The Bertuzzi Factor

Three games. Two losses. The Calgary Flames, notorious for slow-starts, kicked off the regular season with two Vancouver losses and one Colorado victory. Even despite the disappointing results, there were moments of greatness; just to give Flames fans a little taste of what’s to come in the 2008-09 season.

First off, there is the Todd Bertuzzi factor. After all of the backlash from the 2004 sucker punch on Steve Moore, Bertuzzi wasn’t a Flames fan favorite, to say the least. Calgary’s controversial decision to sign Bertuzzi to a one-year deal worth $1.95 million didn’t go over well with many Flames fans.

But the past certainly doesn’t seem to dictate the future, as Bertuzzi has seemingly won over the hearts of Calgarians with his strong play thus far this season. Bertuzzi is great in front of the net and is an intimidating force on the ice, and it seems to work quite well for Calgary; he leads the team with three goals in three games.

Game one saw the Flames face-off against the Canucks in Vancouver, resulting in an embarrassing 6-0 loss for Calgary. The Flames’ performance could arguably be attributed to the lack of effort by the defense. Not to mention, Kiprusoff’s performance was not up to the high standard he has been recognized for in years past.

Round two versus the Canucks played out a lot differently. Never a dull moment, as the game remained close until the bitter overtime end. Bertuzzi, Rene Bourque, Andre Roy and Michael Cammalleri all scored for Calgary, but it wasn’t enough to save them. Pavol Demitra scored with 1:06 left in overtime, to secure a victory for the Canucks.

A light at the end of the tunnel, game three, and a 5-4 win for Calgary over Colorado. The Flames exhibited a strong power play, capitalizing on three runs. Dustin Boyd was one such player who utilized the power play, scoring the first goal for Calgary. Boyd was recently recalled from the AHL, after being sent back to the league days prior to the season opener. The power play has been an aspect that hasn’t been Calgary’s strong suit in the past.

The Flames play back-to-back games against Edmonton this weekend. October 17th in Calgary and October 18th in Edmonton. The Flames will need to watch out for Oilers like Andrew Cogliano and Mathieu Garon, who have stood out strong already.

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