i will not take anything away from the product that wayne gretzky (and ulf samuelsson !!) put on the ice tonight, but the flames looked like they were still on hiatus. "flat-footed" was the word uttered extensively around me in section 201, but i'd go one step further. "disinterested," i'd say. "bored," even.
i've spent a large part of the last few months wailing about the existance of conroy on the first line and tonight was no different. every time he had the puck in a scoring position, my dad would catch his breath a bit --hoping for a goal. i didn't waste my time. i knew conroy infront was as much of a threat as the puck magnets that play at centre ice between periods...
i've also spent some time bitching about nolan on the second line, and again he proved tonight that this is not gonna work out. the most glorious scoring opportunity fell to his stick, a gaping net and flailing bryzagalov. nolan put it wide.... twice. stonehands, nothing. these guys are simply OVER.
MG posits that lombardi, perhaps, should be centering tanguay and.... boyd (?) and from the onset of the game [but mostly when things started to go badly], i was stating the same. the good news is that lombo got a shot with tangs (and nolan) in the last minutes of the third, when the game was essentially over. 'course, mark smith got a shot with langkow in the same time period, so i'm not at all hopeful that this combination will stick. but if keenan can guiltlessly bench nilson and primeau, then he should be able to demote both conroy and nolan to the third line, where (like MG says) they might actually prove to be effective.
i won't go into the mathematics of it all, i'll just point out that the current lineup makes no sense. at the risk of offending a veteran, i think keenan et al. need to take a hard look at the roles they are expecting out of everyone outside iggy and juice and make some changes (i will not include langkow in this, since i think he can be considered secondary scoring, over the past month, as he's been largely on the second line)...
"minutes"/yelle/whoever you want (godard, moss, primeau --i don't really care).
while i'm not hating keenan at all, i'm curious about some of his choices (see above). on the first phoenix goal, the redshirts on the ice were smith, yelle, godard, hale & warrener. i told my pops there would be a goal about 10 seconds before the goal. there is no way that the five worst flames players should ever be on the ice at the same time, if you ask me. this was, by the way, not following an icing or in the midst of some kind of strange line change. terrible call.
and lastly: jovo's a pussy.