Friday, October 16, 2015

The Flames' Three Headed Monster

You would think the Flames would have gotten a more clear goalie picture by now. Instead, they have a messy, cluttered situation. Why, you ask? Well, it could be for two reasons. The first is obvious. They are equally bad to start off the season. Whether it's the goaltending or the defence, Houston, we have a problem and big one at that. The other is that the Flames muddied the water when they re-signed Ramo. They should have traded Hiller. Instead, we have a three-headed monster on our hands.

The three goalie system does not work. In fact, it often causes a distraction in the dressing room. When any given night you have one or two mistakes in your own end, it becomes almost comical. The goaltending is not picking up that great save when we need it. Which is rather troublesome. Either Hiller or Ramo has to start playing like they want the job. Or do I dare say, bringing in Ortio to give him a shot?

Talking about Ortio, let's face facts. Sitting in the press box is not doing him any good.  Either play him or trade him. The third choice is not a choice. What I mean by that is I do not feel he would clear waivers. I also feel he has nothing to prove in the AHL. You know what happens when you stop moving forward, you regress instead of progressing. That is why I feel they are at a crossroads with him. Play him or find a home for him. As long as he sits in the press box, you are not going to get much for him. He might not even be in the future for the Flames, with Jon Gillies on the farm.

The defense issue concerns me a bit. I know it's early, but the defense seems to be running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Most nights our second pairing has been the best pairing. Hamilton and Gio have struggled at times this season. They are really missing Brodie. His playmaking skills are what the doctor ordered for this team right now.

Yes, it's early, but the Flames have to squash this before it becomes a norm. The forwards deserve some blame for not finishing their hits and taking silly penalties because they are lazy. The players started believing all the hype and no team is going to take them for granted now. There is no sneaking up on teams; they are well aware of the Flames and more prepared to pounce on them.

Again, it's early, but I see nasty habits rearing their ugly heads. This cannot be tolerated. 'Never give up' has to be back in their game. Right now they are not even trying.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Calgary Flames Decisions

Going into the season, the Flames have some major choices to make. The biggest being in goal, crowded with three incumbents: Jonas Hiller, Karri Ramo, and of course Joni Ortio. Ortio having a one-way contract makes it that more interesting. This is the one choice I want to discuss tonight.

Karri Ramo

The ability of Karri to make the big save came in handy in the playoffs. But at the same time, his unfortunate ability to give up a bad goal was almost predictable. He was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The Flames need a more consistent goalie this season. Whether Karri can deliver is anyone guess.

Jonas Hiller

Jonas would be the first to tell you he can be better this season. I love his ability to cover his net. He has quick reflexes for rebounds for the second start. He is usually in position for the next opportunity. But he has the tendency to lose focus and let in bad goals. If he can return to his days in Disneyland, he is capable of being a consistent number one goalie.

Joni Ortio

Here is the wild card. Joni has been outstanding at AHL level. He really had no more to prove. He is a big, lanky goalie who covers the net. He is a very good positional goalie who needs to work to continue his progress. The negative is that I am not sure he will get enough action to do that.

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.


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.  


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?

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.