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Gameday Primer: Flames go Mohawk

by Mike Board / Calgary Flames


SAN JOSE -- The Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks begin what is expected to be a tough, physical series tonight at the HP Pavilion.

And, if looking tough is going to help win, the Flames may have an edge as about seven players, including captain Jarome Iginla and veteran Craig Conroy -- he acted as barber and ringleader -- are sporting the Mohawk haircut look. Others who took the sheers to their heads were defenceman Jim Vandermeer and forwards Matthew Lombardi, David Moss, Eric Nystrom and Dustin Boyd.

"Last year we didn't do anything," said Conroy, who cut the hair of Moss and Nystrom at the rink on Tuesday.

"A few guys were doing it. It was an impulse thing," said a smiling Moss. It's one of those things, that, in the playoffs, you want to do something as a group of guys. Playoff beards and things like that were started for a reason. Maybe we can get the Mohawks going."

Was there any though of dying the hair a particular colour? "No, Connie does gray. That's natural," joked Moss, firing a friendly shot at the outgoing Conroy.

 FlamesCast: Eric Nystrom
FlamesCast: Adrian Aucoin

 Conroy, one of the oldest players on the team, said he's not sure how his kids are going to react but that the haircuts keep things loose. "It's always a tense time in the playoffs and this will loosen things up a bit,"said Conroy.

There's no word on whether more players pan to join the Mohawk club. "I asked Mike (head coach Mike Keenan) bit he didn't want to get it done."

BY THE NUMBERS: The Flames and Sharks met four times during the regular season with the Flames staking themselves to a 3-1series win. Two of the games were in overtime.The Flames leaders, offensively, were Dion Phaneuf, who had two goals and five points against the Sharks in the regular season. Jarome Iginla, Daymond Langkow and Owen Nolan all had four points against the Sharks. San Jose is Nolan's former team and he had a hat trick against them on January 30 when the two teams last met...The Sharks outshot the Flames 130-86 in the season series
BETWEEN THE PIPES: Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov put up Vezina Trophy numbers this season but the Flames had success against him. They scored 13 times and Nabokov had a 3.16 goals against average and a .849 save percentage. Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff gave up 12 goals, had a goals against average of 3.12 and a save percentage of .906. The Sharks plan on getting plenty of rubber to the net. "We want to get as much rubber at him as we can," said Shark Joe Thornton. "We have to get traffic in front, too."
THE OTHER SIDE: While many experts are picking the Sharks to win the series, players and coaches in that dressing room know it is going to be a battle. "It's going to be long and hard. Its going to be a battle against Calgary. If you don't come out ready, it will go the other way," said Shark forward Patrick Marleau.

THE ROSTER: The Flames did not fully declare who would be playing in Game 1 but it would appear F Dustin Boyd and D Anders Eriksson will be sitting. The Flames will skate 13 forwards in the warm-up and make a decision at game time on who else will sit. D Rhett Warrener (ankle) and F Mark Smith (head, neck) are definitely out.

QUOTABLE: "We've gotten bigger. We've gotten stronger The younger players have learned what it takes to win in the playoffs" -- Shark Joe Thornton on the upgrades the Sharks have made since last season the playoffs.

QUOTABLE 2: "There are going to be four teams disappointed after the first round because everyone feels they have a shot in the west." -- Flames coach Mike Keenan.
QUOTABLE 3: "We need to focus on what we need to do. There is pressure on both sides. It's a new season. We have a different team in here (from last year). It should be a good match-up." -- Flames forward Daymond Langkow.

WORTH NOTING: Sharks bench boss Ron Wilson isn't always about line-matching. The Flames, however, would like to get checkers out when Joe Thornton is on the ice. That's not easily done without the last change. There could be some interesting match-ups in Game 1...When you flick on the television tonight you'll notice some new markings on the ice. There are big Stanley Cup logos inside both bluelines and an NHl logo behind both nets...Calgary coach Mike Keenan wants his A Team to show up tonight. "We want to play the type of game that we have played from time to time throughout the season that is based on stingy, close to the vest defence with good goaltending and good special teams, he said.

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