Ok, it’s no secret I love NHL hockey and now that its under way, I’m even more stoked. The Calgary Flames are my favorite team and I’m gonna break down what I think will be keys to their success this season.
- Duh! Forward Jarome Iginla and goaltender Mikka Kiprusoff. The best forward is the captain Iginla. The best goaltender is Kipper. If those two don’t play well, it’ll be tough to win games.
- Powerplay. The powerplay specialists need to dominate. In my mind, Alex Tanguay and Kristian Huselius are the keys to the Flames powerplay success. And did you see Daymond Lankow’s shot tipping skills? He’s the “Joe Nieuwendyk” for the Flames powerplay unit. Macinnis and Suter no longer man the powerplay unit, but for now Dion Phaneuf and Adrian Aucoin are gonna be key players.
- Penalty Kill. Obviously staying out of the penalty box is key, but if you need to kill penalties, these are the key players for the Flames. Kiprusoff, Regehr, Sarich, and Yelle. If everyone else plays like them, it’ll be tough to score against the Flames.
- Even strength. I agree with Mike Keenan’s strategy to make sure the passing game improves. If that improves, the overall team speed improves as well. If you took a look at Detroit Red Wings from last year’s playoffs, they totally dominated the Flames with crisp and accurate passing. The other team can’t score if you have most of the puck possession.
- Intangibles. The Flames have plenty of leadership to go around. I can count at least 5 former captains in the lineup. The Flames no doubt are more skilled than in years past. The key ingredient missing the last two years was a “consistent” hard working effort every shift, every battle along the boards, and every time without the puck. You can’t simply have a poor 1st period and then dominate period two and three and expect to win games any more. Consistency is key.
Well, there you go. Thats my assessment and I’m sticking to it! Work hard, play hard. Go Flames go!