A couple years ago I apparently signed up for something through the Calgary Flames’ official website because they clearly have my email address on file. Occasionally I’ll get emails about special tickets being put on sale just for people like me a few hours before game day.
I don’t mark them as spam, I don’t look for a link to unsubscribe myself from this list. I sit there and I say, “Oh look another email from the Flames about tickets what a nice organization they sure do care about me even if I’m probably their only sworn American fan within 1,500 miles of the Atlantic Ocean. ” Not that I read these emails beyond the subject line. Again, I’m about 2,200 miles from the Saddledome. These on-sales literally couldn’t matter less to me.
But I guess my point is that I’m a hell of a goddamn Flames fan. I’m such a good fan that I will let them try to sell me crap I don’t want just out of my desire to support them in any way possible.
So fanatical for this team am I that I have, in the past three weeks, watched every single one of their uniformly hideous games.
I should tell you now that I saw this whole Sharks debacle coming. I mean, obviously not like 9-1 or anything like that. Four-goal game. Something along those lines. But what kind of a moron wouldn’t see this rolling down the highway from a mile outside of town.
The Flames have been an horrendously unwatchable team for the better part of two weeks. Let’s have a look at the game log, shall we? A 4-1 loss to Minnesota. Okay sure! A 3-2 loss to Columbus. What a bonanza! A 3-2 shootout win over Vancouver. Yippee! A 3-2 shootout loss to Colorado. Of course! A 3-1 loss to the Penguins. Why not! A 1-0 loss to Nashville. Hadn’t been shutout in a while!
Add that up. That’s 11 goals for in seven frigging games. Terrible. Just awful. But then last night they popped in four. Granted it was against Anaheim. And they still lost. But that was because Brent Sutter, ever the chessmaster, opted to start Curtis McElhinney against the relatively weak Ducks given the high probability that Miikka Kiprusoff would see a lot of rubber tonight.
Brilliant move. By more or less demurring with regard to competing for two points last night by starting Curtis McElhinney, who is only an NHL-level goaltender by virtue of his position within the organization and not through any merit he’s earned himself, Sutter pushed in every single chip he had that the Sharks wouldn’t do to the Flames what Zed did to Marsellus Wallace.
He was wrong, of course. His gambit cost the Flames four points rather than two and a whole hell of a goddamn lot of dignity. Calgary conceded 13 goals on 72 shots in the last two nights and that’s because Brent Sutter is a moron. Anyone on the planet could see the Flames, with 15 goals scored in their last eight games, were going to get their skulls kicked in by the Sharks tonight. Any moron knows that you concede the Sharks game as a foregone conclusion because it just is, and try to get things moving in your direction against a more beatable team in Anaheim.
Say I’m Brent Sutter, and I’m obviously not because I have a functioning brain, and I look at the schedule and go, “Oh jeez two road games in two days which one are we almost certainly going to lose? Oh right it’s the one against the second-best team in the National Hockey League in their home building where they’ve lost like four games all season, and not the one against the team that’s in 13th in the West. Okay let’s try to win the more winnable one and gamble with the less winnable one.” I mean Jesus tapdancing Christ, children could figure this out. And not even especially bright ones.
Nine to one. Nine to one. Nine to one! Just saying it is ridiculous. The absurdity of the stats is almost breathtaking in its vulgarity. How in the hell did Curtis Glencross finish minus-5 with under 14:09 of ice time? Did he take his skates off and actually run around barefoot on the ice? It seems as though play like this would be physically impossible from a player that’s good enough to play in the National Hockey League.
And yet here we are. Nine to one. Christ. I don’t even know how to respond to that emotionally. Like I guess I should be mad, but the enormity of this catastrophe is too much to take in. It’s like those things in the mall: A map of the stores with an arrow saying “you are here.” Only instead of the mall, the map is of the entire galaxy. And the arrow is to scale. You just can’t process the information. It screws your mind up in ways that make any reaction, apart from dumbfounded blinking and bleeding out of your ears, quite impossible.
I think the funniest part, and the reason hockey will always be the best sport created by Man, is that the Flames did get one goal. From Robyn Regehr. It was his first goal in 142 games.
Anyway, my being on that Flames email list also gets me “postgame reports.” I opened tonight’s with great relish, hoping it was a personalized message saying, “Hey Ryan, sorry about that. Give us your address so we can mail you $50. No hard feelings!”
Ottawa 5, Boston 1
Only losing by four. What a luxury.
New York Islanders 4, New Jersey 0
Rick DiPietro got a shutout today, while five goalies that have been named to Olympic teams got the hook. Someone somewhere is having a hell of a goddamn laugh over today.
Tampa Bay 3, Carolina 2
I find it impossible to care about this game.
Columbus 4, St. Louis 2
Carlo Colaiacovo and Mike Weaver both finished this game a minus-2. How terrible for them.
Buffalo 7, Phoenix 2
Despite this score, and his giving up three goals on 13 shots, I would trade anyone on the Flames for Ilya Bryzgalov right now.
Toronto 4, Nashville 3
The Predators gave up four goals to the Maple Leafs after they shut out the Flames. You can’t see it but typing that made me shake my head in disgust in real life.
Dallas 4, Minnesota 3
I was mad enough to punch someone at a bar tonight because several people wanted to watch the Celtics game instead of this thrilling matchup between two non-local teams, neither of which is going to make the playoffs. I have a problem.
Colorado 6, Edmonton 0
At least there’s this for me.