Today in FanSided’s Around the NHL in 30 Days we are spotlighting the Calgary Flames at the Flame for Thought blog. This team hasn’t really made any headlines with blockbuster trades or huge free agent signings. What they have done is quietly retooled their team this offseason by adding in some hardworking NHL talent such as Scott Hannan (former Shark), and Lee Stempniak. Calgary also made sure it has part of its core locked up for the next little while by resigning Alex Tanguay and Curtis Glencross. Usually a retooling process also includes parting ways with certain players, and Calgary also did that with longtime Flame Robyn Regehr.
The Flames made it interesting last year by storming back and coming within 3 points of the final playoff spot in the West. If Miikka Kiprusoff (former Shark) and Jerome Iginla play like they always seem to, which is with heart and soul, then don’t count the Flames out of the postseason dance just yet. Here is a sample of what the talented writers at Flame for Thought have said:
It might be a surprise to some, but I think the strength of this team will really be the defence this year, and that does include Miikka Kiprusoff. Wile Jay Bouwmeester hasn’t been dazzling since he’s arrived, he’s been solid. It’s officially the first season of Mark Giordano’s $4.2 million contract to kick in and logic says he should keep improving. Whether or not Anton Babchuk pans out is yet to be seen, but he does have the potential to contribute, especially offensively after last year’s solid campaign. Don’t forget veteran Corey Sarich then add the aforementioned Scott Hannan and you’ve got a solid corps. The competition among defensemen in camp and preseason should be phenomenal this year with Chris Butler, Brett Carson, T.J. Brodie and Clay Wilson all scrapping for a spot. Competition breeds maximum efficiency.
Let’s take a look at how the Sharks and Flames matched up last season:
4 Games: Sharks won 3 of 4 meetings
Even though the Sharks won 3 out of the 4 meetings last year with the Flames, there were a few tightly contested meetings. The Sharks twice beat Calgary 4-3, and one of those victories came in a shootout. The Sharks’ other victory over Calgary was by a 6-3 score. Calgary’s lone win against the Sharks was during their very first meeting of last season on October 24, 2010. The Flames handily beat the Sharks 4-0 in Calgary.
The Western Conference is always competitive and this year will be no different. I look forward to some tough, hard-fought games between the Sharks and Flames this season. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a soft-spot for the Flames in my hockey heart because they defeated the Sharks in the 2003-04 Western Conference Finals. Here’s hoping that the Sharks sweep the season series this year against the Flames.
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