Flames Lose Fifth Straight: Season Over
Let’s be totally honest with ourselves here...it’s over.
With losses in five straight games, the Calgary Flames sit with only 83 points, currently three points back of the 8th position, and most likely more by night’s end.
Goal scoring has come to a grinding halt and funny enough, so have the wins.
The shootout arguments have been bandied about for the last week. Why did they put Stajan, Stempniak, Jones and Comeau in the shootout against Minnesota instead of their top guns?
It’s simple really. The previous method simply wasn’t working so why not try something new?
The real question is how on earth the Flames even allowed that game to get to a shootout?
And again, it’s a simple answer. The Flames, too often, play not to lose, instead of playing to win. They divert away from the formula that works so well in the first period of so many games and instead go into a shell and try their best not to lose, all the while slowly giving their opponent the upper hand.
Is it a coaching problem? I’m not sold on that fact entirely, but I think a change in philosophy might be needed.
At the root of the problem is the core group of players and the lack of confidence and lack of playoff experience within that locker room. The problem isn’t the fact that they do not WANT to win, it’s that they do not know HOW to win.
Too many of their players have seen little to no playoff hockey and when the big moments arise to make a difference, these players grip the stick way too hard and can’t find the net.
Olli Jokinen – 0 points in last seven games – six career playoff games. Over 1000 regular season games played. Better yet, he is a loser in every sense of the word.
Jay Bouwmeester – 700+ games and zero playoffs.
Curtis Glencross – 0 goals in last seven games – six career playoff games played.
Blake Comeau – 0 playoff games
Lee Stempniak – 11 playoff games
Matt Stajan – 3 playoff games
David Moss – 0 goals in 9 games
Mark Giordano – 4 playoff games
Jarome Iginla – 0 points in last five games.
Alex Tanguay – 2 points in last seven games.
Need I go on?
It’s a combination of guys who either don’t know what it feels like to win at this level or choke when the time comes to step up.
And really, to get back to the Coaching position, you have a guy leading the team that has made the playoffs twice in four (soon to be five) years of coaching in the NHL, and those two seasons came with a New Jersey team that was already well established. They didn’t make it past the first round. And now, he will have gone three straight seasons without a playoff appearance with the Flames.
It’s a losing mentality that’s engrained in the dressing room. How does Brent Sutter deserve to keep his job? What has he done to warrant such a move? Nothing is the answer.
Losing is contagious and once you get enough people within the core of team thinking you’re not good enough and can’t possibly be successful then losing is all you will ever do.
It’s kind of funny actually. This losing skid started when the Flames lost to the Edmonton Oilers last Friday. The following day Sven Baertschi was sent back down to Portland of the WHL. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Sven was the only reason for the Flames winning ways before the slide started but he brought a lot of excitement and enthusiasm to the team – something the Flames had not seen, on this level, in a long time.
He plays, like most young players, without fear of losing. That attitude, I think, spread throughout the dressing room and got a lot of the other senior players really excited to play. Just like losing, winning and a good attitude is contagious and I think Sven brought just that.
With six games left, this season is all but over. They have to run the table to get to 95 points, which might be good enough. But, the opponents in the way and the morale of the Flames will most definitely get in the way of that happening.
Dust off the golf clubs.
This summer, the re-model begins. Your move Jay.
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