Flames playoff hopes end on a high note


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The Calgary Flames have been the masters of their own destiny since their losing skid ended in mid-December and they began an unbelievable push for the post-season. When everyone had them pegged as last-place finishers and called for the “blowing up” of the team, the Flames proved their heart and did what everyone said was impossible. They won two out of every three games (or at least got enough points to put themselves into the playoff hunt again) and put themselves back into a playoff position with about 10-15 games remaining in the season. At one point they sat as high as 5th place in the West. Unfortunately, the Flames miraculous run ended tonight when Chicago and Anaheim both won, officially putting them out of the post-season for the 2nd year in a row.

Despite the bad news about the playoffs, the Flames went out on a high note tonight. Jarome Iginla, who was honoured in a pre-game ceremony for notching his 1000th NHL point, had his 12th career a hat-trick and added an assist in the Flames 6-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers. As he’s done so many times in the past, Iggy lead the team on the ice and on the score sheet and treated the fans to a great night. Iggy’s 4-point night ties him with Lanny McDonald in the all-time NHL points race.

Not to be outdone, Miikka Kiprusoff tied his own record with the win tonight. Kipper’s 36th win of the season gives him 262 with the Calgary Flames, which ties Mike Vernon’s record for the all-time wins in a Flames uniform. Miikka has a chance to surpass Vernon’s record when the Flames close out their season in Vancouver on Saturday.

There were other positives to offset the negative tonight. The Flames had goals from Alex Tanguay, Curtis Glencross and Rene Bourque, who reached a career-high with 27 goals. Greg Nemisz also notched his first NHL point with his assist on Curtis Glencross’ 24th goal of the season.

Though the Flames season is now officially over, I don’t feel as bitter as I did at the end of last season. Sure, I’m sad that they won’t have a chance to play for the Cup, but I am proud of the way the Flames played in the last half of the season and I can see a lot more positives than negatives. There is a lot of work to do in the off-season, but I’m definitely not ending this season with a sour taste in my mouth. How ’bout you?

About Greg Hounslow (558 Posts)

Greg is the founder of Red Mile Blog has been following the Flames through good times and bad since they arrived in Calgary in the early 80s. He has written hundreds of articles on the Flames since 2005 and considers himself an expert on hockey inconsistency and frustration. He shoots right and usually plays defence, but has been known to jump up in the rush. He is a 2-time CAHL men's league champion and knows the sweet taste of beer from a Cup.

  • OldeBuffalo

    The Flames final game of the 2010-2011 season against the Vancouver Canucks was a perfect example of what’s wrong with the Flames style of play. The puck never gets tired, it goes faster than even the fastest player can skate and if the other team has possession of it, you don’t.

    Today’s NHL has left the Flame’s style of far play behind and that’s a coaching problem not a problem of a team filled with highly skilled players that are forced to play a fire-it-out-of-your-end; dump-it-into-their-end; constantly giving up possession and then having to work your ass off trying to regain possession again.

    Time for a new strategy that has to come from a new and modern thinking coach.

    SORRY BRENT but you have to change or be replaced!

  • OldeBuffalo

    As much as I hate the Vancouver Canucks, I must admit they do a lot of things right and those things have carried them a lot farther than my Flames this year. How many times have we seen the Flames leave the points uncovered in their own end while our 2 wingers are back helping Mikka play goal? How many times have we seen the other team use their uncovered point men to receive a wide open pass or to shoot unobstructed from our blue line? How many times have we seen the other team’s point men pinch, in successful efforts to prevent the Flames from exiting their own end? Far too many I’m afraid!

    The Canucks have (as have most other teams) obviously figured out that the Flames get more pleasure out of board crashing, glass shaking body checks (usually by two Flames forwards) than they do in having the first checker separate the defenceman from the puck and having the second forward get position of the puck. Far too often we witness two Flames players having to untangle themselves, after one of those bone-rattling checks, watch as the opposition skate away with that little black thing called a PUCK.

    Gone are the days when the Flames could check most teams into submission so they didn’t want to have anything to do with the puck when it was anywhere close to the boards. Smart teams figured out a couple of seasons ago how to overcome that strategy. The Flames coaching staff hasn’t caught on to it yet.

    Sutter hockey is outdated and the teams that are having success understand that having possession of the puck is a far more successful strategy than the old dump and chace game.


  • artee

    I am not bitter or angry when I say this, but I am afraid my feelings have not changed much despite the Flames being good enough to to be among the best teams not capable of making the playoffs (i.e. they are in the bottom 47% in the league [8/15 or 16/30]): they are mediocre.

    The cold hard facts do not allow one to come to a different conclusion. Even the mis-repeated notion of their excellence after December 23rd is a fallacy. When people review the standings, if they remind themself that the third number in the W-L-OTL sequence is a lost hockey game, they will see that although they were better after Dec 23, they were hardly excellent (17-21 then 24-19). I have not done it yet, but my guess is that across all 30 teams post Dec-23, the Flames may rank approx. 10th in the league.

    It is time for Calgary to temper its expectations. Kiprusoff is not one of the league’s best goaltenders – he is average. I could make a compelling case that he is not among the league’s top 10. If you remained objective, you would have difficulty explaining how Kiprusoff is a better goalie than the backup. Our defense corps is not an impenetrable tower of strength – they are average. The people running the team are average – they let the former GM’s run go on way too long when there were clear signs of not delivering to expectations and some of panic.

    Despite this, we should celebrate the remarkable year of our captain, Jarome Iginla – he is unarguably the only clear example of excellence that the 2010-11 Flames had to model, and although there’s rhetoric in ostensible recognition of him, I don’t think it’s brutally honest enough: he rose above all the mediocrity that he has been immersed in and performed at a level of consistency and productivity at an age that astounds. He’s a hell of a hockey player, and I will remember this season for that reason alone.

    Other than that, some pleasant surprises (that any team would expect to have a few of over a season) included Tanguay and Jokkinen’s play, and Giordano’s emergence. The disappoints are many, unfortunately.

    The truth is harsh, I admit.

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