I’ve taken a bit of flack from my friends for not updating my blog for 3 weeks, but really, if I could have chosen a better 3 weeks to take a mini-break from the Flames (because I was sooo busy!) this would have been it. Since my last post 3 weeks ago, the Flames have gone 3-4-2 and dropped from first in the NW (2nd in the West) to 6th in the West and only 1 point ahead of Vancouver in the race for 2nd in the NW (is this really a race?!!).
The Calgary Flames have had a dismal December, going 4-6-2 after dominating their opponents during the month of November. They weren’t able to score when they needed to and they gave points away to teams that they should have beaten. Sure, they beat the league-leading, San Jose Sharks 2-1 on December 5th, but that was the last good game they played. It’s no secret that the Flames have December issues, and they need to either get over them, or get onto January.
The Flames have 2 more games before we put up the 2010 calender, and they really need 2 wins. They play the LA Kings on Wednesday and follow it up with the annual New Year’s Eve Battle of Alberta vs. the Oilers on Dec 31. Both games are at home, which would normally be good news to Flames fans, however, the Saddledome has been a curse for the Flames this year. The Flames need to find a way to win at home after going 9-7-2 at the ‘Dome so far this season (their road record is 12-5-3).
Tonight was a good start for the Flames, but the majority of us fans don’t seem convinced that it’s anything to get riled up about. Calgary played a decent game and beat Edmonton 4-1, buoyed by Rene Bourque’s 3 goals. They seemed to get back to “Sutter basics” in the win, playing like we expect them to and frustrating the Oilers for the majority of the game. They handed the Oilers their 7th loss in a row (yes, I’m smiling as I write these words) and moved back into the win column for the first time since December 17. But we’re still skeptical. December isn’t over and we’ve still got 2 games left.
Miikka Kiprusoff rebounded from the 4-goal, first period debaucle against the Canucks last night with a solid performance in net for the Flames. He stopped 34 of 35 shots in the win, including at 5 ‘great’ saves. Kipper has been one of the few Flames players to have any consistency throughout December. The rest of the team has gone cold, and there has been little to get them back into the groove.
The Calgary Flames are now at a point where they need to make a move. Their consistency issues are still a problem and they need to find a solution soon. If Iggy et al aren’t going to score on a consistent basis, the secondary scorers need to recognize when it’s time to step up and start putting pucks in the net. It seems that Kipper is set for another Vezina run this season, but the rest of the team needs to do their part now. This kind of December play won’t be tolerated very long in Calgary.