Calgary Flames: Cause for Concern or Blessing in Disguise?

Michael van der SlootCorrespondent IDecember 22, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 03:  Head coach Brent Sutter of the Calgary Flames looks on from the bench during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Arena on December 3, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Flames 2-1.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

So, as most of you dedicated fans already know, our Flames have come upon some hard times here.  With four wins in the last 10 games, a skid like that always raises alarm in any city, for any sport, for any fan.  

Word on the Red Mile is that this year's version of the Flames are yet again another bust.  Some are predicting another post-season baby-burp this season.  Is it too early to go that far?  Call me crazy, but I think this skid might be a good thing.

I'll draw a parallel here between the worlds of football and hockey. You hear a lot of talk around this time of year in the National Football League about peaking at the right time, and the importance of losing games in order to create new ways to win.

Football season (in the NFL) is obviously shorter; it's only 16 games, as opposed to an 82-game NHL schedule.  As a Minnesota Vikings fan, I've watched Adrian Peterson & Co. stumble a little bit over the past three weeks.  To be honest, I'm glad it happened sooner to them than the Saints.

Good teams adapt in those situations and will find ways to win when their current strategy is not getting the deal done.

Over the course of a season, no matter how good a team is, it's inevitable that at some point opposing teams will figure out how to beat them.  It happened to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl two seasons ago, hampered the Pittsburgh Penguins for the bulk of last season until their coaching change, and knocked the wind out of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the post season in the spring.

So, shouldn't we as fans be glad that the Flames hit a low in December instead of late March (re: 2007)?  Quite frankly, I'm tired of terrific Decembers in the midst of shaky seasons. I'd much rather have a shaky December and a terrific season.

Don't get me wrong here.  I'm not enjoying the Flames losing.  I came home to this winter wonderland that is Calgary a few days ago, and I feel just as bad about these Flames as I do about the weather right now.  I just feel like the timing of this slide is much better than it could be.  After all, who likes blizzards when it's supposed to be warming up?

Not all hope is lost, my friends.  The Flames are a good team with a good coach, and good teams with good coaches rebound.  

PS.  If you don't share my optimism this Christmas season, look elsewhere for something to cheer for, namely Canada's 6th consecutive gold medal at the World Juniors.  But, why the green jerseys?