Hockey Night in Canada's Scott Morrison delivers his insights into the world of hockey, on and off the ice.
Flames win! Flames win! (maybe)
Monday, October 2, 2006 | 04:37 PM ET
By Scott Morrison
The first thing the bettors in the audience should know is that eve-of-the-season predictions, no matter how sensible, well-intended and reasoned they might seem, are still very much a fool's game.
You know, produced by fools who should know better.
Because over the course of eight-plus months, stuff happens. Like, who knows who will be the Flyers' No. 1 goaltender in a week, never mind a month? Who knows who The Sopranos will kneecap in New Jersey to provide cap relief?
Who knows who will be Belinda Stronach's next main squeeze?
But enough with the disclaimers. Without any further ado, might as well wade right into it in the inaugural cbc.ca blog and offer up an early prediction as to which team might, dare we say will, win the Stanley Cup next June. Needless to say, there is no shortage of legitimate contenders.
In the East, of course, there is Carolina, the defending champions. There is Ottawa, hockey's version of the wedding-bouquet catcher. Buffalo, a team just plain vexed and often underestimated. The New York Rangers, quietly very good. Tampa Bay, on the verge of something very good or bad. Philadelphia, forever one good goaltender short of a load.
And there are several others on the quite-possible, but gotta-buy-a-ticket fringe, including Montreal and the Maple Leafs.
In the West, there is: San Jose, still fearing Boston will call back at any time to say it was all just a joke. Anaheim, with the best twosome in California in Pronger and Niedermayer since Jennifer and Brad. Edmonton, which may just score goals like the classic Oilers.
Nashville. Detroit. Dallas. Vancouver. L.A. The list goes on, and could be longer, but probably should have stopped several entries earlier.
So, again, without further, further ado we will whisper loudly that the Calgary Flames just might be the Stanley Cup champions next spring.
There are plenty of good reasons. First, the Flames have a tremendous goaltender in Miikka Kiprusoff. Their depth on defence isn't quite what it was, but the main group is still terrific and the supporting cast may be thinner, but is just fine. The biggest flaw was scoring goals, but the addition of Alex Tanguay and a refocused, rebuffed Jarome Iginla should solve that problem.
Darryl Sutter did a fine job as GM and coach, but turning over the responsibilities for the latter to Jim Playfair just might be happening at the right time. Sutter inflicted the fear and discipline and defensive excellence, while Playfair can shape the team for the new world order. It's all about timing ... and probably avoiding Edmonton in the first round.
Having advanced to the final and losing in seven games three springs ago, then to agonizingly lose in seven games in the opening round last spring to Anaheim, might have re-established perspective and passion for the Flames.
So there you have it, barring the unforseen that can happen in eight months, the Flames will bring the Stanley Cup back to Canada in June.
Kudos and contempt can be directed here.
This discussion is now Open. Submit your Comment.
Post a Comment
About the Author
Scott Morrison, the recipient of the Hockey Hall of Fameís 2006 Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award, has been covering hockey for 25 years. The Toronto native began his career at the Toronto Sun in 1979. After spending more than 11 years as a hockey writer and columnist at the paper, Morrison became Sports Editor in 1991 and led the section to being named one of North America's top-ten sports sections in 1999 - the first sports section in Canada to receive the AP Sports Editors North American Award. Scott, a former two-term president of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, joined Rogers Sportsnet in 2001 as Managing Editor, Hockey, and is currently both a commentator on Hockey Night in Canada and a columnist for CBC.ca.
- Listen to Grapes - touch icing is dangerous
- Friday, March 21, 2008
- Pronger's suspension not enough, but not far off
- Tuesday, March 18, 2008
- NHL standings should not reward division leaders
- Wednesday, March 12, 2008
- Neck guards, like visors, will be a player’s choice
- Thursday, March 6, 2008
- Sens' problems deeper than Paddock
- Wednesday, February 27, 2008
- Subscribe to Viewpoint