November 2nd, 2002

November Preview Feature

by Staff


With the Flames set to kick off their second month of the season tonight against the Colorado Avalanche it's time to make predictions for November and look back at each writer's success ratio in October.


The month showed the good and the bad that is the Calgary Flames. Some impressive moments, some not so impressive moments, but overall a decent record with ten points in ten games.


Three of the four writers had the Flames at 12 points in October, two points towards the optimistic side as it turned out. Rick Charlton was the closest at 11 points.


Charlton hit four games dead on the nose (Vancouver opening night loss, a win in Chicago, a loss in Detroit, and a win against Buffalo).


D'Arcy McGrath was good on also good on four outcomes (Chicago, Detroit, Minnesota overtime loss, and Buffalo win).


Marc Ciampa can pat himself on the back four times as well (Chicago, Detroit, Dallas tie, and Buffalo).


And finally Aaron McCracken coinidentally enough also had four outcomes perfect (Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia loss, Buffalo).


The real question? What will November bring?

D'Arcy McGrath

Monthly Record: : 6-4-4-0, 16 points

Hey November doesn't look easy either!

The Calgary Flames had a tough schedule to open the season, but managed to find ten points in their ten games ... a good start compared to most recent seasons.

This month looks to be shaping up as much of the same, with one major twist ... only one back to back engagement, or a sure loss in Flame vernacular.

The make or break will likely be found in a five game road trip and a five game homestand. A .500 trip on the East coast coupled with a dominant performance on home ice and the Flames are quite literally set.

A brutal trip and a rough ride at home and the Flames are likely out of the playoffs and looking up, a view they know all too well.

There is however, plenty to be enthused about.

When the Flames acquired Chris Drury from the Avalanche they felt they were adding offensive depth to their top six forwards. What they got however, is a legitimate threat to Jarome Iginla and his attempt to lead the team in points for a fourth straight season.

Getting Stephane Yelle in the deal was very much a free lunch.

Through October the club found points in all but three games ... a fact that could pay dividends down the road.

Toni Lydman and Robyn Regehr had career path changing months, taking a lot of the burden off the club in their adjustment period without Derek Morris.

Is this team ready to take that next step? This writer feels comfortable saying ... yes.


Look for Jarome Iginla to find his stride back on a line with speedsters Craig Conroy and Martin Gelinas ... he'll surpass Chris Drury for the club lead in points by the end of the months. ... Marc Savard will no longer be in Flame colours. ... Jordan Leopold will find his way to Saint John for the remainder of the calendar year, but be back shortly after Christmas. ... Jamie McLennan will get the start on Long Island to start the trip, and win. .... The Flames powerplay will continue to stuggle, but the penalty killing group will make a huge movement up the ranks.

Rick Charlton

Monthly Record: 7-6-1, 15 points

Lucy Van Pelt is standing in right field. Charlie Brown is on the pitchers mound.

Lucy yells: "Hey Manager, How come I always have to play right field."

Charlie Brown: "Because you're such a terrible player!!"

Lucy: "I suppose you think you're such a great pitcher, huh? And I suppose you think you're such a great manager?"

Charlie Brown to self: "This could turn ugly."

Our boldest prediction of the month is that the eleven month old and very ugly Marc Savard saga will finally end with much fanfare, much to the relief of Savard himself, his teammates, Calgary head coach Greg Gilbert and dare we say it, the one million other Calgarians who aren't newspaper reporters.

The return for Savard is unknown at the moment but it may be wishful thinking to presume he's worth much right now, the rest of the league knowing the distraction this is becoming and the pressure now mounting on GM Craig Button to get something done.

In other words, everyone will be wanting to throw Button an anchor and unfortunately, the state of affairs might be grim enough that he'll have to try to catch one.

If anyone wants Savard at all. So I'll continue with an examination of November on the presumption that nothing in the way of extra help is actually going to arrive, that Savard's trade value is low or that, even if he's not traded, his effectiveness with the little ice time he might get is approximately the same.

The early part of the schedule hasn't been an easy one for the Flames, with the next two games completing a 13 tilt start that had them playing only one team, Buffalo, that may have been considered a cakewalk.

But November is hardly a roll-over as well. There's a five game sojourn to the East coast with tougher dates against Detroit, St. Louis and Washington as well as the surprising Boston Bruins. Calgary starts the month with six games in 10 nights, five of them on the road and ends November with a three game in four nights stretch against Boston, Washington and St. Louis.

No, it doesn't get easier so we'll colour the Flames at 7-6-1 in November, the balance tilted by two wins over the $75 million New York Rangers.

OTHER FEARLESS FORECASTS - Robyn Regehr has some catching up to do if he wants to hit his 10 goal prediction but the Flames will take the new and improved Regehr they've seen so far anyway. . . . . . Rob Niedermayer will outlast Marc Savard in a Calgary uniform but how does he make it through November without scoring with Chris Drury as his centre? . . . . . . . Flames acquire a veteran defenceman by the end of the month (a Savardian return) and Jordan Leopold has his ice time reduced to a level commensurate with his experience . . . . . . The magic returns for Craig Conroy and Jarome Iginla after a slow October . . . . . . . Chuck Kobasew picks up his game again towards the second half of the month. . . . . . . Martin Gelinas continues a pace towards 30 goals. . . . . . . The return of Dave Elston to the pages of a Calgary newspaper - the Herald - is the highlight of the month. Now if only Calgary could return the Stanley Cup as well so my season tickets rights were worth $10,000 again. Is that asking too much?

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