You’ll find them downstairs, somewhere, in the dark, in the damp. Covered in mildew, shrouded by cobwebs, hidden among the black beetles. No stellar. All cellar. As one particularly perceptive fellow muttered into stony silence during one of those languid Scotiabank Saddledome elevator rides down from press-box to event level during a particularly rough patch last season: “Does this go all the way to Hell?” (Granted, the timing’s a little late, but it nonetheless captures the macabre black humour of the here and now, too, you must admit). Well, the answer to that plaintive question at the moment is, of course: Directly. No stop at the mezzanine level. Hell to hockey cartographers being pinpointed anywhere south of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Last year at roughly this time the Calgary Flames were two points adrift of a playoff spot with 24 games left to be fought over. And failed in the attempt. Now, slinking home after an 0-3 California catastrophe during which they were manhandled by a collective score of 13-3, they find themselves six out with seven teams to scramble overtop of. Yes. Well. All the luck in the world with that. The whole thing is quickly being reduced to farce, unravelling like a ball of yarn around a playful kitten. An iconic captain’s immediate fate is once again being bandied about three weeks before a trade deadline. But what, pray tell, would a diminished, 35-year-old Jarome Iginla with a Rent Me! sign taped between the 1 and 2 on the broad back of that famous Flaming C jersey fetch from a contender? A second-rounder? Maybe? Drop-off in performance aside for a moment, he remains the leading point-producer on this team. Such creatures are, whatever their age or career trajectory, difficult to replace.
Soft, small, aging Flames stuck with familiar calamity as stretch drive approaches
Calgary Herald | Mar 13