There's a procedure in psychological circles called the forced swim test. In it, a rat is placed inside a water filled cylinder from which it cannot escape. Initially, it will scramble around the tube, frantically seeking an exit. Eventually, however, the impossibility of the situation impresses itself on the rat and it will give up completely, floating dejectedly and motionless in despair in it's watery prison.
The Flames appeared to be trapped in their own water filled cylinder last night. They seemed exhausted both physically and mentally. They looked like the trapped rat, helpless and without an hope of escaping their apparently intractable predicament.
I'm not going to say too much about last night's game. For those who didn't see it, the metrics paint a fairly clear picture. A season low nine scoring chances, 22 shots on net, zero goals. It was as bland and uninspiring as it sounds. Calgary went from scoring rarely on a lot of chances to generating nothing and scoring nothing in the space of a couple of nights. The new line combos was no panacea. The power play was, again, little more than a series of unfortunate events.
David Moss left the game about half way through. At least, he didn't play anymore. No word on if he was simply benched or hurt. Robyn Regehr was victimized again last night on a lackluster play (although one must consider that every lone mistake is amplified with the margin of error so low). Jarome Iginla reverted to the tentative, pereimeter play that marked his last season and half so often.
Like the team itself, I'm not sure what to do at this point. Last night, the Flames featured Craig Conroy, Nigel Dawes and Jamie Lundmark in their top 6 forwards. They have the third cheapest forward corps in the league, ahead of only Phoenix and the New York Islanders and one of their most expensive players isn't worth the dough. Many of us were worried about out-scoring to start the season and those fears were magnified when the team languished near the bottom of the league in terms of shots on net. They rarely draw penalties and almost never do anything on the man advantage when they do.
Both Sutters have some work on their hands. The current Flames squad can probably make the play-offs as is thanks to the defense and Kipper, but if the goal is to finally win a series or two, then more is needed.