And now we know what we have to deal with.
So this, for better or worse, is your Calgary Flames squad for the remainder of the 2010-11 season. Take a good look.
This is its mediocre forward corps, bolstered by a low-risk, middling-reward trade for Freddy Modin, and nothing else at all. How comfortable you feel about that relies entirely upon how much production you think the team can continue to squeeze out of a Bourque-Jokinen-Moss line that has performed incredibly well in recent weeks, fueling this exciting run and bolstering playoff hopes across Southern Alberta. It also depends to a lesser extent on the continued strong play of the Tanguay-Morrison-Iginla line, and on Curtis Glencross’ uncanny ability to remember that he is, in fact, in a contract year.
This is its underachieving but potentially excellent group of defensemen. Will Bouwmeester, Regehr, Giordano, Babchuk, Sarich and (whoever else) continue to play strong shutdown hockey and chip in the surprisingly regular goal? Or will they collapse into the quivering shambles they so often were at the beginning and especially middle part of the season? Along somewhat similar lines, how confident are you that Brett Carson, a guy who couldn’t even stick with the Hurricanes’ wretched D, is ready to wrestle the sixth or seventh spot from, let’s say, anyone.
And this is the so-so goaltending, unsurprisingly the same as it was yesterday. This is the stickiest wicket, right? Does Kiprusoff continue to dazzle as he has with his 1.97/.929 line in 13 games during February? Does he revert back to the guy whose January stats were a horrifying 3.09/.885? Or does he settle into the unhappy medium of roughly 2.55/.908 he’d been playing at pretty much all season? Better yet, will Henrik Karlsson ever start again?
We’re going to find out over the next 17 games.
That starts tonight in the back end of a home-and-home with St. Louis. A win here would be most desirable.