The Calgary Flames are moving in the wrong direction in the Western Conference standings. After tonight’s dreadful loss at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks, the Flames now sit in 8th spot in the West, only 2 points up on Detroit. The Flames are falling faster than Tiger Woods bank balance. With only 1 win in the last 7 contests, the Flames continue to play horrifying awful. The goal scoring is bone dry and when Kipper has an off game like tonight, the Flames do not have a chance at winning the game. Kipper let in some goals that were suspect including the weirdest goal I have ever witnessed when Mason Raymond flipped a perfect arching puck over the shoulders of Miikka from outside the blue line and into the net to close out the first period. The defence though, deserves no credit whatsoever. They were beaten cleanly by Vancouver’s forwards on 2 of the goals and failed to pick up one of the sisters on the first goal.
For instance on the Canucks first goal, Dion Phaneuf found himself in a shoving match with Henrik, but then left him to protect the front of the net, but forgot about the Swede, as did Regehr. Hank was then left wide open at the side of net and potted in the goal; after which he made sure to let Phaneuf know about it. Phaneuf gave him a quick spear for good measure. From all reports, “Hank was screaming at the top of his lungs.”
The Flames tried to come out and play the physical game but were thwarted by a much smarter Canuck team. Giordano went for a big hit in the neutral zone, but took himself out of the play and the Canucks break in 2 on 1 for another goal. Again out of position and beaten by the Canucks speedy forwards. Regehr and Pardy looked extremely slow and can not keep up with the forwards; a growing trend as the games wear on.
The Flames were undisciplined and were running around for most of the night. It was an embarrassing game to be a Flames fan and horrible display of hockey.
Brian McGrattan was itching all night long to beat someone up, in particular Darcy Hordichuk who he pummelled earlier in the season. In the third, with the game out of reach, Sutter sends out his goon to teach Darcy a lesson, yet Darcy is a little smarter than that. Hordichuk took the abuse and Vancouver was granted a 4 minute powerplay. Why would Hordichuk fight? They are up 5-1 and he knows he will lose. If this was Sutter’s master plan at redemption for a porous effort the rest of the night, he should think again.
Sutter should audition for ‘Grumpy Old Men 3: Grumpier than Ever.” His negative mantra seems to wearing thin and his philosophy of ‘fore-check, fore-check, fore-check’ and ‘work till you drop’ does not seem to be working. The players look exhausted and unwilling to work and its only December 27th! Something has to change, as the Flames are spiralling out of control and into the basement of the Western Conference. I am not saying fire the Coach but this team has underperformed now for almost a solid month.
The Flames play 5 games in 7 nights this week, and 3 against divisional opponents. Well you can cross off one of those games as a loss, and travel up to Edmonton for a clash with the lowly Oilers. Hopefully that is the cure for what ails the Flames right now. Everybody beats the Oilers these days, don’t they?
This has been,
Newman on the Flames
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