Puck Daddy - NHL

As the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue, we're bound to lose some friends along the journey. Gone but not forgotten, we've asked for these losers to be eulogized by the people who knew the teams best: The fans who hated them the most. Here's Mike W. from the Edmonton Oilers blog Covered in Oil, fondly recalling the Flames in the last of our first-round eulogies.

Men, women, hockey bloggers, lovers ... cats.

We are gathered here today to pay tribute to the often-say-die Calgary Flames. It all happened rather suddenly: In about the time it takes to say "Anders Eriksson," the Flames blew yet another Game 7 on Tuesday, mostly at the hands of a 53-year-old Jeremy Roenick.

Not to be outdone by his players, Flames Coach Mike Keenan ensured total collapse by hastily pulling his star goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff in favour of Curtis Joseph, who promptly let in the softest goal of the evening, thereby finishing off the Flames' feeble Stanley Cup dreams for good.

These are indeed dark times .

Tuesday's loss was just another in a series of tragic blows for the city of Calgary, a community that hasn't been hit this hard since that Cowboys nightclub closed up on 5th Street SW. Although a few of the drunkest  Flames fans were still seen staggering up and down the Red Mile today -- confused, shouting "Flames in 9!" and lifting their tops at passing motorists on their way to work -- the overall mood of the City has been somber and reflective, much like 11 a.m. drinks at one of the city's many Hooters restaurants.

In previous first-round exits, Flames fans could at least console themselves with the familiar refrain of "Wait till next year!" but what can they realistically expect in 2009-2010? It ain't pretty: a team with almost half of its salary tied up in four players (including an freshly-alienated marquee goalie with an ever-diminishing save percentage); a coach famous for trading Roberto Luongo away for some fat dude with a bad back; two and a half lines of utterly useless and often immobile players like Eric Godard and Wayne Primeau; defensive pairings featuring with Jim Vandermeer and Cory Sarich; and nothing coming down the pike in terms of prospects.

As the Flames appearance in the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals fades away like a sepia-toned memory from a bygone era, let us honour it with dignity and treat it for what it is: Part of the past. Calgarians, you are a testament to the head-against-a-brick-wall spirit of your City, but today is about moving on and letting hope die.

We ask now that everyone remove their idiotic Stetsons as we bury your dreams.

[At this point we allow for a bolted casket to be lowered into a grave, with Jarome Iginla inside, still alive. Placed on top of the casket is the mummified husk of Harvey the Hound, a green hardhat and a vintage "Shirts off for Kiprusoff" T-shirt, stained with barbecue sauce.]

In lieu of flowers, we ask that you send donations to Goodwill Calgary in the form of cowboy boots, bolo ties, sweatpants with the word "juicy" written across the ass and those horrendous diagonal stripe Flames jerseys from the 1990s.

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