Languishing at the bottom of the Western Conference more than a quarter of the way though the season and with management supposedly committed to staying the course, things aren't looking all that rosy for the Flames. The club will likely need to win 65% of their remaining 55 games in order to gain a post-season berth, and haven't been able to string together consecutive victories since October. While losses to teams like the Blackhawks and, sadly, the Canucks have come to be expected, the Flames have found a way to lose games against the likes of the Devils and Rangers and have blown leads against dangerous teams like the Red Wings when they've had them on the ropes. If there's one thing working in the Flames' favour, though, it's their upcoming schedule, which is comparatively lighter than last month's. They play six of their 11 games this month at home and have a chance to make up some ground with two games against both the Wild and the Blue Jackets as well as games against the Ducks, Leafs, Avs, and Sabres--teams that are currently sitting in the bottom half of their respective conferences with the exception of the Jackets, and teams the Flames should stand a chance against. Then again, with the way we've seen this team's play vary within a game and even a period this season, it's impossible to be certain.
Links after the jump.
Flames co-founder and long-time owner Harley Hotchkiss has officially sold his share in the team to the rest of the ownership group,as the decision was approved by the NHL's Board of Governors today. The eighty-three year old continues to battle prostate cancer, but will still remain very much a part of the club's operations as alternate governor [The Calgary Herald]
It's an interesting season for the BoA now that the Flames and Oilers are sharing the conference cellar, and with the Oil currently on a four-game winning streak, these are two teams that seem to be headed in different directions now and potentially in the future [The Battle of Alberta]
With his team struggling in nearly any way imaginable, the question begs to be asked, is Brent Sutter a good coach? [Dome Beers]
Meanwhile, Allan Maki believes that Butter has exhausted his options and suggest an alternative solution, one which most Flames fans probably don't wish to come to fruition [The Globe & Mail]
Scott Cruickshank has a few questions of his own about the direction of the fifteenth-place Flames [The Flames Insider]
Wait, are you trying to tell me that all Canucks players are not soulless entities whose hearts resemble the very surface they skate on? [Hit the Post]
The effectiveness of using the threat of a trade as motivation and more in this week's edition of Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts [CBC Sports]
Does the Eastern conference have a defensive advantage over their Western counterparts? [ESPN]
Finally, Kent siphons off his thoughts in Mikael Backlund, Craig Conroy, Rene Bourque's struggles in the absence of Daymond Langkow, and more [FlamesNation]
Have a great week everyone, try not to let the Flames' failures dampen your burgeoning holiday spirits.