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Flames Versus Blackhawks Gamethread

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This is probably as dramatic a game you could hope for in the middle of January. The Flames are coming off their worst defeat in the post lock-out era and are stuck in their worst losing skid of the season. And now they face the team that has positively bullied them the last two seasons. Calgary has been resting for a few days and stewing in the aftermath of their humiliation, so I would expect them to have some jump in their legs tonight. I don't know if that'll lead to a win or anything, but at least it shouldn't a boring one.

Other Stuff to watch for:

- Troy Brouwer was a team mate of Dustin Boyd's in Moose Jaw and a 7th round draft pick for the Hawks in '04. He's moved Chicago's depth chart recently and has been playing a bunch with the Kanes and Toews of the world. He's an interesting player in how unlikely his career arc has shaped up. In Junior, he was a farily marginally offensive contributor (averaging somewhere around 45 points his first three seasons). After he was drafted, his production took off to the tune of a 49 goal, 102 point season.

Of course, a lot of older players experience career years in their final season. Usually it's just because they're a lot older than the kids they're playing against. Except Brouwer then went ahead and managed 41 goal, 79 point rookie season in the AHL the very next year. He was a 4th liner on the Hawks last year, but he's getting a lot more ice time these days. Here's hoping Boyd will one day take that firm step forward as well.

- Sutter is sticking with the lines that got absolutely clobbered in SJ, if practice trios are to be believed. I haven't the foggiest idea why. If that game showed anything, it was that Conroy and Glencross are exposed against first line players and that Nystrom/Jokinen/Lundmark might as well be wearing targets on their backs. I guess Butter is just running out of ideas.

- Lots of talk about the Flames potentially being "mentally weak". The more probable explanation is that they aren't as good as was first supposed. As was pointed out around here earlier this year, the Flames record during the first quarter wasn't indicative of the quality of the team.

Let's get it on.