November 27 2015 10:00PM
November has been a roller coaster ride for Flames fans. After an abysmal opening month, the last four weeks have been a wild up-and-down ride featuring some of the team's best and worst performances this season.
After dominating the Chicago Blackhawks on home ice, the Flames took to the road and were promptly outclassed by the Ducks in California, a fitting example of the November pattern. And while playing well at least occasionally can be considered an improvement, taking a step forward and then step back is a bad way to get yourself back into the playoff picture.
Tonight the Flames tried to get back on track - hopefully permanently - against the Coyotes in Arizona. Did they succeed?
November 22 2015 11:46AM
Well at least not all of last year's magic has gone away.
Although much of what made the Flames a Cinderella sensation last season hasn't carried over, at least they are still deadly in extra time. Or, should I say, at least Johnny Gaudreau is deadly. The Flames' pint-sized sophomore is a 3-on-3 assassin and the primary reason Calgary is currently 5-0 when it comes to OT this year. The latest win over the Blackhawks probably should have ended in regulation - it was the Flames' best overall game this season - but Gaudreau's single-handed effort to win it in the final five minutes was worth the price of admission. He's Calgary's best forward and it's not much of a contest right now.
This mailbag session isn't about Gaudreau - he's the one element on this team about whom no questions need to be asked - but we talk a bit about his line mates, the health of the Flames rebuild, CalgaryNext and the Travis Hamonic thing, of course.
November 16 2015 02:30PM
"Nothing lasts forever, even cold November rain..."
- The prophet Axl Rose
The month of November has featured almost all of the Flames best performances this season. The problem is, there hasn't been enough of those yet. Even with the unexpected OT win over the Capitals recently, Calgary currently sits second last in the West, ahead of only the Edmonton Oilers (ha!). The Flames are third last in the entire league, with only the Columbus Blue Jackets trailing them from the East. Yes, even the Buffalo Sabres are ahead of the Flames right now (by four points. In two fewer games).
It's been rough sledding. The Flames magic from last year not only dissipated, but imploded inwards. Their league best shooting percentage cratered. Their three-headed goaltending monster turned out to be a paper tiger. The "league's best blueline" seems leakier than a roach motel sink.
All is not quite lost just yet, however. There are hints of improvement. The club's possession rate has been marginally better. Pucks are starting to go in again. The goaltending is starting to look at least average.
That said, the Flames have dug themselves a very deep hole. It will take an astonishing turn around to get them back into the playoff picture. So the question is...at what point should the team call it a day and start concentrating on next year?
We look at this (and related questions) in the mailbag, as well as the trade deadline, Mark Giordano and Sean Monahan.
November 10 2015 08:00AM
The Flames first full value regulation win of the season occurred November 7, a full four weeks into the season. The victory over the Penguins has quieted calls for action and panic to mere murmurs, but only briefly. If Calgary can't replicate that level of performance with some consistency, the rancour will swell again and will likely claim at least one victim.
So who will be burnt in effigy if the disappointment continues? And what will improvement look like anyways?
November 07 2015 04:00PM
We're more than a month into the season and we're all still kinda waiting for the Flames to snap out of it. At least they finally have a quality start from a goaltender under their belt. Everything else, from the offense to the defense, is still bait of a tire fire, however. The coaching staff has been mixing and matching parts like manic alchemists in search of a magical formula, without much luck. Whenever one part starts to click, two more seem to break down.
Today's mailbag is mostly concerned with this ongoing search for chemistry.