Monthly Record: :
Hey November doesn't look easy
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
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
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.
7-6-1, 15 points
Lucy Van Pelt is standing in
right field. Charlie Brown is on the pitchers mound.
"Hey Manager, How come I always have to play right
Charlie Brown: "Because you're such a terrible
Lucy: "I suppose you think you're such a
great pitcher, huh? And I suppose you think you're such a great
Charlie Brown to self: "This could turn
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
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?