After watching the Calgary Maple Leafs...er, I mean the Calgary Flames take on the Minnesota Wild last night, I finally have come to grips with the realization that the Flames are not going to make the playoffs.
They came up short in a must-win game, even after the Vancouver Canucks had done Calgary a favour and beat the Detroit Red Wings (who led the Flames by one point for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference).
The Flames controlled the game and had numerous chances to score, but still fell 4-0 to the Wild.
It is a new team, with the same results. Simply put, they have a harder time scoring than a Biggest Loser contestant at the Playboy Mansion.
Despite Darryl Sutters efforts to improve this club, it has become quite obvious that they don't have enough skill, and he probably should have focused on re-signing Mike Cammalleri last year.
Not to say he would have been the saviour, but he is a pure goal scorer, which is something that is tough to find in the NHL these days.
Since the teams Stanley Cup run in 2004, Sutter has consistently tried to improve his club considerably, but for whatever reason has failed.
It is as if coming to Calgary is the National Hockey Leagues version of the Bermuda Triangle, and players just lose their touch around the net.
And it is looking like the players that Sutter has brought in from Toronto are still stuck in their losing Leaf ways, which may be harder to shake than a Smash Mouth song that gets stuck in your head.
The eerie thing is I wrote an article about the Calgary Flames being the Leafs of the West a year ago (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/164064-calgary-flames-the-leafs-of-the-west), I didn't think it would be even more apparent a year later.
Change is coming in Calgary. That is a given.
It is hard to put the blame solely on Darryl Sutter, but aside from moving Jarome Iginla, there isn't much more this organization can do. This team is now most likely in a rebuild stage, with no first-round draft picks this season due to the Olli Jokinen trade with Phoenix last year.
It is simply put, an ugly mess.
There are some building blocks in place. It isn't all bad. But this team needs a couple top three picks in the NHL Entry Draft to really give them a boost. Something that can't come earlier than next year, unless Sutter makes a deal after the season is over to acquire one. Which may be a smart move as it is turning out to be one of the deepest drafts in recent history.
Either way, our years of being competitive seem to be over for the time being, something that may be what this organization needs as it is time to take a step back to move forward.
It's just too bad they didn't realize that earlier, so that they could have taken a run at Taylor Hall, instead of a bottom 10 finish with no picks.
Yes, it truly is a hard knock life for a fan of the Calgary Flames right now. But if they can rebound like Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Washington have after years of mediocre play, than it will all be worth it in the next few years.
Let's face it. If the club hadn't of played so well over the years we could have selected Alexander Ovechkin in 2004 instead of Chris Chucko, or Sidney Crosby in 2005 instead of Matt Pelech.
Losing may just be the best thing for this team, and what better way to do it than bring in some Leafs. And all this time we thought Darryl Sutter didn't know what he was doing.
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