Well, the Flames' winning streak came to an end over the weekend with Saturday's 4-3 shootout loss to the L.A. Kings; it was nice while it lasted, but the team has bigger fish to fry, beginning tonight when they take on the Chicago Blackhawks, a team that they can never quite seem to figure out. After thumping the 'Hawks 7-2 at home back in November, the Flames overcame a 2-0 deficit in a December 5th contest at the United Center, but would go on to lose4-2 amidst one of their most frustratingly hot-and-cold periods of hockey this season.
While a win tonight would be nice, the Flames' recent streak still has many unconvinced that this team is capable of keeping abreast with the West's top eight long enough to earn a post-season birth as teams like the Kings and Blackhawks begin to bounce back into form. The team is once again in that awkward middle-ground between being a playoff team and a lottery team, and, barring a Montreal-esque run, doesn't have the tools to survive a first round matchup with the likes of the Canucks or Wings. With the trade deadline just two weeks away, the sentiment seems to be that Feaster will largely stand pat aside from some minor tinkering, opting to make any potentially larger moves in the off-season. WIth ten games remaining between now and February 28th and five against teams directly above or below the Flames in the crowded standings, that could certainly change. One small slide and the playoff picture could be drastically different (read: the home side better nip this one in the bud).
Links after the jump.
Has Darryl Sutter's departure really caused a change in the atmosphere around the Saddledome, or is winning games simply to blame? [The Flames Insider]
A certain member of the Flames blogosphere just became a lot more well-known thanks to an appearance on national television Saturday night [Hit the Post]
Craig Conroy's new role with the Flames has spared even some of the most insufferable media personalities their jobs [Dome Beers]
Peter Forsberg's pending return to Denver is being slowed up by problems in the immigration process [The National Post]
Do marginal NHlers lack respect? [The Globe and Mail]
After it was announced that Marc Savard will miss the remainder of the season with a concussion, it appears the league has lost another star to a potential head injury, as Mike Green is sitting out tomorrow's game with concussion-like symptoms [Capitals Insider]
The Memorial Cup selection committee will begin touring perspective sites for this year's tournament today in the Maritimes [Station Nation]
Looking at the human side of head injuries and the difficult path ahead for Boston's Savard [Something's Bruin]
After much speculation, the Ducks have announced the signing of Ray Emery to a two-way contract worth $500K, but he still has to clear waivers in order to be sent down to the Ducks' AHL affiliate [HOTH]
Is NHL viewership in the US tied to hockey tradition? [SportsBusiness Journal]
That's it for now, have a great week everyone and stick around for tonight's game!