I’ve been a Flames fan since 1988. I watched Lanny McDonald and Theo Fleury hoist the Stanley Cup over their heads in 1989. I rode the Red Mile in 2004 that took the team to the finals. I have watched as this team has gone through all the ups and downs in the past to get to where they are today. I have faithfully gone through my own personal traditions, rituals, and superstitions throughout the years in hopes that we can relive some of the more positive moments from our past.
But I think the time has come that I’m taking my head out of the clouds and I’m setting my feet firmly on the ground.
Last night, I put down my pen and notebook, I took off my jersey halfway through the game, and I shook my head in disbelief at the antics of the Calgary Flames as they fell apart with style against the Anaheim Ducks. And that was when I realized that my traditions and rituals are doing nothing to help the team. I’m getting desperate for a win – a good win, a solid win, and a win that is earned – and maybe a little bit of consistency as well.
I will spare you all the details of the game and, instead, I will focus on just the goals. The first Flames goal wasn’t what I was expecting. David Jones cut in front of the Anaheim net and collided with Backlund before the puck deflected off of him and into the Ducks net. It wasn’t a pretty goal but, at that point, I wasn’t going to be picky.
Flames goal number two started when David Jones carried out the puck from behind the Ducks net and took a nice shot through two of Anaheim’s defensemen to bury it in net. Of the Flames two goals tonight, only one looked like a solid, honest goal. That one goal was the highlight of the game.
I won’t get into the details of each of the Ducks goals, but my general recap is that three goals were because of defensive mistakes by the Calgary Flames. Instead of covering the players, the Flames were skating after the puck. At the end of the game, the Flames forgot about the blue line in the Ducks end and left one lone defenseman to face a two-on-one when the puck entered the neutral zone, which resulted in another goal for Anaheim.
In the third period, just as Charlie Simmer, the Flames color-commentator, was making a statement about how well Butler has been doing recently, Chris Butler took an apparent break, on the ice, from his post as defenseman, which allowed another goal on our net.
You know it’s going to be a bad game when the goalie take a penalty to start things off. Reto Berra took a high-sticking penalty at the beginning of the game, which put a bad taste in my mouth and started the game off on the wrong foot. At the beginning of the second period, Backlund took a delay of game penalty and, at the beginning of the third period, Bouma took a hooking penalty. My suggestion? Stop taking penalties at the beginning of the periods and, instead, focus on defending the net.
And while I’m on the topic of defense, let’s discuss the lack of defense in Wideman’s absence. I was expecting more from Chris Breen. With his intimidation factor and size, he should have been able to hold off Anaheim a little better than he did. He’s a big boy and, if he can take position correctly, defending the Flames net would come naturally.
And what happened to the seasoned Flames players? I saw them shrink into the background and practically fade away. They need to step up their game and help out the younger players who don’t have as much NHL experience.
The entire Flames team looked like a group of fourth-line players during the entire game. Wait, no….I’ve seen fourth-line players on other teams look better than the entire Flames team during the game against the Ducks.
The worst part about the entire game was how the line combinations seemed desperate. With so many players on the IR, I understand the need to change things up. Yet, if a specific line combination isn’t working, maybe Hartley needs to try something else.
The Flames haven’t won against Anaheim in their arena in 18 consecutive games. I’ve heard people call it the “Disneyland Curse” but I’m going to take it upon myself to state the obvious – the Anaheim Ducks are better than the Calgary Flames and that’s why the Flames haven’t won in their barn.
Tonight, while I get ready to watch the Calgary Flames take on the L.A. Kings, my superstitions will be thrown out the window and, instead, I’m just going to watch the game.
And, like the true-blue Flames fan that I am, I WILL be watching because it’s what I’ve been doing since 1988 and I’ve invested too much of my time, effort, and heart into this team to ever give up on them.
Tags: Calgary Flames