It’ll be a statement, but of what kind?

As a fan, I like the fact the Flames have a chance to clinch their playoff spot the right way tonight, by defeating the team directly below them in the standings. As a realist, I have to say: The Flames will have to bring it all tonight to win, and that’s going to be a tough job.

In fact, I see this game as a big test of Calgary’s preparedness for playoffs. Why? There’s a lot working against them tonight:

1. They’re coming off their first successful road trip of the season, so they could be overconfident.

2. Colorado always plays Calgary hard, has a puck-control offence the Flames have a hard time defending at the best of times, and couldn’t have more motivation to win.

3. Joe Sakic has a lot of pride.

4. Jim Playfair used up all his good suits in the last two games.

It would send a big message to the rest of the conference to just finish the Avalanche off tonight, then set about concentrating all their efforts on Game 1 of Round 1. Lose, and that sliver of doubt re-enters their minds while buoying the teams they’re set to face.

Frankly, while it would be nice to catch Minnesota for seventh place if it meant staying on a roll, I don’t think the placement really matters. Win tonight, and Calgary’s put themselves in a position where other teams are going to be worried about them, as much as they’re worrying about Detroit or Anaheim or Nashville or Vancouver.

So here’s hoping they indeed bring it all, especially since I’ll be watching the game in public, joining WI and Steal Thunder at the immortal Shoeless Joe’s.

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~ by duncan on April 3, 2007.

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