Thursday, April 08, 2010

Flameout Fallout

Things are rather unsettled in Calgary these days, the local population once hopeful of a Stanley Cup run instead can focus on what the Stampeders have planned for this summer, hockey with the exception of the Hitmen and what's available from the NHL on television will be but a memory by the end of this weekend.

The Flames flickered out on Tuesday, offering up little indication that their exile from the playoffs is not a just punishment for a less than successful season.

Indeed, their effort on Tuesday against the Sharks, like much of the season showcased much of what has puzzled Calgarians about their squad this year. A lack of offence and confidence provided for yet another frustrating night for the home side and their fans and now all that is left to do is dissect the season.

An autopsy that will make for a vivid reminder of all that has gone wrong.

For whatever reason the Flames main attraction, the main cog in their machine Jarome Iginla never found a comfort factor this year, no matter who lined up alongside of him the results always seemed the same, more misses than connects and few goals in the for column by the end of the night.

Fortunately for the captain, he can carry forward those fond memories of Vancouver when he and Crosby made a little hockey history, not so for many others with the Flaming C.

As always at the end of a season the fans will want to look back and see where things went off the rails, for Calgary it seems that the momentum on the downslope took root after New Years, but even a shake up by the trading deadline couldn't move the team into a safer spot in the standings.

In fact, as things turned out, taking some of the cast offs of the Leafs and the Rangers didn't really provide much in the way of a turn around, a circumstance that now has the General Manager on the hot seat as thoughts turn to finding a way back to relevance in the NHL's Western Conference.

The trade of Dion Phaneuf will resonate over the summer, the loss of a long time fixture on the Flames blue line contemplated as to what the Flames received in return and what impact the trade may have had on the fate of this season about to end.

Many suggest that the days of Daryl Sutter's stewardship may be about to come to an end, not the portrait many would have envisioned when he brought his brother Brent into the Flames fold as head coach in the off season, a move that after one year hasn't paid many dividends nor provided for much inspiration that things are going to improve any time soon.

The constant remaking of the team has left it a confused collective, unsure of the path ahead and certainly at least as indicated by how they have played this year incapable of making the step forward that many in Calgary had been waiting for.

While it's not a particularly positive situation for Calgary fans at the moment, one thing at least will soothe their tortured souls from this year, at least the Oilers won't be elbowing their way onto their television sets this spring. In an unusual post season occurrence, both Alberta teams will be absent from any play-off requirements.

Now the question is, which city rebounds faster, at the moment that's not a wager anyone should be looking into.

Globe and Mail-- Dumping Sutter won’t solve the Flames’ problems
Calgary Herald-- Flames fans: 'Disappointed yes, surprised, no,' as playoff hopes crash
Calgary Herald-- Flames sink to defeat, officially eliminated from playoff race
Calgary Herald-- Lots of questions that may lead to change
Calgary Herald-- Iginla happy in Calgary despite 'tough' season
Calgary Herald-- Johnson: Sutter's blueprint has failed
Calgary Sun-- In the firing line
Calgary Sun-- Agony of defeat
Calgary Sun-- Iggy deal would spell disaster
Calgary Sun-- Woeful skid killed chances
Calgary Sun-- Reality check
CBC-- Offence is what ails Flames
CBC-- Finding method in Flames' madness

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