Wednesday, August 13, 2008

NHL Guide: Calgary Flames

In today's second installment of the Chronicle's August Guide to the NHL, where we tell you who to love and who to hate, we take a look at the Atlanta-nee-Calgary Flames.

Who doesn't love the Calgary Flames? Even Big Shooter, who as a die hard Oiler fan is bound by all that is Holy to despise the Flames, has a Jerome Iginla tattoo in an sensitive location. Below are Razor's top ten reasons to join the C of Red any time they're not playing the Thrashers.

10) The Red Mile- Really like 1.8 miles of Calgary leading out from the Saddle Dome and Rodeo grounds, this street is packed with bars and restaurants that overflow with fans after a game. The Melrose Cafe & Bar is an awesome place to catch a game if you couldn't score tickets.

9) Dion Phaneuf- One of the best defensemen in the NHL from the second he first hit the ice. Despite also being one of the UGLIEST defensemen in the NHL, restored some of my faith in humanity when he stole Jack Bauer's daughter away from Sean Avery. He would be higher on the list, if he didn't refer to himself as "The Dion."

8) The Calgary Stampede- The biggest rodeo in the world isn't in Montana, Wyoming, or even Texas. It's in Canada. If you've ever been there, it's easy to see why. Alberta feels like Colorado with slightly funnier accents and better beer.

7) Darryl Sutter- I am still in denial over...well, a lot of things really. The Flames made a huge mistake when they allowed Sutter to give up the bench boss duties and hire Mike Keanan. Sutter was an iconic NHL player, and a heck of a coach.

6) Robyn Regehr- Another Flames D-man who blew away expectations when he entered the league, but Regehr did it more through determination and grit than natural ability. He's the kind of guy everybody wants on their team.

5) Chris LeDoux- The world's greatest all-time singing cowboy once recorded a song titled "Hippies in Calgary" about a joke he once played on buddies while they were in town for the Calgary Stampede Rodeo. LeDoux narrowly avoided having his clock cleaned by a fellow rodeo cowboy because he dressed up in a wig and beads.

4) Stephane Yelle- Yeller is the prototypical role player. If he were on the Thrashers, he'd win the Dan Snyder award every single year. It's impossible not to be proud of his effort and quiet leadership.

3) Miikka Kipprusoff- Our loyal readers know that Finns have a hard time getting respect here in the Chronicle. But we've always had room in our hearts for Kipper, from the time he was 95th on the Sharks' depth chart, through his performance in the 04 playoffs that should have won him the Conn Smythe. Once again, Brad Richards is a prick.

2) The C of Red- Few teams can pull off the "blackout," regardless of what color they actually choose to use. Even fewer can do it without actually passing out t-shirts to fans on their way to the game. Calgary doesn't even have to plan. Opposing players skating onto the ice during the playoffs look around and think they've found a patch of ice amidst the fires of Hell.

1) Jarome Iginla- The perfect hockey player. He's Cam Neely with healthy knees, and a great ambassador of the game of hockey. The Chronicle staff unanimously agreed recently that Iginla is the one player we would all choose to build a franchise around.

Please note- It is still perfectly acceptable to hate both Mike Keanan and Todd Bertuzzi. That is all.

Other notes- Congrats to Brett Hull, Mike Richter, Brian Leetch, and Cammi Granato on their induction to the U.S.A. Hockey Hall of Fame. Well deserved in every case. In 1996, Mike Richter displayed the greatest goaltending performance we are ever likely to see in the World Cup of Hockey. Also, congrats to Scott Gordon who has been named head coach of the Islanders. I made fun of ole' Flash a couple of weeks ago, and all of that is still valid, but it's nice to see an old Atlanta Knight making good.

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