The Calgary Flames were supposed to be challenging for the Stanley Cup this season. But going into December, they were just a few points out of last place overall.
It’s too easy – and not very constructive – to poke fun 10 times over at the Flames folly, so we’ll provide just five excuses and five solutions to what’s ailing Calgary.
5. Coach Mike Keenan is being too nice and patient. The players just aren’t responding.
4. There’s no secondary scoring after the first two lines. Through 27 games, Marcus Nilson, Stephane Yelle, Eric Godard, David Moss, Mark Smith, Eric Nystrom, Wayne Primeau and Dustin Boyd combined for five goals in 136 games. Prorated over an entire season, that’s just 18 goals total from the third and fourth lines.
3. Offense-minded Dion Phaneuf has become lazy and irresponsible defensively at times.
2. Owen Nolan is pulling a Tony Amonte. There’s no more magic in his stick.
1. Miikka Kiprusoff is pulling a Roman Turek. He’s going into the tank after signing a big contract.
5. It’s time for old Keenan to become the Keenan of old. The players may rally around his surliness.
4. Shorten the bench and go down to three lines – two skill players and a mucker on each trio.
3. Make Phaneuf a power play specialist for a couple of games. The message will get through.
2. Encourage Nolan to be more accountable and result-oriented. Make Iginla his roommate and hope it rubs off.
1. Give free agent Curtis Joseph or Ed Belfour a call. Kiprusoff needs a push, not a prod.
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