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Where are they now?

All the big talkers suddenly aren’t talking big now.

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They’re too busy ignoring the past. The recent past where they got it so very wrong.

A year ago, when your scribbler dared to write about Darryl Sutter being pushed out by Calgary Flames snowflake hockey players the detractors who claim to know so much more about the game than the rest of us couldn’t believe such cringe-worthy, uninformed garbage was being written and published.

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And the words were so far off the script prepared by the Flames higher-ups.

Who was this hopeless fool spewing forth his nonsense, a hockey heretic, an idiot as out-of-touch with the real world as Sutter?

What did he know? He wasn’t a sports writer.

They spoke of a sports writer as if it was some kind of gig requiring the specialized knowledge of a brain surgeon or a nuclear physicist.

Really, it doesn’t take an Oppenheimer to figure out the score.

What did he know? The scribbler didn’t know the new NHL, a more sensitive hockey world, a kinder, gentler sports universe where you have to tread carefully for fear of bruising the oh-so-fragile egos of the players of today.

What did he know?

Now that the tyrant Sutter was out the door after the demands of more than a few players there was plenty of talk the Flames would rebound.

There was excitement.

They’d likely be back in the playoffs, maybe even go deep in the playoffs.

Anything was possible.

Hockey would be fun again. The players would be loose again. Joy would return to the Saddledome. Better days were ahead.

Better days after a generation of futility going back to the fading memory of the you-had-to-be-there playoff run 20 years ago and the horrible seasons before that.

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Hell, Jonathan Huberdeau might actually earn his very handsome paycheque.

All you had to do was drink the Kool-Aid.

So, dear readers, what happened to the glorious season?

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Few mention it except in passing.

Oh, we hear about the Flames rebuilding or is it retooling.

They are said to be filled with optimism and looking forward to picking up some good players in the upcoming draft and signing others.

There are stories of individual hockey players who had good seasons.

All fine stuff. I wish them the best and hope the team gets their act together sooner rather than later.

But they must be held to account.

That involves the players looking in the mirror. Really looking in the mirror not just trying to coat empty-calorie talking points with the appearance of sincerity.

You know, onward and upward. Keep the faith.

Alas, there is no decent post-mortem I’ve seen because the team wasn’t supposed to be in the position of needing such a post-mortem.

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Let us not forget a few brave souls made one single point around this time last year. There could be no more whining and complaining.

In the real world if the boss gives you what you want, you have to perform. You have to up your game.

We all know how that turned out.

The Flames ended up so far out of the playoff race you need a telescope to see the wild-card spot.

I know, I know.

Those trying to save face will say the Flames were still fighting for a place in the playoffs but couldn’t make it work after the trade deadline when good players were traded away.

Yes, it is true the Flames got worse as the season dragged on until the inevitable ugly endgame. Absolutely.

But face facts. The Flames weren’t exactly world-shakers at any time.

As for fighting to get into the playoffs, just for fun I will give the Flames six more wins.

That puts them at 93 points which is exactly where they were under Sutter.

Where was the big turn-around? Where was the payoff when the players got the kind of coach they wanted?

These are not questions you’re supposed to ask.

Even the swimming-in-millions Huberdeau gets the kid glove treatment.

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Jonathan Huberdeau
Calgary Flames forward Jonathan Huberdeau speaks to media at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday, April 19, 2024. Photo by Jim Wells /Postmedia

The man had, what was it, 55 points last season and, what was it, 52 points this season.

The Mr. Biggest Point Drop Ever after 115 points with the Florida Panthers and then signing his sweet deal and tanking with the Flames now wants to get to 70 or 80 points in future seasons.

He is kidding, right? He’s not serious. Tell me he’s not serious.

The Flames coach reportedly loves him. That’s what is important.

I still recall around this time last year when Peter Maher, the legendary voice of the Flames, thought some of the Flames should have played better last season even if they didn’t like the coach.

Then he made this observation.

“The shoulders of the players are going to be a little bit heavier to perform regardless of who the coach is,” said Maher, of this season.

“We’ll see now where it goes.”

And, alas, we saw where it went.

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