Thursday, January 27, 2011


The Calgary Flames are now looking like a team on a mission, and their goalie seems to be their secret agent man Kipper. Kipper was back, especially the second period of last night's game. The Flames played a textbook first period. They waited the Blues out, and gave them nothing. Moss scores the only goal of the period. A boring but effective period by the Flames.

The second period, the Flames were sloppy, but their goalie was in one of his moods, and pretty much was the story of the game. He was outstanding in the second, making several saves. The Flames' powerplay has been good, as Moss scores a goal early in the second. But then the Blues take control of the period, and the Flames stop skating. The Flames get a great goal in the last two minutes, on a great pass by Olli.

The Flames have to start skating like they did in the first period. They have to cover their own zone and be defensive. The Blues break the shutout in the third period as Phillip McRae scores his first ever goal on a scramble in front of the net. The Blues pretty much dominated the rest of the game and rob Steen and then Pietrangelo, who are going to have nightmares after this game. Kipper was outstanding in the third. He was very sharp in holding the fort. Iggy scores a empty net goal to end the game 4-1.

The Flames might have taken the Blues too much for granted. They wereflat footed a lot in the third period and had trouble with the Blues' speed. The defence were pretty solid, despite giving up a whole lot of shots in the third period.

The Good

The powerplay has been improving of late, and they did well tonight as they got two more pp goals. I like the passing and moving around of the puck. The unit was working as one getting the puck to the net and making perfect passes. A great showing by the unit.

The Ugly

Too many scoring chances for the Blues. The defense was too timid. Flames have to stand up better in their own zone. They were not sharp in the second and third periods. If they want to continue to progress in the standings, they have to play better in their own zone.

The Great

Kipper was great with the saves off of Backes, Pietrangelo, and finally Steen. He kept the Blues' scoring to one goal. If it wasn't for him, this game could have been worse. You can thank Kipper for the fourth win in a row.

Final 4-1.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Flames Panel Which Player of the Core would you trade.

It is time to answer the panel question. Today's panel question is: Which one of the core would you trade if you were Jay Feaster. We are using the same guidelines as Jay Feaster himself used.

I thought I would tackle this question first to get rid of bad answers first. There are really not too many options. The Flames are really not going to be able to trade their captain. He is just too valuable to the Flames. Kipper is one of the best goalies in the league. Frankly, we can build the Flames around him.

Gio is far too young, and the Flames would be nuts to trade him; he is the future of the Flames. He could be a star d-man for many years to come. Mark is already the Flames' number one defensemen. They cannot afford to trade him.

Jbo has too big of a cap, although he is a solid defencemen and could help any team in the league. His cap hit will be too much for most teams to take on, and would force the Flames to take too much cap back. But he would be a great addition to any NHL team.

That leaves Regehr. I think he is the most logical person to be trade. His cap hit is quite affordable, at $4 million a year, he is quite reasonable. He is a solid shutdown defencemen, and there are not too many defencemen who can hit like Regehr. So there is my answer: Regehr.


After Darryl Sutter's firing, Flames nation breathed a sigh of relief as losses piled up. Action was finally being taken. 3 weeks later, and Feaster is now the 'acting' GM, tasked with making moves to make the Calgary Flames a more competitive team. Since Darryl's firing, it seems that the team is playing looser, having some fun, and putting wins together against top teams. Looking at the current Flames roster, you have 3 core players that have been around since the magical run of 03-04: Regehr, Iginla, and Kiprusoff. All have had their ups and downs this year, with Iginla being the first to be put under the microscope, and Regehr being on and off the hot plate, and Kipper most recently. All are into their 30's and beginning to enter their 'twilight' years. Who would you trade? The way I look at it as this: Who would bring the best return without the biggest loss to the Flames?

The way I look at it is that the two players that would bring the best return are Iginla and Regehr. Iginla is no longer the impact player that he used to be. Yes, he is a complete player, and will do everything that he can to win, but he's also looking for ways to cheat to get those plays made. The hard nosed, 'I'll do it myself' attitude is no longer there. It's understandable, and natural as a player gets older. The time is right where Iginla will benefit by heading to a team that has more talent around him, somewhere like LA, who at the moment are barely ahead of the Flames. A Brayden Schenn + 1st+3rd would make me happy, and would secure a top 5 pick for our Flames.

Regehr, on the other hand, will solidify a back-end for a cup contender. San Jose would be a perfect fit, as their defense has not been the same since the departure of Blake. Regehr can play big minutes, and punish any forwards that come bearing down on him. As Doug Wilson looks to get his Sharks over that final hump this year, he should be looking to the Flames as their defense is still near the top of the NHL. A Setogouchi +2nd trade is something to look towards, and IMO would give the Flames a decent replacement for Iginla, though nowhere near the complete player our beloved Jarome is. The 2nd would give us a full set of picks that Feaster has said he is looking to acquire.

Kipper is too important for us to let go, and usually the returns on goaltenders have never been great. Although he has struggled this year, I still believe that he is that cornerstone that the team needs as it waits for Leland Irving to make the jump. To top it all off, Eklund threw out a doozy today with Bourque, Bouwmeester, Backlund +1st +3rd to New Jersey for Parise, Rolston, Tedenby, Salvador, and Zharkov. Tempting, but take out that first from us, and Zharkov from the Devils and I'd do it.

If it all went down today, we would be looking at a top line for next year of Parise - Schenn - Setogouchi. Not bad...

Mike Walsh

After reading the recap from tonight's fan forum, I think this just got a whole lot easier to answer.

Feaster's core: Iggy, Kipper, Gio, Jay Bo and Regehr.

Based on the comments by Feaster at tonight's fan forum, those listed above are the only 5 players who Feaster considers core and chances arewill not trade. However, if I was in charge, I would look to move Robyn Regehr.

Regehr is still an attractive defensive defenceman for almost every other team in the league. He is exactly the type of defenceman that teams look for when they are hoping to make a long playoff run. I would move him because 1) He makes too much money. 2) His knee injuries have slowed him down and 3) he is that attractive asset that others would want. I think Feaster and the Flames could get a decent return, likely a good younger player, either a forward or defenceman maybe 2 and likely a
2nd round pick depending on how many younger players are included in the deal.

My gut tells me there is NOT a rebuild coming in Calgary, Feaster is going to re-tool the team to his liking. He will not lose the acting tag until the summer but if ownership is giving him 6 months of being in charge, I just don't see how they can let Feaster re-tool and then have someone else come in and maybe rebuild. There are some very good pieces here and based on Feaster's comments that he will explore all tools available to him (buy outs, minors, trades, etc.), I am expecting to see the core kept together and most of the supporting cast to change.


So, if I was Jay Feaster, and I were in my office with my face in my hands, looking at my core, which includes Iginla, Giordano, Bouwmeester, Regehr, and Kiprusoff; the obvious name to trade would be Regehr, a responsible hard-nosed defenceman that can excel in a shutdown role. But I would be looking for max return and that player (and I HATE to say it) is Miikka Kiprusoff. I remember the day we traded for him. My buddy came to my work and said sarcastically “we are gonna win the cup, we just got a goalie named Kiprusoff”. We both chuckled and went home to study his stats. A few months later, we ended the season one game away from winning the cup, thanks to “that” Kiprusoff goalie. Kiprusoff has become the workhorse and continues to steal games. Every team wants him and the Flames are fortunate and at times, we take him for granted. If we make him available, I can name 8 teams that would take him. The reality is, if we want a serious package that includes prospects and picks, we need to trade Kiprusoff. Kiprusoff allows the Flames organization to kick in the rebuild process and start fresh. It will be rough, and we will all quickly see how important he is. So I would deal Kiprusoff. I believe he offers the most significant return, and doing so would announce that a rebuild is in effect.

If we are basing this on the Flames retooling and putting on a band-aid, than my choice would be Robyn Regehr. You can probably get an ok return that could include a nice draft pick that helps the organization get some youth and hopefully speed.

There you have it.  Which player would you trade?


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Flames back in it or are they?

Hold the Phones

Although the Western conference is a log jam, the Flames are back in the mix after a very entertaining 4-3 shootout victory in Vancouver.

We have seen this before where the Flames win some games and has believing they are a good team making a serious push; but this time is it different? Maybe, we got embarrassed by the Wild last week and sadly to say it will happen again before the season is up! My take is that this team has turned a page; they have been playing above average hockey in their last 10+ games. The effort is there (minus the Minnesota game) and Iginla looks like a man on a mission, driving to the net again and being a physical factor are positive signs for this team. Is the team back? Or is it a little too late? Both can be argued. But as a fan, I can’t help feel a little optimistic.

So what does Feaster do? If you drive past his front lawn you will see Matt Stajan and Ales Kotalik with a “free, leave a donation” sign in front of them. But what about the rest of the team, like Regehr and Hagman? Some have said including Feaster that he has been very active on the phone but can he really mess with the team right now? The organization is still committed to making the Playoffs this year and right now is the closest they have been all year. Plus, despite Kiprusoff’s recent woes, the team is getting points.

My take for the fans that are waiting on a big trade to show us in which direction the team is going, you might have to wait until the end of February. There is a big chance that no move is made at all and the team stays together and gets an opportunity to make the playoffs. It seems to me this club will be in the mix until the very end, and although I still don’t buy this team being part of the dance come play offs, I do want this team to stay committed to the play offs, at least until February 28th.

Last thing is the constant rumours of Regehr. After the past 2 games I question if Regehr should be shopped. In my opinion what Regehr is bringing right now cannot be taken out of this team at the moment. And with his contract situation and his NTC, a return that doesn’t hurt the team today is not possible at the moment. I don’t see Regehr being traded but I didn’t see Phaneuf being dealt either.


Flames Beat Canucks 4-3 Shootout.

The Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks put on a show, but the Flames are still not quite there, as they could not hold onto two leads. But on the bright side, they skated for three periods. And Backlund might have had his best game of the year. Jackman continues to be the best he has been, often the best forward of the year.

The Flames skated with the Canucks for three periods, especially the first period. The Flames played their best period as Glencross and Morrison score for the Flames. Edler replied for the Canucks. And here is a surprise -- Morrison's goal was on the powerplay for the second game in a row. The Flames were great, especially in their own zone. Kipper was very good in the first period, but his best period was yet to come. Iggy really needs to get into the game. He seems to be not quite there tonight. So far, Morrison is very good.

The defence as a whole was pretty solid. The key point was the lower pairings did not cause the Flames too much trouble. Overall, a pretty solid period by the Flames.

The second period was probably the worst period for the Flames. The Canucks tie the game early in the second period 2-2, Edler scoring his second of the night. The Canucks outskated the Flames, and if it was not for Kipper it would have been worse. But you have to hand it to the Flames for hanging on at the end of the period. The penalty kill has been outstanding. The major problem in the second period was that at times, the Flames allowed the Canucks to control the game for the first time.

The Flames had to come out early in the third to make sure the Canucks fans didn't get into the game. The Flames and Canucks put on a show. Up and down, each team went with their chances. The Flames score their third goal to take the lead, and of course it was Jackman. The Canucks come right back to tie the game, a short-handed goal by Kesler (who, by the way, is the Canucks' MVP, in my opinion.) In maybe the worst penalty of the night, Jbo gets called for hooking. Whether it should have been called is not in question; it was a penalty, it doesn't matter if it was in the last minute or not.

The Canucks could not score on that powerplay late in the third and early in OT. Kipper was back to his old self. The Flames had one powerplay themselves, but they ran out of time to score. The Canucks had more scoring chances, but really, this game was pretty even.

The shootout started out with Jeff Tambellini scoring the first goal. Bourque matches that one up to tie the shootout at one. Ollie and Kesler both miss, Olli hitting the post. The winning goal comes with Tanguay potting the winner. Was it in the net? Well, that really depends on who you ask. :) But it counts.

The game was one of the best of the year. It had everything: the hits and saves, the goalies were terrific; both were awesome, Louongo robbing Glencross, and Kipper making 41 saves. The Canucks had no powerplay goals, but had one-short handed goal. The Flames had one powerplay goal, and gave up one short-handed goal.

The best forward:

Backland was outstanding. He was flying out there. He seemed to be everywhere. We really need to find him more ice time. He was super all night. Hopefully there is more to come for the smooth-skating centre.

Best player:

Kipper make 41 saves, many of them just outstanding. Kipper was outstanding in powerplay chances for the Canucks. He continued to hold the twins at bay, among others. This might very well be his best game of the year.

4-3 Flames in a shootout.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Time for Changes.

I really think there is a major problem here in Calgary, whether it's the system or the goalie or the defence. The Flames have this bad habit of just not acting interested in playing a full 60 minutes. Last night I am not sure they played a full 10 minutes like they are capable of.

Kipper was . . . well, bad last night. Yes, he had company, but let's face facts; he is fighting the puck like he never has before. He is acting like he is afraid of the puck. He seems to have lost his confidence. Then the team start playing nervous, like they can't make a mistake. Which results in a 6-0 whipping laid by the Wild.

So what happened last night? Well, where do I start? Seriously, if you want me to tell you everything that went wrong, we will be here all night.

So let's begin with the defence. Too many times standing around, fighting the puck. Gio is really having trouble right now. He looks like he is taking all of this on his own. He was caught flat-footed and has to step back and realize he can't do everything himself. Pardy has not been the same since Regehr came back. Pardy has gone back to playing with no confidence. Jay Bo has been good most of the time, but he still looks totally uncomfortable with the system. The defence really has to pick up its speed; the Wild forwards skated circles around them.

Before we get into the forwards, let's discuss tonight. Horrible. Glencross lost his head and made a horrible mistake, Curtis is lucky he did not get more. You have to think the League will look into it further. The Flames almost scored. They had some major momentum and looked like they were going to make some noise. The 5 minute major killed any momentum they had after that shift.

Morrison really struggled tonight, and just maybe Sutter deserves some of the blame. The coach has to put his players in position to succeed. Putting Morrison on the first line may not have been the best position. Hagman on the fourth line is a real head-scratcher. I really don't understand it. As a result, Hagman struggled. He looks lost and totally frustrated. I am not sure he does knows what is expected of him.

The Flames had a terrible first period and gave up 2 goals in the first ten minutes. They really never recovered. But in reality, they never pushed back, they fell back. They had no get-up-and-go. The second period was Glencross' penalty, and the powerplay let them down again. This is like a broken record. Please fix it. Because this powerplay right has too many scratches and needs to be declined. (Did you see the pun there?)

During the third period they quit. They gave up three more goals. And you know what? That really worries me. I have never seen a Sutter team give up as much as this team folded its tent. I really feel it's time to do something quick. Please see the light, Jay, it's time to pull the plug. 6-0 final Wild.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

When do the Flames Make a Trade?

When do the Flames pull the trigger?

With all the recent rumours and speculation, we wanted to ask people when they believe the Flames make that first trade. From now until the deadline when will the Flames trade a player or acquire a player?

On our twitter page we asked fans to submit their answer. The person or persons with the correct guess will win an all-inclusive *drum roll* one on one blog interview that will be posted on But that is not all!! You will also get some twitter exposure. Too good to be true you ask? Maybe but it is all yours if you can guess correctly! No hidden fees, no shipping charges, and no payment instalments! All you will have to endure is bragging rights and one wicked awesome interview. And if you want to add the player that will be traded for added bonus bragging rights feel free.

Now that my lame sales pitch is over let’s see who chose what date! Below you will find the picks of our twitter friends and avid Flames fans. If you are not following these folks on than maybe you should! (Goes by twitter name)

@DKAY1987 Jan. 28th
@cgalatis Feb.1st
@DWWMusicLove20 Jan. 29th
@KAbalos8 Feb. 11th
@morrisonhotshot Jan. 22nd
@brian_george Jan. 25th
@jstar1973 Feb. 16th
@Thefanblogger Feb. 2nd
@Bowi44 Jan. 24th
@aussieflame Feb. 4th
@wolf403 Feb. 21st
@Mwalsh20 Feb. 19th
@travishilli Feb. 3rd
@RossCreekNation Jan. 31st
@madisonjanine Jan. 29th
@SKRollins Feb. 10th
@Kent_wilson Feb. 7th
@michelleleeanna Jan. 28th
@DarciCollier Feb. 4th
@dustin642 Feb. 24th
@sbrossy77 Feb. 13th
@tskierka Jan. 26th
@MrTomJensen Jan. 20th

@Ang_J Feb. 8th
@Jay_doubleyou Feb. 17th
@etchysketch Feb. 5th
@canadakid1994 Jan. 23rd
@Flames_fan1 Feb. 28th
@that_angela Mar. 2nd (noone wants what the flames have) lol
@MikkiDeeYyc Feb. 1st
@MikeMcD76 Jan. 25th
@SnowdenNHL Jan. 20th
@Jay_Feaster Feb. 14th



Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Review of the Weekend.

So what did the Flames do right over the weekend? How did they win? Simply put, they played the system. No matter how bad the system, if the players believe in it, they will be successful. The forwards seem to have their legs.

The best line of Hagman, Stajan, and Glencross seem to really have their acts together right now. They are beginning to work as a unit. I like the cycle they are doing. They are forcing the issues, and are getting their scoring chances.

On the defence, Adam Pardy is developing into the defencemen he is capable of being. He has taken the chance and is running with it. He has been a rock in these last two games. Sometimes, adversity brings out the best in players, and it looks like it has brought out the best in Adam. It is great to see; I have seen Adam play since he turned pro, and it is great to see him live up to his potential. What I liked most about Pardy's play in the last two games is that he seemed to get better with each period. His minutes went over 20, compared to the 8 minutes he usually plays. He is grabbing the chance and running with it.

Of course, the top 2 have been very good. I still think that Gio will be the Flames' leader for many years to come. I am so happy this kid is signed for the next 4 years, because he is going to be a good one. Jbo is leading the team, he is doing the little things right. Jbo's offensive numbers might not be as good, but he is doing things that don't appear on the score sheet.

Shall we talk about the penalty killing? Because the Flames have been doing this very well. They have been outstanding. I give much of the credit to the unsung hero Cory Sarich. He has been a stalwart in the back line. He has lifted up his play tenfold. He has been very responsible in his own end. Not only has Glencross been good playing on the 5-on-5, he has been great working on the penalty kill.

I mentioned the system in this road trip. The Flames have the players coming down to the zone again. I like their covering their zones and playing the percentages covering their men. The players are beginning to buy into this, and Jackman seems to the main reason. He is teaching the younger players. Backlund and Pardy are listening, and they are getting the vets to listen. Yes, I am seeing these players become a team, and the role players leading this team.

The goalies came to play on the weekend. And again, it seems that Karlsson motivated Kipper. Karlsson was outstanding in Ottawa. He was especially steady in covering the angles and gave out very few rebounds. He played like a vet. It is so nice to have a back-up that the Flames can win with. He is a very important asset to have down the stretch. Kipper promptly plays “anything you can do, I can do better” and was outstanding in the Flames' victory over the Leafs. He made several saves and really came through. He was the old Kipper that the Flames fans know and love.

The Flames offence is struggling right now, but there were some positives. Stajan looks like he is improving his play. The second line was very good, and Hagman was snapping out of his slump. Iggy is his old self, the leader on this team. Let's hope Feaster does not change his mind, and keeps him.


The Rumour Mill

Rumours Rumours Rumours
43 days until the NHL Trade Deadline

With the Flames current position in the Western Conference, the team has been in constant trade rumour talk across the league. Some seem a little crazy and some are fairly reasonable. So on this Sunday I wanted to take some time and address those rumours.

First one I would like to start off with is the constant Iginla to “everywhere” rumour. Feaster continues to be loud and clearly states that he is not dealing Iginla this season. I guess it depends if you believe him or not, but I can’t help but believe him. With how the team is currently playing and as long as the team gets 4 out of 6 possible points every three games, trading Iginla becomes more and less likely. Both Feaster and Dean Lombardi have said the teams have had zero discussions regarding Iginla. Although Milbury may not agree with Feaster, I do.

Then there is Robyn Regehr, a man who has almost played 800 games in a Flames uniform. Regehr has been linked to the Rangers, Kings and the Habs. All those teams could use him but first he needs to be healthy again. And yes he is actually injured. Also teams will have to accept taking on his salary and give up picks or prospects because Feaster has said he is not interested in making a salary for salary trade. If I had to pick a team out of the three, I still think the Kings are the most realistic team to be able to land Regehr, if indeed he is being moved. On the other hand, Babchuk might be the guy who gets moved instead. His play as of late and his cheap contract make him very attractive to a lot of NHL teams going in to the playoffs.

Alex Tanguay to LA; again it makes sense and is possible but until this team is out of the play off running this will not happen. Tanguay is an attractive guy for teams based on his salary and his creativeness is welcome on any team. Some believe Tanguay will not waive his NTC. I believe Alex would, he signed a low end one year contract so he can have less pressure and rebound. Tanguay is out to get a new contract come July 1st. Playoff hockey will only help his cause, and with his 32 points so far he has caught the attention of some teams.

Other attractive players the Flames could be shopping include Staios, Bourque, Morrison and Glencross. I realize Staios has played very little and has had some injury troubles, but for a low end draft pick the Flames could ship the veteran off to a team that wants to bulk up the d-core for the playoffs. Bourque has disappeared. Rene has been making lazy mistakes and his confidence is shot. But there is no denying when Bourque is on (which new scenery could spark), you have a top six forward that is a difference maker.

A player to keep an eye is Nicklas Bergfors. Atlanta is in contention for a playoff spot and might be a small buyer. Calgary offers some players that Atlanta would benefit from. With Bergfors’ contract situation and the talks not going so well he could be a guy that becomes very attractive for Jay Feaster. No inside information here just a hunch and I would put Mikkel Boedker in there as well.

Who knows if this team continues to get points and stay relevant, Feaster may become a buyer come February instead of a seller… not sure that is what you wanted to hear.

Last note: The Calgary Flames have declined the option to begin the season in Europe next season. The stop would have included Finland the home of Kiprusoff, Hagman, Jokinen and Joni Ortio.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Flames Lose to Canes In A SO 6-5

The Calgary Flames continue to have these mental breakdowns. Seriously, defence is making bad panic giveaways and the forwards are not there to help. Granted, the officiating was really weak tonight. But the Flames gave the officials reasons to make the calls. Adam Pardy, who has been really consistent this season, had a rough night tonight; but he was alone. The defence really has to stop making blind clears, but the forward are way too slow. The speed on this team was bad. Tonight, Kipper was . . . well, awful, and the Flames players looked like the spirit was just kicked right out of them. What really concerns me is that he has not been that sharp in his last two starts.

In the first period, the Flames deserved a better fate, as Jbo makes a great shot to open a one-zip lead. The Flames start out well, killing a 5-on-3 powerplay in the first period. In fact, Glencross almost scores on the penalty kill. Glencross had a great period, as did most of the Flames. The Canes get a shaky goal to tie it by Rutu. Iggy then put the Flames up 2-1, as the first line scores. Iggy looks like he is pumped right now. The Canes score another one as Jussi Jokinen gets that one back. The first period produces 4 goals.

Here it is: the Flames had a great first period. Most things went well, including killing a 5-on-3 powerplay. I was very encouraged.

The second period was ugly. The Canes scored early and often, as Kipper lets in 2 goals on two shots. Erik Cole scores early in the second, but the Flames are not playing that badly. But then the goal of the night (not really) as Staal scores a very weak shot. Karlsson comes in and is outstanding, despite giving up the fifth goal as Jussi Jokinen puts it 5-2. But the Flames do let up on that fifth goal; the spirit seems to go out of them. In fact, I thought it was going to be another goal, but the Flames hold the fort. Just when you think the game is over, Hagmen makes a great takeaway and shoots a great shot in the top corner, and the Flames cut it to 5-3.

If you want the truth, the Flames really have not played that badly. At times, the defence has been sloppy in their own zone, but if Kipper was his usual self, the Flames would have won this game. I wonder if this game would have ended differently if Sutter had taken Kipper out at the start of the second period. Karlsson deserved a better fate; for his play as he was very good.

The third period might have been the Flames' best third period, as Hagman makes one of the best behind-the-back passes to Glencross to put it 5-4. A great play by Hagmen. The Flames tie the game, thanks to Bourque, a great play by Morrison to keep the puck alive to give Bourque a chance to score on the rebound. The Flames play a solid third period. They were skating and could have easily won the game in regulation, which cost them the 2 points.

The OT was all Canes, but Karlsson would hold the fort. He was outstanding. Bourque takes a bonehead penalty, but the Canes don't take advantage of the break. Karlsson makes the save of the game at the end of the overtime, with a mad scramble in front. The Flames lose the game in a shootout as Skinner scores the only goal. As a Flames fan, I will take the point. 6-5 Canes in a shootout.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


As the snow falls heavily in Alberta, the Flames and Oilers try hard to stay above the surface.

Let’s face it; professional hockey in this province has been disappointing in the past year. Although, it sounds like in Edmonton they have embraced the re-build and fans seem on board and excited for what is to come. So does that mean the Flames should do the same? I think even if the Flames did, it would be a lot harder than what Edmonton had to do and is currently going through. Simply, because Taylor Hall helps any franchise sell a rebuilding team to any city and their fans. But guys like him, do not come around every draft. Nugent-Hopkins, Couturier and Larsson are nice young players but they will take more time than a Hall or Tavares to produce, and some argue that their ceiling is not as high, although that’s up for debate.

What I am trying to say is that, it will not be as easy even if the Flames commit to a rebuild. Simply put, we will probably not even finish in the bottom five in the NHL this season and be up for the draft lottery. Then you look at the contracts we have, we still need to put up with Kotalik & Jokinen for another year unless a crazy GM takes them or the owners want to waste 6 million in the AHL next season. I guess you can buy them out but they would still take up some salary cap for a few years. Then there is Stajan, he does not fit in and his contract is a scary one that includes a no trade clause. I can continue about other contracts but I am sure you get the drift.

Don’t forget that we do not even know who the GM will be. Feaster is still the acting and his plan still has to be presented and approved. Imagine if the owners and Ken Kings deny his plan and a new search begins for a GM. That would mean this team will sit and possibly let values of their players disappear while they still have value. Than you look at the coming draft and we currently have one selection in the top 60. We need to get a GM in here who can make decision and soon, if it is Feaster than good. If not, the organization better find someone fast!

One person asked me; What if the owners want to just bring in a couple new faces and try again next year, is that possible? Well I guess it’s possible, but why did they let Darryl Sutter go then? He had been doing that exactly for the past 3 years. I believe we are at a state where everyone in the organization realizes we need a change but they just haven’t figured out what that change really is and who is in charge of the change. Let us hope they figure it out soon and we can begin this “change.” Just do not expect it to be as smooth and positive as our rivals to the North of Calgary.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Things really do look bleak, to say the least, in Calgary. I am all for being positive, but there has to be a time when common sense kicks in. I really hate to see the core leave, I have met each one of them several times, but it is nothing personal; this is a business.

The Flames are in fourteenth place, and have not been consistent all season. They are showing no signs of improving. The fourth line has been our best line for the last number of games, our best forward being Jackman, who is having a career year and is on a five game point streak; the highest in his career.

The owners have to really give Feaster the full-time permanent General Manager position. The temporary tag is pretty much leaving the Flames like a dead fish, or a better term, lame duck (dead fish are too smelly) franchise. The Flames owners have to give Jay the power as soon as possible, or else fire his butt and get someone in who they do trust. I know that is harsh, but at this moment, we need to have a secure game plan. Jay Feaster was supposed to give a couple of plans to the owners; one for if they are buyer and one for seller. Let's hope the ownership likes one of the plans. If they don't, then we are in real trouble.

There are rumors out there that the reason Sutter was fired is that he wanted to trade the core and start rebuilding If those rumors are true, then I have a problem with firing of Sutter, because frankly, I am ready for a change of pace. We all know the problems with Daryl and Brent, and obviously Brent is not willing to let go his core either. If there is a bright side to this, at least everyone is on the same page. The problem is, are they on right page or even the right book?

So what are their options? Who should they rebuild with? These are vital questions that the Flames must answer quickly. I feel their strength is defence, and their best defencemen is Gio, who is the perfect defencemen to build on. I think he is and should be groomed to be the number one man on the team. So that leaves Jbo and Regehr; I would trade at least one of the two.

The Flames have way too much cap invested in the D core, and really need to dump some cap. I really feel that Regehr could get us some good picks, and maybe even a prospect. I am really thinking realistically that Jbo's cap might be too hard to deal, so I suspect he is along for the ride.

The Flames have some decisions to make with Sarich and Pardy, especially Pardy; they have to decide wheather to re-sign him. That is why I feel it is vital that we find a new home for Regehr, so we can sign Pardy, who is still young. It is vital that we get the cap down on the back end so we can maybe look at getting some free agents in. We also have to figure out whether or not to keep Babchuck. Babchuck is our fifth defensmen on the chart, but he has a terrific shot from the blue line on the powerplay. He is useful and should be signed if possible. Which means it might necessary to dump Sarich -- hard to do at 3.6 million. Staios is gone, and I think we should think about not qualifying Mikkelson.

Our prospects in the defence are Brodie and Negrin, both could step in and are close. So it's time to bring in our prospects get rid of some bodies. This is vital two ways: cap relief and some speed in the line-up.

We can assume that the keeping Iggy is a lock and it pretty much cost Sutter his job, as he wanted to trade Iggy. So if they are not trading Iggy, who are they planning to dump? We have four UFA's: Conroy, Glencross, Morrison, and Tanguay. Wave bye-bye to Glencross, Morrison, and Connie. I feel it vital that we keep Tangs. The first priority is qualifying Backlund and building our future. Is there a taker for Stajan? Because we have Olli, who has one of those wonderful No Trade Clauses. Olli has been 10 times better than Stajan. But will there be someone who will take a $3.5 million cap struggling centerman? Problem one: Stajan. Problem two: Kotalik, a $3 million NTC forward, who is not worth that kind of cap. Therein lies the problem. $6.5 million of cap with Stajan and Kotalik that cannot be easily taken out. Kotalik at least only has one more year at $3 million, which means a buy-out could be an option. The assets that could be traded are Bourque and Hagmen, but I really feel that we should keep them to build the team around. Jay is pretty much determined to keep Iginla, so our options are pretty limited. The other option is trading Moss, who has been outstanding of late. He is a great role player. We have one more year on the contract of Kostopoules, but he is a useful player, and should be kept for another year. That leaves trading Bourque and Hagmen, and buying out Kotalik. Trading Stajan or Olli are really hard sells. Jay has already told everyone who will listen that he is not trading Iggy. We could trade Glencross, but he is not going to get a huge package, being a UFA at the end of the year.

So finally, we get to the goalies. Kipper has been outstanding. The Flames will get a huge package for him and it would clear up almost $6 million for next year. But is Karlsson or Irving ready to be number one? It would be a huge gamble for the Flames.

There you have it. The Flames have some options, but for goodness sake, give Jay the official position of GM, so we can start the rebuilding.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Flames lose to the Isles.

The Calgary Flames have a problem, and the problem is on the second line and third line: they are non-existent. Morrison and Stajan somehow have to wake up their lines soon. Bourque has really been fighting the puck. He has lost his confidence. Meanwhile, Stajan looks totally confused. He just is not looking like he is getting the system.

The Flames were on a roll going into the game tonight, but the second and third lines did not work. The Flames were simply awful tonight. They could not have been worse in that first period. Basically, they were not playing with any energy. The Isles deserve some of the credit; the Flames took them for granted.

Robin Regehr really struggled tonight, making mistakes that he normally does not make. Jbo pitched in where there was really nothing to pitch in on. The front line was all right, but did not offer any help for the fourth line.

Morrison and Kotalik really need to pick up their games. They have both been struggling. Even in the four-game winning streak, they were struggling. Tonight they looked disinterested. They looked like they had somewhere else to go.

Jackman and Moss continue to be the best players game after game. Moss was outstanding. In reality, he was in a league of his own. Moss was constantly skating and hitting everything he saw. He was getting the message: “play defence first, and the offence will take care of itself.” But unfortunately, the fourth line was the only line.

I already mentioned Regehr earlier on the defence, but he was not alone. Pardy and Sarich did not have the best of nights. They were often caught by the Isles' speed. Jbo was alright tonight. He was the best of the defence, but even he was making errors, making errant or blind passes. Gio was too busy trying to force the issue offensively.

When the Flames play the speed game, they get outworked and start making lazy plays. The Flames have to remember what kind of team they are. They are a solid, hardworking team; they take care of their end first. When they forget who they are, they play a game like this. The Isles spank the Flames 5-2.

Mr. Feaster is telling everyone that will listen that the core will stay. He considers the core to be Regehr, Jbo, Iggy, and Kipper. I hate to tell you this; we really don't have that much more to offer for a rebuild. Well, at least we're not going to get any first or second rounders coming our way. When Bourque is playing like he can, he is worth a first or second round. So is Stajan. Hagmen might be close, if he is playing up to his abilities.

The problem is that Hagmen, Stajan, and Bourque are nowhere near their game. They are all struggling. The only players who are playing their games are considered to be the core and are untouchable. How is Feaster going to be able to talk to the other General Managers with a straight face and say he has something to offer, other than the core? Unless, of course, Jay is not being completely honest with the media. Perish the thought. I am not saying one of the core will be traded; I am just saying that Feaster would be a fool not to consider it.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

What Would Feaster Do?

What is being said, and what could Feaster do?

Jay Feaster has taken over and has answered a million questions. Some the same, some different but so far it all sounds good. He has not finished his evaluation of the club, but he has clearly stated that Iginla and Kiprusoff are not being dealt this season, and Brent Sutter and the coaching staff will remain on!

What do we know about Feaster…? He has stated he likes the draft and likes to have at least 7 picks (which we don’t right now) and although he likes the draft, his history with drafting has not been spectacular to say the least. But at least he wants to bring in youth which I believe is ultra-important for this team moving forward! What else do we know…? His golden player is Brad Richards, so if the team is in playoff contention come February, does Feaster call Dallas? I doubt it but I guess you never know. He also made it loud and clear on CBC last night that he has no interest in trading away the core. He was asked who the core was and his answer was quick; Iginla, Bouwmeester, Regehr, Giordano and Kipper. So if he will not trade any of those guys, does that mean Bourque, Hagman, Stajan, Sarich and Glencross are on the short list to be shipped out? Let’s see;

Bourque- scores in bunches and when he is on, he is a legitimate NHL scoring winger. But when he is off like he is right now, he is a pain to watch and seems lost in all aspects. Now his 6 year contract that began this season with a cap hit of 3.33 mill per, could turn away some teams but maybe come February a team looking for a winger like Pittsburgh might just bite. I doubt we see him moved but with a new man at the helm it could happen, and maybe Feaster looks at the cap issues being fixed by moving Bourque and Stajan’s contracts.

Stajan- Wow I knew he was overrated in Toronto but I thought he was better than this. Some games I forget he even plays for the Flames. I know that hit from Staal affected him because since that hit he has been dreadful and has been lost, even playing against 3rd defensive pairings. I think you have to look at his creativeness as his strength and can be a factor in helping a power play. But the way he is playing now, I think Feaster would have a hard time finding a buyer especially at 3 more years of a 3.5 mill cap hit.

Hagman- Probably a guy you can move just based on his work ethic and his ability to score. Contract wise a team would have to take on 3mill for next year only and at the age of 31, that should be do able. I think he brings a lot to the Flames but is being held back due to the system this club is trying to play.

Sarich- He is that perfect d-man a team acquires for a long play-off run and brings a physical side that some Eastern teams are missing. He would have to waive his no trade clause but Sarich is a proud man and will want to play for a team that appreciates what he brings as in leadership and his no nonsense style of play. I do not expect a big return but a draft pick might be what Feaster is looking for.

Glencross- Contract is up at the end of the season, and with Kostopoulos here now with a year left. I imagine Glencross will be shopped. He offers some speed, physical edge and can be a short-handed threat. I imagine some teams will look to add that type of player and Feaster could get some calls very soon.

From the sounds of it Feaster is committed to still focusing on play-offs for this season but he acknowledges changes must be made. But due to contracts and Feaster believing in the core, I see him trying to make changes in a sense of “a few small moves” to equal a “big move”. If Feaster can pull off moving Stajan’s contract and maybe even Bourque’s (although I have mixed feelings about that), this team could be looking at a re-tool instead of a re-build. Not sure that’s what most fans want to hear but that is my take and due to what Sutter left behind, it may be the only option right now.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Battle of Alberta / Oilers vs Flames Video Highlights

The Edmonton Oilers lose 2-1 to the Calgary Flames.

Calgary Flames vs Edmonton Oilers / A LIVE TweetCast

Welcome to the LIVE TweetCast of the
Edmonton Oilers vs Calgary Flames 

Edmonton Oilers vs Calgary Flames
8:00pm MT Start



Calgary Flames (17-18-3) at Edmonton Oilers (12-17-7) 

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