the flames will try out their new line combinations tonight against the canucks back in the 'dome, and with any luck the strategy is more than "try not to give the puck away." that seemed to be the gameplan in the past few outings and we all know it didn't exactly work....
what i didn't notice yesterday when i talked about the sutter line blender was that he also mixed up the defense pairings. well, two of 'em, anyways.... gio is now skating with adam pardy and jaybouw will line up with corey sarich (dion/reggie remain status quo). my initial reaction on this was one of sheer horror, but in actually considering its' effects, i think it's the right move.
while this seems like a good idea on paper, i'm not sure i believe it'll work in a game situation (but obviously i'm hoping for a pleasant outcome). what it DOES do is match one good puck moving/skating defenseman with one hard hitter ---this should come in handy when trying to keep a guy away from the crease whilst sending the puck out of the zone.... so long as sarich and pardy are aware of their assignments then this could work (dion and regehr will continue to play chaos defense, i would imagine).
and while i'm not entirely convinced sarich is as good as he once was, i think that gio will calm adam pardy down a smidge. additionally, as pointed out in the comments over at m&g, when the #1 defensive pairing tries to move a truck like byfuglien, they might actually be successful (sarich better hit big or i'll be pissed).
the canucks have been waiting around for this game for five days; a stat that may or may not work in their favour. i'm hoping it will make for a sluggish start from the orcas, allowing the boys in red to swoop in and net some goals.... if that's the way it goes, the flames will have to prove they can hold a lead.... which i'm not entirely convinced will be the case.
this one smells like OT to me.
in other news, i finished the fleury book in just over 24 hours. it was kindof like a mission (and, let's face it, i don't have a whole lot else goin' on !!!). he says a lot of stuff in there that hockey-type people are not gonna like: he goes into some of the on-ice yapping that the public isn't supposed to know about, and brings to light the sex/drugs/gambling side of road trips that we all know goes on but have probably never seen in print. i'm sure the guys in charge of choosing hall of famers will not be happy with some of the things theo writes about, but i say let a man be honest for once....
the two parts that really stand out for me as talking points are 1. how much he hates coaches who didn't play the game --specifically mike keenan, and 2. how much he hated coaching systems and long practices. ironically, in my head, these two things are kindof mutually exclusive; although he never really played for keenan ('91 canada cup), he called him a technical x's and o's guy..... hm. fleury also delved into how coaches "who never played break guys down."
"Keenan never touched a star. He'd go after a third- or fourth-line player to make an example of hm. And the poor guy had to think about his family. He had to put food on the table."
seems to me what probably happened to gio last year, and (realistically) what happened to tanguay. either way, fleury presumeably didn't start to think about an NHL comeback until keenan got fired back in june, and he never, ever, ever would have worked under the tutelage of brent sutter.
oh, and theoren fleury seems to seriously detest chris chelios (mike keenan's favorite CURRENT player).... surprised ?