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Gamethread: Flames at Lightning, and a Look at the Last Ten Years

Ten years have passed since since Calgary and Tampa Bay met in the Stanley Cup finals- what happened in that time to bring the two teams to such disparate positions since?

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

2013-14 season, but what fascinates me is the changes in fortunes of each team over the last ten years.

Stanley CupCory SarichDan BoyleBrad RichardsMatt CarleMike SmithJeff HalpernJussi JokinenAndrej Meszaros

through a secondary trade.

Martin St. LouisRangers

. Again, this isn't a collection of shocking revelations.

Steven StamkosVictor HedmanTyler JohnsonOndrej Palat

emerged from seemingly nowhere. Matt Carle left for Philadelphia and came back. Tampa hired one of the best coaches with no NHL experience from their farm team, Jon Cooper.

The fascinating thing about Tampa is this is all within the last ten years. Hell, most of it within the last six. Calgary, on the other hand, has been fairly static.

Ownership hasn't changed, the President only changed when Burke came on- and even then, Ken King just moved to more commercial responsibilities as opposed to hockey responsibilities. The GM office went through a few changes— from Darryl Sutter to Jay Feaster to Brian Burke, but even those felt slow- and when they did happen, hardly surprising.

Craig ConroyMatthew Lombardi

has injured himself into early retirement.

Regehr's trade was fairly well covered, and of course Iginla's was as well, but it happened so late in their careers and so late in the decline of the Flames that the only shocking parts where that it hadn't happened already. Kiprusoff's retirement almost felt like an after thought.

So what do we learn about the difference in the construction and destruction of these two teams over the years? A fair amount. Part of the issue is one of construction of the teams at the time. The Lightning in 2004 were very good. They had multiple elite players and several very good players. Calgary, on the other hand, succeeded despite the roster. Iginla led the team with 73 points over a full season. Craig Conroy was the second leading scoring, topping out at 47 points. The team was successful in the playoffs, but if you played them ten times over, that success would almost certainly fail to repeat itself. It was a decent enough team, but the Flames were hardly on the same level as the Lightning.

Shean Donovan

leaving. There was barely anything interesting about him in Calgary. The same could be said about almost all of that team. Those playoffs were the largely the sole bullet point in most of those players careers. They were absolutely a spectacular playoffs, and it seems an oft forgotten point that Calgary was the David to Tampa Bay's Goliath (but for a stone and a sling taken away by a ref), but despite that, those Calgary Flames were nothing particularly amazing.

Jarome IginlaMiikka KiprusoffDion PhaneufAlex Tanguay

arrive in town and finally give Iginla some offensive help. Iginla was Iginla during this whole time.

Olli Jokinen

trades, the Dion Phaneuf trade, the front office shuffling. It all happened in interesting enough fashion, but, looking back, seems fairly insignificant. In fact, that's a recurring theme for Calgary: the what/who/why are always fairly straightforward- it's the how that's made the team so strange.

All of this is to say a lot of things have brought these two teams to where they are today: the Lightning- through a combination of accident (Feaster/Koules) and intention (Yzerman) were able to leave the past behind and build a new team. The Flames had a few good years after the Cup run, but not enough, and they held on to that run for far too long.