As I see it, that field includes all the teams within a couple of games of the Flames. That means the participants are Phoenix, Colorado, San Jose, Calgary, and L.A. I don't include Chicago, as of today they were 6 points ahead of the Flames, but maybe I should have, as they are only 3 points ahead of Phoenix. I included Chicago, as I was curious as to whether or not they had picked their pace back up.
That's the general overview. The indicators are important; very few teams have made the playoffs since the most recent lockout with a negative goal differential. How a team plays away from their home is an indicator I use when I look at all sports. It's harder to win on the road, and teams that do so display they have discipline.
But like I said, that is pretty general stuff, as we are dealing with a almost a whole season worth of data; I don't know if that is the most appropriate way to look at the picture. There are 12 games left for the Flames, and how they and the teams they are competing against are playing now is of more significance than how they were playing in 3 months ago.
If you look at what has been happening this month, we get a slightly brighter picture for the Flames. They enjoy the strongest goal differential of all the teams competing, and have collected the most points. Their road record is as strong as anybodies, but admittedly you would really only be happy/concerned if they were undefeated or had yet to win.
Dare I say it, but despite the best efforts of management, this team actually has a chance to make the playoffs; To me, it looks like Phoenix and San Jose are done, as it appears the Hockey Gods have abandoned them at the worst time of year. In San Jose's case especially, they continue to generate more shots on goal a game than their opponent, and are not getting rewarded for it. Contrast that with Calgary, who continue to get play games where they get less than 30 shots on goal, hell sometimes less than 25 shots on goal, and yet they are scoring goals.
I don't know why the Flames are enjoying the good graces of the Hockey Gods, but they are; Matt Stajan is on a hot streak.
Looking at what is happening in March, the Flames and the Kings are the teams that are scoring goals. I don't know if Colorado can keep collecting points at the Flames pace if they end the season with only a plus 1 goal differential.
To me it looks like a race between the Flames and the Kings for the final spot. I don't think any of the teams ranked 7 - 11 can catch Chicago either, as they appear to have arrested their freefall.
The Cammalleri injury is a killer though. Having him in the lineup wouldn't hurt. And I know this is probably the stupidest suggestion from a business perspective, and it may not even be possible within the framework of the rules, but I would keep SVEN up here even if it meant we had to pay him next year. I know that isn't the most prudent thing, as the playoffs are not guaranteed, and even if they do make it there, who knows if they last more than four games. But if you keep SVEN up, you could theoretically have a top six group of forwards who are all legitimately top six guys. The goalie is as good as any, so the pressure would be on the coach to make sure his defence is sound positionally.
Hell. I'm squinting. But maybe, right? You never know.
Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias Ken King should be fired.