The Flames, right about now, should be ashamed of themselves.
And, indeed, my sources tell me they are.
My sources tell me those who call shots for the Flames are planning significant changes.
For starters, Jim Playfair will be dismissed in the not-too-distant future as the Flames’ coach, according to the sources.
They say he’ll be replaced by Darryl Sutter, who’ll continue on as the general manager but also will resurface as bench boss, where he probably belongs.
The Flames need to make some roster changes, too. A bunch of them. They’ll be in the market for players with genuine hockey skills, players who aren’t preoccupied with goonery, and, perhaps most significantly, players who aren’t going to get freaked out just because they’re on the road and away from the Saddledome.
I mean, what is it with these guys? Why are they so darned awful on the road and so darned efficient at home?
There never should be such a disparity in a team’s performances. For the most part, the Flames embarrassed themselves against the Detroit Red Wings in the opening round of the playoffs this season.
They turned in a couple of decent games at the Saddledome, as usual, but they were mostly woeful in falling 4-2 to the Wings in the best-of-seven series.
And they were outshot in mind-boggling fashion. Detroit fired 255 shots on net during this series. The Flames, a mere 129. The difference of 126 shots on goal was — get this — the largest by opposing teams in any NHL playoff series during the expansion era.
Imagine what would have happened if the Flames didn’t have a goaltender as formidable as Miikka Kiprusoff.
Their backup goalie, Jamie McLennan, certainly did nothing to distinguish himself, eh?
On Saturday in Detroit, during the emergence of unnecessary and pointless ugliness late in the game, McLennan hacked the Wings’ Johan Franzen with a two-hander, and was promptly suspended for five games, and he probably should have banned for at least 10. Playfair was fined $25,000, the Flames were fined $100,000 and captain Jarome Iginla was criticized by Detroit goaltender Dominik Hasek for participating in the lunacy, which included not only McLennan’s stickwork, but sucker punches as well.
“If I watched the game on TV,” Hasek said, “I would be very disappointed as a fan.”
Granted, Hasek’s no saint, but even NBC’s Doc Emrick said: “The trouble is, people are going to see this and think that’s hockey.”
Yep, it’s understandable that the Flames are ashamed of themselves. Now let’s see them do something about it.