Now before I get ridiculed, let me first start off by saying that I live and bleed the Calgary Flames.
I even tattooed their logo on my left arm.
And, I am not trying to be one of those writers that picks apart players, as I have never done anything special in my hockey career aside from winning a beer league tournament or two.
That being said, I have invested numerous amounts of dollars in paraphernalia, and last year after spending a little over a grand to go see a Flames game my girlfriend and I stood around with seven others to get a few things signed-we were snubbed by everyone but Adam Pardy.
So I think I should be entitled to speak my mind once and awhile.
The fact is, the Calgary Flames have become complacent with being a very good regular season team, but they have yet to take the next step and be considered a Stanley Cup threat.
Yes, they have put up a recent three game win streak, but two wins over the hard-luck Oilers is like racing a dog with no legs.
I agree, if this team could fire on all cylinders they would be a very dangerous hockey club. But for whatever reason when Jarome Iginla is going nobody else is, when he is cold Rene Bourque is hot and when no one can score Mikka Kiprusoff stands on his head.
They have become very consistent at being inconsistent.
The Flames are a team that preaches defense first and while their free agent acquisition of Jay Bouwmeester wasn't a horrible move by any means, the team still is allowing close to 30 shots a game against.
Really, on a club that has Robyn Regehr and Dion Phaneuf along with a top notch goalie in Kiprusoff should they have spent $6.68 million per on another blueliner—I mean c'mon it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the club has lacked second line scoring since the early '90s.
I would have rather seen Darryl Sutter pick up Phil Kessel seeing as how the Flames mediocre seasons have brought them nothing but an abundance of 20th overall picks in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft year-after-year.
I really believe this team is one bona fied scorer away from being a Stanley Cup contender, but that means Calgary is going to have to either tank it and get in on the Taylor Hall lottery, sign another free agent come July 1, or play let's make a deal and move one of the big three on D-Regehr, Phaneuf or Bouwmeester.
For any Flames fan each scenario may be hard to swallow, but really despite bragging rights at the water cooler in the office what is one season out of the playoffs in order to land Hall, or moving a few players and letting Jokinen walk so that you can sign a potential free agent like Patrick Marleau in the off-season.
If the Calgary Flames believe they can take that next step this year they are going to have to make a move sooner rather than later.
The one blessing in disguise might be Hockey Canada's decision to leave each of Calgary's top three defenseman off their roster for the upcoming Winter Games in Vancouver, as some much needed rest could play a factor come playoff time.
In any case, until the void up front is taken care of, it is unlikely this team will make it past the second round come May. In fact, with so many good teams in the Western Conference Calgary has their work cut out for them just to lock up a playoff spot.
With aging superstars comes a closing window of opportunity to win, and unfortunately for Darryl Sutter that means some tough decisions that will affect the Calgary Flames for years to come.