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The Greatest Hand Shaker

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I am dedicating this to one man.

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Anaheim Ducks defeated the Calgary Flames in five games, and we're doing handshakes. Except I'm not. I'm pissed off as all hell at Matt Stajan still.

This means Stajan was excellent in this series against the Ducks, of course. Because, see, he was meant to make the team angry - and he was good at it. I have to give him respect for that. It pains me to, but goddamn, he irked me.

My handshake line post is therefore dedicated to Stajan and him alone. I want to shake his hand for making this series interesting. Without him, the Flames don't win game three and prevent the round from being totally one-sided. Without him, Corey Perry has a healthy knee and isn't motivated to score the game five GWG in overtime - well I mean, he'd still be motivated, but not extra motivated in that way Worm gets.

See, Stajan had a pretty tough assignment in the postseason. He had exactly one game in which he started in the offensive zone more often (game three, round two). While not totally unexpected considering his team, which did post better possession numbers against the Vancouver Canucks than expected (which figures into zone starts a lot), he was basically being given the responsible work so that his more dynamic teammates could score.

His possession numbers were predictably low because of his starts and linemates. And yet, out of the 11 postseason games Calgary played in, he (and his line) posted a positive shots-on-goal relative to the rest of his team in all of them but three! Granted, Stajan himself only took five shots on in the series. But when he was on the ice, his team was generally able to shoot more. Here's his shots-on relative his team against his zone starts in just the second round:

He had positive zone starts in game three, which of course was necessary to get him closer to Frederik Andersen so he could run him. But he started negative in every other game while still being on the ice for a decent amount of actual shots on goal. All while he and his line posted abysmal possession numbers!

So hell. I want to shake his hand. He not only agitated the hell out of the Ducks, the fans in Anaheim, and gifted his team with one more game, he took a large share of responsible starts and somehow got his line into the offensive end long enough to put up shots on.

He was, in my mind, one of the better players for the Flames. I'm still mad as hell at him too.