The headline should read: “McGrattan Leads Flames to Victory Against Canucks” but we all know that probably won’t happen in the mainstream media.
Sure we’ll hear about his Gordie Howe Hat Trick (even I’ve already tweeted that!), but McGrattan’s not the type of player that ‘leads’ teams to victory by most people’s standards. But I beg to differ.
After knocking Darcy Hordichuk to the ice with a solid punch in a first period fight, McGrattan and his linemates continued to dominate the physical game against the Canucks throughout the first two periods. Moments after declining a second fight with Hordichuck, McGrattan set up linemate Dustin Boyd for the Flames 4th goal. He then scored two minutes later to give the Flames a 5-0 lead.
In the new NHL, the salary cap means that guys like McGrattan, Boyd and Brandon Prust need to step up on a regular basis if a team wants to be successful. “Cheap players” needs to combine with other “cheap players” to contribute as much offense as expensive guys like Jarome Iginla. There is always 10x more defensive focus on the top players, and if the big guns aren’t scoring, someone else has to. Dion Phaneuf (and his $6.5M salary) scored one goal tonight. The other 4 Flames goal scorers combine for a total salary of only $3.247M. Seems like a good deal to me.
McGrattan, Boyd and Prust discussed scoring goals before the game and decided to make a difference for their team. Combining for 2 goals and 6 points did a lot to help the Flames team win the game. Vancouver’s top defenders were always on the ice against Jarome Iginla’s line and as a result they were kept off the scoresheet. Pretty play doesn’t win games in the Northwest Division; Gritty play does. The leader of the gritty play tonight was Brian McGrattan.
So why can’t we write him into the headlines for once?!