When to boo the Flames

**Note: Also appears on the Calgary Herald’s Q Blog

Reginald Tiangha – Okay, so the Flames have been playing pretty inconsistent lately. I get that. Believe me, I get it.

It seems like every time they have a great defensive effort, either the goaltending or the offensive effort is lacking. Every time they have a great offensive effort, the goaltending and the defensive effort is lacking. Every time that Kipper stands on his head (which, admittedly hasn’t been too often this season), it seems that the defensive and/or offensive efforts have been lacking.

The boys can’t catch a break. A cross-bar here, a bad bounce there, all of a sudden, they’re losing games where they’ve dominated. Gain a 4-0 lead by the second period? Lose. Hold the other team to 14 shots against? Still lose. Score the first goal in the game? Yup, more often than not, lose.

I understand.

With the boo-birds out in full force at the Saddledome and fans calling to fire Keenan, fire Sutter, trade Tanguay (or Yelle or Nilson or Huselius or pretty much everyone) and even bench Kiprusoff, there’s a lot of negativity going around in Flames Country. This obviously feeds off the already existing negativity leading to a spiral of panic, hate, fear, and frustration for the fans, players and coaching staff.

Which is exactly why it is time that we, as fans, do our part to break that cycle.

So, if you’re lucky enough to go to the game tonight against St. Louis and/or on Dec. 6 against Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins, try to resist the urge to “boo” and instead, try the following:

– When you see a player block a shot, cheer.
– When you see a good puck cycle in the offensive zone, cheer (especially since you probably haven’t seen much of that this season).
– When you see a player lay a big hit, cheer.
– When you see a good offensive break out, cheer.
– When you see Kipper make a great save, cheer.
– When a line has a good shift, cheer them as they change lines.
– When you see anything that the Flames do to impress you, cheer.

And finally:

– If you are going to boo the team (hey, it’s your money and your ticket), just do me a favor and make sure you cheer extra loudly the next time they do one of the above.

The bottom line is that the boys in red desperately need some positive reinforcement right about now. They’ve lost one too many games that they’ve dominated to the point that they should have easily won, and it’s shot their confidence to heck.

It has been said that the fans are like the 7th man on the ice; now, as fans, it’s time to prove it by supporting the home team.