The Calgary Flames’ stated goal is quite simple: do something the organization has done just once in the last quarter century by finishing with over 100 points. Given the team’s second-half surge, its off-season acquisitions, it’s youthful core and its unparalleled blue line, reaching Glen Gulutzan’s coveted century mark shouldn’t be that tall a task. After all, nine teams managed to do it last year. However, when you realize the organization’s only such season in the last 25 years was a 104-point effort by Miikka Kiprusoff’s 2005-06 edition, it’s clear the Flames aren’t just trying to make the playoffs – they’re taking aim at some franchise history of sorts. "This organization is really on the upswing and expectations should be higher than the past," said Gulutzan, who said last month his team would be aiming to break 100. "It’s based on reality if you asked me. We expect to be a playoff team. We were one last year and it wasn’t a fluke. Last year we went from 77 to 94 points. You’re not going to go up 17 again. Can we go up six? I think it’s realistic. I think these expectations, contrary to years past, are real." In the last few years management has worked hard at trying to manage expectations as the city got jacked about a young team that shocked the hockey world with a playoff berth and first-round upset three years back. It gave the club a swagger it probably didn’t earn, resulting in missed playoffs two years ago and a four-game exit against Anaheim in the first round last year. That sweep, and a couple key additions in the off-season, should fuel a much better start this season for a team no longer worried about outside noise.
Motivated Flames not shying away from heightened expectations
Sportsnet | Sep 15