I didn’t notice. Did you?

A new NHL season is upon us but other than diehard fans it’s hard to notice. There are, to state the obvious, bigger things to worry about. But the show must apparently go on, which is why in the middle of January, usually close to the mid-way mark of the usual NHL season, we’re starting a shortened 58 game regular season. Will it pan out the way the NHL wants to see? They have shoehorned in a playoff series in the bubble, and now a realigned league to accommodate restrictions due to the global pandemic. The attempt to have any season despite expected massive losses in revenue appears to be more important than no season at all (like the CFL had to do).

One thing seems certain, this could very well be the least watched season ever.

But for fans who are paying attention, and those who need a distraction, pandemic hockey is better than no hockey, and so we begin.

For the Calgary Flames the 2021 season comes with substantial changes. Not to the key players that failed yet again to produce during another disappointing post-season. Rather, over a third of the roster was overhauled. A whole new 4th line. 1/3 of the D. ½ of the goalie tandem.

Is this team any better? They are surely deeper, but then again, so is everyone else. Given the talent in the Canadian (North) Division, the Flames may have gotten better, but so has everyone else. Whether they can string together continuity with wins remains to be seen.

Do they have enough to take the ‘next’ step? Enough young talent on the team with another year under their belt will help in spades. Time will tell in very short order whether it’s enough for this year’s pandemic version of the Calgary Flames. One has to think, if this isn’t the team, then the next step is a massive overhaul.