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Monday, January 21, 2008

Four point weekend; writer turns to TV for excitement

The hot and cold Wolves continued their version of a slump over the weekend, taking the Quad City Flames in a come-from-behind 3-2 win in Moline on Friday night, a 5-2 win against the Manchester Monarchs at the Allstate Arena on Saturday and a 5-2 loss against the Grand Rapids Griffins at the Allstate on Sunday afternoon.

None of the opposition was the gritty type that the Wolves will face in the playoffs during the spring, and yet the words come-from-behind has a nice ring of never say die winners and also how did this happen with an opponent like this?

The Flames as you may know, are one of the punching bags of the Western Division. A team with a promising affiliate and past that is simply not jelling this season. On the ice, the young team of two seasons ago are strangers, unable to connect to each other, winning only 19 of the first 44 games played.

That equates to a winning season of 51 percent under the strange accounting of hockey. But it is a losing season nonetheless. And the Flames will be golfing in mid-April if things don’t change soon.

So, how did the Wolves allow them to get a 2-0 lead in the second period of their game? It could be the flu, which seems to have affected every person in the country except Eli Manning. Could be the call-ups to Atlanta.

But here is god’s own truth. I watched a football game on Sunday and did not go to the Wolves v Griffins game. And I missed Jimmy Howard in goal. The Wolves might be winning, but they are boring as hell out there.

It was a great football game too. Normally, these flag tossing, rules crunching, beer-guzzling marathons of big truck ads leave me comatose. But, the fourth quarter tie, the men fighting each other and the terrible conditions on field, the two missed field goal attempts and then the over-time attempt that finally finished the game.

This was a real sports event. WOW! I haven’t been so pumped since the January 1st Sabres game.

So what is going on at the Allstate? Two victories in three days. Coming off the weekend with four points. The stats say the IceHogs have a three-point lead and the Wolves have three games in hand.

And that is the story. To get interested in this team this year you have to recognize how great the stats are. The on-ice play is draining. It is not there. When the second season starts, and the Wolves are almost certain of making it to the second season, there may not be enough heart and soul to take the team far.

The team that finally takes home the Calder Cup wins because it has a bigger heart, not a fatter stack of stats.

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