Following a first round playoff exit for the 3rd year in a row, the Calgary Flames will meet with members of the press today. Look for the Flames coaches, players and managers to come up with some answers to questions that were brought up in this Canadian Press article from yesterday.
I’ve decided to link to the article, and to quote some of it also because it basically sums up everything that went wrong with the Flames this season. Here’s some key phrases that describe the Flames of 2007-2008:
“The playoffs reflected the Flames’ season in missed opportunities and inconsistent play. In Game 4, they led 2-1 with five minutes to go. Instead of taking a 3-1 lead in the series, they fell apart in their own end and gave up two goals, including the winner with 10 seconds left.”
“Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff was both brilliant and average at times in the series.”
“While Owen Nolan and Daymond Langkow provided secondary scoring with three goals apiece, Alex Tanguay was often guilty of holding onto the puck too long or passing when he could have shot it. Kristian Huselius, the team’s No. 2 scorer during the regular season, also did not score a goal and had just five shots on net.”
“It is a frustrating group to work with,” Keenan acknowledged last month during a 1-3 road trip. “
“The one constant for the Flames was Iginla, who followed up his 50-goal season by almost pushing the Flames through to the next round by the sheer force of his will.”
In the end, what did Keenan extract from the Flames that Playfair didn’t? A 42-30-10 record was worth two points less in the regular season, but one position higher in the Western Conference. The Flames got one more playoff game, but didn’t parlay it into another round.”
“The Northwest Division title and home-ice advantage in the playoffs was there for the Flames in their final nine games of the regular season against division rivals. But a 5-4 record in that span – including pivotal losses of 2-1 to Edmonton and 3-1 to Minnesota – meant a less favourable matchup in the first round.”
“We knew heading into this series, we beat [San Jose], we had a pretty good chance going the distance,” Tanguay said.
From what I saw this season, the Flames seem to still think that they’ve just won game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals and are heading home to raise the cup. They seem to think that they have earned the right to play in the playoffs based on someone’s past performance. They continue to lean on Iginla and Kiprusoff too much, and think that the addition of Phaneuf will make for a winning team. What they don’t seem to realize is that a team is made up of 20 players, and each and every one of them needs to come up with more if they expect to win the Stanley Cup.
One thing the Flames should realize after this season is the importance of Home Ice Advantage. They didn’t have it this year… they didn’t have it last year, and they lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals 3 years ago because they were playing in Tampa Bay instead of in the Saddledome. If the Flames want to have playoff success in the future, they’ll need to play more consistently throughout the regular season.