Question of the day: Will you watch the Stanley Cup playoffs this year if there isn’t a single Canadian team in the playoff race?
As of this morning – Tues., Feb. 9 – if the playoffs started today the Flames, Oilers, Canucks, Jets, Habs, Leafs and Senators would NOT be the playoffs.
It’s an event that hasn’t happened since 1970.
Tonight, the Flames take on the Leafs at the Saddledome. And it’s the Flames and the Montreal Canadiens that seem to be the biggest disappointments according to The Sun. – Sarah and Jeff
THE EXPECTATIONS: After getting to the second round of the playoffs a year ago, the Flames looked to be legitimate threats to challenge the western conference powerhouses Blackhawks and Kings, especially after the off-season additions of forward Michael Frolik and defenceman Dougie Hamilton.
WHAT WENT WRONG: With Hamilton struggling mightily, a catastrophic 3-9-1 out of the gate saw the Flames lit up for 56 goals in those first 13 outings — an average of more than four per game.
THE FORECAST: While Johnny Gaudreau is emerging as one of the top stars in the league, the recent 20-game suspension (pending appeal) of puck-moving defenceman Dennis Wideman is a key blow. Summed up coach Bob Hartley to reporters recently: “We’re in a situation where we have to shock the hockey world,”
TRADE WINDS: Will the Flames be buyers or sellers at the Feb. 29 deadline? If it’s the latter, do pending UFAs Jiri Hudler and Kris Russell get moved?