This is Daniel Bouchard as an Atlanta Flame. Cliff Fletcher was the architect of the Flame expansion and did a splendid job for the people of Atlanta. Like the Kansas City Royals in baseball, Fletcher’s goal was to select “NHL ready” young players (like Bouchard) and hope enough of them developed into people who could make a difference.
The Flames are in danger of missing the playoffs. Incredible. The club that made the bold move to acquired and sign Jay Bouwmeester, the team that pilfered Aspertame Lou out of a head coach, the team that managed to put together a pretty solid group of support forwards behind the bus driver that is Jarome Iginla.
I haven’t followed the Flames enough to know what the problem is, but would guess that Conroy’s too old to help Iginla and the Jokinen isn’t really a match. A trade should/could be in the offing but trades don’t happen in the Nothing Happening League anymore so every town waits for their blue moon to turn to gold again.
I don’t hate the Flames, if they won the Stanley it might be enough (along with the humiliation that is this season) to force real change in the land of Sleepy Hollow (Steve Tambellini’s office). Sure the Flames have evildoers (Plebian Phaneuf and the monster Regehr) but this is a tough season to build up a real lather about any team that isn’t the Edmonton Oilers.
Speaking of the town team, I’ve been noticing Sam Gagner missing a few practices and such with what is being described as a knee issue. This would be a major concern moving forward, the kid is 20-years old and it isn’t like OTC is going to be line matching in the Saddledome tonight. Should the kid be caught in the Regehr trolley-tracks this evening, this season could (incredibly) get more depressing. If the kid is injured, he shouldn’t play. The season is lost and risking the future is beyond stupid.