The Calgary Flames roared out to a 4-0 start this season, tying the franchise record for the best start to a season. They topped the NHL standings a few games into the new season, but surely everyone knew that it wouldn’t last. While some fans may have fooled themselves into believing that this fast start meant that things for the club had completely turned around, it is now evident that this is not the case.
The team that held so much promise after the lock-out, after being named by Sports Illustrated as “most likely to win the Stanley Cup” in 2006, is still exactly where they’ve been for the past 4 seasons. Though they’ve picked up some big name players in the past few years, the Flames still have problems putting the puck in the net, they still take stupid penalties at the worst possible times and they still can’t hold a lead. In short, they’re one of the most frustrating teams for their fans to watch.
Sure, the Flames have shown that they can make it work every now and then. They occasionally bring us out of our seats and dream of Stanley Cup glory. Take Monday night’s game, where they scored 5 goals in the first period. Five goals in one period is pretty amazing, even if a couple of them were softer than Daniel Sedin’s broken foot. But their problem is consitency. It always has been, and it appears as though it always will be. They followed up their 5-goal period by setting a record for allowing the biggest comeback in history.
That’s not the sort of thing the Sutter brothers can be proud of.
Exernal moves made by Darryl Sutter don’t really seem to have much effect. The Flames made some off-season moves last summer, picking up Jay Bouwmeester, Nigel Dawes and Freddie Sjostrom, but the core of the team remains the same. The same guys that have had the same problems for the last 4 seasons are still there, and it appears their bad habits are wearing off on the new guys.
While the leaders are doing nothing, the rest of the team have been stepping up and filling the gaps, and that’s what has saved the Flames so far this season. Jarome Iginla has been pretty much invisible so far, and has been replaced by Rene Bourque who now leads the team in scoring. Robyn Regehr