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Adding Fuel To The Fire: Calgary Flames Showing Their True Colours?

Steve McSween@dansallowsSenior Analyst IDecember 17, 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 Jobing.com 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

I have to be honest, being a Calgary Flames fan over the past few years has made me terribly pessimistic.

The 2003-04 season, which saw Calgary push its way to the finals, brought with it hope and optimism after being a franchise that hadn't made the playoffs in seven years.

But with that came great expectations that maybe no team could match, unless of course you are the Detroit Red Wings.

In the last four years the team has, for the most, part sputtered into the playoffs like Archie's jalopy and was subsequently eliminated in the first round each time.

It has been what, as a fan, I have come to expect.

This year it looked as though the Flames were going to prove me wrong, getting off to one of their best starts in franchise history, but over the last week the club has gone 1-3-1 in their last five games and have reverted back to their former selves.

And it couldn't have happened at a worse time as all the teams in the Northwest Division have been getting their games going, which means they are nipping at the Flames' heels worse than a Christmas song about Jack Frost.

Unless this team can reignite their fire, it may be on the outside looking in come the New Year with regards to a playoff spot in the West.

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Going into tonight's game against the first place Los Angeles Kings, the Flames are just four points away from the ninth best teams in the Conference, which are the always-dangerous Dallas Stars and the Vancouver Canucks, who have been streaking like Will Ferrell in Old School of late.

It is a significant time in the schedule for the Calgary Flames to keep getting points, as it is hard to believe that if Miikka Kiprusoff is deemed the Finnish keeper for the 2010 Winter Olympics that he will be able to keep playing any better than he has with limited rest.

And while Calgary has shown a well-rounded attack with players like Nigel Dawes, Rene Bourque, and Curtis Glencross stepping up this season, it may just be a matter of time before the wheels fall off.

Let's face it, they could use another game-breaking goal-scorer, which are harder to come by now-a-days than a Zhu Zhu Pet.

Just in case your wondering, Mike Cammalleri has 18 goals thus far in Montreal, which is one more than Iginla and eight more than the nearest Flame scorer, but hey what do I know, I'm pulling a Ferris Bueller on work in order to blog on B/R.

Keep in mind, three of the teams' top four scorers are all over the age of 31, and after that there are more holes than Tiger Woods golfing Pebble Beach with all of his mistresses caddying.

In the Western Conference it is difficult picking any of the teams to miss the playoffs, especially with the unforeseen play of Colorado, Phoenix, and the Flames' opponent tonight the L.A. Kings.

So what makes Calgary so special that they can lock down a spot?

This all may just be my ugly pessimistic side rearing it's ugly head, which as I said has been caused by repeat disappointment over the past few seasons.

Or it may just be that this edition of the Calgary Flames are indeed showing their true colours, in which case they may have already exceeded all expectations.

As a fan, I hope that is not indeed the case.

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