Five subplots for the Flames this week
STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency
|The Flames and Stars are starting to get a little chippy. (QMI Agency)
Believe it or not, there are still games to play.
Although the Calgary Flames' season is officially on life-support now, with chances of making the playoffs sitting at slim to none, they have two weeks of hockey remaining on the regular-season schedule.
Even though their ultimate goal might be out of reach, there are still some storylines to keep the most jaded fan interested for a little longer.
1. FIGHT CLUB
Saturday afternoon's contest against the Dallas Stars started to get a little chippy and physical even without Cory Sarich and Tim Jackman in the lineup for the Flames.
If either of them dress for Monday's rematch, that could get ramped up even more. If nothing else motivates the Flames now, they should want some revenge against the pesky Stars for the pain of losing the most critical contest to date in their playoff race.
Asked if the Stars were already an aggravating team, Michael Cammalleri didn't want to give them bulletin board material.
"No chance," he said. "I'm not gonna give them that. Not even a little bit."
2. SUTTER VS. SUTTER
Brent Sutter's Flames are 2-1 against brother Darryl Sutter's Los Angeles Kings and their last match of the season comes Wednesday at the Saddledome, with the Kings holding down a playoff spot and the Flames having to win every remaining game to have a shot at the playoffs .
Although the siblings would disagree, the brother versus brother angle has been an interesting sidebar since Darryl took over the head coaching position midway through the season after spending a year away following his dismissal (er, resignation) from the Flames GM post last December.
3. YOUTH GONE WILD
Prime example of a young team faring well: The Colorado Avalanche.
The Avs are the youngest squad in the NHL but are hanging onto a playoff spot at the moment thanks to their strong play down the stretch.
Led by Calder Trophy candidate Gabriel Landeskog -- the 19-year-old phenom who was selected second-overall in last year's draft -- the Avs' youthful enthusiasm is refreshing.
The Flames are looking at getting younger. The Avs are a great example of what that could look like in the future.
4. BACK TO BACKUP?
You have to think starter Miikka Kiprusoff will suit up for every contest to the end of the season as long as the Flames feel they're still in the playoff hunt.
But who knows whether that will be true when the Flames play their final back-to-back games this season with a match Friday against the Avs and Saturday in Vancouver against the Canucks?
Leland Irving earned his first win in Vancouver earlier this season and has been the go-to guy behind Kiprusoff the last couple of months, so it's possible he gets called up to play another NHL game.
But don't discount Henrik Karlsson's re-emergence. If the season is indeed over and wins become irrelevant, the big Swede might find himself tending twine at least one more time as a reward for his professionalism after becoming essentially a practice goaltender.
5. SLUMP BUSTERS
How the stars respond to their situation now will be interesting to watch down the stretch.
With Jarome Iginla, Olli Jokinen, Curtis Glencross and Alex Tanguay struggling to provide offence at the most critical time of the season, they'll certainly face a lot of scrutiny in the coming days and weeks as every member of Flames Nation become a general manager and suggests what should become of them moving forward.
On Twitter: @SUNMacfarlane