We all know that Calgary is out of the running for a playoff spot this season, but we Flames fans can’t deny the fact that this has been one of the most entertaining and highly surprising seasons that we’ve had in a long time.
After watching the Oilers suffer through years of attempting to rebuild, I didn’t have high hopes for the Flames as we embarked on our own “re-tooling.” I feared the worst for the team I have been a fan of for over 25 years, but I’ve always held onto hope.
It all started just over a year ago with the announcement that Jarome Iginla had been traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins and it’s been a crazy ride since then. Last season at this time, with everyone making jokes that the Flames had no choice but to pull up most of their AHL team, the Abbotsford Heat, I think back and wonder how many of those same people are still laughing.
Let’s face it, we’re still playing the same team with a few new faces added to the group. I don’t think there’s any reason for others to be laughing anymore. Instead, it’s the Flames fans who are doing the laughing because the Flames rebuild seems to be working well so far.
With players like Sean Monahan, Joe Colborne, and newly called-up Tyler Wotherspoon, the Flames may not have star power on the team, but they have offensive power that keeps progressing at a good pace, which is what they needed.
T.J. Brodie was added to the blue line last season and has proven himself as a solid player. Mark Giordano was given the “C” and has defended the title of captain through a tough rebuild. And Ladislav Smid was acquired from our Battle Of Alberta rival, the Edmonton Oilers at the beginning of this season, and he has sacrificed himself during every shift and makes big hits at optimal moments in the games.
In spite of all the injuries this season, including Mike Cammalleri missing a few games at the beginning of the season, Mark Giordano missing 18 games with a broken ankle, Curtis Glencross out for 29 games, and, most recently, Karri Ramo missing in net for 15 games, the Flames powered on through all the tough times and, no they didn’t win all their games, but they sure wore their hearts on their sleeves while they put up a good fight.
When all the trials and tribulations could have brought them down (the fine handed to Hartley after the game against the Canucks and the recent loss in the Stajan family), they rose up, they held on tight to something that they believed in, and they put their hearts and souls on the line to beat whatever adversities they faced together.
Overall, the team is taking shape and constantly progressing. They seem to have the chemistry that makes up a winning team, and they never fail to please their fans, even if they lose, because the never-quit attitude and effort they put in every single game is enough to change the fan base from bitter to hopeful.
So, when I say that I’m a proud Flames fan for over 25 years, I say it with the heart, the effort, and the strength that this team has instilled in me.
Go Flames Go!