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Flames @ Blue Jackets Gamethread

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I've always been rather immune to post game quotes. Be it from coach or player, they frequently strike me as empty rhetoric proffered by guys needing something to say because a few dozen mics are being shoved in their faces. Since Sutter et al took over in Calgary, however, I've become totally deaf to the nuggets that come out of the post game scrum. Partially because Darryl himself says as little as possible to the press and partially because the players have been parroting ready-made mea culpas for the last few years, particularly after horiffic train wrecks like the one last night. While Brent and company are making the right noises after tying an NHL record by surrendering a 5 goal lead to the Hawks, I find the specifics of their quotes totally uninteresting. At this point, with this team, and this group of players, I just want to see it on the ice. Everything else is noise.

Flames in Columbus tonight and it's not going to get much easier. I actually wasn't as furious as the majority of fans were last night, I guess because I'm taking a long view of the first quarter of this season and partially because I saw some sort of disaster coming a few games ago given the way the team was playing (but despite the nice results). On the first point, it's obvious now that the Flames are going to go through some growing pains under the new regime. There were some changes in the off-season, but I refuse to believe the club has taken such substantial step back in terms of possession and outshooting - especially under what is an excellent coach by metrics and performance. I think there's some structural weaknesses in the roster peaking through the cracks that have appeared the last couple of games (I'll get into that in another post), but there's simply no way the team is this bad. Matt Fenwick has argued in the past that one should throw out each team's first quarter of the season in order to accurately assess them at the end of the regular season. That's probably something Flames fans should keep in mind as the club struggles to find it's legs the next few weeks.

All that was preamble to me saying: I don't expect anything to change substantially any time soon, and especially not tonight. If the fix was a flickable switch, it would have happened already; the issues afflicting the Flames have been clear since game one versus Vancouver. Expect Calgary to struggle again this evening, tehrefore, especially if Iginla and Jokinen face Nash and Huselius. I attended a Flames/BJ's game last year with the aforementioned Fenwick and Nash/Juice scared the hell out of me. Later in the year, the two spent the night humiliating the Flames in Columbus. That's a script that could well play out again this evening. Let's just hope the damage is contained...baby steps at this point.