Monthly Record: :
I'm doing it.
I'm picking an above .500 month
again for the Flames. I was wrong in October, way off the mark in
November, and missed the mark again in December, but I'm sticking my
neck out again in January.
A combination of Murphy's Law and
Darryl Sutter's guidance, sprinkle in some awakened star players and
the Calgary Flames should find a fairly solid record in the month of
To open the month the Flames will
conclude their five game homestand by moving their current 1-1-1
record to a marginally successful 2-1-2.
By the end of the month they will
have won more games at home in 31 days (four) than they have managed
through three previous months (three).
January won't put the Flames much
closer to a playoff spot but it should return some confidence in the
plan being followed at the Saddledome.
Jarome Iginla finished
December with a spring in his step and that will continue into
January when the winger puts up nine goals and 20 points in 14
games. ... Jamie McLennan will finally get a start when the Blue
Jackets come to town. He wins. ... Darryl Sutter welcomes Rob
Niedermayer back with open arms against Minnesota next weekend,
pulls some hair out, and then benches him against Ottawa the next
week. ... Chris Clark will score his 10th goal of the season before
the end of the month. ... No Calgary Flame will be named as an all
8-5-1, 17 points
For all intents and purposes, the
2002-2003 season has likely already been decided, if not
mathematically then certainly when examined through the microscope
Ten points in arrears of the eighth
and final playoff spot, the Flames, even by the admission of their
new coach Darryl Sutter, need to win seven of every ten games
remaining this season to have any hope of playing past mid-April.
They contest these games for a
reason, however, and the month of January, with the Flames playing
nine of 14 on home ice, provides ample opportunity to give some life
to Calgary's faint post-season hopes.
This from a team with the worst
home record in a 30 team league.
The ten losses in November were
accompanied by another six rub-outs in December, the latter
unfortunately well in line with the angry prognostications of this
writer who felt 11 points would be all the Flames would scrape out
of a hapless month. They finished with 13.
I had also called for the demise of
head coach Greg Gilbert (no stretch there), pointed out that the ten
goal prediction of defenceman Robyn Regehr would also remain
fruitless and remedied a red face by handing previously dismissed
Oleg Saprykin a roster spot.
I'm reversing course and looking a
little more optimistically at January, hopeful the honeymoon effect
of a new head coach will provide a few more brighter days for the
There is also the oddity that even
the lousiest of teams has the occasional hot spot in a season.
Mark me down for an 8-5-1 January.
The Flames will close the gap
marginally but it still won't be good enough.
SECONDARY PROGNOSTICATIONS -
Robyn Regehr gets the first of his ten goals. . . . . . Jarome
Iginla gets a hat trick this month . . . . . Martin St. Louis scores
against Calgary . . . . . Wes Walz scores against Calgary . . . .
Derek Morris and Dean McAmmond score against Calgary . . . . . Doug
Gilmour scores against Calgary . . . . . Wade Belak scores against
Calgary . . . . . Clarke Wilm scores against Calgary . . . . Todd
Simpson scores against Calgary . . . . . As you may have noted,
there's a theme here, old Flames coming back to haunt their former
team, something this franchise has been all to accommodate. . . .
.Jamie McLennan gets a single start in the month . . . . .