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Looking For Ol' Sukie Jones: Hawks at Flames Preview, Pregame Thread, Rugby Meeting

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Game Time: 9:00PM Central
TV/Radio: CSN down here, CBC up there/ WGN-AM 720
Burn Motherfucker Burn: Flames Nation

The past few years haven’t been kind to the Flames. For a time, it seemed the Flames were only just finding a center for Iginla away from getting to the promised land. Then calls to start tearing the team apart (and usually rebuild around Iggy.. sometimes trade him) became more frequent. Sadly, the Flames are never quite bad enough to really justify a total re-build but certainly never good enough to actually have anyone take them seriously.

This year, things may finally be different though – They’ve got just a single win in 5 games and were most recently seen getting kicked in the dick in only 3 minutes by an Avalanche team that isn’t really scaring anyone. Could this year finally be the one where the Flames pull the plug and trade their captain? Does anyone still want him? Does everyone realize Iggy’s full name is Jarome Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis Iginla?

Oh wait, of course it isn’t because their GM, Jay Feaster, puts detergent in his oatmeal everyday.

This isn’t to say the Flames haven’t made some moves to try and improve this year. Dennis Wideman was signed from the Caps to help with the power play and so far they’re 8th best in the league though they’ve only had 20 chances so far, second fewest in the league. But Wideman defends like a drunken Frenchman, and will get beat to the outside enough where you think he’s doing it on purpose. The rest of the blue line isn’t much better. Jay Bouwmeester is playing on pairing too high and is paid even more over his head. The rest of the crew is slower than a constipated turd crawling its way to freedom out of the bowel.

They’ve also been leaning heavily on professional funny name Jiri Hudler who did his best in his last game with two goals against the Avs. Lee Stempniak has had a good start to the season. But remember what Plato told us: If Lee Stempniak is on your top six and/or one of your leading scorers, your team is firmly stuck in neutral. Oh, and something about democracy. Maybe.

There are a couple kids who are making a something of a splash. Sven Baertschi and Mikel Backlund could become nice players, but neither project to be stars. Other than that, doesn’t Glencross always score against the Hawks?

The main problems for the Flames as usual, is their lack of depth up the middle is so bad it makes it seem like the Hawks are downright spoiled. Both of their top line centers are converted wingers (why does that sound so familiar?).

Penalty killing hasn’t exactly been a specialty for the Flames just yet this season, they’re second-worst in the league ahead of the Jets (how could that happen with such a quality d-man like Byfuglien around? I mean really).

If the Flames make any sort of goo-goo eyes at relevance this year, it’ll be for the reason it always is. Mikka Kiprusoff will roll back the years for a couple weeks or a month. Though this time it might be his plea to finally get out of there (come back to this if Crawford falters).

While there are a couple snipers in Iggy and Cammalleri and Tanguay who can hurt you if you give them space, there’s hardly enough depth to smother you here. And Iggy doesn’t create his own space nearly as well these days, the other two barely did. Basically, if you play well enough to let the Flames be the Flames, you’ll walk out with two points.

No word yet on Fabulous Weapon, but it would be a major surprise if he makes the post. Getting hurt without anyone around usually means something pretty nasty. How the Hawks will make up for it is obvious though not necessarily the most logical (*cough* Sharp to center *cough*). The guess is because Shaw assisted on Kane’s goal last night, he’ll get bumped up to Line #2. Though Kruger would be the better fit, but he’s also a better center for Stals and Bicks, so let’s settle for that trade-off. Jamal Mayers will probably slide in to center the 4th line, and Michael Frolik will wonder just how he’s angered God to be saddled with Jammer and Bollig for linemates.

Ray Emery looks likely to give Crow a breather tonight.

There are some pitfalls here. Second of a back-to-back after an emotional OT game last night. The Hawks have chucked these before, and Alberta hasn’t been all that kind the past couple seasons. Also, the Flames awesome throwbacks will not translate through the shitty CSN filters, which angers me to no end. But the Hawks are one-third of the way to what would be an acceptable point-return on this trip, and this is probably the closest to a gimme that they’ll have the rest of the way.

Let’s do it.

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