Against all odds, rational computations and plain common sense the Flames continue to burn brighter.
A Flames team made up of AHLers, a red hot Miikka Kiprusoff, about 6 strong NHL players and the remaining workman like players have put up another big win.
The game was the usual Sutter vs Sutter battle of boring D first hockey.
Not a whole lot to write about in this one. When the Sutters played hockey back on the farm, the saying was not "next goal wins" it was "first goal wins" and tonight the Flames got the first goal from Mike Cammalleri and Kipper stood tall to take the shut-out and the ever so important regulation win.
At the end of the day the Flames are in a playoff spot for the first time this year. The Flames are singing away to their fans, "Against All Odds". All fans, not just the advanced stat crowd, know how weak this team is, but on the other hand, how can you not start to get drawn into this playoff race, not start to cheer for that empty space on the Red Mile to get filled up again.
Phil Collins -.Against All Odds Music Video (via nik0la007)
In a attempt to create some sort ontological meaning onto what is happening with the Flames lets speculate.
Speculate in the positive sense, which we rarely do. Lets try and come up with some reasons why the Flames sit where they do in the playoff race, which they really have no buisness occupying. Speculate why they are winning and holding up.
In the last 8 games the Flames have gotten 13 of a possible 16 points. A heady point production of 0.8125%. That can't possibly last, but in the meantime lets try and speculate why.
- Miikka Kiprusoff - nothing new here. A hot goaltender keeping you in games is as old as hockey itself but Kipper himself does not explain all of what is happening.
- Injuries - by any rational and common sense perspective the Flames should not be getting any points given the absolute rash of injuries they have taken. After all the team is massively depleted and when you line up AHL players against NHL players the results are usually catastrophic, just go look at Edmonton.
- The Flames Prospects Suck - Do they really ? Everything is relative but from what I have seen they look positionally sound and are not making glaring mistakes, yes they do not have possession and are not driving play north but they are positionally sound as forwards in defensive position.
Remember the over and over trumpeted point for the last several years that the Flames have nothing on the farm, nothing for depth? Is it possible at this point to cautiously put forward the premise that this may have been a bit overblown. TJ Brodie and Leland Irving have not "sucked" Roman Horak has logged 46 games and while he is not running over the competition is it fair or should we even expect the 20 year old Czech to do that in his rookie season? He is a 5th round pick, it is amazing he is even playing that many games in his rookie season and not getting beat like egg whites on cake day.
Is it time to, dare I say it, to admit that the Flames young sparks are actually competent at the NHL level. It is not to state they are stars, not to state they are rolling over the competition, but merely to admit that they are not making the glaring mistakes rookies often do.
This in and of itself may not result in them scoring but it results in solid performance when they are clearly out matched in their line match ups, they are not responsible for goals. They can stop the other team's line, they may not be able to beat them for scoring or hold possession but they can hold the opposition back and play low error hockey.
- Jay Feaster and Flames Management, could they be competent ? - Is it time to acknowledge, and give credit where credit is due, to Jay Feaster. Not every move he has made will have fans dancing in the streets but are not the majority of his moves at this point pointing to a GM who is righting a Flames ship that Darryl Sutter ran straight into an iceberg? Is it possible to give Feaster and management a nod at this point. If this team actually makes the playoffs, I don't see how you can not. Although this may be speaking too soon right before the trade deadline.
- Brent Sutter and his whacky moves - Tom Kostopoulos was put on the 2nd line with Mike Cammalleri and most of the fan base lost their mind when this was announced but what happened last game? A big TKO went into the corner, took a hard hit and made the game winning assist to Cammy. Is it possible Brent Sutter knows what he is doing with his line juggling? Now we are really getting into a strange land.
In all honesty I doubt most expected the Flames to even have a chance this month against several of the teams they matched up against. Who thought they would beat the Blackhawks? Probably no one and they did. Who thought they would beat the Sharks? No one and they did. Who thought they would beat the Canucks? No one and they did.
Then Blair Jones and Mikael Backlund went down in two games, one after another and I was personally going through the various seller options for the Flames at the deadline right there, but somehow they continued to win.
Against all odds the team has burned brighter and when you have this Kipper guy, well you don't make excuses, its the Calgary Flames, they always go for the playoffs even when the whole NHL laughs at them. Head north up the QE2 highway if you want to watch a team that doesn't bother going for the playoffs anymore.
There are no excuses for not making them. That is the goal. Once you get a dance ticket, you play for the Cup, that is the entire point.