Monday, April 14, 2008

Calgary Flames: Cup Contendors

This will be a recurring topic at the 2008 Canmore Hockey Blogosphere Convention. After last night's stellar comeback by the Flames, the Flames have proved that they can likely go far in this years playoffs. For the rest of the series, San Jose will feel extremely unconfident in holding leads. For the rest of the playoffs, the Flames will feel confident in their ability to comeback from any deficit. This is reminiscent from the Calgary Flames of the 2005 year. In Game 6 the Flames were down 4 goals, before a beta-carotene induced comeback tied the game up against the Canucks. Even though the game was lost in Overtime (Brendan Morrison backhand in the third OT), the Flames created a sense of being able to overcome obstacles.

The big question now becomes which goalie to start next game? If you put Kipper in net, he will likely rally and play much better. But if he lets in a few first period goals, you may destroy his confidence which could bring down team morale. If it was Jamie McLennan instead of CuJo, i would definitely go back with Kipper. But Cujo is a first tier goalie and undeserving of the backup goalie status. He had many times looking to sign him, but the Flames were lucky enough to get his nod. Go back with CuJo and give him another game. Any performance less than perfect, and you go back with Kipper the next game.

In 2004 (or maybe it was 2003), the Carolina Hurricanes went to the Stanley Cup Finals with two starting goalies. They would rotate back and forth between Kevin Weekes and Arthurs Irbe. It created a competitive spirit, and each goalie banked off the other to improve his play in order to fight for the starting role. Cujo and Kipper are lightyears better than Irbe and Weekes. If you can create a competition for the title of starter between the two of them, you might have something really special.

But, is Kippers fragile Finish ego to delicate to handle this situation? Possibly.

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