We were all hoping for it. We got one fist pump from Henrik Karlsson, but we needed 2 more for the win. Unfortunately for the Calgary Flames and their fans, that didn’t happen in Raleigh, North Carolina tonight as the Hurricanes survived a late rally from the Flames and won the game in the shootout.
After a game spent frustrating the Calgary Flames defencemen, Cory Sarich in particular, Carolina rookie Jeff Skinner scored the only goal of the shootout to give his team the win. It was a fitting cap to the game for the NHL’s leading rookie scorer. Though he only registered one assist in the game, Skinner was constantly in the middle of the play and contributed to several good scoring opportunities.
The shootout didn’t need to happen though. After storming back from a 5-2 deficit and tying the game with less than 13 minutes remaining in the third period, the Flames had a couple great chances to end the game. As has so often been the case in the past, the Flames couldn’t capitalize on their chances. The best chance to take the 6-5 lead came from Olli Jokinen who had a wide open net and shot the puck off the crossbar (again!). Jokinen seems to have some serious problems as a clutch performer, which might have something to do with all those years he spent watching the playoffs instead of playing in them. I was so amazed at Jokinen’s inability to score that I tweeted this:
… which was followed up shortly by this…
… which lead to this…
Though we lost the game, we gained a nickname tonight: BARNEY. Whether you’re with me on this one or not, Jokinen will always be Barney to me . He’s had his fair share of nicknames from Flames fans in the past. There have been some classics, like “Chokinen,” “Plug,” and “The Finnish with no finish” but to me Jokinen will henceforth be Fred’s best friend, Barney.
The word Barney sums up this season for the Flames and describes Jokinen perfectly. No matter what the team thinks they can do, or what they’re supposed to do on paper, the Flames on-ice game is lacking some serious smarts and execution. The typical Barney Rubble phrase “Whatever you say, Fred” comes to mind when I think of one of Jokinen’s teammates or coaches telling Jokinen to shoot for the middle of the net when it’s wide open and he’s standing in front of it with the puck on his stick. No matter how many times they try to tell him, Barney will keep shooting for the posts or crossbar and his accuracy at hitting them is a major frustration to all, including Fred, who only has so much patience.
So Flames fans, we’re Fred and he’s Barney. Let’s all take some time and head down to the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes lodge and toss back a few frosty beverages. It might be the only thing left that we can accomplish as a team this year.
In other news, Jarome Iginla notched his 500th career assist tonight after being selected to play in his 6th NHL All Star Game. I’m proud of you, Iggy. I just wish you had a little more support. And by that, I mean more support than the hundreds of thousands of adoring fans rocking their Iggy Shirts. I mean real, on-ice support.