January 1st, 2003



January Preview Feature

by Calgarypuck.com Staff


Good morning and welcome to 2003!


As you turn the page on your calendar you will find yet another 31 day schedule chalk full of Flames games as the local chapter tries to rewrite the nasty history that was November, and get back into things.


Up hill climb? Yes.


A likely futile quest? Most likely.


But hey ... they're playing 'em so were predicting 'em.


Looking back at the month of December we notice the Flames were a meager 5-6-3-0 for 13 points - two below Mac Ciampa's pick of 15, one below D'Arcy McGrath's picks of 14, and two above Scrooge Charlton's pick of 11.


So? What's next?


D'Arcy McGrath

Monthly Record: : 6-5-3-0, 15 points

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 January.

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 star.

Rick Charlton

Monthly Record: 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 of reasonableness.

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 local boys.

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 . . . . .

Calendar (small)

Calendar (large)




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