What if Kipper plays bad?
When the Flames gave up three or more goals, they only won 10 of 37 games; proof that scoring goals was a serious issue for the team. However, despite the inability of the Calgary Flames to put pucks into the opposing net, rarely did they have too many issues with keeping the puck out of their own net. They ranked 5th in the league in ‘goals against per game’ with 2.48; which ranked them 1st amongst non playoff teams. They ranked 7th in the league in shots against per game and they had a goaltender who defied gravity for most of the year.
Miikka Kiprusoff was a Vezina worthy goaltender last season. I know, I can be a little biased but anyone who watched Kipper in any number of games would agree. The Flames unfortunately missed the playoffs though, kyboshing any chance for such a nomination.
He was second, only to Brodeur, in games played this season. Amongst goalies who played more than 60 games he ranked in the top 5 in GAA and top 7 in save percentage. He recorded 35 plus wins for the 5th straight year.
Yet, despite all of this he was unable to carry the Flames into the post-season.
So, what am I getting at? Why now do I bring up this fact mid way through July? The reason is because over the past couple of weeks since the Jokinen/Tanguay deals, people have come up and asked me what I thought of the deals. I re-iterate how I was happy with the Tanguay risk, but then how I almost jumped off my balcony when I heard the sacrilegious concept of Olli Jokinen coming back to the Flames.
However, the thing that I come back to is the fact that Kiprusoff was an All Star last year and the Flames still fell short of playing spring hockey. The simple actuality remains that if he slips just a bit from his form of last year, then the Flames will find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture once again, but much further down the Western Conference ladder.
Reason being is that the Flames have not solved their goal scoring problems; despite what the Dark Lord Sutter has told us. Unless he believes that Tanguay can somehow put up ‘Thornton-esque’ numbers, then the Flames will, once again, be searching for ways to score goals.
Then, of course, it comes back to Miikka. He is the rudder, the sail, and the oars on this fragile vessel. If he breaks, then the Flames will free-fall into the land of obscurity.
I was just checking to see if this scared everyone else like it scares me.
This has been,
Newman on the Flames