(Photo by Mike Ridewood/Getty Images)
I had several other headlines picked out but decided against them. In fact, I had to wait until this morning to write this recap because I was so unimpressed with the Calgary Flames last night.
Thankfully for the team it was the return of Rene Bourque to the city where he so enjoyed his leisurely skates at the friendly confines of the Saddledome; 0 points, -2, 0 shots in 18 minutes of ice time. Quite the Bourque-ian performance I'd say and pretty much what was expected from those of us who watched him fade from an important player on this team after he signed his big contract.
Brent Sutter was happy with the teams effort. For real.
"That was a battle — there was nothing easy about that game ... the guys played hard — they competed. The will was there, and that’s what I wanted from them."
I suppose in the end, the two points are all that matters, but I saw a pretty lackadaisical effort outside of a some pretty nice stretches; much like all of their performances lately. Was this effort any better than some of the previous ones we've seen in the run of losses? Not really. Carey Price, along with several really nice bounces gift-wrapped this one for the team and they hung on for dear life.
Two points, that's about all I take away from this one.
-Derek Smith continues to struggle since returning from injury. He played a lot of even-strength minutes but didn't show any of the poise that he showed so much of before. I never thought I'd say this, but how long before Chris Butler returns?
-Miikka Kiprusoff had an off night, no doubt. Good thing Price did too. We got another small glimpse of what this team would be like if Kipper were having an average year - they'd be staring the lottery right in the face.
-Jarome got on the board twice; I love seeing 12 score. I hate seeing him float around in his own zone every single game. He had a really nice view of the Lars Eller goal that he could've easily prevented. This is happening way too often.
-Also thought Olli Jokinen took the night off. But, I also have to give him credit as he led a really nice rush and made the initial pass to Glencross, which ended up on Mark Giordano's stick for a very nice goal. (I thought Rob Kerr's head was going to explode on that one. Geez, the guys finally make a hockey play and everyone gets all excited. Several teams in the NHL do that all game long <- yes, that's sarcasm.)
1. Mark Giordano - Need more nights like this out of Gio. G/A for 2 pts while playing strong in his own zone. Nice game.
2. Curtis Glencross - He's on a nice tear since his return from injury. Not afraid to shoot the puck.
3. Greg Nemisz - I was pleasantly surprised by Nemisz' jump all night long. Many of us don't have very high hopes for the former 1st-round pick and it's not like he quelled that doubt or anything, but he had a nice game. They mentioned on the broadcast that Troy Ward is trying to convert him to a centre and other than the fact the team has no depth at that position I don't really see the point. Ceiling on Nemisz still seems to be a productive 3rd line winger.
-The Flames move up to 2 points from 8th place, although San Jose has 2 games in hand as well. Realistically, the team they're closest to is Phoenix who're 3 points up and even in games played.
-Los Angeles actually has the 8th best points percentage at .560 and are on pace for 92 points. The Flames ROW record has taken a hit recently so I always factor their needs at 1 point more than the 8th place projection. For the team to finish with 93 points they need to go roughly 9-3-3 over their last 15 games.Gotta win 3 of every 5 and snap a couple loser points to have a chance.
-The Winnipeg Jets are in town Friday night. The Flames then go for one quick one in Minnesota before returning to the dome for 2 more.