Thinking about the current labour situation and the possibility of another lock-out, it got me reminiscing about the previous work stoppage and what it cost the Calgary Flames. This time, the price may be Iginla’s final season in Flames colors or even Kippers. It could mean the end of era, snuffed out by the venal interests of very rich men.
The price was probably higher last time, though. Coming off of their improbabe Stanley Cup run, the 2004-05 Flames boasted a number of organizational pillars at the prime of their careers. Jarome would have been 27 years old, Kiprusoff 28 and Regehr 25.
At the time, it was galling to watch the team peak in the playoffs and then have to wait through an erased season to see them again. The concern was about the present frustration, but it was spiked with hope the new CBA would constrain profilgate spending and help the Flames retain some of their stars for a change.
In retrospect, with the Flames currently battling mediocrity and the big boys in the twilight of their careers, it seems now the true tragedy was the loss of those precious, prime seasons. All of Calgary’s difference makers were in that sweet spot of their career arc in 2004-05. Now? None are. Which makes me wish all the more that we could have seen what a 27-year old Iginla coming off a dominant post-season run could have done. Not only because another deep foray into the playoffd may have been in order – but also because cheering for a dominant Jarome Iginla has been one othe greatest pleasures a long time fan of this team could ever enjoy.
The Flames and the league certainly gained something out of the last dispute: a salary cap (which has arguable benefits and drawbacks) and a crackdown on the obstruction/hooking that was on the cusp or ruining the game. It’s too bad the Flames had to pay the price they did, but there at least seemed some recompense for their sacrifice.
This time around, it’s only about dollars and details. Whatever the cost in playing time – be it a few weeks, a few months or the whole season again – it will be erased from the careers of Calgary’s stars, a cost perhaps higher in sentiment than in on-ice results at this point, but still significant to most fans. The compensation from the league will likely be entirely lacking in 2013, unfortunately.
It’s an open thread weekend post – so I wonder, how good do you think the Flames would have been in 2004-05 had the league gotten all their business done and not canceled the season that year? All fantasies welcome!