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Well this is a problem!

Posted By Shane Hoopfer On Jan 26 2010 @ 8:33 pm In Calgary Flames | 1 Comment

Well that is now seven losses in a row.


In five of those seven games the Flames have managed to score one goal or less.


I was really hoping my first blog here at sportstalkbuzz.com was going to be about getting back on the right foot with a very positive and one could say easier schedule upcoming for the Flames to make a push to getting back into a fight for the division title. Unfortunately that is not the case.

Today I have to confirm what I have been worrying about for the past three months. This team has a significant lack of play making skill. The defense core is solid enough. The goaltending has been excellent this year. The offense or lack there of has stunk! I wish there was a more positive spin I could put on it but I can't.


Calgary outplayed St. Louis in losing 2-0 but could not generate much in the way of good scoring chances. In fact I would suggest that was one of the easiest shutouts in Ty Conklin's career. The number of difficult saves 'Conks' had to make you could count on one hand. Full marks to the Blues for playing a solid road game. They got a break for sure on the first goal but all in all they were a solid team tonight.


Lets look at the positives for Calgary, and there were a few. Kiprusoff was certainly excellent in net. I am not Miikka's biggest fan but he has been brilliant this year and was great once again against the Blues. I could not fault him for either of the two goals.


Dion Phaneuf has a strong game, doing a good job of laying the body responsibly for the most part and getting pucks to the net. With some fortune he could have had a goal or at least had someone pop home a rebound.


Olli Jokinen looked like the best Flames forward again tonight. He has looked that way in a lot of nights in the past month.


Brandon Prust and Brian McGrattan did their jobs tonight. McGrattan laying a pretty good beating on Cam Janssen, while Prust and Janssen had a tilt with a lot of swings but not many hits later on in the game. They also generated a couple chances in their limited ice time, and in no way hurt the team which is what the fourth line guys are supposed to do.


Lets get to the bad. Cory Sarich looked bad on the first goal with his whiff hit on Patrick Berglund that led to the first and game winning goal by Berglund. Honestly without that play Cory had a decent night but when you are eating up as much cap space as Sarich is you can't be making dumb plays like that.


Glencross – Conroy – Iginla. May as well pull two other names out of the hat to play with Jarome because this isn't working. I also have to wonder what Jarome was thinking trying to start a fight at the end of the game. If you are trying to fire up your team mates it generally works better in the first period or at least when the situation dictates it. The only thing done there was show frustration.


As a team the Calgary Flames may be the worst passing team in the NHL. As an experiment tonight to test a theory of mine about the passing, I counted the number of good passes that directly created a good shot on goal. The second Blues goal by Perron is a prime example. Andy McDonald placed a beauty pass on Perron's stick for a easy goal. So here were the results….


The Flames made four count them FOUR quality passes into the scoring area for a chance all night. And that was being generous giving Jokinen one for the stretch pass that got Bourque in for a shot. Olli Jokinen had two passes that led to quality shots in a scoring area. Daymond Langkow had one. And Jay Bouwmeester had one.


Perhaps the most telling thing I saw in this game is the coaching staff's lack of confidence in the offense when with the net pulled the Flames had three defensemen on the ice trying to get back into the game late.


The bottom line for this team right now is realistically they have four top 6 NHL forwards. Iginla, Jokinen, Bourque, and Langkow. The one commonality between these four players is… DING DING DING! They are all shooters. Unless Darryl Sutter can pull some magic out of the hat pretty soon and get two play making forwards to play with those four guys, this team will be hard pressed to score and will not make the post season.


Now fortunately looking ahead the Flames play only three playoff teams in the next ten. Unfortunately they realistically need to win eight of those games to get themselves back into a playoff spot, and further if they even want to consider themselves contenders for the division title.


The Flames now head off on a brief two game road trip with stops in Dallas and Phoenix on Wednesday and Thursday. Even with the back to back here I don't think the Flames can afford to give Curtis McElhinney a start after last weeks debacle against the Ducks.


Have a good one folks! And I'd like to thank everyone here at sportstalkbuzz.com for the opportunity to blog about the Calgary Flames. Lets hope we are all here for a while and can turn the ship around soon!



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