SUN Hockey Pool

Shameful displays all around for Alberta NHL teams

Colorado Avalanches Matt Duchene watches the puck go past Miikka Kiprusoff of the Calgary Flames...

Colorado Avalanches Matt Duchene watches the puck go past Miikka Kiprusoff of the Calgary Flames during NHL hockey in Calgary, Alberta, Friday March 30, 2012. (QMI Agency/Al Charest)

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:36 AM ET

One Alberta team apparently can't do the math and add to the number four.

The other Alberta team can't be bothered to give the performance needed to keep their playoff hopes mathematically alive and lost 4-1 to the Colorado Avalanche.

Tough times, indeed, in Wild Rose Country.

And we're not sure which team should be more ashamed.

The Oilers flew Magnus Paajarvi all the way to Edmonton from Oklahoma City for Friday's clash with the Los Angeles Kings. The problem being that NHL clubs are only allowed to make four non-emergency recalls from the minors after the trade deadline. The Oilers had already used their quota.

Since we're talking about an Oilers team which has now failed to qualify for the playoffs in six consecutive seasons, that mistake is rather meaningless in the big scheme of things.

Although it sure makes you wonder how it happened and whether our province should add more the education budget up north. And Paajarvi earned himself some more airline points.

It was more dismal to watch the Flames fumble, stumble and bumble yet again when a victory over the Avalanche would have kept alive their flickering playoff hopes.

Even if the Flames would need Dr. House to come up with the life-saving solution at this point, a win would mean actual hope.

But the Saddledome faithful which arrived with enough hope to try chanting "Go Flames Go!" were soon witness to more of the same-old, same-old we've watched during this fade to black since the long-forgotten five-game winning streak which ended in Edmonton.

The start displayed by the Los Angeles Kings in Wednesday's disheartening 3-0 loss was the perfect blueprint for the Flames to follow. You know the type: Skating all-out, executing plays, getting to the net and scoring goals.

The Flames apparently weren't paying attention well enough to follow suit against an Avalanche team which is also praying for a miracle to reach the second season.

Just like they were against the Kings, the Flames were caught flat-footed at the drop of the puck and outclassed to the point the end result was obvious to all before the first TV timeout.

Oh yeah, they fell behind early, too, with Jay Boumeester doing the Keystone Kops impersonation by scoring on his own net 201 seconds into the tilt for the all-important opening goal.

And to think that's just the tip of the iceberg of tomfoolery.

The powerplay couldn't solve Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov during three opportunities in the first two periods.

Breakout passes were tape to shin.

We even witnessed a three-on-two rush end up whistled down due to an offside.

Any wonder chants of "Let's Go Golfing" and "Let's Go Blue Jays" could be heard?

(Seriously folks, can't we support the Stampeders, or is the fact the football team's majority owners are the Flames too much to stomach at this moment?)

Sure, the Flames can talk about having outplayed the Avs for much of the game, a few excellent saves by Varlamov -- including a gem against Bouwmeester later in the opening frame and another dandy on Mark Giordano early in the third period -- being the difference, but any such moral victories are meaningless at this time of year when every win matters.

Mathematically, the Flames are still alive going into Saturday's clash with the Vancouver Canucks.

But we can't make any promises after that, even with a win in the Hockey Night in Canada finale.

Pretty much all hope and any chance of playoff hockey disappeared with this week's home-ice losses to the Kings and the Avalanche.

But at least we have reason to unite a province destined to be split by the coming election.

We have a couple of cities who can feel their teams are wandering in the desert.

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNRandySportak


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