Flames Watch: Ways to spend the time off

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Five games in 21 days? What are the Calgary Flames going to do with all their spare time during this three-week homestand?

Oh sure, they’ll practise all the little things like killing penalties and getting used to the systems of new coach Brent Sutter. But there’s still the vast chunk of 16 days off between Oct. 14 and Nov. 3 to deal with.

Here are 10 suggestions to fill those extra hours.

Landscape Olli Jokinen’s back yard with palm trees, sand and swamp to make it look like Florida. There’s gotta be a way to get him generating offense like his days with the Panthers.

Get the Christmas shopping out of the way, deck the house up with red lights and get a good solid jump on the holiday greeting cards.

Send Curtis McElhinney down to Abbotsford for a game or two. He’s not likely to play with Miikka Kiprusoff not needing time off, so boost his confidence and game-experience with some time in the world’s second best league.

The Sutter farms are just up the highway and they’ll never turn down a helping hand. If all the harvest work has wrapped up, there’s sure to be some machinery that needs to be cleaned and/or cattle that need grooming.

Dress up as the dirtiest, stinkiest bunch of frontiersmen the West has ever seen for Halloween night Saturday. The Red Wings are in town and the Flames haven’t had much luck with them lately. Intimidate them with filth.

Start a yoga or pilates program. Nothing helps maintain core body strength as much as these programs. Something has to help those last-minute breakdowns (goals allowed or penalties taken) the Flames have made a bad habit this season.

Start a Battle of The Blades, Calgary Flames version. Hook up with some of the top female figure skaters in town and start the team’s own reality show. Come to think of it, nah, trash that idea.

Spend some time with the Calgary Hitmen. Nothing inspires a group of young players more than to see what possibly could be part of their future.

Watch tape after tape after tape of the Chicago Blackhawks. They have your number and you know they are bound to be an opponent in the playoffs.

Hold spots in line for Calgarians waiting for the H1N1 vaccine. It’s a good opportunity to blend with the community, sign autographs, talk trash about the Oilers and buoy spirits.

This article aslo appeared in the Calgary Metro newspaper.

Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior special editions editor and a regular contributor to THN.com. You can find his blog each weekend.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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