This time last week the Flames were enjoying their longest winning streak of the season--a string of four consecutive 'Ws'--that saw them outscore their opposition at a rate of nearly 2-1 and complete the long march back to .500. Now, three straight losses later and past the halfway point of the season, the team is again two games below the break-even point in preparation for a week-long road trip that will see them take on the 'Canes, Senators, Leafs, and Habs. It's funny what a difference a week can make.
Although the Flames probably deserved a better fate in their most recent loss to the Red Wings, they were mediocre in a game against a bad Islanders club and couldn't convert their shots on goal into scoring chances in Vancouver. After looking like the superior team in games against the Oilers, Avalanche, and Sabres, the Flames couldn't get the job done against two of the best teams in the league, and the reality is that we're probably going to see a lot more of those instances over the course of the next 39 games and the foreseeable future, as management decides what course of action to take with this group of mostly veteran basement-dwellers with the trade deadline little more than a month away.
Links after the jump.
In the aftermath of Tom Kostopoulos' league mandated six-game suspension as a result of this hit on Wings defenceman Brad Stuart, SBN's Mike Chen weighs in on head injuries in hockey and the NHLPA's role in enforcing the rules and protecting its players [From the Rink]
Meanwhile, Dirk Hoag wonders if the hit was even illegal at all, according to the NHL's rule on hits to the head [On the Forecheck]
A synopsis of yesterday's Skills Competition, including a few non-traditional events [Dome Beers]
Exactly what course of action should interim GM Jay Feaster take with his club, and how soon should it begin? [FlamesNation]
In other news pertaining to the Flames' lineup, defenceman Steve Staios will accompany the team on their upcoming road trip after recovering from a cracked rib(s) (insert old man joke here), while Brendan Mikkelson has been re-called from Abbotsford. Stay tuned for Sutter's decision on who will have to take a seat in the press box in order for him to actually play. [The Calgary Herald]
Could the Flames score more goals by switching up their strategy when it comes to spending time in the offensive zone? [The 4th Line Blog]
How would the Flames' 2009 draft picks fare if they were to suit up in the NHL any time soon? [The Copper & Blue]
After being seemingly unable to keep the puck out of their own net when down a man last season, just how good are the Capitals' penalty killers this year? [Behind the Net]
A little old as the tournament ended nearly a week ago, but here's a great analysis of the WJC bronze medallists' blueline, including captain and Flames prospect John Ramage [The United States of Hockey]. I'm planning my own post on the performance of the tournament's three Flames representatives that should be up in the next day or two.
That's it for now, have a great week everyone!