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Brian Sutter


C - Andrew Cassels, Rico Fata, Clarke Wilm, Cory Stillman,Jeff Shantz, Steve Dubinsky. LW - Bob Bassen, Ed Ward, Jason Wiemer, Dave Roche. RW - Valeri Bure, Theoren Fleury, Jarome Iginla, Greg Pankewicz, Martin St. Louis. D - Tommy Albelin, Cale Hulse, Derek Morris, Todd Simpson, Steve Smith, Phil Housley, Dennis Gauthier. G - Ken Wregget, Tyler Moss, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Tyrone Garner.


Tyler Moss, g (suffered groin injury Dec. 11, day-to-day); Ken Wregget, g (suffered back spasms Nov. 3, day- to-day (placed on IR Nov. 3)).


Recalled Tyrone Garner, g, from Oshawa (OHL).


12/07 Dallas           L 3-2
12/11 at  Tampa Bay    W 2-1
12/12 at Florida       W 4-2
12/14 at NY Rangers    L 5-2
12/17 at Philadelphia  T 3-3
12/18 at New Jersey    W 5-2


Northwest Division  GP   W   L   T   PTS   GF   GA 
  Colorado          31  14  14   3    31   75   78   
  Edmonton          32  14  15   3    31   88   84   
  Calgary           31  12  16   3    27   87   90  
  Vancouver         30  11  15   4    26   84   90


by Jim Iovino, Calgary Correspondent

Hey, Not Bad!

There's always cause for concern when the Flames take an extended road trip east, especially when three of the teams they'll play are the Rangers, Flyers and Devils. The payroll of one of those teams alone could probably buy the Flames franchise.

But before the Flames could get to the meat of their five-game Eastern swing, they made quick work of Sunshine state by beating Tampa Bay, 2-1, and Florida, 4-2. With the easy work out of the way, the Flames had to prepare themselves for a tough stretch.

First up was the Rangers. Well, Wayne Gretzky showed off a little of that New York hospitality by racking up three assists as the Blueshirts downed Fleury's boys 5-2 at MSG.

One tough game down, two to go.

Three days later the Flames traveled to the appropriately named FU Center in Philadelphia. The Flyers are an intimidating bunch. They're big. They're goony. They're a bunch of big oafs, really. And that's just their fans. Aw, I'm kidding... Well, no, I'm not. I hate Philly fans.

Anyway, a young and innocent team like the Flames could get rattled in a place like the FU Center, but Calgary showed tremendous poise under the circumstances. After a scoreless first period, the Flyers scored twice in the second to take what seemed like a commanding lead. The Flames got one back in the third, but the Flyers scored again to make it 3-1. However, less than a minute after the Philly goal, Jeff Shantz crashed the net and poked home a rebound to get the Flames within one. Then, a little over three minutes after the Shantz goal, a red-hot Cory Stillman scored to tie the game at 3. A late flurry by the Flyers in overtime was thwarted by J.S. Giguere, which allowed the Flames to escape with a 3-3 tie. Woo-hoo!

But the Flames couldn't get too happy happy yet. The next night the Flames had to play perhaps the best team in the league, the New Jersey Devils. The Devils gave Martin Brodeur the game off so Chris Terreri could get some work. Calgary greeted Terreri by pounding him for five goals, including two by Stillman, in a surprising 5-2 Flames win.

Rookie goalie J.S. Giguere played in all five games of the road trip due to injuries. Tyler Moss made three saves before pulling his groin early in the Tampa Bay game. Giguere came in and made 21 saves for the win. From there it was al Giguere, as he made 36 saves against Florida, 24 against the Rangers, 39 against Philly and 36 against New Jersey.

So a road trip that could have been detrimental to the health of Flames fans everywhere turned out to be quite joyous. Incredibly, Calgary picked up seven of a possible 10 points. A successful road trip like this one can do wonders for a team's mindset. Here's hoping the Flames can keep up the strong play through the new year.

Fleury on display?

Speaking of strong play, Theo Fleury has been playing some of his best hockey in years. The little guy is scoring goals, dishing out assists and looks as if he's having a lot of fun while doing it. This is opposite to the past couple seasons when Fleury was frustrated by a lack of winning and a lack of talent around him.

But Fleury's having a blast now. Two examples of his happiness occurred in the final two games of the road trip. In Philadelphia, Fleury had a great scoring chance but just missed. As the whistle blew for a stoppage in play, Fleury skated near the glass, picked out an annoying Flyer fan, banged the boards with his stick and elbow and then screamed "sunshine" at the guy three times in a row. Perhaps he was reminding the guy that he was in the FU Center (FUC for short)... It was quite a cool moment.

The next night in New Jersey, Fleury took a pass at center ice, skated down the right wing and let loose a cannon of a blast that beat goaltender Chris Terreri low on the far side. Fleury celebrated by skating behind the net, looking up into the stands and, with a sly look in his eyes, taunting the crowd. You just gotta love Theo. Unless, that is, he just scored on your team...

Ironically, the same fans Theo's taunting today might be cheering for him by the end of the year. Fleury's contract situation is still up in the air. So is his status with the Flames, who are likely to trade him before the end of the year.

Fleury's strong play has done two things to this whole situation. First, he's upped the ante for any team that wants to acquire him. The Sharks are still interested in Theo, plus rumors have it that the Kings are taking a look, as well as the Flyers and Devils. But Theo's playing his best hockey of the season right now, so it will take a little more to pry him from the Flames than it did several weeks ago.

Fleury is also making the decision to trade him an extremely hard one for the Flames. Fleury is proving his worth. Without him, the Flames are nothing. This was known before the recent road trip, but after the trip the realities of life without Theo were quite clear. Theo Fleury is the Flames.

It's going to be an interesting couple of months for Flames fans. The future of their organization could ride on the small, but broad, shoulders of Theo Fleury.

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