I was really disappointed in some ways with the outcome at the trade deadline. No, not in the way that most people were. You see, I am of the opinion that the Flames' prospect cupboards are a little empty. I was really hoping that we could have gotten some picks back on the deadline.
Most of my friends consider me a real downer, and say I should have more faith in the Flames. I prefer to think of myself as a realist. The Flames are a playoff contender, and for that I give them credit. There is no way I would have even considered them that in December. The concern I have is that they may not be a cup contender. I am not sure this team can beat the Wings and Sharks, and especially the Canucks.
I wonder if another first round is in the future. If this is in the cards, I wonder if planning for the future would have been the better part of valor. I love the prospects we have, but what really worries me is the lack of picks. Too many times, this team has traded its picks for a kick at the can.
I am really getting tired of the Flames either just falling short of making the play-offs or losing in the first round. I would have loved to see the Flames stop this cycle of madness. The one good thing is that Jay did not trade any high picks, which is an improvement.
Another question that came to my mind is: What is Jay telling us about how he feels about the team? It tells me that he feels this team is capable of making a run. It also makes me think that he wants solidarity in the dressing room; a policy of “united we stand, united we fall,” to give the players the confidence that management is behind them. You never know what that could do in a locker room. A boatload of encouragement might just be the medicine this hockey team needs.
So Jay feels this team is good enough to make a run, which is fine. But hanging on to Glencross is a gamble; we could lose him for nothing. In the market right now, he could very well demand upwards of $4 million a year. Now he wants to stay in Calgary, so hopefully that would mean he might take a discount. The other question mark is Babchuck, who has a bullet shot from the point. How much of a raise will he demand?
So Jay decided to play Russian roulette and keep both players, to see if the Flames play for one more kick at the cat. Ah, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
The Flames made two more deals by simply adding two more players, a young defencemn and a vet at the forward position. The first acquisition was Brett Carson from Carl. A stay-home dman, a solid 6:4 210 no-nonsense defender. I wonder where this puts Brendan Mikkelson in the pecking order? I guess only time will tell.
The last acquisition was the trade which brought Freddy Modin from the Thrashers for a seventh round pick. It pretty much cost the Flames nothing, while putting some pressure on Hagmen and Kostoppoulos by having someone looking over their shoulders. Mostly Hagmen. It will be interesting to see how they respond for the rest of the season.
The game against the Blues started out well, and ended as the Flames had a terrific first period, firing 16 shots. I thought Bishop was very good in the first. They were solid in their own zone, and they continued the pressure. A great steal by Ibby to set up Tans nicely late in the period, to give the Flames a 1-0 lead. It was a very hard-hitting first period, with a playoff atmosphere.
The Blues were very good in the second period, and probably deserved to be tied going into the third. The main problem the Flames had was taking too many penalties. The penalty killing was very solid as Sarich and Regehr were both solid. The Flames were caught at times, but generally pretty solid defensively through 40 minutes. The Flames only allowed 14 shots in the first 40.
The Flames had the best third period of the season as they pounded the Blues for 5 goals in third period. On a sloppy line change by the Blues, Morrison sets up Iggy on a two-on-one breakaway to put it 2-0. The pp, which has really struggled, gets on track with a great deflection by Moss to put it 3-0. Then the Flames get another 3-on-1 as Morrison sets up Iggy for another one-timer. Bishop has no chance, and it is 4-0. The Blues continue to make silly penalties as Sutter rewards Sarich and Regehr on the pp and Roybn rewards him with blast from the point to put it 5-0. Backlund makes a give-away and Hagmen scores on a semi breakaway to put it 6-0.
In the third period, the front line could do no wrong. They were all over the puck. They took advantage of the breaks, scoring on every chance they had. Morrison really might have had his best game of the year, making some beautiful passes to Iggy. I have to mention the save by Kipper off Bergland in the third. It was outstanding. Kipper is in his zone. Final score 6-0.