Sometimes it's frustrating being a fan of this team, because portions of the fanbase are so OTT when it comes to rationalizing losses. Perhaps not being able to rationalize them is a better way to put it. There's a small army of Luongo bashers out there right now, and they're wearing blue & green. Part of this comes from a team that is doing well; and the fans, with high expectations and eager for the team's first championship are passionate. I get that. But you have to realize that losses like last night's not only weren't anyone one player's fault, it was a team loss. A team loss to the top team in the conference. Frustrating as it may have been, these losses are going to happen.
Not much left to do but rest up and prepare for the next game against Phoenix. The team needs to get refocused. The second and third lines need to continue to pound pucks on the net, they're not going to score if they don't shoot. The defense need to get back to basics, and stop making the little mental errors that are coming back to haunt them. But last night was not a sign that Luongo isn't ready for the playoffs. This team shouldn't coast, the divisional title is not locked up and therefore the team needs to continue to push hard. I was stunned at Kelly Hrudey's suggestion last night that the Canucks should stop playing Luongo because they were in the clear. I think that headband he wore all those years must have cut off blood flow to the brain, because going into the kind of coasting mode he suggests would cost the Canucks home ice advantage.
Yes it was a winnable game, and yes they were a let down in the second period. But missing key guys, especially Samuelsson, they're still in a good position to take the Northwest crown. It could be so much worse. Look at the mess over in Calgary right now. Almost a certainty to miss the playoffs, up against the cap already for next year and the possibility of no pick until the 4th round. I actually feel sorry for the Flames and their fans. I do. It's gross miscompetence of the highest order, the kind we saw here in the 1980's, and again during the Messier/Keenan/McCaw era.
The Flames need to (pardon the pun) burn the whole thing to the ground and start over. And that means not just a management purge, from president Ken King on down, to doing the unthinkable. They're going to need to part with the face of the franchise and bring in some players of value with more managable contracts if they want to have a hope next season. Since their 2004 playoff run, they haven't won a playoff series, and don't really have any blue chip prospects down on the farm. They need to move Jarome Iginla at the draft, and start rebuilding. Rumors are swirling that Steve Yzerman could be a replacement for Darryl Sutter, and Ken Hitchcock as a new coach in place of Brent Sutter. While I like the idea of Yzerman, I am not sure a strict, defense first kind of coach is the answer, as they've essentially had that for years. I suppose I don't really care that much about the Flames to suggest what they should do, but it's not really a surprise that they fell apart like this. Their collapse during the stretch run last year was an excellent preview of what the Flames were going to be this year.
The all you can eat french toast bonanza
A couple games worth keeping your eye on today: The Flames try and live up to Jarome Iginla's bizarre claim that they're capable or running the table in the last 7 games today. No problem. You can start with Washington. I will actually be cheering on the Flames in this one, as they try and shutdown Alex Ovechkin, who trails Henrik Sedin by 3 points in the race for the Art Ross trophy.
The San Jose Sharks will be facing a Colorado Avalanche team that got slapped around by the Phoenix Coyotes last night. The Avs seem to finally showing signs of falling apart, some suggesting that goalie Craig Anderson is worn out, but it may also be a sign this team played well over it's head this year. They looked like a sensation, but now I'm beginning to think they're this year's St. Louis Blues.