Programming Note: Thanks to Canucks.com, yours truly landed a media pass to the Caps/Canucks game on Monday, October 13. I'll be liveblogging the game as best I can so do stop by to see if I can make new friends down in the swamp.
1:54 PM ET Update: The Gillis youth train is full steam ahead as wunderkind Alex Edler has just inked a four year extension through the 2012-13 NHL season. No numbers that I can see yet, but thanks to NHLnumbers.com Edler, Bieksa and Salo are inked now for the next three years at least. Mitchell has two more and Ohlund and O'Brien are down to one.
I wonder if Ross McKeon took time away from his nightly snuff film to view the pretty picture.
As I said last night, the first period was terrible. Blame the tribute, blame the preseason hangover, blame the global financial meltdown, who cares. The fact is the Flames were faster and generated more chances. But with the 5-on-3 gift handed to them, Luongo shut the door. The Sedins goal at the end was the first of many defensive meltdowns that Calgary would hand Vancouver on the evening.
But once the second period started - whether it was all for Luc or not - it was balls to the walls time. The bad penalties stopped, the offensive flow tilted back towards their end of the ice and it was on. Bernier's goal is what we should see far more: the Sedins cycle and find Bernier with his stick on the ice as he drives to the net. Burrows (clearly moved by the tribute) pounced a huge rebound for his first. Ohlund's PP goal and Rypien's shorty, both in the third, were just icing on the cake for Luongo's season opening shutout. Every single line got in on the scoring and while the Flames did keep the Demitra line mostly off the scorecard (Pyatt got an assist on Ohlund's goal), Demitra and Raymond together were a constant, speedy threat. Don't be shocked if Pyatt is moved off that line in short order.
The B plot to last night was definitely the energy that was sorely missing when Isbister of all people was featured in the top six last year. Ohlund, Hansen and Bernier all did some of the work that was supposed to be in the job description for Rypien, Brown and Hordichuk. A healthy Bieksa and newcomer O'Brien will pay itself off in spades as long as they don't take bad calls as they police the ice around Luongo. The key difference is that it's not all left on Kesler, Burrows and Matt Cooke anymore to take the game to the other team.
The Flames, to be fair, had their own set of issues: Regehr wasn't there to help the onslaught (though I don't think Pardy was that bad), the dust was just settling from the Warrener/Boyd thing and some old Canuck faces looked generally terrible, including Keenan (his line juggling did nothing), Aucoin and ol' #44. Giordano, despite some poor plays like the rest of the defense, looked great otherwise. You barely saw Iginla out there other then when he was taking a call and Phaneuf is the Norris Trophy winner? Good luck with that.
Sure, it's just one game and Saturday will feature a vengeful home team supported by their sea of red, but for now maybe this team swayed a few naysayers out there. Maybe not. Then again, who cares. As Todd would say "it is what it is."