Jarome Iginla and the Calgary Flames are in Toronto tonight for a match-up with Dion Phaneuf and the Toronto Maple Leafs. While both teams are looking for two points, the story of a Phaneuf-Iggy matchup will always come down to pride and ego.
The Leafs are still unbeaten this season, though that really only means they’ve won their first two games. I wouldn’t knock that record though as it’s one bit of pride that Leafs fans, who’ve suffered so many seasons of mediocrity, can hold onto. However, despite a strong start last season, the Leafs still ended up missing the playoffs. A strong start to the season is more than the Flames can boast, who, after losing their first two games, finally won on Thursday night in Montreal.
The Flames and Leafs are no strangers to each other even if they only play once or twice per season. That familiarity is thanks to several trades between the teams over the past few seasons that has left former Leafs wearing the flaming C and a couple former Flames wearing a Maple Leaf on their Jerseys.
As all Flames fans know, Phaneuf was drafted by Calgary and gained his reputation as a hard hitter with a hard shot. As Leafs fans now know, Dion has his upside, but he is plagued by a knack for coming up soft on defense in front of his own net. Former Flames fast man Matthew Lombardi has found himself in a Maple Leafs Jersey this season after being picked up by Leafs GM Brian Burke in the offseason.
The object of many jokes from Leafs’ fans directed out west, Calgary now hosts Matt Stajan, the under-performing (or is it overpaid?) centre, who came to the Flames in the Dion Phaneuf Trade. That trade also featured Niklas Hagman, who has done a little better than Stajan in Calgary, but is still not *quite* living up to expectations.
Rounding out the “players who used to be in Toronto and are now in Calgary” list is Lee Stempniak, who came
So what can we expect in tonight’s game? Here’s my shopping list to check off throughout the game:
Jarome Iginla will score by pure force of will. It will either come really early or really late.
Dion Phaneuf will be on the ice when Iggy scores.
Not to be outdone, Phaneuf will score a PP goal with a blast from the point.
Hagman will put together a nice dipsy-doodle, stick-handle past your swinging stick move and score.
Stajan will get injured – let’s call it a groin pull.
Stempniak will have a solid game. No points but no goals against either.
Lombardi will blow past Cory Sarich like he has lead feet (no wait, he does have lead feet)
I also predict that Twitter will be frikkin hilarious tonight. There is always a good rivalry between Leafs and Flames fans, so I’m including the Twitter feed so you non-Tweeters can check it out.