every season, the calgary flames have a handful of "meltdown" games. there has been a lot of talk this season about the bay area blowout (november 2008), but i would probably consider adding last week's accident in atlanta if it weren't for all the injuries that partially excuse the team's terrible showing... a few years ago, the disaster game was the bloodbath in the motor city (february 2007): the flames waltzed into detroit and *ahem* got their behinds handed to them.... but still managed to score four goals, i might add...
the joe has never been a hospitable rink to outsiders, and the flames will definitely need to step up pretty much every facet of their game in order to pull out a W this evening against the elite wings. the special teams have been downright awful, after starting the season with a top-5 PK in the NHL. the forwards are losing their defensive assignments so regularly, it's a wonder what keenan/playfair are preaching in practice, and the blueliners spend a jaw-dropping amount of time in front of the opposition net. what was once a very tight grip on the third position in the conference has slipped to the point of concern, and vancouver (albeit not shooting up in the ranks) is slowly gaining ground. all of this is worrisome, to say the least.
in other interesting league news:
- it looks like we won't have to suffer from that horrible QC flames logo much longer, as it appears the baby flames will be moving in the off-season. abbotsford, bc is the long-rumoured destination (re-instating the vintage flaming A from the atlanta-era, if copyright/ownership of the logo isn't a problem ?), which would bring calgary's AHL affiliate significantly closer to the parent club...
- the rangers have been awarded a compensatory draft pick in lieu of their 2009 first rounder, alexei cherepanov, who died during a game in the KHL in october. not being a CBA genius, my understanding is that there's a clause that protects clubs in the case of career-ending injuries to first round selections. i don't believe any GM has ever requested restitution in a similar case: the only others i can think of are luc bourdon and george pelawa. bourdon presumeably played enough games in the NHL to forfeit eligability in this capacity, and pelawa's death in 1986 was likely long before the inclusion of this clause in the CBA. furthermore, the clause might insist on the injuries occurring in-game, which would have disqualified these two instances, regardless... no further details on the rangers' compensatory pick (draft year, draft position) have been released.
- tons of photos out today of carrie underwood and hilary duff catching a sens game... i bet the league could NOT be happier for the press... ;)
GO FLAMES !!!!