SUN Hockey Pool

Flames enjoy lowered expectations

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:53 PM ET

They’ve seemingly been planning a parade route in Calgary on a yearly basis.

Expectations have been high on the Calgary Flames since falling short to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2004 Stanley Cup final.

However, despite prognostications of long post-season runs and possible Cup titles, the Flames have been unable to get past the opening round of the playoffs since their improbable trip to the final.

Last season, they missed the playoffs all together.

“We don’t have as much pressure on us this year as we’ve had in previous years,” said Flames captain Jarome Iginla. “I think that can be a good thing. We still have to go out and perform and if things are going good, then great, if they’re not, then they’re not going to be good regardless of what kind of pressure has been put on us before.

“But it’s been a good training camp, it’s a change from the previous few years where everyone is talking about us having to get to that next step.”

Heading into the season, the Flames will still be relying heavily on the play of Iginla and goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff.

However, it’ll be their supporting cast that determines how the club fares this year.

Having long struggled to find secondary scoring, the Flames brought back Alex Tanguay and Olli Jokinen for a second stint, hoping they can provide more than they did the first time around.

They were moves panned by some critics.

“We really don’t care what anybody thinks on the outside,” said Sutter.

“We’re going to be our own team. We’re doing things a little differently then we did last year and changed where we needed to make changes.

“We’ll form our own identity as we move together as a group now.”

Going into the season, the Flames are no longer expected to be cup contenders, which may actually proved to be beneficial in the long run.

“We stumbled last year and we dealt with a lot of pressure and comments that all come with it,” Iginla said. “But we think we’re going to be a really good team this year, a lot better than we had last year.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca


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