So this is it, the last Flames game until next October. Can’t say it’s surprising.
Let’s put it this way: you just don’t lose 20 games before Christmas and make the postseason. It really is that simple. No amount of miraculous turnaround or goalscoring heroics from an all-time legend could erase the harsh truths this team had already etched into the season’s stone.
And so tonight will be the final game of the 2010-11 season, and what follows will be about seven months great uncertainty. Who goes? Who stays? Who comes in? These are tough questions, and at least the first two of those will provide us with tougher answers. Besides, it’s not like we’re not used to this. It wasn’t so long ago that making the playoffs was a luxury Flames fans couldn’t even afford to dream about, and the accompanying mindset is one that, if we want this team to get better in the long run, will have to gain wider acceptance.
But there’s still tonight, and it’s a game that almost literally means nothing. Vancouver is in no danger of losing its spot as the No. 1 seed in the West and indeed the entire league, and it’s already been several days since Calgary was in any danger of making the playoffs. This has become a tradition in recent years, like when Trevor Linden retired and Jarome Iginla played about 19:30 of the final period trying to get his 50th goal, or last year when the Sedins went into full-on stat padding mode to ensure that Henrik pulled the Art Ross, and the Hart that came with it.
The fun thing about tonight is that Calgary is dressing eight defensemen. Eight. And by fun, I mean "sure to guarantee an unwatchable game." But hey, maybe Mikkelson and Staios start pushing Matt Stajan for a job. Meanwhile I’m a little surprised the Canucks are dressing their full roster given that the team’s D corps has had everything happen to it short of the puck exploding mid-power play and blinding Alex Edler.
‘Course, it COULD happen tonight.
Tune in tonight for all the excitement that brings!