decision to lure Mike Keenan back behind the bench gives the Flames the most
hard-nosed G.M.-coach tandem in the NHL. That may be just the kick in the pants
this underachieving team needs: Last year Calgary led the NHL in home wins with
30, but it had only 13 wins away from the Saddledome.
should be a hit with captain Jarome Iginla, the kind of talented leader Keenan
had in Mark Messier when he coached his only Stanley Cup winner, the 1993-94
Rangers. Moreover, All-Star Miikka Kiprusoff is the type of consistent goalie
whom Keenan (a.k.a. Captain Hook) can ride and ridicule without having to worry
about his psyche.
For whipping boys,
Keenan can look to forwards Alex Tanguay, who led the Flames with 59 assists
but isn't physical and doesn't take criticism well, and Kristian Huselius (34
goals in 2006-07), whom Keenan, then the Panthers G.M., branded as too soft
when he traded him to Calgary in December '05.
With four trips to
the Cup finals and one championship, Keenan is a proven winner and a perfect
partner in Sutter's bulldog act. Still, his presence won't be enough to get the
Flames deep into the playoffs.
49-26-7 (third in West); lost in conference semifinals to Anaheim
KEY ADDITIONS D
Aaron Miller, RW Ryan Shannon
KEY LOSS C Bryan
adjustment to his posture last fall may have turned around the season for
goaltender Roberto Luongo and his team. Luongo's old stance--legs spread low
and wide--limited his lateral mobility and kept him from seeing over traffic in
front of him. So last November he began to stand taller in net. Weeks after the
change, the Canucks began standing taller too. A game under .500 at Christmas,
Vancouver finished the season on a 32-8-6 tear. Luongo was second in the NHL
with 47 wins, fourth in save percentage (.921) and sixth in goals-against
It helps that
Luongo may have the league's deepest group of defensemen playing in front of
him, but he is the Canucks' meal ticket, a tireless worker whom coaches must
often persuade to slow down in practice. "You always want to improve,"
Luongo says. "When you stay at the same level, people start passing