The Flames do two things. They genuinely try to create chances, and they lose horribly.
I get it, in a way. The team, as a collective unit, has absolutely nothing left to play for. They did, for a brief time, when they actually did still partially control their fate and playoffs were still a realistic possibility, but then they lost. And lost. And lost some more. And now they’re still losing, and they legitimately may not win another game this season, and it’s just… who cares?
Some individuals have something to play for. Jon Gillies needs to fight to try to get more NHL games in, maybe even games that actually mean something one day (though, even with a questionable defence in front of him, it’s not looking too good this year). Brett Kulak, with 20:01 played, needs to fight to prove he can be more than a bottom pairing defenceman. Rasmus Andersson, with 18:53 played, needs to fight to prove he should be in the big show full time next season. Spencer Foo will have to fight for the same when he draws in Saturday.
Other than that, I’m not really sure. Nick Shore, at least, continues to look like an astute pickup: he’s young enough he should be able to play at this level for a while yet, and he’s smart enough that he can be relied upon to carry bottom six minutes without being a hinderance in any way, shape, or form. Sam Bennett at least led the way with five shots, and Micheal Ferland and Shore with four; credits to them because this team apparently has no other sniff at any offensive weapons up front.
The roster has been decimated by injuries, and Travis Hamonic probably shouldn’t even play again for the rest of the season at this rate. But it just strongly highlights how completely, utterly screwed this team is. The Flames thought they would be getting something more out of this year – hence, you know, no draft picks until the fourth round – and now their 2018-19 is looking like it’s going to be same old, same old without some major forward upgrades.
At least all of the top forwards being out means they can’t hide behind any excuses. The Flames’ warts are on display, crystal clear now, and they will need to be addressed before October if this team is supposed to have a hope in hell of accomplishing anything, and not entering a second rebuild immediately after the first.
They had 18 scoring chances to Columbus’ 12 in the first period; six high-danger corsi events to their five. In the third period, it was 13-5 and 7-2; say what you will about score effects, but there were genuine attempts made. The problem is nobody on this roster is good enough to capitalize on them.
So where does this leave us? There are four games left in the season. Three of them are at home. I would not be surprised if they did not win another game for the rest of the season. I would not be surprised if they did not score another goal for the rest of the season.
God help the poor souls who pay money to see them play out the string. For two straight weeks now, they have not been worth it. It’s hard to imagine that suddenly changing. All they have to play for is “pride”, and just like everything else about this year, it’s completely meaningless.
What a farce. Maybe next season will be better, but there’s nothing left in this husk.