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 Little Spark or Raging Inferno?
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Posted - 05/19/2004 :  22:31:20  Show Profile
Contributed by: Harvey Rose

Unlike the Mighty Ducks of last year, the Flames have a legitimate chance at winning the Cup. There was no question last year that Giguere carried the Ducks right into the finals, however, if you look at the Flames it's a different story. These guys really are on fire...

Although Kiprusoff has been absolutely fantastic and his glove hand is possibly the greatest since the mid eighties, he has not single handedly carried the Flames into the finals. Calgary's ride has been a complete team effort. The top line of Iginla, Conroy and Gelinas have been stellar and have come up with big goals at the most important times. Gelinas, after all, has now scored all three series-clinching goals to tie an NHL record! And who can overlook the second lne of Niemenin, Donovan and Nilson? It has been better than a lot of team's first lines with 23 points. Donovan could possibly be the fastest skater in the league. And what might be most surprising and rewarding for Flames fans across Canada is the performance of the young and inexperinced defence core. Defiantly, in the face of injury it has stepped up and delivered a consistent effort game after game.

Probably most absent from the media is the work ethic of guys such as Yelle and Conroy who, if not scoring goals, are winning big face offs, blocking 95 mile an hour slappers and assisting on game winning goals. Both are tremendous athletes who lead by example. Something the league needs more of.

Under the guidance of Sutter the Flames, who came out of nowhere this year, really do look like they belong in the finals. Obviously the hardest working team in the NHL gets its drive from the top. Sutter, a blue collar player himself in his day, has instilled a strong sense of pride in being a role player. A sense that if you don't pull your weight and do YOUR job then the team will suffer. Seems obvious. Right? Well in this day of insane salaries and million dollar endorsement deals this mentality is a real breath of fresh air. And it works!

So what do the Flames have right now? A hot goalie, incredible scoring punch, blistering speed, a work ethic that other teams dream of, and now...they even have a chance. But in all that I'll tell you what they don't have. Lord Stanley. At least yet.

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