Found January 30, 2012 on Race Review Online:

Miikka Kiprusoff and Mark Giordano hold off Logan Couture (photo: Mike Ridewood/Getty Images)

The Calgary Flames have reached the All Star weekend in pretty much the same place they were in last season; second last in their division and tied for 10th in the Western Conference. They have showed flashed of brilliance during the year and flashes of incompetence. 

But will this roller coaster ride continue the rest of the way or can the Flames actually put together a run to make the playoffs?

I think the answer is that we should expect more of the same.

The Flames front office did make a trade during the break. They sent off again veteran forward Brendan Morrison to Chicago in exchange for defensive prospect Brian Connelly.

Because what the Flames need right now is yet another defenseman to add to the surplus they have on the farm.

Yes, Connelly has some potential as an offensive defenseman, something the Flames are in need of, since big money D-man Jay Bouwmeester has been such a bust in that role, but what the Flames really need is some more scoring, right now. They are currently 25th in goals for (120) and showing few signs of improvement in that category.

The acquisition of Mike Cammalleri perhaps is meant to address the scoring issues, but he's having an off season as well. Calgary must be banking on him having a return to form with the change of scenery.

Most frustrating, however, is how the Flames can look like world beaters one night and chumps the next. Every time they start to put a streak together and the fans start to get their hopes up for a run, it all just falls apart again. After beating the tar out of the Edmonton Oilers, 6-2 on Jan. 21, the Flames turned right around and stumbled into the All Star break by getting shut out 1-0 by the San Jose Sharks. 

And so the ups and downs continue.

There is still some talent on this squad. Probably enough to get them into the playoffs if they can find some consistency in the home stretch. Big if.

More likely, however, they're going to continue on this path, sputtering to yet another unremarkable season and falling just shy of a playoff berth and well shy of a decent draft pick. 

GM Jay Feaster is going to have to make a decision on this team very soon, as the trade deadline approaches: either mortgage the future in an effort to win right now and try to get enough shooters together to win right now, or blow everything up, dump a bunch of the older guys with the bigger contracts, and start from scratch.

So far, it is unclear which direction he plans on taking things. In the meantime, hang on tight; it's going to be a bumpy ride.

THE BACKYARD
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