Friday, October 12, 2007

Too Much, Too Soon??

We are just over a week into the season, but the questions seem to be coming up about certain topics; coaching, free agents on the market, who's going to be in net-- however, the one question I'll pose to you today is dealing with the possibility of some teams doing too much, too early; which could effect their play later on in the season.

First, the Calgary Flames. Obviously, Mike Keenan has been know to play his best players all the time to get them the ice time to make a difference. That's all well and good, but there has been a noticable difference in the Flames this season than in season's past. Granted, they don't have the best track record when it comes to October, but it seems that they are playing much sloppier than usual.

One example is Dion Phaneuf, who in his third year is logging almost 30 minutes a game. Sure, he's a great young defenseman, but you have to wonder if he's ready for that big of a responsibility yet. As the games drag on, he seems to be getting more and more fatigued and let's more and more get by him; pucks, men, the game.

Jarome Iginla could be another example if he had great October's to begin with. With the exception of last season, Iginla has never had the best track record in the first month of the season.

With the Flames on a big downswing and have to play from behind all year thus far, they will need to get something going in one way or another in order to keep the fans happy and their playoff hopes bright.

Staying in the West, the Cup champion Ducks won their first game since their England Adventure on Wednesday against the Bruins. However, with the exception of their shootout lose to the Wings, the Ducks have not looked like the most recent champions of the league.

The big question with the Ducks is how much does this have to do with the absence of Scott Niedermayer, Teemu Selanne, and the injured J-S Giguere?? All three played a big part in the success of the Ducks last season and have left a fairly big hole. It doesn't help either that Mathieu Schneider is out and that Ilya Bryzgalov hasn't been as good as the Ducks would have hoped.

The good things for the Ducks is that now they have some rest after coming back to North America, especially after playing three games in four days when the got back from London, as well as the emergence of Jonas Hiller as a competent back-up, which could great controversy when Giguere finally does get healthy. Not to mention Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Francois Beauchemin have all emerged as great scoring threats, though one of those names is not like the others.

Now, I know two truths-- it's early in the season and that these athlete's are well-conditioned and should be able to deal with all the twist and turns thrown out there. Yet, it does still make for great discussion and some controversy in the early going.

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