Cleat Geeks

Calgary Flames: A Year To Remember

Bob Hartley’s Calgary Flames far exceeded everyone’s expectations, and regardless of their own sentiment in public view, you can also conclude that they even exceeded their own. What’s more, this was a team that made you want to cheer for them. Unlike the Colorado Avalanche that came out of nowhere last year to win the Central, the Flames of this year were a team on paper that didn’t look as though they would do much.

The Flames however did quite a lot, ending their regular season at 45-30-7 (97 points). Calgary also did an outstanding job at finishing late in games, as they tied for first in OT (overtime) wins with 9. The Flames also blocked 1,557 shots during the regular season. Not only were they 1st place in the NHL for this statistic for this years’ season, but this specific stat was the highest single-season total since the NHL began recording it. The Flames didn’t stop at the regular season (a good amount of experts picked them to get knocked out of the 1st round by Vancouver), but continued on forward in the Playoffs while again quieting detractors.

Making it to the 2nd round of the Playoffs is no small feat to be ignored, especially in the West. This is a young team with a very bright future, though unlike last year where the only way was up; there’s now expectations for the Flames. Their perseverance is second to none, their drive respectable, and their heart is something team’s like the projected deep Playoff St. Louis Blues and Pittsburg Penguins could only dream about.JonasHiller

Next year will be a new one, and rest assured that the Jack Adams Award finalist (Awarded to the coach that “contributed the most to his team’s success”) in Hartley, will continue to build upon a team that the rest of the league will now have their eyes on. It’s amazing what one season can do for a team. For the Flames, it seems much more likely that they continue their stride instead of pulling the route of the Colorado Avalanche and falling out of Playoff contention the very next year. The Flames are set up in a fantastic situation; they’ll have their Captain back to full health and Calgary’s only real question is whether or not goaltender Jonas Hiller will be back, or if he’ll be released to make room for Brad Thiessen, who is all but ready to play in the NHL.

If these are the only main issues for a young franchise who definitely has the cash flow (on their side) to bolster their roster, there really isn’t any other angle other than further improving. This, especially when the Flames have most of their roster still fighting for long term deals, while trying to prove themselves. When there’s competition, there’s a thirst to play at one’s best, and that’s what the Flames currently have. This will allow Hartley and GM Brad Treliving plenty of room to work with. This is one of the best models to have. The window for the Flames to continue pushing their status upward is lengthy. Next year will be a testament to this team. Is Calgary the real deal, or was this years’ team a one hit wonder? Until they prove next year otherwise, I’ll put my confidence more in what the Flames have done on the ice, rather than the consensus exhorted by the experts.

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