As you probably know, today's game is the last in the Calgary Flames' 2011-2012 season.
Even though the majority of the season-save a 10 or so game stretch-has been miserable for fans and team alike, I'm still a little sad it's concluding. I don't want it to end, which is a revelation surprising even to me-and thoroughly unexpected, given the state of the team. To see the solitary "Ducks vs. Flames" gamethread sitting in the cue leaves one wondering what could have been if that one little thing had gone differently.
It's not so much that the Flames won't be playing in the round of 16 for the third straight year (although I wouldn't be complaining had they made the playoffs), but rather the significance of yet another year wasted. Purportedly, a season like this under the "watch" of Jay Feaster will lead to sweeping changes; or at least it will should his rhetoric regarding both "intellectual honesty" and the team being "a meritocracy" hold true. Could Thursday's game be the last time we'll see the greatest Flames goaltender clad in red, yellow and black? Is it possible that a sure-fire Hall of Famer could be discarded by a delusional ownership group? Will an attempt to shed salary lead to a dismantling of a defensive corps made up of one man?
Of course, these questions will be answered in due time, but until then...there's a game to be played.
Henrik Karlsson is penciled in to get the start in the match, and I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say this will likely be the final chance he will have at a win in his NHL career. It's become painfully obvious that Karlsson, while possessing some solid fundamentals, cannot get away from the positional phenomenon available to him due to his height-the tendency to drop into the butterfly too quickly. This creates a few massive weaknesses in his game-the inability to stop high shots, rebound control (or lack thereof) among others.
Personally, though, a win for Karlsson-and this sad-sack edition of the Calgary Flames-in the final game of the season would warm my cold heart by at least half a degree celsius.
Players To Watch
Jarome Iginla-Just as we might've seen the last game in a Flames uniform for Miikka Kiprusoff, this might be the last game for Jarome Iginla. A shiver is sent down my spine even at the mere thought of Iginla donning another jersey.
Ryan Getzlaf-If you look closely, you can actually see his hairline recede while the game is going on.
One more game.