It seemed like only yesterday that we were talking about the Calgary Flames losing four straight. Fast-forward to today and we’re looking back on what was a sixth straight loss. This one came at the hands of the St. Louis Blues Thursday and the Flames were, to put it kindly, absolutely shelled.
Calgary was blown out 5-0 by the Blues. It was ugly.
The shutout means the Flames have spent three of their last four games not finding the net. In fact, they’ve been outscored 23-5 across the bow of this losing streak.
Calgary’s been scraping the bottom of the barrel for some time now, but Thursday put it in new context. The Flames coughed up the first goal for the eighth straight game, setting a franchise record previously held by the 1997-1998 edition of the hockey club.
That version of the Flames was helmed by Brian Sutter. The season was preceded by the trading of Gary Roberts, sending him to Carolina along with Trevor Kidd for Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Andrew Cassels. Todd Simpson was the team captain and Theo Fleury and Cory Stillman tied for the scoring lead with 27 goals.
But that version of the Flames avoided the post-season by 11 points and finished 11th in the Western Conference.
Today’s version of the Flames is just as bowling shoe ugly and they’re on their way down, if you can believe it. Calgary is embarking on yet another scoreless streak, going 64:16 since last finding the net. Prior to scoring two against Colorado on Tuesday, they’d gone about 167 minutes without a goal.
After Thursday’s hammering by the Blues, the Flames reportedly held another players only meeting. That’s their second such closed door conference in the last eight games and captain Mark Giordano stated there was a “lot of honesty.”
So, what’s next?
The Flames are on the outside looking in as far as the playoffs are concerned, comparable to the situation in Toronto. And we all know what the Maple Leafs did, sacking Mike Babcock in favour of Sheldon Keefe. The Leafs countered with a win over Arizona on Thursday.
Is Flames head coach Bill Peters headed for the same fate? There is chatter that he has “lost the room” in Calgary and that seems obvious given the on-ice presentation. But there’s also a sense of larger complacency, which could press general manager Brad Treliving to make some moves.
The Flames face Claude Giroux and the 11-7-4 Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. They’ll have a chance to turn these players meetings into something and maybe – maybe – ultimately score that first goal. Or maybe it’ll be more of the same: another trouncing at the hands of a superior team, another meeting, and another disappointment for their exhausted fanbase.
Photo credit: Jeff Curry/USA Today