The 2021–22 season was bliss. It’s safe to say that Flames fans didn’t realize how good things were in 2022. We got to watch the best line in hockey with Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm; Jacob Markstrom finished top-four in Vezina Trophy voting, and Darryl Sutter was still just an endearing old man.
Winning that first round series came at a costly price—one so great we’re still paying for it now.
The record book will show that the Flames’ first round opponent in the 2021–22 postseason was the Dallas Stars, but that wasn’t really the case. Their opponent was a single player, Stars goalie Jake Oettinger. He was the only thing standing in the way of a second round series against the Edmonton Oilers, and we wanted that series so badly we did whatever it took to make it happen. This, of course, included summoning all the darkness from lore and raining curses down on Oettinger from the press level (and Reddit).
Well, we were bestowed with a first round playoff victory, and promptly afterwards have suffered through some of the most painful seasons of Calgary Flames hockey imaginable.
The Calgary Flames on the ice since the curse
Since Gaudreau’s Game 7 overtime winner at the Saddledome in the first round of the 2021–22 playoffs, the Flames have fared poorly.
|Stat||Total Wins||Total Losses||Points Pace||Points %||GF||GA||Goal Diff.|
This includes the 2021–22 playoffs from Round 2 onwards, the 2022–23 regular season, 2022–23 playoffs, and the 2023–24 regular season to date.
The Flames have played 95 games since that Game 7. They’ve won a total of 41 games which ranks 23rd in the league, they’ve lost 54 games which is the eighth most in the league, and have paced for a horrendous 86 points over this span. The team to qualify for the playoffs with 86 or fewer points in a full NHL season was the 2003 New York Islanders.
On the goal scoring front, the Flames rank dead smack in the middle of the league. They’ve scored 295 goals but have allowed 300 for a -5 goal differential.
For context, Oettinger’s team has fared in pretty much the exact opposite way. 61 wins (fourth most), 46 losses (12 fewest), 188 points pace (fifth highest), 356 goals for (sixth most), 290 goals against (11th fewest), and a goal differential of +66 (fifth highest).
The Flames also lost in embarrassing fashion to the Oilers in the second round of 2021–22, failed to make the playoffs last season, and are currently in 30th place for the 2023–24 season.
The Calgary Flames off the ice since the curse
The list of tragic events off the ice is lengthy. The departures of Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, and Sean Monahan are the big ones, especially with Tkachuk carrying the Florida Panthers to the Stanley Cup final last season. In return, the Flames got Jonathan Huberdeau who looks like a shell of a shell of his former self, and Nazem Kadri who was publicly called out (allegedly) by Nikita Zadorov for being selfish and too individualistic.
Add in the debacle that was Sutter last year: making light of a Huberdeau injury when asked about it by the media, pretending to forget who Jakob Pelletier was, refusing to play Matthew Phillips, riding Markstrom despite his rough season, playing Huberdeau on his off wing for no apparent reason, plugging the lineup with grinders like Milan Lucic and Brett Ritchie, and being an overall terrible person to be around.
And then, Brad Treliving leaves, Sutter is fired, the Flames bring in Craig Conroy and Jarome Iginla, promote objectively good coach Ryan Huska, and are still just terrible. It’s tough sledding in Cowtown.
Hey Google, how do you reverse a Amharic curse?
We’ll never know if the curse actually worked, but the evidence is pretty damning. On behalf of all Flames fans, if you or someone you know participated in the Oettinger curse, I beg you to reverse it.