The Flames will win quite a few games up to December because other teams take them lightly. Vancouver did it and they should’ve lost. Even without a ‘star’ hockey player on the roster, and with Stajan and Cammalleri out with injuries, the Flames still compete night in night out. In fact, the same issues that plagued the team day 1 of this season are the same problems 3 games in. That’s a good or bad scenario.

Each of the 3 games Calgary has played thus far they’ve lead in. Each time, they’ve blown leads. Part of it is the ‘talent’ problem, but most of it is just brain cramps. Brian McGrattan played himself out of Wednesday’s lineup with a boneheaded giveaway that put the Canucks up late in the third. Curtis Glencross did the same to give the Canucks even more momentum.

Eliminating the mental mistakes was something Calgary never could do in the past. A full 60 minute game was a problem night in and night out. This year we have glimpses that they’ll compete for 60 minutes, but we don’t have enough evidence to believe they can fix mistakes. But, all indications point to differences in this year’s Flames team–they’ll get it together eventually.

Calgary managed a point after being manhandled by Vancouver’s skill late in the game and in OT. Calgary dug deep and found a way to tie the game with seconds left, but it never should’ve got to that point. 5v5 this team is trying to prove they can skate, even with a largely nonamed offence.

Defence will win or lose games for this squad, and the holes on defence are evident from the obvious ? in goal to the times opposing teams own down low to their heart’s content.

The road won’t be without it’s bumps and bruises, fans know that. Fans are also happy that the games themselves are close, and they’re exciting. But excitement aside, this team requires wins–it hurts less than losses. There are glimpses overall the most foundational elements in the Flames game is changing–the culture. Throw in a couple huge pieces (that are tough to ‘throw in’) and you may have a contender….well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Notes from tonight’s game:

– Sean Monahan with another goal, his second, but he also went -3 and was caught out of position twice.
– Glencross and Mcgrattan gift wrapped giveaways in bad places to that lead to Canuck goals.
– Joey MacDonald in net, he played OK, some marginal goals, but also some very timely saves late in the third.
– Hudler with two assists.
– Joe Colborne played about 6 minutes and still seems a bit out of place.
– Kris Russell is still the poster child of the defence for some reason. he can move the puck at times but is routinely beat down low in the defensive zone. i’d like to see Derek Smith in his place for Wednesday’s game. Russell also played more minutes than Giordano.