The Calgary Flames have two more games left, and they are still right there fighting for a playoff spot. Despite the playoff chase, however, there are a lot more storylines about this team too. It has been widely speculated that there is a growing rift between the coach Darryl Sutter and the players—specifically Nazem Kadri. Additionally, the Flames managed to make a massive signing in finally getting Matthew Coronato to join the team, the team’s best offensive prospect since they drafted Matthew Tkachuk.
It’s do-or-die for the Flames right now when it comes to the playoffs, and all eyes are on the Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets, and of course, the Calgary Flames. But can the same be said about Darryl Sutter? What happens to his job if the Flames don’t make the playoffs? Players aside, fans are also evidently getting frustrated with his coaching as well. Does he get fired even if the Flames make the playoffs?
And up in the press box, Matthew Coronato—who already has an NHL-ready shot—sits and watches the team fight for their lives. Does the organization try getting him into the lineup during the playoff push? If the Flames do make the playoffs, does he debut then? Or will they only play Coronato once the Flames have been eliminated from the postseason race?
There is a lot to discuss and a lot to cheer for, but what are you cheering for the most? We asked, you answered.
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Coronato, the playoffs, or Sutter being gone?
The votes were mostly cast for the Flames making the playoffs as unlikely as it may be, while Coronato getting his first NHL game and the possibility of Sutter being fired were pretty evenly voted for.
The Flames have had practically zero finishing abilities this season, and that really isn’t much of an overreaction. Outside of Tyler Toffoli, goal scoring has been a very scarce resource for this team. Coronato on the other hand, well he can provide exactly that. Again, he is the most talented offensive prospect the Flames have ever had since Matthew Tkachuk.
The kid is a stud, and it’s no secret that he would be a massive help for the Flames. Currently, the team has made it clear they are not in a rush to get Coronato onto the ice. Instead, they want him to get comfortable with the team first; however, fans are eagerly waiting to see what he can do. The question remains: will his debut come this season, in the playoffs (if they make it), or will it have to wait until next year?
Improbable playoff push
Don’t turn off your TVs just yet, the Red Mile may still be a go come playoff time. Down to two games left, and it’s still between the Flames, Predators, and Jets for the final playoff spot. Another massive game for the Flames awaits on Monday, where again, it is a must-win if they want to make the playoffs. At this point, there is no Team Tank left as an option for fans, as there are only a couple of games left. For this team, it’s either makes the playoffs, or it’s draft 16th overall. We know what the players want, we know what the fans want, and the only option is to make the playoffs.
The Flames oft-quoted, at times maligned head coach is on the hot seat just one year after winning the Jack Adams Award. Who saw this coming? I’ll say that I was a massive Sutter fan last year. This year however has been completely different. The decisions regarding ice time, the constant games he plays with the media, and the almost stubborn attitude regarding playing certain younger players.
When Sutter’s system works, it practically dominates. But when just one thing doesn’t work, every game just feels painful to watch. To keep it simple, this franchise can not afford to have Jonathan Hubderdeau and Nazem Kadri producing the way they have been this season. Whether that is because of Sutter’s system, or if it is because of just the two not getting along with the coach, something needs to change and it is not going to be Huberdeau or Kadri. It will be a very interesting storyline this offseason to see, and all eyes will be on the team to see what direction they choose.
Focus on the playoffs
Right now, this team is just focusing on one goal, making the playoffs. It’s clear the other storylines are on the side right now, and based off the votes, it looks like that’s the case among the fanbase as well. Just two more games to go, Flames fans and their playoff fate will be decided. It’s the end game now.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire