But here is the thing. Ultimately, we are fans of the laundry. We cheer for the Flaming C, capitalized. If we just cheered for the players, we would have stopped cheering for this team when it signed Bertuzzi, or Marchment, or Rob Niedermayer. Right?
So we continue to cheer for the set of players wearing this years laundry. It's with a certain reluctance, however. At the end of the day, we have lost faith in this group. We don't believe.
Hope is like an Alexander, however; it can and will find a way to conquer. Indeed, hope is the one possession the human animal is born with. It's almost as if it is hardwired into us. And while it may be an ethereal possession, lost in a moment, it can be regained just as easily, moreover, with even greater ease than it was to lose.
This is the reason the activity of fraud is so subversive: it feeds on hope. It is one of our biggest complaints with the team: that it fraudulently sells itself as better then it is, and is then heavy handed with the people who point this out. And the people who perpetrate frauds are often stained by this activity. That is why people assumed the club was simply engaged in marketing when it went after Brad Richards, for instance, or that may have been the reason Babchuk was brought back.
Back to the point: Hope grows in barren soil. And when we look at the Flames situation, does one not see a desert? The team currently sits at 13th. It lets in more goals then it scores, hasn't had a win streak all year, and is sitting millions of dollars worth of salary in the press box every night. The noise around this team is about which player is getting traded to where. Rightly, not a lot of people believe.
Boy, it's funny what a win will do. Because the team, injured at that, just destroyed the division leader, the Colorado Avalaughatourabilitytoplay5on5hockey. The score is deceiving, the team could have had 10 goals if the hockey gods had been kinder. By itself, a win over a bad team that started their back-up goalie doesn't mean anything, but at this time of the year it just serves to reinforce that the sky is not falling and the standings are in need of a correction. Because back up goalie or not, that Colorado team does not look like a division winner.
Couple this with the situation developing in Vancouver. This Loungo stuff may or may not be for reals. We think it is, because it has been around for years. It is feeding off something, obviously. Eventually this festering wound is going to heal, or it is going to pop. Loungo either starts stealing games and silencing the critics, or he doesn't. If he doesn't, the team is going to be adversely affected: they are going to have to take sides between him and Schnieder, the coach is going to have to decide, the GM is going to deal with the mess. And Vancouver is a team full of Jay Bouwmeesters. They are the most Tin-Man no heart team in the league. Without question.
So maybe, just maybe, their is a chance for this team to do something, despite it's coaching staff, management, and even some of the players (Looking at you, Stajan). Colorado, Edmonton, Minnesota don't look great, and if Vancouver tears itself a part...
There is a chance. Here is the deal though. If the team wants us to believe in it again, and wants the environment in this city to change back to what it was, it needs to provide some tangible proof of commitment. The Flames play the Blues and the Canucks next to finish out the homestand before going on the road against some good teams in Detroit and Buffalo. They have not had a win streak all year. Now would be a good time to get one.
Not that anyone needs to be told this, but the city wants to cheer, it wants to have hope, it has just been a victim of fraud too many times to do it without a little evidence. The Flames have an opportunity to build some real momentum here, and to show us they are worthy of Feaster's famous guarantee. More importantly, to show us they are worthy of the dollars spent and time committed.
They have shown they can beat bad teams. Now they need to show us if they can beat some good ones.
To that end, if the team plays well enough, and the Canucks collapse, there could be an opportunity. Should the club go for the it guns blazing, or prudently pursue playoff success? That is going to be the question of debate if the Flames hold up their end of the bargain.
Of course, teams with good players on them generally don't find themselves out of the playoff hunt themselves, so here is to Nashville enduring a terrible 20 game losing streak this year.
Furthermore, I think