These Flames are just Ducky!

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 2:40 PM ET


 As the man behind the bench for last year's playoff surprise, Mike Babcock knows a thing or two about what it takes for a playoff run.

 And the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim coach likes what he sees in the Flaming C.

 In fact, Babcock says the current edition of the Flames are possibly a little bit better than his Disneyland crew of last season, which lost to New Jersey in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.

 "Calgary is way bigger and way quicker than we were," the Anaheim bench boss said when the Flames were in town to end the season Sunday.

 "Plus, what they do on the back end is something that we didn't have -- the ability to generate more offence from more people.

 "I like the team they've put together.

 "I like the goaltender. I like the defence. I like that with Chris Simon, Jarome Iginla doesn't have to worry about anything any more. That's a good team.

 "Every line can score," he continued.

 "Shean Donovan is a third-liner with 18 goals and Oleg Saprykin is on the fourth line with 12 goals. It's a good team.

 "Now you've got to show it."

 Time and time again as the season wound down, people around the league were singing the Flames' praises.

 More than a few touted them as the crew you don't want to face if you're perceived a favourite going into the playoffs.

 "The best player is the hardest-working player and, when your best player leads, it can take you a long way," Babcock said.

 Especially, he added, with Calgary's strong defensive play.

 "With their goaltending and the way they play team defence, they have as good a chance as anybody," Babcock said.

 "Good team defence will take you a long way and your battle level will take you another step.

 "Robyn Regehr, to me, is a star and (Rhett) Warrener has brought a lot because he's tough and loves to play. You've got a lot and they're all willing to play hard.

 "But I can tell you right now, after four games in the playoffs, there are teams on the golf course wondering how it happened to them and happened so fast."

 Such as what happened to a few teams last year, notably the highly touted Detroit Red Wings, who were swept in the first round by Babcock's crew.

 "And Vancouver lost in the second round (last year) and is going to be a hungry, veteran team, so it's not going to be easy," he said. "But it's a lot of fun."

 Fun he has no chance to duplicate this year, thanks a disappointing campaign.

 Still, he said, this year's trials and tribulations make him appreciate it more.

 "No question. It was phenomenal. I said to Jean-Sebastien Giguere many times now, 'Would you give that year for a couple of mediocre years? Not a chance.'

 "I'd never give it back."


Videos

Photos