Monday, August 10, 2015

Top Ten Favourite Flames

I am trying to put together my Top 10 Flames list. Putting together my favorite Flames players is a daunting task. There are a quite a few!

I mean, I could have players like defenceman Kari Eloranta, a Flames defender who was with the Flames in the eighties. He never scored more than five goals a season. Okay, bad example. Why would I want him?

I could have put Kent Nilsson, AKA the Magic Man. He has the Flames' record  for most points in a season: 131. In an era when defensive hockey was not invented. But of course, he was an Oiler, so I really could not have him on my list.

Well, of course I am being a little facetious, but you see my point. There could be a whole bunch of players to chose from. It is a task which I do not take lightly. There is no set criteria. Just a totally subjective list of my favourite players. I am sure my list won't be the same as yours, but it will be interesting to see who are the most-liked Flames of all time.

MY LIST

10.  Doug Gilmour

Doug was one of the best second line Centres in the league. He did so many things and played with a edge. Although he never was the best at anything, he was very good at everything. He played with a chip on his shoulder and never let anyone push him around. He never stepped down from anyone. He was a true leader on the best team in the NHL. 

9.  Al Macinnis

A Powerplay specialist who was a very good offensive defenceman. Alan was the Conn Smythe winner in the 89 playoffs.  Alan had six 20-goal seasons with the Flames. Think of that for a defenceman. 

8. Lanny MacDonald.

Lanny was pretty much the heart and soul of the Flames, scoring that huge second goal in game six. He also gets the award for the best moustache  in the NHL. He holds the record for most goals scored in a season (sixty-six,) which will probably never be broken. Lanny was a fantastic power forward with a terrific snapshot and ten times the heart of a normal man. He played on both the Leafs and the Flames, a bonus for me, being a huge Leafs fan as well.

7. Joe Mullen 

Joe was is a pure sniper, one of the best American players. He played the Flames for five season, where he had a career year, scoring 51 goals and 59 assists for 110 points in 1989. He was part of the 89 Stanley Cup team. He was the perfect all-around player. The Flames turned their season around after acquiring Mullen. I loved the way Joe could always be counted on to score the big goal or big play just when the team needed it.

6.  Sean Monahan

I truly believe that Sean is going to be an all-star Flame for many years to come. He is a number one Centre. He was a the best player on the first line last season. He was the best player on the team many nights. He has the ability to play a full game in the defensive zone. He was used in all aspects of the Flames' game.

5. Theoren Fleury 

Theo was told he could never play in the NHL because of his size. Not only did he play, he got a Stanley Cup ring and was a 60-goal scorer. Theo had the heart of a lion and was a sniper. He was the man for the Flames throughout most of his career.

4. Mark Giordano 

Mark would have won the Norris if it was not for his injury. He was basically the first real number one defenceman the Flames have had since the 80s.   The last two years, Mark has been the leader and one of the best Captains the Flames has ever had, both for his play and his leadership in the locker room.

3. Mikka Kiprusoff

This one is personal. I have met him several times. Mikka singlehandedly took the Flames to the 04 Stanley Cup final, making the ‘scorpion' save against the Sharks. Then there was the save off of Martin Havlat as Kipper dove back from behind the net. I will never forget Martin's face when found out he never scored.

2. Jarome Iginla

Iggy was probably the greatest captain in Flames history. He did everything he could to get us the Stanley Cup, but unfortunately we let him down by never giving him a true Centre. Even without a  bona fide centre, he scored two 50-goal seasons, and how many Flames can say that?

1. Hakan Loob

The other number 12 in a Flames sweater. Hakan was my favourite Flame in the 80s. Hakan had a 50-goal year and a Stanley Cup ring. I loved his breakaway speed and agility to get away from opposing defencemen.  

CONCLUSION

Yes, I know my number one was a odd choice, I have no sound reason, except that he was my favourite Flames player. He might not have been the best of all time, but he is my most-liked Flame. Who would be on your list?



Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tribute to Dad

First blogged on Flamestr's Thoughts

I wrote this story a little while ago but I was missing dad so I thought I would do this tribute again.

I remember the Canada Cup in 1976. One of my favorite players was Daryl Sittler, who was the captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Daryl went on to score the winning goal for team Canada in the9 championship game against the Czechs. At the time, I wrote for the school newspaper. Of course, I wrote in the sports department. The story on the Canada Cup was my first story for the paper. I remember bringing it home so that my father could read it, so he would be proud of me.

Hockey always brought us together. I remember how disappointed we were when we could not watch the last half of 1972 Canada Russia series, known as the “super series”. We missed it because I was at school and Dad was at work. I remember going home after game eight. which was the last game of the series. When Dad came home, I did the play-by-play of the game winning goal by Paul Henderson, which gave Canada the series. I really could not do Foster Hewit justice, but my father did not care.

I remember listening to Danny Gallivan, even though he was the Montréal Canadiens play-by-play man. I used to love mimicking his play-by-play style. My father used to get mad at this, because he was a huge Maple Leafs fan. According to him, it was against the Constitution to like anything about the Montréal Canadiens. One of my favourite hockey sayings - or should I say hockey calls - was the call of Danny's Gullivan's of “Savard's spinarama”. That was for us old farts, who used to watch hockey on the radio. Ha ha.

My dad loves the old Leafs players, for example Dave Keon, George Armstrong, and Johnny Bower. An interesting fact about Johnny Bower that my father told me is that nobody ever really knew how old he was, and he liked it that way. I remember the last time (I was 35 back then) that the Maple Leafs won the Cup back in 1967. It was especially gratifying to us, because the Maple Leafs beat their rivals, the Montréal Canadiens in six games. The supposed experts picked the Canadians to win the Cup in five games.

In the golden years of hockey, my dad used to tell me men were men. The fighters would fight face-to-face. Granted, there were incidents of players trying to injure other players; but that would normally be a mutual thing -- there would be none of these hits from behind to cause injury. If players wanted to get even, they would do the old-fashioned way: by duking it out. Yes, there was violence, but it was a different kind of violence. The players actually respected each other. No, it was not a perfect world, but most of these players went home with a clear conscience, unlike some of the players today

The goalies were the bravest ones -- or maybe the craziest. My dad often wondered how they would stop shots without the mask, leaving their delicate features unprotected. One of our most favourite goalies was the ageless wonder, Johnny Bower, who I did not know had started out with the New York Rangers. We had a lot of mixed feelings when the Maple Leafs acquired the ex Montréal Canadien Jacques Plante. Again, with the Canadien issues. We did not want to break protocol by liking anything involving the Montréal Canadiens. It was harder for Dad than for me, because I never really saw him in a Montréal Canadiens sweater.

I will always treasure my time with my dad, and be very thankful for the sport of hockey that brought us so much closer together. 

Before I sign off, I thought I would give you a peek into part of my personal life that I don't usually let people in on. I wanted to show you this to try help people understand me better. This little segue is the introduction to a book that I would someday like to write. 

Have you ever heard of the saying “simple minds, simple pleasures”. That saying means something to me. You see, when I was young, I never heard a word, or said a word for the first 4 to 6 years of my life. Basically, I was born deaf, and the doctors never expected me to hear. 

As a result, I never did well in school. My math, English, and yes especially my grammar, suffered hugely. I turned to hockey, so I could find something that I was good at. An escape from the world, you might say. I actually found something that I was good at, where nobody pointed their fingers at me. Hockey is my simple pleasure.

The game of hockey taught me that there is more to life than being accepted, and that with hard work, even a person with a learning disability can be successful and live a normal life. That is the reason I am opening myself up now -- for the benefit of others like me. This is for the people who were told they would never amount to anything. That is total nonsense. You can. That is why this game of hockey became so much more than a game to me; it's my life. 

Until next time -

Love Ya Dad.

Monday, July 6, 2015

What to do with Gio

I can see everyone foaming at the mouth reading this title. You may be wondering where I am going with this, but bear with me. By no means am I saying Mark has worn out his welcome. What I am saying is there comes a time where we have to start being responsible with the upcoming cap issues. The Giordano name will go down in history. Mark was one of the best last season. If not for his injury, he would have easily won the Norris trophy. As it was, he had career year even missing the last part of the season. So why would I even consider asking what to do with him?

Again, I am not questioning his usefulness. He has earned my and everyone's respect. My concern is cap management. The Flames have to keep in mind they have to renew Monahan’s and Johnny Hockey's contracts. Then there is the issue of Hudler becoming a free agent in the spring. Now I know everyone is jumping on the "trade Jiri" band-wagon. But that might be easier said than done. The Flames have to consider the effects of doing so.   Consider this; what would have happened to the Flames if Jiri would not have been on that first line? How good would have Gaudreau and Monahan been without him?

The next problem the Flames have is goaltending. The Flames are saying they are fine with their goalies. But if they are really fine, why would they spend so much time trying to land a new goalie? Yes, they signed Ramo on a one-year contract, but that only complicates the issue. All three net minders are on the final years of their contracts. The process of Ortio having to clear waivers in order to be sent down adds to the drama. I am not too sure that he clears. As most of you know, Joni is on a one-way contract. This is his final year.

The third issue is the cap being locked into the defense. Think about it: Dennis Wideman 5.25 Mil, Dougie Hamilton 5.75 Mil, then there is Brodie 4.65 Mil. That is a lot of cap in the defense. Then there will be at least another 7 Mil for Gio. The Flames are talking to Mr. Cody Franson, which really makes me wonder if the Flames are exploring all their options.

How the Flames did at the draft

The Trade

Of course the biggest news of the Draft is the trade that brought Dougie Hamilton to the Flames for $15.45 Mil, with picks going back to bean town.

What do we get with Dougie? We get one of the best young defenders in the League. Already one of the best in League, with the potential of being a future Norris trophy nominee, he is a huge boost to an already-stacked defense. The Flames made trades at the deadline to get those picks to get a good young defenseman.  

The Picks

The first pick was Rasmus Andersson; a good solid pick.  Everyone was shocked about Oliver Kylington dropping down like a loaf of Christmas Cake. So I thought I would do some digging about that same issue. From what I was told, his last season was not one of his best seasons; it scared a lot of teams off. But you have to consider that it’s only one season.

The Flames were assured there were no concerns about his attitude or work ethic. So when he was there, they went ahead and made the trade to draft him at sixtieth. There is concern that he went from 24 to 60, but the Flames were willing to take a chance with him.

Flames Done?

Not even close. They have an overabundance of forwards and defense, especially if the Flames get Franson. They will be forced to move someone.  Expect Wideman or Gio to be shopped unless Gio is signed to a long term deal. 

Signing Frolik 

The Flames truly believe that Frolik can be a top-six forward. He has all the tools to do so. Frolik should go nicely with Bennett on the second line, giving the Flames more scoring depth. You have to love this signing the only negative being the cap hit. But even that is not a problem because the Flames are not in cap trouble.
Flames Jambalaya is in no way, shape or form associated with the Calgary Flames Hockey Club or the AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Heat. This is a fans blog for fans. We just happen to love the Flames, so we write about it.