After an exceedingly long day mired by the pomp and circumstance surrounding the NHL’s silly season, the Trade Deadline Day, you could understand if the Flames took their eye off the prize for a night and faltered against their bitter rivals for the second time in 3 nights.
And that’s pretty much exactly what happened, but I’m here to tell you that it didn’t break my spirit.
Because I wouldn’t let it.
No, I went into shock, and man, did some great things happen inside my head. Let’s revisit that, okay?
Your Calgary Flames got off to a scintillating start in this one, as Flames superstar and #1 Center Matt Stajan, unmarked due to hilarious Edmonton defending, snuck into the slot and cashed a Dennis Wideman centering pass into the yawning Edmonton cage for a 1-0 lead. The sold out Saddledome went haywire, and the three Oilers fans in the building really felt the atmosphere ripping them a new one. For Stajan, who has really rejuvenated his career with the Flames in this full 82 game season, because in my head all the owners are reasonable people and we had a smooth and amicable CBA negotiation process, would not end his dominance in this game only 2 and a half minutes into it – that’s the enforcer’s role.
Nay, Matthew Q. Franchisington would pop another puck past quasi goalie Devan Dubnyk less than 3 minutes later, putting the Flames up by a deuce.
Alan Alda, season ticket holder and my best friend, was sitting next to me drinking a Heroin Beer, when he turned to me with a glimmer of prophecy in those irreverent eyes and said "Stajan looks good tonight, Loober, I think he has one of those special nights in which we all remember where we were when we fondly recall the exploits of such a phenomenal athlete"
"You’re correct, Hawkeye," I replied, astutely. "In my essence, I can feel it in my essence."
There was an air of impending success on this night, and it started earlier when the Flames in no way held a vacuous press conference in which a sad sack General Manager and delusional ownership group rambled on about a playoff spot next season without mentioning anything in the way of a plan.
And the feeling permeated throughout the Flames dressing room before the game, because the boys in red would strike again before the stanza ended.
Simon Depres, one of the crucial return pieces in the Jarome Iginla to the Penguins trade, feathered a cross zone pass right onto the stick of Matt Stajan, who tapped it in for the natural hat trick.
The elation that followed was electric, but not new to a franchise that never once had Anders Eriksson sign a contract to play for them.
Roman Horak’s natural hat trick and Brian McGrattan hitting for the cycle were also some highly notable events that occurred between the second and third periods.
On the flipside, the Oilers, still clinging desperately to those Todd McFarlane created Cog jerseys, struggled to establish a forecheck and just could not maintain possession, suffered through another tough night as they slip down back into the 13th spot in the Western Conference.
Three Pocket Dogs and a live performance by Stompin’ Tom Connors later, the dust settled, and the Flames had so soundly beaten the Oilers that even Ryane Clowe was wondering how Edmonton was going to score.
The Red Menace
I’m going to give this one to Ryan O’Reilly. What a pickup he’s been for the Flames since the team very successfully signed ROR to an offer sheet with absolutely no consequences or backlash.
O’Reilly played 18 minutes tonight, scoring 5 assists and was absolute beast mode on the penalty kill. Not that he needed to be, as Miikka Kiprusoff continued the trend of unreal goaltending he gave to the team last season. The Brodie twins blocking all the shots in their path didn’t hurt either.
In Summary, Friends
The things that go on in my head are a lot cooler than what happens in real life. Did anyone watch the balance of this game without having something to bite down on?
There’s a lot to say. Murray Edwards, who insisted the Flames next season are a playoff team, had better have watched this abomination of a game, hopefully it offers up a fresh perspective. This team needs a plan if it intends on rediscovering any kind of postseason glory. Presumably they have one?
I would not be surprised if the Flames have forced Miikka Kiprusoff into an early early retirment, as the team gave up 8 goals tonight and left Miikka parked on the bench for all of them. I felt like they were sending him a clear message about their thoughts on his refusal to accept a trade to the Leafs, and if his end goal is to retire at the end of the year, perhaps the Flames are expediating the process.
Anyway, that sucked. I’m depressed. I’m going back into my own head.
The Raw Data
Read ’em and weep.