I'm pleased with the line blender to a point, but as good as Langkow-Bertuzzi-Cammo was in Game 1 — and yes, that was their best line, and yes, Bertuzzi was, bizarrely, among the best Flames — I'd still rather see Langkow centering Iginla. That's what works best, and it keeps Conroy in a more effective, most important defensive-centre role.
But hell, I'm not going to complain. The blender (if it sticks), plus the apparent returns of Boyd and Sarich, are obvious steps forward for tonight. Keenan, somewhere in his weird head, has to know that Game 1 loss was entirely on him. His overuse of Eriksson, his insistence on sending out the useless Iginla-Jokinen combo not only every third shift, but on the power-play and in key defensive faceoff situations, the prevent defence in the third period ... that was a coach-lost game. Even he must want to win enough to admit mistakes and rectify them.
The good news from Game 1 was, when they were playing properly, the Flames were clearly the better ES team, outshooting, out-passing, outforechecking and outchancing the Hawks. Other good things:
• Minus the first goal, Kipper made at least a half-dozen excellent, excellent saves. His best game in quite some time.
• Dion Phaneuf played an almost flawless defensive game. I think sitting in the press-box and actually WATCHING a game might have helped. That's what he's capable of, and needs to bring every night. (Along with maybe some better point shots on the PP.)
• Rene Bourque was obviously able to come back at full-speed and full effectiveness.
• Pierre McGuire was right: Brian Campbell was not only targeted, but vulnerable. Need to keep working on that one.
Flames need to take at least one in Chicago, obviously, and it's better tonight than trying to make it Game 5 when you're down 3-1, presuming they play at their absolute best in Calgary.
To help them along, I'm switching out of the Game-1-loser 2008-issue Jarome Iginla 12 jersey, and switching to the name/numberless 2004-era red. Because, as we all know, the jersey I wear is crucial to any chances the Flames have of victory tonight.