No. 106: Calgary Flames

Ultimate Standings 2012

Updated: September 7, 2012, 12:02 PM ET
By Max Klinger | ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 73
Title track: 63
Ownership: 67
Coaching: 115
Players: 115
Fan relations: 80
Affordability: 110
Stadium experience: 110
Bang for the buck: 97

"We"re just giving it away," is what winger Alex Tanguay said as the Flames slipped out of postseason contention in March for the third straight season. It's a fitting indictment of a franchise that, as a whole, has become a nexus of doubt. Still, while head coach Brent Sutter was replaced with Bob Hartley in the offseason (Sutter's coaching score had dropped 38 points) and signed scorer Jiri Hudler, the front office hasn't shaken up much else. After a season that saw the 350th consecutive sellout at the Saddledome, ownership may be hesitant to trade key players like Jarome Iginla or Miikka Kiprusoff and risk losing that box-office windfall. And with the average cost of a game experience hovering around $90 per fan (Affordability: a drop of 21 from last year's score), it's a serious windfall indeed. But even though the fans show, they still don't like what they're seeing. Frustration has boiled over, becoming so bad that in March, in a widely covered incident, one fan threw his jersey on the ice in disgust. Now it's time for management to take a cue, or season-ticket holders may start "giving it away" when it comes to their loyalty too.