The Flames lost again last night. The Flames have now lost 5 of their last 6 games. The Flames were shutout last night for the first time all season. They are averaging only 1.33 goals per game over this slide. Iginla is pointless in the last 6 games and a -3 over that span. All in all, there are very few positive things coming out of Flames land these days. About the only thing that isn’t worrisome is the play of Miikka Kiprusoff. Kipper is continuing his stellar play in goal and is the one Flame player who deserves no blame for this current losing skid. What seems to be the problem? Where did all the scoring go? What is wrong with Iginla? Will the Brothers Sutter shake things up?
As much as I would like to have the answer to the situation, I am not sure I do. But, in saying that, there some things I would like to say.
The Flames powerplay has been an interesting topic this year. After dispensing with the Keenan/Preston mantra of not practicing the powerplay, many thought that this year the Flames man-advantage unit would be much better. Well, they started the year quite well, scoring with regularity and sporting a 27% success rate in October. Then, in early December they fail to convert in 5 straight games with the extra man, going 0-19. Now, the Flames are struggling again. In 25 chances, they have scored only 2 powerplay goals in all of January. Its not lack of effort as the Flames have been firing all sorts of pucks on goaltenders. They simply have no finish. Iginla, as mentioned before is pointless in 6. Jokinen has 2 goals and 1 assist in his last ten. Bourque has 3 goals in his last 8, and only 1 other assist. Langkow has 1 goal in his last 15 games. Moss has 1 goal in his last 21. The Flames rank 21st in the league in goals for per game (Edmonton is scoring more than the Flames!). Sutter tried to spark the team with the call-up of Lundmark, yet that spark has gone out, as Lundmark has only the one goal since re-joining the big club. Relying on a career minor-leaguer to ignite your team, should not be the solution.
So what else is there to do? Mix it up with a big trade? Bench a star player? Will that help? Sutter has been known to pull off a big deal at deadline time, who could be moved and who will be moved?
Many fans would like to see Dion hit the road, yet I find it hard to believe that Sutter will trade his estranged love child. So apart from Phaneuf, who else could be traded? Sarich is a likely candidate to be playing somewhere else soon, as his $3.6 million contract is looming large for a player that is simply too slow and has been passed on the depth chart by near everybody. Kronwall could easily step up and play the same role. Robyn Regehr has clearly lost a step and maybe it is time for the lifelong Flame to find a new address. He is a player who would possibly bring back some scoring punch. The Flames are in need of a top six forward, and in a perfect world, a number one centerman. The Jokinen experiment has clearly not worked. Remember that guy who played here last year…what was his name? Calimari? Caligula? Oh right, Cammalleri! Who would you rather have: #13 or Olli “I skate like I am constantly out of control” Jokinen?
All I am saying is that something has to change and if the Flames do not recover quickly they are going to fall, and fall fast in the Western Conference standings.
This has been,
Newman on the Flames
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