It’s a good thing the Flames got Mike Keenan to improve on the first round playoff exit from last year, wasn’t it?
I don’t think I’m separated enough from the loss to get into real analysis, but to pin it all on my favorite whipping boy isn’t fair or accurate. Though he made some head scratchers this series (his quick pull of Kipper in Game 3, a great move, was nullified by his completely inexplicable goalie change in Game 7), it’s not all on him.
Seems to me like the Flames as a team regressed this year. Though they were slightly better in the standings, and performed better in their round 1 exit this year, the team got older and slower, two qualities that will hurt them in coming years, especially in the ‘new NHL’.
I wrote a while back about Keenan possibly bringing improvement this season, but damaging the organization long term. His hook of Kipper in Game 7 will probably have consequences beyond a soft fifth goal allowed by Cujo (though to be fair, the team hung him out to dry on that one). As I said during the season: Keenan’s a problem, but far from the only one.
So what happens? Long term, I think it’s good that the Flames and their fans have come to expect success. I’m happy to be cheering for a good team. But they’ll need to make some changes if they’re going to be successful in the future. The usual refrain: Younger, faster, more skill and less grit. And I think if they do make a change, it’ll be both GM and coach shown the door, though I’m not betting the farm on that happening just yet.
More to come later, I have an exam tomorrow.