Strange doings at the Scotiabank Saddledome these days.
First, the Calgary Flames squander a series of leads and lose to the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night. That produces a calculated yet cutting response from head coach Brent Sutter, who keeps banging the table with his hand while telling reporters his "top players have to buy into what we're doing."
Sutter didn't mention anyone specifically but it was clear he meant the likes of captain Jarome Iginla, who coughed up a hairball turnover against Colorado and looked very un-Iginla like at times.
On Friday, though, Sutter said people (i.e. fans, media) should stop reading into things and that life wasn't all bad and that, hey, the sun had come up in the morning and the birds were singing and … Meanwhile, Iginla did a round of interviews insisting the players had indeed bought in to the coach's system.
So what in the name of mixed messages is going on in the land of the Flames?
Clearly, something is not right with this team. It's only 10 games into this season and already the Flames look just like last year's team, the one that blew hot and cold and drove its paying customers crazy before missing the playoffs.
Sutter's post-game anger was real and arguably too close for comfort; his next-day remarks were an attempt to smooth things over and move forward, as coaches love to say when they want to ignore something. What can't be ignored is that the Flames are a spotty bunch that can be occasionally good and too often bad and that the coach is losing patience. Something is building here, and it's not healthy.
Here's what else happened at the 'Dome on Friday: assistant general manager Jay Feaster said injured centreman Daymond Langkow had another setback in his recovery from a neck injury. Langkow had been exercising lightly when he felt pins and needles in his lower back and extremities and "had to shut it down," said Feaster.
That was about a week ago. He is still continuing to rest.