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.
November 02 2015 05:15PM
October is associated with fear and horror thanks to Halloween. To be sure there was plenty of horror for the Flames, with the club stumbling to an excruciating 3-8-1 record. Only the Ducks' baffling power outage has kept the Flames out of the bottom of the Western Conference through the first month of action.
It wasn't supposed to be like this! Calgary was supposed to take a step forward after surprising everyone last season and improving the roster in the summer. The extreme discordance between Calgary's finish to 2014-15 and their start to 2015-16 has the collective hand of the Flames fans base hovering ever closer to the panic button.
I think it's important to note, however, that we're talking about a stretch of 11 games. That feels like a lot, but it's only about 1/8th (13%) of a single season. As the Ducks' current predicament perfectly illustrates, sometimes everything goes wrong for small segments of games. It's just too bad the consequences of such a lousy (though relatively brief) spate of games far outstrips its informational value when it comes to grading the roster.
Which is a very long way of saying that nobody should be jumping to wild conclusions just one month into a season. Unless a conclusion has a longer background and much more data to be be based on, everyone should resist the urge to start stringing up effigies or trading everyone not named "Gaudreau" for a dirty skate rag.
So let's talk about trading goalies and firing coaches then shall we?
October 31 2015 11:14PM
The Flames rolled into Rexall desperate for a win tonight. Or, if not a win, at least a reasonable facsimile of a good game.
The Oilers have been Slump Busters for Calgary (and most of the league) for a better part of a decade, but there were certainly no guarantees for a Flames club who have looked like a strong contender for the Auston Matthews lottery so far.
Luckily the local heroes finally managed to pull off a regulation win. And I do mean "luckily"