I got the first good look of the preseason at the Flames and so, without further ado, here are my thoughts from the game in no particular order:
- The Iginla/Jokinen duo was dangerous at both ends of the ice. They made the most of their chances in the offensive zone but were also the weakest line for the Flames in the defensive zone. If Jokinen is to stick to Iginla all year, I would really prefer they not play the other team's top lines. At least Olli has been deadly with the man advantage so far.
- Daymond Langkow remains Mr. "instant chemisty". The trio featuring him, Glencross and Fleury was consistently good all night and that's with Fleury sucking wind 20 seconds into every shift.
- On the subject of Fleury - the little guy isn't making things easy. He's clearly a step behind and he's not as quick as he once was, but he's playing within himself and he still has NHL level patience and hands around the net. He's earning a contract and a spot on the farm team at this rate, which is a major victory in my eyes.
- Nigel Dawes wasn't as impressive this evening. In fact, he was benched briefly after a lost puck battle led to the Panthers second goal. Didn't notice him much overall.
- I love Curtis Glencross. He hasn't lost a beat. A Glencross-Langkow-Moss second line wouldn't be the worst thing to happen.
- Mikael Backlund had one minor set-back in the first that led to the Booth tally, but otherwise acquitted himself well. He seems like he's taken a significant step forward since last preseason. He's much better at protecting the puck in the offensive zone and winning possession.
- None of the other fringe guys looked to out of place, with the exception of Cam Cunning. Carsen Germyn looked like the best of the bunch to me, with Jaffray not too far behind.
- Mark Giordano is in no trouble of losing his spot to anyone. In fact, he's looks every bit the legit top 4 defender. Phanuef, on the other hand, was as chaotic as ever. Clearly it wasn't just injury issues last year.
- There isn't much to separate Adam Pardy and Anton Stralman. In fact, the latter has seemed marginally stronger thus far. Pardy didn't help his case by taking two minors this evening.
- Miikka Kiprusoff allowed another softy and fought the puck the entire first period. It's tough to grade his second period, as the Flames dominated and only allowed 5 shots on net (mostly from the outside). I've seen nothing from him to assuage my fears about his abilities heading into the new year.
- Leland Irving played only one period, but looked capable enough during that time. The goal he allowed was a deflection and not stoppable.
Calgary sent down another nine players tonight, including Aulie, Baldwin and Keetley. That leaves David Shantz in the main camp, ahead of Keetley who is falling down the depth chart faster than Rob Schremp in Edmonton. Fourty-two players remain in main camp, but expect that number to fall sharply in the next few days.