Thursday, Oct 1, 2009, 7:00 PM PDT
Flames fans with decent memories approach the season opener with the mix of excitement and trepidation. Excitement because hockey's back(!) and trepidation because you can count on one finger the number of season openers the Flames have won in the last decade. Seriously.
In town are the hated Canucks, a club that beat the Flames twice in the pre-season and humiliated them in first game of the 2008-09 season. They're the defending NW division champs, the guys the Flames will have to fend off in order to win the division this year and, with apologies to the Oilers, Calgary's biggest rivals currently.
There used to be lots to dislike about the Canucks: Jovo and his willingness to bitch to the refs and cheat like a politician (often in the same game), Jarko Ruutu and Matt Cooke acting like mentally challanged soccer hooligans and, of course, Todd Bertuzzi. They don't have quite as many douchebags on the roster anymore (excepting Alex Burrows, of course), but I have a lot of lingering hate for them nonetheless. The fact that the Sedins often go Harlem Globetrotters against the Flames all the time and Luongo often stops almost every puck he sees sure helps keep the distaste alive.
Anyways, lots of interesting Flames issues to watch tonight, including:
- Moss on the first line. All I can say is...yes. Yes!
- Nigel Dawes and Rene Bourque with Langkow. That could be a very, very good line if Dawes can deliver on his promise.
- The defensive pairings. Looks like Sutter has broken up Regehr and Bouwmeester pairing for whatever reason - perhaps to spread out the tough minutes munching rather than sequestering on a single duo. It'll be interesting to see who gets matched up against the Sedins.
Enough blather. Let's get it on!