In praise of the Calgary Flames

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We haven’t written much about the Calgary Flames this season. They weren’t expected to be very good in 2013-14, and for the most part they’ve lived up (or down) to those expectations.

But it’s only fair to point out that Calgary — the team that so many predicted would finish dead last in the NHL — is actually playing pretty well lately, with a 13-8-0 record in its last 21 games.

On Saturday, the Flames went into Edmonton and embarrassed their provincial rivals, 8-1.

“What a great game,” coach Bob Hartley said. “We wanted to redeem ourselves from (Friday’s 6-5 loss to Nashville). I could see that the boys were not very impressed with the performance from last night. We just worked very simple, we were very effective and we scored some great goals.”

By all accounts, Hartley has the Flames playing hard, which may be the most the fans can hope for given the dearth of top-end veteran talent on the rebuilding club.

From the Calgary Sun:

After years of talking about being tough to play against, the Flames have become exactly that. The talk now is coming from opposing head coaches, who almost always mention their tireless work ethic when asked about the crew from Calgary.

The Flames won’t make the playoffs for the fifth straight time this season, and they’ll almost certainly be long shots to make them next season. But with a bigger and better crop of prospects, and with the current players buying in to what Hartley’s selling, there’s more hope for the future today than there has been in quite some time.

Related: Numerous challenges await Burke in Calgary