Monday, January 28, 2013

Sven - top 6 forward, yeah or nay?

Before I get into days flames panel, let's chat a little.  I  guess I chat and you read. A couple of concerns I have:

1.  Flames handling of Iggy contract extension

There have been lot of Iggy rumblings lately; on whether to sign him or not. Feaster said he did want this to be a distraction.  Well, guess what? The longer they do not sign Iggy, the stronger the rumors get.  Which will make it a bigger distraction.  Which will kick Iggy in the butt to motivate him to play to his best abilities. So Jay is causing a distraction by putting the signing off.

2. A backup goalie

This has to be handled soon.  Or are the Flames planning on playing Kipper a full 48 games? To  add to the problem, if Kipper goes down, Irving is the only goalie. The other two in Abbotsford have AHL contracts only; at least, I thought so.

On with the Flame panel question.

Should Sven Baertchsi be given top 6 forward minutes.

This is one of my greatest pet peeves. Seriously fourth line minutes? As far as I am concerned, you might as well send him back to Abbotsford, because you are derailing any progress Sven will have.

How do you expect him to succeed with fourth line minutes? He needs linemates who can add to his skill. Everywhere he has played, he has been a star. Right now what is the message the Flames are giving him?  A wake up call? That is garbage; he was the best forward on the ice. If you are not going to put him on the top 6, at least put him on the third line.

Right now, you are saying Sven is muckler or a disturber. Okay then.   Right now Matt Sajan is getting more minutes than Sven.  Sven got a little over five minutes of ice time. Yeah, that makes sense.  Someone please explain that to me.

Mike Walsh:
In my opinion, he should not be in the top 6 but he should be in the top 9. Sven should play 3rd line minutes but see significant power play time. Based on this year, 4 games, here are the Flames top 6 forwards: Tanguay, Iginla, Glencross, Backlund, Cammalleri and Stempniak. You can’t really argue with those guys right now except maybe Cammalleri who has struggled early this season. A big factor his struggles was when he was moved to the opposite wing when playing with Backlund and Baertschi. Stempniak has been real good so far this year. Having Baertschi on the third line could form the all Euro line for the Flames, if they played Sven with Hudler and Cervenka. But will the Flames have Cervenka play in the middle? He didn’t in his first game.

Sven’s first full season is going to full of learning curves and opportunities up and down the lineup. If he wants more minutes and to play a more important role, force the coaches to give you more time and better line mates, not easy when you are stuck playing with Jones and Comeau.

Dearen Tiest Van de Velde

There is so much excitement around this young Swiss forward and rightfully so.  He is a skilled young prospect who has great hockey sense and shows up every day with a smile on his face. He is believed to be the guy who takes over the face of the franchise once Iginla moves on or retires.
His junior stats and short time in the AHL where he recorded 18 points in 21 games, point to a future star. But in my opinion he is not a top 6 forward in the NHL. Not yet anyway. The Flames are deep on the wings and have plenty of guys who can play in the top 9, including Baertschi. Before Cervenka and Hudler got in to the line-up, Baertschi got some top 6 play time. He looked decent, didn’t register a point and was a minus player. But he showed glimpses of what is to come and I think we should all be excited.

Now, with Cervenka and Hudler being in the mix, perhaps it is time to move Baertchi to the top line in the AHL and let him continue to develop. Fourth line duty and playing 5 minutes per game is not where I want Sven to be playing.

On the Calgary Flames today, Sven Baertschi has not proven to be a top 6 forward. And with the depth up front (you can argue the quality) he does not fit on the top two lines of the Flames. He has not been given the opportunity and games to show he is a top 6 guy. Unless something changes quickly, I don’t think he will see that opportunity any time soon.

Today Sven Baertschi is not a top 6 forward. But I believe he will be very soon. A shortened season may result in Sven not getting the chance he should unless the Flames fall out of the playoff picture fast.

I am trying to involve the fans in the column by asking one fan per week for their response.  This was Regan's answer:


I think they should give him the chance again to be on the top two lines. It's hard to learn or get better with 9-12 mins on ice

Monday, January 7, 2013

Camp Roster and More

With the belief that the Flames training camp will open Saturday January 12, 2013 let’s take a look as to who may be part of that camp.

Projected players coming to camp: *subject to change

Goaltenders- Kiprusoff, Karlsson & Irving

                Feaster stated that he plans to only have three goalies in camp. But rumors have it that Barry Brust has garnered attention by other teams who would like to sign him to an NHL deal. Perhaps, the Flames should beat them to the punch and burn a contract on the tender.

Defensemen- Giordano, Wideman, Sarich, Brodie, Babchuk, Smith, Bouwmeester, Butler & Carson.

                No surprises here. Guys like Breen and Piskula will remain with the Heat. McCarthy may get a call to come to camp on a PTO. In my opinion, Carson, Smith or Babchuk will be pushed through waiver before opening day- if not traded.

Forwards- Iginla, Tanguay, Cammelleri, Backlund, Hudler, Cervenka, Baertschi, Jackman, Stajan, Glencross, Stempniak, Jones, Street, Horak, Comeau and Byron.

                Only strange name here is Street. The Flames brass has been impressed by him and Feaster stated that Street had earned an invite to camp.

Question Marks- Kolanos, Begin, McCarthy and Aliu

                Kolanos has had injury troubles and has not played that well when he has been healthy. He will likely remain in Abbotsford. Same goes for Aliu. But considering the Flames may need some grit. Aliu may just be told to come to Calgary for camp.

                Begin was given a PTO back in the summer. However, Feaster did not confirm that they will indeed still honor that try out.


Will Baertschi play with the Flames during this 48 game season?

                Clearly the fan base thinks he will be. He played some games up with the big club last year, and did well. Some question remain if there will be a spot in the top 6 for him. If not, is it smart to ask him to play on the bottom six? Perhaps the answer will be to have him on the third line with a lot of power play minutes.

Leadership will need to pay off. We have a shortened season with a 5-7 day training camp. All that, plus a new coach with a new system. We know that the Flames haven’t consistently bought in to coaches’ systems over the past few years. If that is the case this time around, it will be a rough 48 games. I hope veterans like Iginla, Giordano and Tanguay can lead the rest into buying and executing a game plan. Bob Hartley and the coaching staff have very little time and will lean heavily on the players to push each other along.


I am intrigued and excited for training camp to begin.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Why oh why?

How many of us remember where we were at 3:25 am Calgary time this morning? I, for one, was fast asleep. For the hockey world, it began a new world.  Let the season begin and the hockey fans rejoice.

With the rejoicing, the questioning, and huge questions there will be. 

The first question: How many games does Kipper play?

That depends on whether it is a 48 game schedule or a 50 game schedule. If it is 48 game schedule, Kipper plays 48. guess how many he plays in a 50 game schedule?  Seriously, he has to play 40-45 games. If he doesn't, he won't be eligible for the first pick next season.

The biggest question I had for Jay Feaster: Are you crazy? Jay will be questioned on the signings of Wideman and Hudler.

Why did we pay Wideman over 5 million a season?

Mostly because our powerplay sucked. Let's face facts: it was beyond terrible. With Wideman the Flames pick up a dman who can be a powerplay quarterback.  He has decent puck-moving skills, which the Flames desperately need.  Yes, he was expensive, but other owners would have given him at least $6 million.

Why did the Flames pay Hudler $4 million a year?

Simply put, we needed a top-6 forward. Our top 6 were weak last year. We could not score last year. Even if Hudler scores 5 goals, he will triple our offense. Hudler would not be a top-6 forward on most teams, and paying $4 million for a third line forward is a reprehensible.

So going into the season, there are a lot of question, and with them, some anxiety.

Should the Flames trade Iggy?

Only if they are rebuilding. Because that is the statement they will be giving their fans. Iggy has said time and time again that he does not want to go, and he should not go.

My thoughts:

This lockout has taken its toll on the image of the game. The owners and players have made complete fools out of themselves, having complete mental breakdowns and temper tantrums and not speaking for weeks at a time.

What was really distressing to me were the players' comments on Twitter, especially if you disagreed with them. I am very disappointed in the way the players and owners handled themselves. This season wasn't saved, it was almost lost. There there is a difference. It was a total farce, and it was embarrassing that it went this far.  The biggest losers in this mess were the fans, who had no voice in the negotiations.


NHL Hockey Is Back


After 113 days, the NHL & NHLPA have agreed to a new CBA. No schedule has been released. Also, we do not know when the season will start just yet.
 Here are some of the details:


- The players' share of hockey-related revenue will drop from 57 percent to a 50-50 split for all 10 years. 

- The league coming off their demand for a $60 million cap in Year 2, meeting the NHLPA's request to have it at $64.3 million - which was the upper limit from last year's cap. The salary floor in Year 2 will be $44 million.

- The upper limit on the salary cap in the first year is $60 million, but teams can spend up to $70.2 million (all pro-rated). The cap floor will be $44 million.

- The 10-year deal also has an opt-out clause that kicks in after eight years.

- Each team will be allowed two amnesty buyouts that can be used to terminate contracts after this season and next season. The buyouts will count against the players' overall share in revenues, but not the team's salary cap.

- The salary variance on contracts from year to year cannot vary more than 35 per cent and the final year cannot vary more than 50 per cent of the highest year.

- A player contract term limit for free agents will be seven years and eight years for a team signing its own player.

- The draft lottery selection process will change with all 14 teams fully eligible for the first overall pick. The weighting system for each team may remain, but four-spot move restriction will be eliminated.

- Supplemental discipline for players in on-ice incidents will go through NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan first, followed by an appeal process that would go through Bettman. For suspensions of six or more games, a neutral third party will decide if necessary.

- Revenue sharing among teams will spread to $200 million. Additionally, an NHLPA-initiated growth fund of $60 million is included.

- Teams can only walk away from a player in salary arbitration if the award is at least $3.5 million.


More details will emerge in the coming days. As for the Flames, they do not seem to have any cap issues at the moment. However, it will be interesting to see if the Flames use one of the buyouts at the season’s end.

I hope the fans are ready!
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.