Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Same old Same Old

I have seen many lows and many highs this season but deadline day had to be the all time low of the season. The Flames had to do something, whether it was buying or selling, they had to make up their minds.

Supposedly the Flames were buyers, and they had the mental attitude of going in to do so. Feaster had to have some kind of plan going into the day. Somehow or somewhere that plan failed to execute. The Flames failed to buy or sell. Instead, they stood pat.

That pretty much tells the players that they are happy with the way they have been playing. They are telling everyone that this team is good enough, where every team around them did something to improve. The Flames apparently felt that with acquisition of Cammy, they did not have to do anything big. News flash: when the Kings acquired Carter, it would behove the Flames to have gotten another second line Center.

Now I hear the Flames rebuttle on this: right now Cammy is the best or second best centerman. But seriously, look at the statement right there: Cammy is not even a Center. What is that saying about the Flames' state of affairs?

Now from what I have been told, the prices were too high and Feaster was not willing to risk it. I really am confused with this statement, simply because Feaster has told everyone that they are winning now. If you are winning now but aren't willing to risk going for it, then why are you winning now?

It is obvious that this team is not good enough to compete in the West. In fact, the only reason they are close is because they are in the worst division in the league. Their record within their own division is so impressive that it is keeping them in the playoffs.

The problem is, they are playing the Pacific, and the last time they beat the Ducks or the Coyotes on the road was in 1956. And they are not much better in Texas against the Stars. They play the Kings and the Sharks very well on the road. But guess what? Both of those teams made improvements to their roster. When the Kings and Sharks and Coyotes were improving, Feaster was hemming and hawing, complaining that the price was to high.

Everyone wants to know why the Flames are so inconsistent. Let me tell you a secret: they are not much better than a 500 team. The reason they are not playing any better is I am not too sure they can.

The one bright side is they have one of the best goalies in the league in Kipper, who will keep them in every game. The problem is that every team they are chasing have a stud in net too, except for the Coyotes. And you know what? Smyth is playing like in his Dallas days right now.

But Kipper can't make the Flames score, and he cannot control the other teams goalie, which puts the Flames between a rock and a hard place. Which means same old, same old.

I know I have been really hard on the Flame of late, but seriously -- the Flames have been . . . well . . . not good. My job as a blogger in not to be a fan, but really to report. So I report that all is not sweet and jolly at the moment. The Flames have to play 700 for the rest of the season. Yeah; good luck with that.

As for the injury update; it sounds like Moss is coming close, and Jones could be back within three weeks. I am not so sure that Glencross didn't come back too soon.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sleeping time again on the Dead Line.

Everyone is expecting the Calgary Flames to do something big this Monday, landing the big fish Jeff Carter. The chances of that happening are slim to none. The Flames can't simply match the offer the Kings can give, or even the Leafs.

The second reason is the emergence of Cammy as a Centre, and promptly becoming the best faceoff man on the team. That is a sad statement in itself. Seriously, the Flames faceoff record is not pretty. But with Glencross close to the starting line-up, Tangs can move to the 2nd line, so Cammy can have a playmaker with him.

The less obvious reason it won't happen is that I don't think that Jeff Carter is the Centre the Flames need. In my honest opinion, the Flames need a centre who is a playmaker, someone who can distribute the puck to the wingers. This is something that Cammy so badly needs, which Tangs can fill now that Glencross is very close to coming back.

It is obvious that the Flames need support scoring, a consistent second line would be vital for the Flames. Jay Feaster is pretty sure he has that, now that Glencross is back. The only way the Flames go after a big name is if he gets something that is just too good to pass up.

That role could be filled by Derick Roy in Buffalo. The main problem with this deal is simply economics. The Flames could use Roy, but at what price? The injury to Backlund really hurts their chances of acquiring Roy. The Sabres are going to want some talent and a first round draft pick. That would not be any problem if the Flames could have the best young talent.

This is the main reason the Flames are looking to get a Centre who is a faceoff specialist. I know what most of you are saying; the Kings and Coyotes are making a statement, why don't the Flames? But seriously, the Flames getting their health back may be the statement they need in order to fight for that last playoff spot.

This much we do know about the Flames; they are talking to the Sabres, Caps, and Panthers at least. I suspect it is just tinkering for the playoffs. Sorry, Flames, it's another boring deadline this season.

As I write this article: Carter looks like he is going to the Kings.

Until next time, take care.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Number One Center?

Number One Center?
A lot of Flames fan and myself included have been waiting for that key number one center to play with Jarome Iginla but recently when I saw the Glencross - Jokinen - Iginla line put together It showed me that Jokinen can play with Iggy he has developed chemistry with the big center. It showed even more when the Tanguay - Jokinen - Iggy line was put together that Jokinen has found his game between Iggy and tangs. A lot of people have been critizing the big forward ever since he was signed as a free agent but I think it was a great signing and Olli has shown us he can play that “Big Mans” game that everyone’s been talking about. Maybe the whole team should go and eat big macs like Olli get some more goals for the team. But in all seriousness I Think the Flames shouldn’t go after a Carter because we don’t want to lose more talent and Prospects that we need especially don’t want to lose players like (Brodie, Backlund, Bartschi, or Irving) and a first round pick. That’s a huge price for a number one center that has a huge contract. So I believe the Flames should go after a number two center like Gagner I know it will never happen but I’d love a number two center with potential like Gagner. We need help in the center position badly if we want to start winning. I believe with another second line center or Derek Roy we can be a better team down the middle (Jokinen, Roy, Backlund, Jones, Horak) Would be a good group of centers (In my opinion). But the price for Roy I don’t really know what we’d give up.
In other news I want to address is Mikeal Backlund and his play this year. I believe he is still a great player with a ton of potential and can be that top 6 forward we want him to be. He’s Just taking time to blossom into that type of player we see the skill he has. I just think people Should stop putting so much heat on him to produce he’s a young guy the goals will come. Just thought I’d say that cause there’s so much heat on him from the fans and from media got to stop blaming players for not producing it just hurts there confidence. Goals will come it’s a tough market to play in. Every player goes through it cause of the media and it really bothers me. But I love how Backlund’s been playing and I can see him producing soon.
The Jones trade has been a great trade Jones has been a great gritty player who gets under the skin of players, blocks shots, plays hard and tries to chip in if he can. I know he’s not the best player but it’s a win for the trade we got he’s been exactly what we wanted and he deserves to be a Calgary Flame.  Another player I have been impressed with is Leland Irving he has been amazing in net and having Kipper as his teacher is a great plus. I believe he can be the starter When Kipper retires the kid has a great future I believe.  Sutter’s coaching has been a concern of a lot of Flames fans and I don’t know if we should Blame him or not I think it’s partly his fault and a little bit of the players faults as well but Kipper has been absolutely amazing for us and we should give him more support offensively but Injures has been a huge thing this year for Calgary and it’s hurt our offense. Last thing I want to say is that Kipper and Iggy will never be traded I believe they will retire as a Flame.

-Justin (@Justinbeatty777)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Behind Close Doors

Right now in Phoenix, the Flames coaches are getting together to try to figure out how the Flames are going to win a faceoff. Let’s listen in on the conversation as coach Sutter, Lowry, and Hartsburg brainstorm with different ideas. My sources have hidden audio for us; chipmunks are very sneaky that way.

Sutter: "Before we get into today’s meeting, whose turn is it to make sure Olli gets driven to the closest McDonalds?"

Hartsburg: "Making him eat three of those combos was maybe crossing the line, Coach; he almost puked in my car twice!"

Lowry: "It’s my turn, but I am not going to be the one to drug him this time so we can get him in the car."

Sutter: "This time we make him eat four. We really need the two points."

Hartsberg: "You crazy *******! You can't make him eat four big Mac's!”

Sutter: "You *****************! You call me a ******** and you could get demoted to Glencross's driver!”

[I interrupt this dialog until the language quiets down. Sorry about that, but we couldn't let it go on due to this being a family site. We now join the conversation in progress four hours later.]

Lowry: "Look, you nimrods, we still have to figure out how to get Olli drugged so we can make him eat the Big Macs."

Sutter: "We will get Jackman to do it. Tell it he has to do it for the team."

Lowry: "Fine. It’s my turn to take him; I will get Jackman to do it after the meeting.”

Sutter: "So now on to the reason we are here today. Faceoffs. How are we going to get our Centres to win one?"

Hartsburg: "We threaten to shoot them if they don't win the draw."

Lowry: "Wouldn't work. They would all be dead 5 minutes into the game, and we would all be in jail."

Hartsburg: "That's the beauty of my plan -- we wouldn't actually shoot them."

Sutter: "They would stop believing us after 10 minutes, and lose respect for us."

Lowry: "We could dress up as players and take the draws ourselves."

Hartsburg: "I don't think we could. The Refs would catch us."

Sutter: “Not only that, we would lose our breaths trying to get back to the bench so the centre could come out to take his shift."

Lowry: "Then you guys know what this means."

Hartsburg: "No! There has to be another way."

Sutter: "Let’s not be too hasty, Dave."

Lowry: "We have to clone Kipper and let him take all the draws. He does everything else on this team."

Sutter: "We can't yet. Our device has not been tested yet. We don't know if it will work."

Hartsburg: "Then I guess it’s back to practice."

Sutter: "Whoever said ‘practice makes perfect’ was clearly wrong! It seems to make us worse and worse."

Lowry: "Let’s put this issue on the backburner for now, until we can test the clone machine."

[Wow, sorry for the interruption, but who would have thought that the Flames would have a clone machine!?!]

Sutter: "Okay; let’s close with our chant. All together now: "OILERS SUCK!"

There you have it. The meeting ends and the coaches get ready to take Olli to McDonald's.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Let's Figure this out

Let’s figure this out

With the trade deadline less than three weeks away GM’s are gearing up for what will be a couple hectic weeks. Scouts scrambling and many flights will be booked across North America.

The big question right now is which teams are buyers and what teams are sellers. Clearly Columbus, Carolina and Edmonton are clear cut sellers. Teams like Montreal, Buffalo and Anaheim will be limited sellers who will look to make moves that won’t hurt the team’s ability next year. For the other bubble teams; Phoenix, Dallas, Tampa, NYI, Winnipeg, Florida, Colorado and Calgary all have to decide what they are in the next two weeks.

I know Feaster has said loud & clear that the Flames are building to win and win now. But he won’t pull the trigger on a big deal; maybe he can’t or maybe he himself is not sold on the “win now” mentally by the owners. Regardless Feaster and the rest of the Flames group have to figure it out quickly. Personally if Feaster waits until February 27th to improve this team it could be too late. Right now with so many teams believing they are still in the playoff picture the price of certain players (Ruutu, Roy, Hemsky & Pitkanen) is higher than most GM’s would like.

So what should Feaster do? Overpay and pray it works out? I just can’t see him doing that and I do not think the Flames are in that position. I just cannot see Feaster forking over Backlund, prospect and our 1st round pick for the likes of Jeff Carter.

Perhaps my opinion is not shared by most but I would be shocked if Feaster and the Flames buy high for Jeff Carter. Derick Brassard might be the guy that Feaster puts the load on. We know he was hot after Kyle Turris and Derick Brassard fits the mould. Young guy high ceiling that would be a lower risk than acquiring Carter and his lengthy contract. I would say “Sam Gagner” but like the Oilers would make that deal sending their new golden boy to their rivals.

My thoughts what are yours?

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Stupid Cycle

The biggest and the most annoying or absurd comment I have heard lately is about the Flames being buyers. There is nothing that burns me more than another crazy General Manager getting pressured into making a run for the playoffs.

I would not mind this if I really thought the Flames had a chance. Seriously, this team is not even close. At best, they are lucky to to be a playoff team.

Right now they are fighting for their lives just to make it to the playoff. I know the saying that anything could happen in the playoffs. It is true, a hot goalie could carry the team in the playoffs. But seriously, Kipper would have to be near perfect to win the cup.

They are two games above the 500 mark. They are one of the most inconsistent teams in the league. I have watched this team give the best teams in the league a run for their money, splitting with the Wings, for example, but on the other hand losing to the Jackets twice this season.

The only consistent player they have had is Kipper, without whom the Flames would be below the Oilers in the standings. Their best dman is JBO, who is paid almost $7 million and has only scored 4 goals this season.

The problem is that he would not be a number one dman on most of the teams in the league, only a 2 or 3 dman There is the problem -- the leaders on this team do not match the talent of the contenders.

In fact, they are just barely ahead of the lower echelon teams. I'll throw this out there - if the Flames weren't in the pathetic division they are, they would not be even be a 500 team. They still have to play the west for the bulk of the season -- have fun, guys.

It is common knowledge that I am not the biggest Flames fan right now, in fact, I am almost the opposite. But I blog on this team, and have kept track of this team since there were dinosaurs. And for the last what seems to be the whole decade, this team has not changed. They get enough talent to stay close in the playoff hunt and pick between 13th and 16th, and then mess that up. Except last year, the Flames actually picked the best player available.

They are on what I call “the stupid cycle”; meaning they are battling again and again for the eighth or maybe seventh. Lately, they are missing the playoffs by two or four points. Tell me, what is the point of ruining the future when they don't even have a present? But alas, every year we go through the same cycle, the stupid cycle.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Flames Buyers?

Flames Buyers….For now

Less than a month away from the trade deadline day and the Flames find themselves in a tough scenario. The Flames find themselves four points out and have a tough task ahead if they hope to claim that final playoff spot. Minnesota will be the team they need to knock off and although that seems reasonable, reality is Colorado, Dallas and Phoenix are all in the same belief.

If the Flames seriously believe they can reach that final spot than management should react soon. Many injuries and lack of scoring have me worried. I know Kiprusoff has been solid and will most likely continue to be that way but this team can’t sit back and hope that is the case. Feaster keeps echoing the owners mentally of “win now” and although the Morrison for Connolly deal made sense it does not help this team win today. So let’s take a look at who may be available to help the Flames take that next step:

Derek Roy- Some “insiders” believe Roy is available and will be moved by the deadline. I like Roy and I would love him on the Flames roster; he wins face offs, character guy and is a #1 centre that can pass the puck. But what would it cost? I could not imagine Buffalo moving him without a piece coming back or a high end prospect. Likely they would want someone like Backlund and a pick, although I do not think Buffalo would take that deal.

The Flames are at max NHL contracts so to add a body they need to move a body or more.

Jeff Carter- This seemed to be the Flavour of the week last week; from Darren Dreger mentioning the Flames to the Carter sweepstakes to twitter blowing up with random suggestions regarding a trade. With his lengthy contract and the price to acquire Carter (player +1st rd pick + prospect) I just can’t see Feaster making that happen.

Jason Blake- Although Anaheim has not given up on their playoff hopes it is believed they will sell a few players real soon. Jason Blake who recently returned from injury, has been playing well and has drawn some interest from teams. Obviously with him having an expiring contract at season’s end it makes him attractable to a team looking for depth up front. If the Flames are indeed in talks over Jason Blake I can only see this strictly as a rental situation to replace Stempniak while he is injured. Blake’s speed and maturity would be a nice fit for the Flames as long as they do not give up to much. Perhaps a Mitch Wahl or Henrik Karlsson can make that deal happen.

Although we need some offensive help I wouldn’t mind seeing an upgrade on the back end. Butler is playing too much and it has not been pretty. I also see Sarich being shipped out soon so perhaps Feaster has his eye on a few d-men to upgrade the top 4.

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.