The Canes will begin a 4 game road trip starting off in the scenic Rocky Mountains tonight. The Calgary Flames host Carolina and I'm sure the Saddledome will be full and loud. This will be the first time former Flame Mike Commodore will play in Calgary since we stole him from them for a 4rth round draft choice about 2 years ago. Thank you Darryl Sutter! Initially Mike was sad about the trade, but has since made himself at home in Carolina and went from playing sparingly on the Flames blueline to being on the ice over 20 minutes a game for the Hurricanes. Caniacs love Mike and he was just given a standing ovation at the game Saturday night during a Forslund Focus. Commie is "good people" and would be a fan favorite no matter where he plays.
Speaking of John Forslund, he just said on the Bull this morning that Johnny Grahame would get the start tonight. This makes sense because Cam Ward would obviously love to play in front of his friends and family up in Edmonton tomorrow night. This will probably add fuel to some of the ignorant Carolina "goalie controversy" rumors, but in my mind Cam has done nothing to lose his starting job. While his save percentage and goals allowed average may be mediocre at best, he is near the top of the league in wins. He makes the saves when he needs to, that's what matters. What's the old saying? "Just win baby!"
I have been making some "bold predictions" in some recent blog posts and I'll make another right now. Look for Cory Stillman to make his 2006-07 premier tonight! I'm sure he won't play for 20 minutes, but I bet he will make an appearance on the powerplay and play sparingly other than that. This is also a homecoming for Cory having been drafted by Calgary number 6 overall in the 1992 draft. He played for Calgary for almost 7 years before being traded to St. Louis for Craig Conroy and a draft pick back in 2001. What better place for Cory to return to action?
This also a homecoming of sorts for Andrew Ladd. Ladd played for the Calgary Hitmen in junior, so he is very familar with the area, rink, and fans. It wouldn't surprise me to see him light the lamp tonight because he'll be fired up. Look for some extra physical play from Andrew and Flames stand out Dion Phaneuf. A collision between those two would be noteworthy! Speaking of Phaneuf, all the Canes better keep their heads up tonight. This guy loves to hit hard and often! Trevor Letowski, are you listening?
This game matches the contrasting styles between Calgary's tight defense and Carolina's wide open offense. The Flames have won 7 in a row at home, will this be number 8? Can the Canes extend their 2 game winning streak? Will Stillman return tonight? Tune into FoxSports South tonight at 9 to have your questions answered. Go Canes!