Tonight's game (5:30PM MT, Sportsnet West) is a contest between two teams that have more in common than their position in the standings; it could perhaps best be summarized as a contest between two stagnant organizations delaying the inevitable--trapped in an endless cycle of mediocrity thanks to a GM hell-bent on building for the present.Daniel AlfredssonJason Spezza
One area where the two teams have differed is in Ottawa's ability to integrate young prospects into their lineup--with varying degrees of success. Both teams have mostly veteran rosters, but players like defencemen Erik Karlsson, Bryan Lee have continue to develop on the blueline while the organization boasts youth in net with Brian Elliot and Robin Lehner guarding the crease. Up front, 23-year old 2006 first round pick Nick Foligno has been difference maker for the club.
The Senators are much like the Flames in the respect that they certainly don't boast a forward roster that is packed to the gills with talent and don't really have a true top six; in fact, with both Jason Spezza and Alexei Kovalev on the shelf, I'd probably give the edge to the Flames in that category. On paper, the Flames look like a better team overall, but if recent experience has taught us anything, it's that the game is never won on paper.
Lines and Pairings
For the Flames, Robyn Regehr will miss the game tonight with what appears to be knee injury; his roster spot will be filled by Brendan Mikkelson, who was called up from Abbotsford at the beginning of the week. After Mark Giordano and Jay Bouwmeester, the change leaves the Flames with a bit of a questionable bottom four on the blueline, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Brent Sutter experiment with the defence pairings. As a result of Miikka Kiprusoff's recent struggles, Henrik Karlsson will start in net, facing off against his younger namesake, Erik, which could make for some interesting play-by-play commentary (shot by Karlsson and Karlsson holds on for the faceoff, etc.). Anywho...
Enjoy the game everyone--unfortunately my scheduled attendance has fallen through but rest assured I've been representing the Flames in enemy territory all day. Go Flames.