Flames Likely To Watch Masters


Did the NHL and PGA not realize the painful scheduling irony of hockey’s final regular season weekend coinciding with the Masters?
For the 14 teams who won’t be part of the 2011 NHL postseason, a group now including the Calgary Flames, the joke isn’t lost.
Despite crushing the draft pick-seeking Edmonton Oilers 6-1, on the strength of Jarome Iginla’s hat trick, on Wednesday night, Calgary couldn’t control its fate. Combined wins by the Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks and the Dallas Stars officially eliminated the Flames’ bid for the No. 8-seed in the Western Conference.
It was the bittersweet end to the waiting game that began mid-way through the season, when it was determined Calgary’s playoff chances were in trouble. I say bittersweet because I’m glad we finally know what is going to happen (filling a void still occupied by the confusion of last May’s Lost finale), as opposed to spending another evening scoreboard watching and hoping the perfect scenario will unfold on its own.
But it’s also bitter that there won’t be Flames playoff hockey for the first spring since 2003.
With tonight’s meaningless game (trust me, I can’t honestly think of a reason to watch besides CBC’s booking of Flames’ interim general manager Jay Feaster for its After Hours feature on Hockey Night in Canada) against Vancouver a few hours away, I find myself far more concerned with watching the third round at Augusta on TV right now.
Vancouver clinched first overall 10 days ago and Calgary will be playing its final game of the season. I don’t expect the Canucks will start Roberto Luongo, or play the Sedins and Ryan Kesler very extensively.
Not too many Flames are playing for roster spots next season, thanks in large part to previous organizational decisions and inconceivable contracts.
So, beginning next week, Flame For Thought will commence its look back at the 2010/11 Calgary season. We’ll go into detail over each player’s performance, statistics, salary/contract and likely future with the organization.
We’ll also look the off-ice aspect of the game and revisit the end of the Darryl Sutter era, the future of Jay Feaster, the renaming of the Saddledome (why not?), and the painfully slow start in October and November (which will ultimately be blamed for not making the playoffs).
But tonight’s game is first. It’s Vancouver at Calgary at 8 p.m. on CBC; then sleep; then we can all (Flames players included) get up tomorrow morning and watch the final round at the Masters; then go golfing, as it’s supposed to be 12 C in Calgary.