Welcome to the Game Day Fire Drill, for this, Calgary’s 53rd game of the season on Jan. 27, 2010.
You ever see Bride of Frankenstein?
For those that haven’t a quick plot recap: Henry Frankenstein regrets that he ever created the eponymous Monster but his mentor is bent upon creating a mate for it. The Monster, meanwhile, longs for companionship and waits anxiously while its creator’s grand collaboration with his mentor is brought to life. Upon the "Bride" being brought to life, it, too, rejects the Monster. "Just like all the others," the original laments. In a fit of rage, he begins destroying the laboratory, telling Dr. Frankenstein and his wife to leave, but bidding his new mate and his mate’s creator stay. "We belong dead," it tells them.
And then he pulls a lever that makes the castle blow up. Seriously.
(Spoiler alert, by the way.)
Now, apart from the fact that a perfectly well-plotted movie is undone by an entire castle being set up to explode when an easily-accessed lever is pulled, there’s a lesson here. Should the Flames lose tonight (likely), that would be the Flames’ eighth straight without a win, the longest such streak since an octet of losses that stretched from Dec. 22, 1998 to Jan. 5, 1999. And such a loss will surely spark further trade rumors.
You’ve heard them already, of course. Kovalchuk, etc. Almost all of them have the Flames as buyers. But a loss to a bad team like Dallas would signal, to me at least, that this team vastly outperformed its abilities, which we all misjudged for one reason or another, for the first two and a half months of the season and that this is a sickening fall back to unforgiving reality. A loss to Dallas would almost certainly give way to a loss to a very good and apparently scrappy Phoenix team.
And do you really want to play the Oilers in a game in which both teams have (probably) lost a combined 21 in a row?
A loss here should be a sign to Darryl Sutter that he should pull the switch, get what he can for who he can, and blow this team up. It belongs dead.
The Calgary Flames (26-20-6 for 58 points. Ninth in the West, third in the Northwest) and the Dallas Stars (22-19-11 for 55 points. Tied for tenth in the West, tied for fifth in the Pacific).
6:30 p.m. Mountain time and 8:30 p.m. Eastern time. All other time zones should walk away like a man.
American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas.
Calgary is 14-8-3 on the road this year, but gave up 14 goals in their last two games away from home. The Stars are 14-5-5 at home, and have won their last three games in Dallas.
What (to hate about the Stars)
Alex Auld — He’s going tonight against the Flames, as opposed to Marty Turco. He has only played Calgary once this year, but guess what: it was a 5-2 win.
Loui Eriksson — He’s very quietly having a better season than anyone on the Flames (not that that’s any big deal any more). He has 21 goals and 27 helpers and is only a minus-1 despite being on a team that has given up 20 more goals than it has scored.
Brad Richards — Man that ridiculous contract doesn’t look quite so ridiculous any more does it? He has 58 points in 50 games this year, and 117 in 118 since being traded to Dallas. He’s really very good.
Because a loss would make you strangle a little girl and throw her in the river (Frankenstein joke!). Enjoy the game and create an abomination against God in the comments section.