The ‘F’ In Flames Is Silent , And So Is Avery , For Now Anyway .

 Just moments before this game started , I discovered that Sean Avery had been suspended for seeking out the media and making ugly remarks about Jerome Iginla and his ex-girlfriend who is now dating Dion Phaneuf . While I thought that both remarks were distasteful , I was/am still surprised that he was suspended until he gets a hearing with Bettman . It seemed clear what Marty thought of the whole thing , but I myself , have to just say , whatever the league wants to do , it is going to do .

 I was also annoyed that , with the “loss” of Avery , we had to dress seven defensemen and eleven forwards . My outlook on the game was not all that great . It became quickly obvious that we had gone as far as we could in the depth department . It kind of makes me wonder if we have anybody left in our AHL affiliates . With Lundqvist , Lehtinen , Zubov , Fistric , Morrow and Ott all out because of injuries , things just did not look very positive to me . Thankfully , Our Stars proved me wrong .

 When the game started , I had to wonder if they had a Zamboni in Calgary at all . The ice looked horribly chewed from the outset . The (F)lames started turning pucks over almost immediately . They were both forced and unforced . Petersen , Wilson , Connor , Grossman and Robi started getting great pressure and Petersen scored off a beautiful rebound placed just past Kiprusoff . Our Stars first powerplay looked more like a (F)lames powerplay . The (F)lames seemed to enjoy banging Richards up when he was anywhere near the puck , but did not seem too concerned with any other players when they had the puck . Our Stars took away all the (F)lames time and space in the Stars’ zone any time they came in . They rushed the puck and stripped it from them and forced turnovers to get the puck out . When that was not happening , Turco was making great saves . Our Stars won this period .

 The second started out with the (F)lames on the powerplay for a late first period hold that Robi had committed . David Moss promptly scored their only goal of the game . The momentum had definitely shifted for the (F)lames at this point . Our defense started opening holes and seemed to slack off a little . We were still managing to get a few turnovers from the (F)lames , but nowhere near as many as it seemed we were in the first period . It was alright though , because at times the (F)lames players looked lost on the ice as if they were not sure what to do next . *Sentimental interlude* As I watched Craig Conroy play , I suddenly missed Jeff Halpern and his game play . I bet he misses playing as well . He still will not return to the ice until sometime in February . *wipes one lonely tear from his eye and continues blogging* Brunnstrom managed to find some open ice between changing defenders and received a pass from Daley . He rushed in , tooka shot at Kiprusoff that he stops , but Brunnstrom kept after the puck and taps in his own rebound off the goalpost . After play resumed , Sarich was almost immediately called for elbowing but , again , this powerplay was more about shorthanded chances than powerplay chances . After that farce of a powerplay ended , the (F)lames charged in and created a very nasty scrum in Marty’s lap but he managed to keep the score 2-1 Stars . Our Stars came out of this period ahead because they did not give up when it would have been very easy to do so . They kept hounding the puck and started sewing up the holes in the defense that they exposed earlier in this period .

 The third period started with Marty making great saves with the (F)lames attacking very hard . Lombardi took a very delayed high-sticking double minor for busting Connor’s lip with his stick along the boards . Despite the powerplay , I’ll bet you could guess which team attack their opponent’s net first . After Our Stars got things together , Modano had an almost but could not settle the puck enough to shoot it . If he had it would have been all twine . James Neal and Mark Parrish both had great chances before the powerplay ended . As soon as that powerplay ended , the newly pissed-off (F)lames attacked harder than they had the entire rest of the game . After one specific play , Marty ended up with the puck covered , the net was off and at least three players were piled near , on or around him . I am sure the (F)lames were wondering how they did not score on that net drive . Kiprusoff was finally pulled for the extra attacker and Our Stars stood tall . Eriksson managed to get free with a pass from Robi and he hit the empty net to ensure the victory .

 The biggest keys to this victory were as follows ;
 1. Everybody played . There were no passengers . Each player did their own jobs and trusted others to do theirs . I know I always say this , but it is THE most important part of hockey . You must play as a team . All the time .
 2. Marty Turco . We need him to stand tall and take the kind of abuse that he took and have answers for everything . When he allows goals , the whole team falls . Of course , others picking up rebounds and clearing them out (ex.: Connor’s picking up a loose puck in front of him with Conroy breathing down his neck when Marty was scrambling) greatly increases Marty’s chances of posting a good game .
 3. Discipline . The only powerplay that the (F)lames had was where they scored their only goal . NO penalties , fewer chances to score for the other team (well , at least that is the theory) .
 4. We shut down top players . Iginla showed up nowhere on the scoresheet other than for ice time . That is big . Phaneuf may have just had an “off game” but he looked like a rookie . The whole of the (F)lames team looked as though they half expected Our Stars to toss their sticks out on the ice and say , “We give up” .

 MY three STARS of the game .
 1. Marty Turco – Razor said it and I agree . This was Marty’s best game so far this season . He found shots through traffic that I know I never would have .
 2. James Neal – He played solid from the first puck drop on both offense and defense . He was never afraid to go to the net or crash into players to force turnovers . He put on hits , took shots I thought would go in and blocked shots as well .
 3. Stephane Robidas – He never takes a shift off . He takes punishment that nobody should have to but still gives back just as much as he gets . His two assists were just icing on the cake . Oh , and by the way , I think awarding him the third ‘A’ was a great move for the team . KUDOS !
   Honourable mentions ;
 Chris Connor – He had a great game . He gave and took hits and drew calls with his diminutive stature (no offense to vertically challenged people) . He played very well with and with out the puck .
 Landon Wilson – For being ‘the coach’s kid’ he played well . He had a few steals , good checking and he plays smart hockey .
 Toby Petersen – He played very well . With his puck thefts and his goal he probably deserved a spot in MY STARS of the game but you know how I am and I do what I want .
 Andrew Hutchinson – For this being his first game in a Stars’ uniform , he fit right in . He definitely is not afraid to put the puck on net no matter how far away from the net he is . I hope he continues to get better for us here in Dallas .

 Oh , and for the record , Avery’s comments could have (and probably should have) been done elsewhere . They may have been tasteless (and/or foolish) , but I really do not know if they are a real reason to suspend a player . I talk trash to more than a few people myself , but I cannot say I have ever thought I needed forced time off for my comments (maybe time off because I am tired , but not for words – I do not think they give me time off either way anyhow) . Like I said before , the league will do what they please and all I can say is , “whatever” .

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~ by Adam on December 3, 2008.

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