Friday, December 19, 2008


Frigid Friday Baseball Standings

Watching how things have played out so far -- up until early yesterday evening anyway -- I think a challenging but reasonable aim Flames going forward to April is to establish themselves as the 3rd-best team in the West. Obviously this involves winning the NW, but I'd also like them to "prove" themselves better than the 2nd-best teams in the Central and Pacific.

There's a pretty good chance that over the final ~50 games of the season, one of San Jose and Detroit just won't be as good. I don't know which, or how it'll happen for that matter, but it'll probably happen. Because it almost always does: things change, and if Game 82 comes and the Sharks, Wings, and Bruins are still in a class by themselves at the top, I'd be shocked.

Yeah, I'm sure I've said this every year since the lockout, but it looks a lot like the Flames have a better chance to go on a spring run this season than next. None of their difference makers save for Phaneuf are in the still getting better phase of their careers, and the prospect cupboard is pretty bare. Finishing third (and being full value for it) means home-ice and a beatable opponent in Rd1, and a Rd2 series against either (A) a faltering Sharks/Wings per the previous paragraph, or (B) the 4-5 winner, with the Flames having home ice again. Which leaves only one series where they really need the hockey gods to be on their side to reach the SCF.

The Canucks' addition of Sundin will make this scenario that much more challenging, though, clearly. A nice run over the next couple of weeks would help a lot standings-wise, especially if combined with continued meh results for the Canucks prior to the Sundin arrival and the Luongo return.

Can the Flames be the 3rd-best team in the WC? Tonight will be a good test, with sitting-in-3rd Chicago at the 'Dome to take on Calgary (7PM MT, RSN West). And barring the further deterioration of the weather, roads, and C-Train route, I'll be there -- with my 4-1/2 year old son, at his first ever game. This means I may well be paying more attention to the snacks than the action on the ice, but that's OK. I love snacks!

It appears that longtime Flames nemesis The Bulin Wall will be in nets for the Hawks, but this actually pleases me: if the lads can manage to light him up, it has the bonus consequence of nudging Huet back closer to the starting job, which is great news for one of my fantasy teams. Make it so, please.

Calgary 5 (Langkow, Aucoin, Bourque, Cammalleri x2)
Chicago 2 (Havlat x2)

Go Flames.


5-2 seems a bit overambitious to me... but, for your son's sake, i hope the flamb├ęs are able to score AT LEAST once, so he can feel the glory of the fire spitting boxes bursting forth from the rafters...

go flames!

San Jose and Boston might take a step back, but I don't see how Detroit possibly could; if anything, they have room to improve right now. Shit, just look at Osgood's numbers. If that team got some decent goaltending (which starts with giving Conklin the #1 position, by the looks of things), they'd be in a much better position right now.

Recalling a forward from the AHL who has 7 points in 28 games seems a tad towards the family favouritism, no? Is this what you're talking about when you allude to the flames' lack of prospect depth?

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