It’s early October which means regular-season hockey is upon us. Coming out of camp Calgary had fewer decisions to make due to injury and waivers. The only question mark sat in the crease with the team carrying three goaltenders. Despite having the worst numbers in the pre-season, Kari Ramo was tapped as the starter for the season opener. He carried the Flames through their playoff run including the series victory over the Vancouver Canucks.
Vancouver’s season ended in the Saddledome last April, at least on paper the team is arguably not as good and not as young. But the aging superstars and some unknown rookies stepped up for the Canucks. The Sedin’s controlled the game and generated what seemed to be more chances than the entire Flames team who had no answer to the mid-season form.
Despite carrying the play early, every aspect of the Flames game without them by Vancouver. The product Calgary put on the ice was essentially the kind of Flames team that struggled in their December run last year. All of the same problems were rearing their ugly head. The same problems in goal were evident. The same problems in the face-off dot remain. The same comes in possession. The same problems a lot of scoring chances. The same Deryk Engelland getting school and out of position to cause goals against. The same Bob Hartley trying to figure out line combinations all game long. The same absentee Mikael Backlund. The same attempt at Lance Bouma at second line LW.
All the excitement leading up to this game and you would’ve thought the hometown team what to put on a better show, but they didn’t.
It’s far too early to make any in death and assessment of the team at this point. Drove the entire 2014-2015 season every time the Flames lost people are ready to throw him under the bus. What time in and time again they came back and surprise everyone. Only difference this year is that there are no surprises, only expectations, and at this point they aren’t meeting them.
Assuming Coach Hartely is using the same seven game series mindset this is not needed last, the team is already behind 0-1.
Luckily you get a chance of redemption as they playback about 30 minutes arrivals. Saturday they will face the Canucks in Vancouver for redemption. Let’s hope they figure out how to generate some more scoring chances, and we can expect a goaltender change to further complicate the crease (will it be Hiller or Ortio?) If there’s any blemish leading up to this season from management, it would be here.