CALGARY, CANADA - MARCH 9: Matt Stajan #18 and Jarome Iginla #12 of the Calgary Flames celebrate Stajan's goal against the Winnipeg Jets in first-period NHL action on March 9, 2012 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Mike Ridewood/Getty Images)
About two years ago, the Flames were facing the Wild in Minnesota on a Sunday afternoon in March in shockingly similar circumstances to the ones the team finds itself in today. The 2010 Flames were about a month and a half out from the Dion Phaneuf trade (also known as the second worst trade in Flames history) and were just barely holding onto a playoff spot. Of course, we know how that game went-Ian White almost decapitating Daymond Langkow with a shot, the Flames blowing a three goal lead, and the Wild scoring late to pick up the win. That loss was part of a 4-4-1 finish to the season, which eliminated the Flames from playoff contention for the first time in 5 years.
The game today likely has even more riding on it for the Flames then it did in 2010-while that year the Flames fell from their playoff perch, this year the team is going to have to climb to reach their desired position. The Wild of this year know one or two things about falling-going from 1st in the league in mid-December to the rather hilarious position of 13th in the conference today. Much has been made about those who believe advanced stats hold a predictive value versus those who don't; and while some might still gravitate to the latter, it has been proven over and over that the former holds true.
For all the injuries the Flames have suffered this season, the Wild have been hit a little harder in the man-game count, but that can be accounted for by the long-term injuries of glass men Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Guillaume Latendresse and Mike Lundin combining to miss 134 games of lottery-pick hockey this year. I do find it humorous, however, that Wild fans complain and blame injuries for their lack of success this year when 1. every team suffers major injuries over the course of a season and 2. the Wild have previously employed a multitude of unbelievably dirty players over their short and feeble existence.
Speaking of injuries, you can now add TJ Brodie to the list of the infirmed. The Flames have had half of their roster occupied by AHLers and horrible players for the better part of 4 months now, yet they're still fighting for a playoff spot somehow-as opposed to the Wild, who have been playing for nothing since the start of February.
I look forward to the trolling this site will endure if the Flames manage to lose today. Although…I’ll probably be asleep because of that boring as shit "system" coach of the year candidate Mike Yeo has implemented. Fun times.
Players To Watch
Matt Stajan-This guy's been a beauty the past 15 games.
Matt Dumba-Oh, wait. That's NEXT year.