1. Will the real Calgary Flames please stand up?
Only a bad shootout win over the worst team in the league separates Calgary from being 0-3-2 in their last five, all of which were against teams either at or below the 7th place spot at the time of puck drop. In short, it hasn’t been a good week.
The unquestionable low point came six days ago when the Flames went out and got beat pretty good on Long Island by an absolutely horrible Islanders side and somehow they’ve lost three since, conceding a whopping 15 goals in four games. That Washington game was not a good effort at all, and that’s the tuneup for the Bruins?
This is bad. This is real bad.
It’s not just that the team has been maddeningly consistent in its ability to play up or down to the level of its competition pretty much all season, it’s that you can so easily predict what will go right or wrong in any given game that it takes the fun out of it. No secondary scoring? Bad D-zone turnovers? You can see it coming a mile away.
They’ve proven they can beat the good teams and play entertaining hockey doing it. So why is every middle-of-the-pack-or-worse team some boring drudgery that even the foremost Flames apologistas (and there are many) would have to admit has no aesthetic quality?
If the team loses, fine. If it wins, great. At least make it a good, entertaining game. At least show up, y’know?
2. Jarome at 499
Even as the Flames have stumbled and bumbled against some pretty garbage teams, at least we’ve had the fun of tracking Jarome Iginla’s run to 500 goals.
Quite the little run he’s been on even if the Flames are dropping games to bad teams left and right (though to be fair, the Caps are something like 7-3-1 in their last 11 or whatever).
I said it on Twitter over the weekend, but I really and truly hope his 500th is one of those patented Iginla leg pump wristers from the wing that goes in at about a million miles an hour and makes the goalie just go "What the heck was that?" and sigh deeply and shovel the puck out of their net while Jarome laughs and laughs and laughs and every child in the world smiles at the same time.
That is the kind of goal I hope.
The good news is that I’m going to the game in Boston tomorrow night and if Iginla scores his 500th then I’m going to actually cry in real life. This is my solemn promise to you, the reader.
3. Speaking of the Bruins
Tomorrow is my bi-annual trek to watch the Flames get humiliated by the Bruins. It’s one I’ve come to cherish.
The first time I ever took myself to a Flames game at the Fleet Center/TD Garden, it was early in 2004 and Jamie McLennan was in net. A guy bet me $100 and took the Bruins -2. Calgary went on to win 5-0. Iginla had a pair. I laughed the whole time.
The other games have not gone so well.
The most recent was a 5-0 loss two seasons ago, when the Flames were all but out of a playoff spot and playing for pride (and because they were contractually obligated to do so). It was also a game that Craig Conroy likely had surgically removed from his brain. He was in the box for Boston’s first and second goal, the result of what I recall as being two lazy-ass hooking and holding calls, respectively. The fourth goal was a Patrice Bergeron centering feed that went in off his body. Not Connie’s proudest game as a Flame.
The only other Flames game I have attended in person was early in the 2006 season, which the Flames lost just 3-2 but were never really in it because Boston scored 18 seconds in. This game was most momentous, though, because it was the one in which Stephane Yelle crashed into the boards, broke his leg, and missed nearly two months.
So this one obviously has a lot to live up to.
4. Where have you gone Jay Bouwmeester?
I think I must have been one of the last holdouts.
For a very, very long time, I was one of the few people who would actually sit there and say to you with a straight face, "Well of course the Bouwmeester contract isn’t great, but it’s not as awful as everyone makes it out to be." And I just can’t do it any more.
Even if I want to be super-nice and leave aside the minus-5 he put up in Nashville (which, yikes!), he’s been downright horrible the last stretch of games at minus-8 on the road trip, and it’s really starting to look like the scoring is never ever coming back. He has just eight goals in 205 games with the Flames, after scoring 42 in his last three seasons with Florida.
And now he’s just getting beat along the boards on simple plays by guys who are on the tail end of long shifts, losing pucks I can’t even imagine he would have lost a month ago. Not sure what you can even do with him at this point but someone needs to screw his head on straight. He’s been a liability for a while now, and it’s upsetting for me to see.
5. I don’t know about you
…But wouldn’t it be nice to see Leland Irving start a game or three here. Not saying all these losses should or even can be hung on Kipper but I thought Irving was dynamite in losing in overtime to Ottawa. He faced 49 shots and still picked up a point.
The team honestly didn’t show up a even a little bit in front of him — they attacked just fine — and he had the best game of his very brief NHL career.
So why not run the kid out a little more? Clearly the team isn’t being kept in games because of Kiprusoff and he’s not playing well enough that he shouldn’t be splitting time. Irving has at least earned a second look. Maybe he’ll go against Boston… then give up five to the best team on the planet and promptly be stapled to the bench for a month.
(Do you guys want the Iginla pony picture for this one, by the way?)