Hockey’s back, and so am I! The Flames hit the ice for the first time in anger (excluding the rookie tournament, which really should be excluded) last night, in an innovative two-city split-squad double-header against the Vancouver Canucks.
In Calgary, the Flames’ top unit, plus other assorted bodies, took on what was mostly a team of Canucks minor-leaguers and wannabes, and eked out a 3-2 win. In Vancouver, the Flames’ second line, plus assorted others, faced the meat of the Canucks roster and won 3-1. Where that for a while, ‘Nucks.
Sitting here in Toronto, I had no TV access to either game live, but I did watch the online highlights of the Flames/Canucks “A” game – the 3-2 win in Calgary. The first thing jumping out at me is how mind-bogglingly stupid Olli Jokinen looked on a couple of occasions. Caught just standing there checking no one on the Canucks’ first goal (that guy all alone in front of your goalie? That’s your man, dillweed)…and then a brutal, brutal giveaway at the side of his own net in the second period, which should have resulted in a goal but for a terrific save.
Jay Bouwmeester was also out of position on the first goal, and beaten cleanly a couple of times on other plays in the highlight pack, but again bailed out by his goalie.
I’m not happy to see two guys who flat-out sucked last year starting the preseason by continuing their sucky ways.
On the upside, Jarome Iginla’s game-winner was classic Iggy, coming down the right wing and unleashing a lightning wrister to the top shelf. Alex Tanguay made a bunch of terrific passes and was skating hard, and Ales Kotalik potted a nice one – I’m crossing my fingers he turns out to be a pleasant surprise this season, since it doesn’t look like he’s going to be shipped off to some KHL team after all.
Didn’t see any highlights of the win in the other split-squad game, in Vancouver.