There are now nine games remaining in the 2014-15 regular season.
Rather than beat around the bush, we went to our crack team of writers and asked one simple question. (Well, two…)
Will the Calgary Flames make the playoffs?
Here’s how the responses shook down. For the sake of posterity, bear in mind that these responses were all written prior to last night’s game against Colorado.
Do you think the Calgary Flames make the playoffs?
Kent Wilson: It’s almost too close to call, but I’ll say yes. The Flames have enjoyed the favour of the hockey gods this year and I think they will ride it into the post season.
Ryan Pike: My gut says yes, especially when you factor in that Calgary doesn’t need to be the best team down the stretch, they just need to be better than the Kings. (And the Kings have a rough, rough schedule.)
Byron Bader: I’m on the fence. The fan in me says of course but more and more it looks like it’s between LA and Calgary. I just don’t see the reigning champs not making it. But I’ll say yes because I want them to!
Mike Caderette: Despite a tough-ish stretch ahead, I’ll say yes. Most likely into the final wild card spot ahead of Winnipeg.
Arii: Nah. I don’t trust the Flames to stay ahead of the Kings. Also, I kind of have to say no because I’ve been doubting them all season long, and they’ve been doing this all season long, so I can’t change now. I will not be responsible for them going down. I WILL NOT.
Beloch: Many thought this team was done when Giordano was injured. They’ve gone 0.591 over 11 games since then. If they continue to put up points at that pace, they’re in. It’s not a certain thing, but I think their odds are very good.
The Book of Loob: My gut tells me no, that it’s going to come down to an agonizingly painful last week where I forget that this team was never even supposed to sniff the playoffs this year and that it was a free pass that was all about developing and growing the youth, and in forgetting this I will fall into yet another postseason funk where all joy is lost, smiles fade forever, the songs of children will be dull and terse.
In this darkness, I will turn to drink, and with the drink, will be grim introspectives into my own life; will I ever feel the capacity to love again, to even feel at all, or will this ever present numbness where my heart once pumped life giving blood ever return to it’s normal state. Also, when are they going to re-sign Backlund? Why is Bollig still a thing? Why are all the worst players on this team still holding contracts that have 2 or more seasons left on them?
Justin Azevedo: I still think the Kings take the last spot. Flames probably miss on the last or second last day or the season. I just can’t see it with the dearth of separation they’ve “gained” the last 10 days.
Taylor McKee: I think the Flames will miss and it will be heartbreakingly close, perhaps even the final two games or so. Losing points like they did against Columbus on the weekend may certainly come back to sting even more.
If so, what are your expectations for how long they last?
Kent: Not past round 1. Just making the playoffs is a remarkable feat given the Flames roster this year, but there’s still a lot left to be done before they are truly a contender.
Ryan: If they play the Canucks, which it looks like they will if they make it, they may squeak out a series win. But my expectations are them bowing out in the first round.
Byron: Out in six. I see them getting outperformed (especially without gio) but pull off a couple victories, maybe a few comebacks, like 2007 and 2009.
Mike: If they face Vancouver, I’ll say they might have a halfway decent chance of getting into the second round. If they end up facing the top-seeded Ducks, the Flames will be eliminated in five games at the most.
Arii: That said, if they do make it, they’re probably out in the first round. However, I think if they play the Canucks there’s potential for them to take the seven-game series. Neither team is super great, and the Flames were one own-goal away from taking the clear season series victory, so… (Then they’ll be out in the second round, and out real quick.)
Beloch: There are actually a few things working in the Flames’ favour if they make the playoffs. First, this team just seems to get better as games go on. Playoff overtime isn’t 4on4 unfortunately (for the Flames), but I am willing to wager they can translate their third period prowess into overtime magic. Second, the Flames’ best players seem to be just heating up. The Monahan-Gaudreau-Hudler line has never played better than they are now. Gaudreau, in particular, seems like a clutch personality. However, this team still hasn’t fully compensated for the absence of Giordano. Can the Flames beat Vancouver, who is their most likely first round opponent? If they can play tight games and force the aging Sedins to go the distance in OT, then their odds are actually not bad.
Loob: Guess probably first round. Either that or it’s 2004 again, in which case, please ignore my previous answer.
Justin: They lack in too many areas to make it out of the first round if they do get there. This team has some nice pieces – especially when Mr Bennett gets into the fold – but having only one true top four defenseman and just 6 or 7 noticeably-better-than-replacement-level forwards makes it impossible to match up with teams that are running three effective lines, let alone four.
Taylor: There are a number of things I’m currently thinking about Flames-wise that I never expected to this season, one of which is the fact that a lack of secondary scoring may keep them out of the playoffs.The Flames are currently a one-line team but wow, that line is sure fun to watch. If the Flames are going to prove me wrong (and damn, they have done a great job of that so far) the Mason Raymond’s and Joe Colborne’s on the roster are going to have to start putting the puck in the net.
SUM IT UP
The consensus appears to be “Yes, probably,” and “out in the first round.” Neither are guarantees, and your mileage may vary.