Calgary Flames Need Refueling

Jason HackettAnalyst INovember 14, 2007

Icon Sports MediaThe Flames were touted as one of the top teams in the league when training camps opened in August.

I, for one, had my doubts.

I know, I's easy to say that now, but I wasn't writing here back in August.

I was pleased with some of the offseason transactions that Sutter managed, but others were unimpressive. However, my concerns outweighed my delight.

I had three main problems:

1. Jarome Iginla signed a contract extension. What's the issue with that? Simply put, after Iginla signed for more money, less was available for support players. With Iggie at more than seven million, Kiprusoff thankfully resigned for less than what he could've received had he taken the UFA route in July.

2. Roman Hamrlik signed out east with the Canadiens. The Flames did pick up Aucoin for basically third and fourth liners from Chicago, however, the chemistry that Hamrlik and Phaneuf created was impressive and Phaneuf's potential may have been curved by Hammer's departure.

3. The Flames filled their coaching hole with Iron Mike Keenan, who is not a friendly coach when it comes to goaltenders. One bad play and he yanks them no matter what. Plus, Keenan hasn't had a good season since he won the Cup with the Rangers in 1994. Also, he did not have a pleasant coaching experience with Kristian Huselius in Florida. How would the team fair against a coach like Keenan, when they supposedly turned on a "nice" coach with Sutter behind the net?

So far this season Iginla has been Iginla. He has been knocked down, but has not turned up his intensity like in previous seasons. He is not the go-to guy yet.

In addition, the defense has been like Swiss cheese, Kipper has had his usual poor start, and Keenan hasn't been his Iron self.

The Flames are doing better on the road than at home though. The biggest factor in most of the Flames' games has been their lack of the "lucky" bounce. The new board in the Saddledome has provided some bounce, but mainly for the visiting team.

So how will the rest of the season unfold?

Kipper will make one unbelievable save and turn back into his old self, Iggy will wake up and have another amazing streak, and the defense will gel...Or maybe not.