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A Case of the Mondays: Sudden Optimism

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Things are looking up for the Flames as of late. The club has won four of its last five games after a few notably lack-lustre outings to start the season, and perhaps more importantly, they've been earning those victories by outshooting and outworking their opposition--it's paid off, as the team has a +9 goal differential in their past five contests. The first line has been playing much better since its reconfiguration following the disaster of a game against Florida, and the penalty kill in particular has been very good, and is currently ranked 3rd in the league, operating at 90.6% efficiency. The team is likely riding the percentages to some degree, and will inevitably regress to the mean down the road. It's not often you're going to score six goals on 23 shots, nor are you going to have three guys shooting over 20% over the course of an 82 game season--but there's no reason to write Calgary's recent success off as pure luck. 

With two games against divisional rivals Edmonton and Colorado (*shakes fist*) this week, the Flames have a prime opportunity to gain some early traction in the Northwest. After all, it's only a matter of time before 3/4 of the roster gets injured again and some insurmountable mid-season slump strikes, leaving the Flames on the outside looking in for good--amirite? 

Links after the jump. 

Rick Nash has been fined $2,500 for getting his high stick/semi-cross check to the face of Mark Giordano in Friday's win over the Blue Jackets in Columbus [TSN]

 It sounds like David Moss is getting closer to a return to the lineup, as the forward recently shed his yellow "no-contact" jersey. He discusses his recovery from a shoulder injury with FlamesTV []:

Flames fans everywhere were pretty happy with last night's result, but none more so than those in attendance at the 'Dome [Flames  Insider

Arik's hilarious and very appropriate letter to Olli Jokinen, who is one of the only Flames who's performance of late leaves something to be desired, even after riding the pine in the third period in the loss to Detroit [The 4th Line Blog

The Canucks' Rick Rypien apologized today for his confrontation with a Wild fan following Vancouver's 6-2 loss at the Excel Energy Centre last week; Rypien was suspended six games by the league for the incident. [The White Towel]

Domebeers pontificates on Phaneuf and the Leafs, Eric Francis' new gig on HNIC, and, as always, all things Flames

Coyotes captain Shane Doan's ongoing dispute with former federal sports minister Denis Coderre has finally been resolved. Doan filed a lawsuit against Coderre when he advised Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson against including Doan on the 2006 Canadian Olympic team after the forward was accused of using an ethnic slur against French-Canadian referee Stephane Auger and three other francophone officials in a game nearly five years ago. [The Hockey News]

Despite concerns about the dominance of Canada and the USA in international women's hockey caused Olympic officials to question its inclusion in the games,  the sport will remain part of the Winter Olympics in 2014 [NHL Fanhouse]

Eight reasons why the NHL is a better choice than the KHL for the everyday hockey fan [Fear the Fin

Readers have spoken, in comment and e-mail form, and with some promising young talent in the Oilers lineup, they want less doom and gloom from the C&B crew this season [Copper & Blue

The NHL discriminates against French-Canadian, American, and European players, according to ex-NHLer Bob Sirois, who has written a book on the topic entitled Discrimination in the NHL: Quebec Hockey Players Sidelined [The Globe and Mail]

Finally, Bloge Salming's latest video gives aspiring professional hockey players tips on how to be an NHL defencemen, using the Senators' Chris Phillips as an example. Enjoy. 

Have a great week everyone!