Too many times this year I have had to analyze a Flames game only to come up with the same answers.
Miikka was adequate but not strong.
The forwards need depth and speed.
The defense is actually pretty good but overpriced.
In a game the Calgary Flames desperately had to win in order to keep any realistic hope of a playoff berth alive they really came out of the gate flat again despite a early first period Jarome Iginla tally. His 37th of the year. Yup I owe Jarome an apology. I never thought he would be flirting with forty goals and yet here he is. I’d still trade him for the right package if it came along, but my suggestions of Iginla not being able to shoulder the offensive load are for the most part incorrect.
Miikka Kiprusoff once again played adequate in net for the Flames but to be downright blunt he has not been good enough to justify his cap hit. I also challenge you to look back on the season and find out how many games he stole for the Flames versus how many games he wasn’t good enough. I promise you, you will answer the latter. Last night when the Flames needed Kipper the most he let the team down.
Matt Stajan continues to show what is wrong with the Flames forwards as a whole. Matt is a skilled player and I won’t question his work effort but he is too slow to play at his size and just can’t get his game together to be a top six forward in the NHL. If acting GM Jay Feaster can somehow get Stajan’s contract off the books this off season he deserves a medal. Just blaming Stajan is unfair as a good number of Flames forwards managed to disappoint along with him. Kotalik, Hagman please stand up.
Ales Kotalik is a prime example of what is wrong with the Calgary flames depth at forward as well. When the injuries started to pile up and they needed a player that could potentially step up and fill an offensive gap they had to turn to Kotalik as there is not anyone else in Abbotsford that the Flames felt could fill that role in a crucial moment in the season.
As I said the Flames defense core hasn’t been bad this year but they are overpriced. Jay Bouwmeester last night showed that he is a good skater, good passer, and can eat minutes but at his cap hit he doesn’t impact the team the way they need him to. Not being on the Flames #1 power play unit is evidence enough of that. His partner Robyn Regher has been solid again all year but at least five times last night he had a chance to bury Ducks forward Teemu Selanne with a crushing hit but refused to do so. Showing Teemu the respect he deserves is fine in game #6 of the year. Not in game #78 when you desperately need a win.
Steve Staios has likely played well enough as of late that he will receive another NHL contract. I don’t think it will be with the Flames and it certainly won’t be anywhere near his current salary. Cory Sarich is another guy who falls into that category. Cory is a fine #4 defenseman in the league but his cap hit is too much. Hopefully with one season left after this year on his deal he can moved to open up the door for one of the Flames young D prospects which fortunately Calgary is blessed to still have.
While the Flames are not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs with last nights loss it will take a minor miracle for the Flames to get in even if they go 4-0 to end the season. Realistically two teams ahead of them would have to collapse for 95 points to be good enough to get into the dance in the ultra difficult Western Conference.
If this is the final nail in the coffin for the Flames then when you look back on this season you have to give the Calgary Flames credit for the run they went on after Christmas to get themselves into the hunt. But at the end of the day this team is still saddled with too many bad contracts from the Darryl Sutter regime.
Change is coming to Calgary.
Have a good one!
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About the Author
Written by Shane Hoopfer
Die hard Flames fan since 1980, and a closet baseball junkie. Also a big Dolphins, and Stampeders fan!