Team direction

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 1:59 PM ET

The Flames have reached the playoffs in each of the past four seasons. Here's a test to see whether you see the glass as half-full or half-empty.

After their trip to the final in 2004, the Flames have been knocked out in the first round three straight times.

However, there are only six other teams in the NHL to reach the playoffs in each of the last four seasons. On top of that, only three clubs (Detroit, San Jose and Anaheim) have had more home playoff dates than the 21 Calgary has played in that time frame.

Some say the Flames have flatlined -- not good enough to win the first round, not bad enough to miss the playoffs or draft high enough to select true high-end talent.

King points out the team would have likely won its series against the San Jose Sharks had the Flames held on to their late third-period lead in the fourth game and taken a 3-1 series lead.

"I think it's parity. I think the difference is a very, very fine line. We want to, plan to and need to progress. You're not looking at a team that is managed or owned or operated by people who believe that a first-round exit in the playoffs is OK or making the playoffs is OK. That's not who we are.

"We intend to do better. Our fans have very high expectations of us and we're very comfortable with that."

Likewise, King believes in the job being done by GM Darryl Sutter, whose team has made the playoffs every year since he stepped into that role: "I think he has been a central pillar in our success."


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