You know in the dark cold mornings when you get out of bed to slap the alarm and have to turn on the first painful stinging light? That realization that the snooze button can’t actually delay the reality of having to get up and face the day. It hurts at first but as you grow accustomed to it you can start to look forward instead of looking back. We are at that point in the Flames Season now.
This win one lose one thing has been nothing but hitting the snooze button, asleep one game only to wake up briefly and fall asleep again. A 500 record going into the final half of the season will be okay as long as they produce a much more efficient second half.
Losing to Columbus in the final alarm going off. They are simply not a good team even with the high end talent up front.
So the light comes on, painful and glaring yet if we force ourselves to open our eyes we will start to see more clearly and accept it for what it is. Some of these glaring truths about our Flames:
The best back up for this team is actually playing in the AHL. Hell he might be the best starter. We drafted a kid in the first round in hopes of seeing him progress into an nhl starter, if this was the year to play Kipper less then Irving could logically be allowed to get some NHL time. Instead of seeing a prospect flourish (or not) we see Karlsson trying to get his first win of the season and failing against one of the worst teams in the NHL. He got no scoring help, I know, sometimes to be an NHL goalie you have to win, Thomas got a 1-0 shutout last night. Meanwhile Irving just came off a win where he didn’t let anything in including shootout goals to get his team a 1-0 victory and oh yeah is the winningest goalie in the AHL for two years.
Kipper is Kipper and that means he can be spectacular and also very ordinary. This team needs so badly to change it’s pattern. Does that mean Trade Kipper? He has value however the rub is that sadly the Flames may not be able to win much without him. He is getting older though so how long will he have value? Kipper is a very tricky guy to trade, but if he were to be the price would be very high, however there might be a winning goalie waiting in the wings. Irving needs some NHL time, Karlsson can not win, even when he plays great, time for a call up.
The second Glaring truth is that Iginla is having another slow start, we tend to waive it away and say, “he’ll get 30 goals so who cares?”. The standings care. The captain and highest paid guy can not get a free pass on two months of hockey every year, when you hear Sutter say words like “individuals”, “consistency”, “effort”…he’s not talking about Rene Bourque anymore. Iginla will not be traded, I’m not even entertaining that idea, however the glaring truth we have a hard time opening our eyes to is that there is not heir apparent to him. When Iginla slows the whole team is in mud because there is no one left to pick it up. There are prospects but if Beartschi is going to be the guy that is a lot to put on a kid.
Third. The Defence is simply not as good. Even if Regehr was here it would be only marginally better as the old crowd get slower. The bright lights seem to be Smith, Brodie and Giordano. Bouwmeester is just a solid D, he’s no superstar. In the past we could always look at the Defence and feel safe, that feeling has passed.
This one is hard for me too but Backlund is not going to be our number one center. 5 games, minus 6 and no points. That dream is dead. He is good in the face off circle, pretty good back checker and has a shot but is better served in the 2nd or 3rd line role.
This one will really burn your eyes….The Dion Phanuef Trade has officially busted. Dion, like it or not, is playing awesome this year. We can’t pay people to take our assets in that trade now, or what’s left of them. Stajan wonders why he is a whipping boy, it is because he reminds everyone of that horrible trade by Sutter. Dion should have got us a first rounder and he needed to get out of Calgary to grow, the issue is what the organization received for him. It simply crippled the Flames. What Sutter saw in Stajan eludes most average hockey fans, he’s soft, has no shot and is only a decent passer and penalty killer. That’s the truth. There are three guys in the AHL who could do his job better for a quarter of the price in my opinion.
Sutter is a likeable coach but his message is lost on the team, while not the final bit of pain it is never the less the truth. I almost get sick hearing the same thing out of his mouth everytime he opens it, the team must hate it more. If Sutter wanted to shake this team awake he would demote three or four players and call up the kids who are doing well, wasn’t that what he promised at the beginning of the year? Only those who deserved it would make it?
Feaster and King. This is becoming comedic. Two guys who are self admittedly not hockey guys are running the team. Feaster trading for Leblond was complete nonsense. It was a dumb move and this is a team that can not afford dumb moves.
So the painful part is over. What can we look forward to? The UFA list on the Flames is very long, huge turn over next year is imminent. That is a good thing. The draft is deep and skilled, if the flames don’t fail trading into the top ten is very alluring. The flames next year will be very fast, much younger and more hungry although more mistake prone as well. The club is still very able to come back and make a run at it, it’s very early.