Just when I think the Calgary Flames are falling back into their old pattern of playing barely 20 mins of hockey and losing because of two heart-wrenching periods, they surprise me and start getting better again. Being a Calgary Flames fan hasn’t been easy for a few years now but at least we knew what to expect. This season has been true rollercoaster of emotions if you have been riding the Flames train beside me.
After a less than spectacular performance in Minneapolis, the Flames put up a good fight against the St. Louis Blues even tho they lost that game too. And then they headed to Colorado and took on the Avs and fought their way back from a two-goal deficit only to lose that game as well.
As you’ve probably guessed, this is not a regular update or game recap. Instead, I’d like to take a look at some of the roster and see if we can figure out why we seem to be getting progressively better yet still losing the games and whether or not the Flames will be able to win and keep winning.
Kris Russell. In my opinion, he’s a younger version of Mark Giordano because he knows his position well and understands his role on the team. This 5’ 10” defenseman seems to be coming into his own and isn’t afraid to use his 173lbs to fight for his position on the ice.
TJ Brodie. When he’s hot, he’s really hot. He’s a smart player and nothing seems to stop him from getting things done – except for the odd error or off- night. At 182lbs, 6’ 1” and only 23 years old, he’s been getting a lot of ice time since Giordano was put on the IR. It’s common to see Brodie on the ice for 25 or 26 minutes per game.
Mikael Backlund. I don’t believe that the Flames were utilizing Backlund’s skills to their fullest potential. It seems that his ice time is finally becoming more abundant (from 8 minutes against Detroit to over 14 minutes against Colorado) and I believe this has helped the Flames to do a better job of playing three solid periods. From what I have seen, he seems to be getting consistently better with more ice time and adequate line-mates.
Sven Baertschi. This whole situation has me over-thinking and completely confused. Burke had made it clear that he questioned Baertschi’s commitment to the team and Sven had answered back the best he could by working hard on the ice ever since. Yet, the 21 year old left winger has been a healthy scratch, then he’s played, then he’s been a healthy scratch for two consecutive games. I see him as a positive presence on the ice, but with him being benched so often lately, it makes me wonder what the future may hold for this young player.
Ladislav Smid. Aquired by the Flames, along with Oliver Roy, from the Oilers in exchange for Roman Horak and Laurent Broissoit. Smid was a first round draft pick in 2004 by the Anaheim Ducks and he moved to Edmonton in 2006, where he has played 474 games and has received the honour of being in the top five in blocked shots during the 2011-2012 season. I hope that Smid will be the one to help our defensive play because as of recently our D has been one of our biggest downfalls. I wonder if he will be the answer to our defensive woes.
The Flames have a lot of potential on the team right now, but they aren’t winning the way we would expect them to. It makes me wonder if the organization is using this year to feel out their potential, by under-utilizing obvious talent, or if they’re seriously trying to become contenders. Regardless, more often than not, there has been some amazing hockey being played by the Calgary Flames that never fails to make me smile at the end of the games and say, “great effort, guys!”