by Marc Ciampa
January 9th, 2002


When the Calgary Flames (14-18-6-3; 5th Northwest Division) look across the ice at their opponents tonight, they could be staring their future right in the face. Imminent bankruptcy and mounting debts has put the league-leading Ottawa Senators' (25-10-5-1; 1st Northeast Division) future in doubt despite having one of the best young teams in the league has seen since the 1995 Nordiques headed west.

The Flames have been on a roll lately with a 4-0-1 record under Darryl Sutter and 5-1-1 overall in their last seven games but still have a long way to go before they're back in the playoff race. A win tonight would help them move within two points of 9th in the conference, but they would then still be seven points back of the eight-place Colorado Avalanche.

All-time Calgary is 7-7-4-0 versus Ottawa, with a 5-3-1-0 record in the Saddledome. They haven't defeated the Senators since a 2-1 victory on December 18, 1999.


    • Keep on a roll. A 4-0-1 record with Darryl Sutter since his hiring has seen the team with a lot more jump lately. They were lucky to leave Colorado with 2 points on Tuesday, however. We’ve all heard the old adage that winning streaks end and losing streaks begin with winning games you should have lost.
    • Roman Turek. He’s become more than the team’s number one goaltender of late. He’s become they’re only goaltender.
    • Iginla, Drury, Gelinas, Conroy… These four players need to be on the board for the team to be successful. Lately they have been and it’s no coincidence that the Flames have been moving up the Western Conference standings recently.


Mike Fisher picked up where he left off after returning from a knee injury last night in Vancouver. Despite Ottawa's loss, Fisher scored two goals and was +3 on the night. The 22-year-old centre is having a strong season, with 21 points in 37 games. He is three points off his career best mark… Peter Schaefer is having a disappointing season with the Sens. At the midway point of the season he has only four goals. In each of his previous two NHL campaigns, Schaefer scored 16 goals… Sens defencemen Wade Redden (5g, 19a, 24pts) and Zdeno Chara (3g, 18a, 21pts) have more points combined than all of Calgary's blueliners put together. In fact, Ottawa has five defencemen with more points than Flames leading defence scorer Toni Lydman… After 41 games, the Flames have 37 points. In comparison to previous seasons: 2001-02 (46 points), 2000-01 (40), 1999-2000 (40), 1998-99 (29), 1997-98 (30), 1996-97 (33), 1995-96 (31), 1988-89 (60). Amazingly, 1995-96 was a playoff year despite having 6 fewer points than they do right now. Even more amazingly, the 1988-89 total of 60 points, which would have them perched atop this season's standings, doesn't include a point for overtime losses… In 22 seasons in Calgary the Flames have been below .500 at the halfway mark eleven times.


Calgary: Mathias Johansson (concussion) could return to the lineup tonight. Steve Begin (concussion) is still likely a few days away. 

Ottawa: Sidelined due to injury is Curtis Leschyshyn (shoulder), Jody Hull (Back spasms), and Martin Prusek (Groin).


Calgary: Rob Niedermayer had a strong start to his tenure as a Flame under Darryl Sutter Tuesday. If he can continue to be productive the team just might have another offensive weapon in its arsenal. Stephane Yelle is fast becoming a favourite of Coach Sutter. Likely tonight he will play in all key offensive and defensive situations once again.

Ottawa: With goaltender Martin Prusek on the shelf, Patrick Lalime will likely start again tonight despite allowing 6 goals on 25 shots last night. His record in the second game of back-to-back nights is 1-1-2 this season… With 27 goals in 40 games so far, Marian Hossa has arrived as a bona fide superstar in the NHL. His previous career high is 32 which he will certainly eclipse by the end of the month.


 "It would be very cheap (to live with his family if he was traded to Ottawa). I would have to pay Canadian taxes, though. Fifty percent of nothing is still nothing."—Rangers forward Matthew Barnaby after a reporter brought up the possibility of him playing for the bankrupt Senators.

"We thought we might get some of them, but we probably got more odd-man rushes in this game than in any other game this year. I don't know if it just squirted by, or if it was our guys on the boards making the second effort, but it turned out great for us."Flames captain Craig Conroy on their last game, versus Colorado.




The Flames and Sens don't meet again this season.

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