Stuck in the slow lane

Jean Lefebvre
January 16 2010 10:51AM

The hockey fan in his all his glory has many levels of panic.

Those with weaker constitutions are liable to go into a tizzy if their heroes come up empty on back-to-back power plays. Others have enough iron in their gizzards to wait for an actual loss before the caterwauling commences.

This current situation for the Calgary Flames, however, is approaching the genuine crisis-of-faith stage.

It's never easy to determine when a sample size of results becomes large enough to warrant the rounding of up of torches and pitchforks, but it's safe to say you can add at least a fortnight from the moment the typical fan is ready to come unglued. That said, this ongoing Flames lack-of-scoring situation is now reaching a point where even the most composed of supporters must be kept away from sharp objects.

In case you missed the graphics during your friendly neighbourhood Sportsnet telecast, the Calgary offence has dried up since the start of December. We're talking 42 goals in 22 games, which means Fiona from Carstairs, Lola from Medicine Hat, Farley from North Battleford and a whole bunch of other card swipers have missed out on their 15 minutes of Safeway Score & Win fame.

In case you've been skipping your remedial math classes, 22 games represents more than a quarter of an 82-date National Hockey League season so you're exempt from accusations of rushing to judgment if you dare suggest the lads in red are having a wee bit of an issue with twine-bulging. Trouble is, the in-season sample size of the Flames actually knowing what to do with that little black thing is even larger -- 81 goals in the first 26 games -- so we're also inclined to forgive those who are determined to believe happier days are ahead.

Calgarypuck's D'Arcy McGrath, the antithesis of the Chicken Little fan, recently whipped up a bunch of fancy graphs that either prove the Flames have been mighty unlucky as of late (this was before Friday's clunker against the Mighty Predators of Tennessee) or that you're overdue for your next appointment with the cardiologist.

McGrath's point is well taken and there indeed seems to be an inordinate number of posts and trickle-wides and flutter-overs and other missed-it-by-that-much moments for the Flames attack. At the same time, when every guy taking up residency in the opposite crease becomes Marc-Andre Sawchuk, Roberto Dryden and Pekka Esposito, shooters can't help but wonder if they'll ever get back in the groove no matter how much rubber they direct at the net.

Besides, it's just not a healthy state of affairs when half of the amateur solutions to the club's offensive woes involve finding a way to keep 29-year-old journeyman Jamie Lundmark, he of the 91 career points in 270 games over six seasons, in the NHL on a  full-time basis.

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Lefebvre is in that awkward stage of hockey following -- old enough to fondly remember the Cleveland Barons and too set in his ways to accept charity points and games where there's a winner but apparently no loser. As a long-time ink-stained wretch, he's also a firm believer in the old Bobby Knight quote about journalists: "All of us learn to write in second grade, but most of us go on to better things."
Avatar
#1 b1ackhat
January 16 2010, 04:27PM
Trash it!
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trashes
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props

Which means Fiona from Carstairs, Lola from Medicine Hat, Farley from North Battleford and a whole bunch of other card swipers have missed out on their 15 minutes of Safeway Score & Win fame.

LOL

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