As many regular readers (ok many regular readers of this still developing blog is kinda an oxy-moron atr this point but bear with me) know the majority of this blogs posts have come on the topic of catching the Calgary Flames. Well a week or two ago the Avs were right on the doorstep being 5 points behind with 2 head-to-head matchups remaining. The only thing that could keep the Avs from catching Calgary was if the Avs cooled off. Well they didn't, but they still are probably going to be sitting at home in 2 weeks.
This is because Calgary has showed some stones and some grit and held off the Avs valient effort to catch them, and If the Avs can't muster a miracle I will actually be cheering for Calgary to go deep into the playoffs. The best sports has to offer is when two competitors are going at it and both being at their best. That's why the 2001 Avs championchip is more memorable than the 1996 one, because you have the two best teams, Colorado and NJ, with the two best goalies ever, playing their best Hockey at the best time. IT's why the Avs-Chx wings rivalry was so much fun in the late 90's/00's. This playoff chase is one of the most fun I've had watching hockey and my team will probably be on the wrong side of the outcome, but it's still been a lot of fun, and it's given me a team to cheer for... None other than Calgary. They have become a very likable team, and here's some reasons I have taken a liking to the flames.
First of all it's always fun to watch teams rise to a challenge. The Avs were hot on their tails and they calmly won 5 in a row. If you're going to be beaten, it's better to be beaten by a team playing their best and not beat yourselves.
It's always fun to see a team overcome their weakness and shortcomings. Calgary's road woes were documented well all season, yet in crunch time they have beaten three straight playoff teams on the road, with a very good tam pretty much keeping pace, to pretty much ice their playoff birth. That's admirable.
The ex Avs they have, specifically Yelle and Tanguay. Yelle was the underated defensive specialist that was instrumental to the penalty kill during the Avs 2 cup years, and Tanguay was the talented scorer, who scored 2 goals in Game 7 of the '01 finals. It's hard to cheer against these two guys who have been such an instrumental part to Colorado's past success.
Jarmoe Iginla. He is my favorite non-Av/ex-Av. He is a beast with the puck, he scores at will and he is always good for a good fight (His game against Vancouver this weekend was a fun fight to watch). I don't know how anyone can call themselves a fan of hockey and not like Iginla. This is not to mention other likable players like Conroy and Huselius.
Kiprusoff. Watching good goaltending is great. It's fun and the only thing more exciting in a hockey game than watching a great player make a great goal, is to watch a player make an extrordinary play only to be stoned by a fantastic goaltender. Kiprusoff does this. Good goaltending wins game, great goaltending breaks another teams will, especially in the playoffs.
Sure they have an unlikable player like Phaneuf, but I would say, overall, that Calgary has a likable team. So I am almost ready to jump aboard the Calgary playoff bandwagon (as soon as the Avs are officially eliminated). If people still aren't convinced, guess who Calgary's 1st round opponant will prbably be... that's right the Chx Wings. So I might as well start the preperation to cheer for Calgary now.