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Game 32--Toronto Maple Leafs: Expect A Hat Trick From Phaneuf

So apparently for some crazy reason this game is a big deal. Something about a trade? Most games between lottery pick teams (or theoretical lottery pick teams, since Brian Burke has already traded his away and Darryl Sutter has got to be thinking hard about trading his for a veteran 3rd pairing defenseman) are not exactly noteworthy.

As I'm sure you've heard, this game is a big deal; the Toronto Maple Leafs are the team the Calgary Flames traded Dion Phaneuf to for what now amounts to frequent healthy scratch Matt Stajan, aging Niklas Hagman, Anton Babchuk and Tom Kostopolous. Miss anyone? Maybe. Probably. The returns are consistently diminishing. Moreover, Keith Aulie has seemingly developed into a semi-legitimate defender on Toronto.

The Flames have a chance to capitalize on a win against the Columbus Blue Jackets and actually have, you know, a streak going. The good kind of streak. They also need to show they can play a solid 60 minutes of hockey. Last Monday, despite the win, the Flames had the typical third period collapse, and looked completely outclassed by the Blue Jackets. It'd be nice to see something...better. Especially against a club like the Maple Leafs, who's first line boasts the like of Clarke MacArthur, Mikhail Grabovski (admittedly better than his numbers indicate) and Nikolai Kulemin.

Still, rightly or wrongly, the game will largely be seen and remembered as either vindication for Darryl Sutter and his terrible trades or a guilty verdict for the Flames management. I expect the latter. Because that's what being a Flames fan has become.

On a lighter note- the march to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins continues!

I'm not sure what lines/pairings will be, or who's sitting tonight, but wouldn't expect a big change from the Columbus game.