A New Hope – Hudler and Cervenka Return, Baertschi Sits

With a rather dismal start to the season, many Flames fans are getting a little nervous that they’ve been sent in a time warp to sometime during the past three seasons. Have no fear, Hudler and Cervenka are nearly here. And with that dawns a new hope that a slow start will be just that and not a gloomy foreshadowing of what is to come.

I know it seems a little ridiculous to think that a guy that has never played in the NHL and a quality second line winger on their own will be enough to push the Flames into the win column. The reason why I’m excited for their return is not for their return specifically. The Flames thus far have had some success when rolling the Iginla’s line out there, and then continuing with Backlund’s line. However, the third line has been a bit of a momentum stopper, which makes it difficult to get sustained pressure. The only time that we’ve seen the 3rd line continue the momentum was the 1st period against the Sharks, where everyone on the Flames had a good and effective period. We’ve seen more than one guy rotate onto the third line, including Sven Baertschi, who will sit against the Oilers, but it has been Matt Stajan and Blake Comeau’s mediocre play that has been detrimental thus far. Comeau at times seems lost and holds on to the puck too long before shooting, allowing the defender to easily block it, and Stajan has not been noticeable in any way. Good if you’re a defensive 5th or 6th D-man, not so good if you’re trying to be a secondary scorer.

I am somewhat surprised that Baertschi get’s a date with the press box next game as he’s not been the worst guy out there. Seems like a bit of a sideways step skill wise adding two skill guys only to sit another one, especially with the play of some of the other guys. However, with Hudler and Cervenka coming in, they will take vital ice time away from some of our average 3rd/4th line players, which should make it more difficult for the Oilers to defend against.

The forward lines for tomorrow should look like

Tanguay-Iginla-Glencross
Stempniak-Backlund-Cammalleri
Cervenka-Stajan-Hudler
Comeau-Jones-Jackman

Go Flames Go.

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