If Seinfeld has taught us anything – and I have been led to believe it has – then today is a very important day.
Today is Festivus, and with it comes a key tradition: the airing of grievances.
What better a subject for that than a professional hockey team hoping to escape its rebuild?
When the season started, it was rife with grievances. The Flames were unwatchable, the entire season was lost because the new coach had no idea what he was doing, the abhorrent special teams only furthered that point, the kids that were just signed to big contracts turned out to be terrible after all, then the steady veterans we thought we could trust were also terrible, the new goaltending was bad, and we were going to have to start doing draft profiles in October.
But then the Flames started winning some games – some on a streak, even! – and things got less bad. Maybe the team started adjusting to that new coach, the special teams stopped being the worst ever, those kids started scoring and veterans started looking like their old selves, at least one goaltender rose from the ashes, and now, they’re probably at least going to be playing meaningful games in March. At least. We hope.
There’s still plenty to grieve about, though. Let’s go for it!
We each picked one major grievance we have with the Flames that we really, really needed to get off our chests at this time of year.
Ari: The total shaft T.J. Brodie has gotten this season. Brodie prefers to play the right side, and we have evidence showing he works well there? Good, then play him there– wait, what’s that, you’re going to put him on the left instead? With no reprieve? And force him to play alongside an older, inferior defenceman whose time with this club is running out? The entire time? Even when, say, Brett Kulak could have been a fun possibility before he, too, got shafted for no reason? I… sure. Yes. Okay. Fine. That’s fine.
Ryan: A lack of consistent power play ice time for Dougie Hamilton. He’s smart with the puck and has a great shot. They seem to have a fixation on shoe-horning right shot forwards onto the PP, but no Hamilton? Bah.
Kent: This club’s possession improvement is almost totally due to the Backlund line. At some point, they need to find a way for at least one other top nine forward unit to regularly push play.
Pat: I’m kinda along the same lines as Kent. This team needs one of their top two centers to start driving play. Sure, Monahan and Bennett have decent goal totals, but they’ve achieved that by getting the cushiest zone starts of the group. Neither are meaningfully driving play on a consistent basis and for this team to take the next step; one or both will have to start doing just that.
Mike: Echoing Ryan, the lack of (consistent) PP time for Douglas Hamilton is an insult. He is in a great spot right now at 5v5, but he needs that PP time to fully maximize every facet of his game. He can distribute the puck so incredibly well, his shot is fantastic, and he has a knack for moving the puck/quarterbacking the play. Just do it already.
Christian R: The inconsistencies game-to-game. Sometimes they look like an absolute world beater and at others like they’re pushing for an AHL playoff spot. It’s infuriatingly frustrating.
Christian T: This team is the most confusing and inconsistent incarnation of the Flames in recent memory. They’ve had eight or nine turning point games followed immediately thereafter by “same old shit” games.
What’s your number one grievance you’d like to air as the Flames get set to enter the Christmas break? Share it with us in the comments, and feel free to get salty in your language like our friend Christian T did (although I think there’s some automatic censoring there, so you might have to use some asterisks or something), because it’s that time of year!
Tomorrow we’ll take a more positive direction and go over some key wishes (of the holiday variety, if you will) we have for the Flames. But today? Let it all out, guys.