It is hard to believe that the Calgary Flames are playing their 30th. season. That is the same age as me. I have been a die hard fan since I was old enough to say hockey stick.
I usually like to look at posting boards after games on various websites to see what other teams fans have to say about the Flames performance. I usually find the comments quite immature and posted from fans who wish their team had as good as a record (ie:Canucks and Oilers fans).
This year I have been very surprised to see that most of the negative comments that have been posted have been from the Calgary Flames own fans. During one of the best starts to a season in a very long time I am often confronted with bitter Flames fans posting about inconsistency, lack of heart and that they believe that it is time for a changing of the guard in Calgary.
I can understand the frustration of the Calgary Flames faithful, but I would like to point out that these posts are following the precedence of fans of teams like the Canucks and Leafs who have for years been letting their teams down.
I would like to break down each of the posts by Calgary Flames fans and their validity so far into this season.
Sure the Flames have had ups and downs to their seasons since their impropable run to the cup in 2004. They have also been the most consistent team in the Western Conference by being the only team to make the playoffs for the past five seasons. Last season the team was actually quite consistent until injuries became prevalent near the end of the season.
Lack of Heart
I would first of all like to point out that at the beginning of the season players such as Iginla, Jokinen, and Kiprusoff were off to their usual slow starts. Second, third and fourth line contributions all helped the Flames through a scorching hot October in which they were amongst the league leaders in goals for. These contributions from names like Glencross, Nystrom and Dawes helped set up a November where the Flames star players have come alive and backstopped the team to some road consistency. Plenty of the posts on heart come from the lopsided loss to a Chicago team who has had the Flames number for the past two seasons; however the Flames were suffering a similar fate from the San Jose Sharks until a Sharks win 6-1 last November sparked the Flames to be the best team in the NHL for the next two months. Iginla played a secondary role to a sparkplug in Mike Cammialerri last season and this season has had to find his scoring touch again to ignite a fire under this team. He is playing in true Hart candidate form.
Changing of the Guard
This team went seven seasons without making the playoffs before making the playoffs for the past five years. Iginla, Kiprusoff, Regehr, and Phaneuf are the real deal. Iron Mike Keenan was not the right fit for Kiprusoff who was scrutinized for his falling numbers the past four seasons. Kiprusoff seems to be playing like the Kipper of old under Brent Sutter who is allowing him to play his game. Brent Sutter is bringing out the best in both Phaneuf and Regehr who are both having bounce back seasons. Iginla is a Calgary trademark, moving him would spell another long playoff drought for this Flames team. Rene Bourque may be seen as the future of this team; however he needs to stay healthy and work on his playmaking skills before any changing of the guard were to occur.
Every team has their kinks and every fan wants to be GM for a day. To all those Flames fans who have issues with the play of the Flames let me offer just a little bit of advice. When your team has a horrible record, when the best players are not being the best players, and when the coaching staff seems to not be doing their job, post all the negative comments you want. Until then just be patient and act patient and just do what Flames fans do best, BELIEVE.