jonos Holos is the stalwart old war horse of the group with nine career games played, all of which have been this year. David Liffiton’s picked up six over the past three years, three games this year, two with the Rangers last year, and one the year before. Kevin Shattenkirk just got done playing his second career game on Saturday. And that was Colby Cohen’s NHL debut.
So on the plus side, you’re looking at a Flames offense that’s facing kids who have pretty much no relative NHL experience for about half — more likely a little over that — of the game. And that’s in front of Peter Budaj in net who, historically, has been rather poor against Calgary.
I think the solution is clear: trap the absolute piss out of Colorado tonight. Don’t give their forwards any room. And don’t give up penalties. For the love of Dinosaur Jesus, don’t do that.