Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Flames Charities

Many people that have asked me what do the Flames do for community.  So I thought I would  take a break from the hockey blogs and and discuss what they are doing.

I would like to thank the Flames for their help in getting the information to me. I knew they did a lot, but really had no idea the effect they had on people's life.

Besides the recent donation million dollar donation to the flood relief, the Flames do far more than that for the community.

The Flames have always felt a need to give back to the community and the City of Calgary. They teamed up with the city and communities and formed the "The Flames Foundation for Life."

As I read about this, I learned two bits of info. The first is that they do care about this city, and it is a lot more than lip service. The second bit of info is what they help with and put their funds into.

They donate to charities to help families with a terminally ill child.  I cannot imagine losing a child. If there is anyone who needs help it is these families.  I had a miracle happen in my family with a child beating the odds.  With companies who care like the Flames Foundation for Life, more and more children can beat the odds.

They help students to pay for education and helping those in need pay for athletics. There are tons of families who cannot pay for their children to pay for hockey or other sports.

These are just two examples of how the Flames help the community. My inadequacy to cover them all does the Foundation an injustice.  You can read more here: http://flames.nhl.com/club/microhome.htm?location=/flames_foundation

We can take the things we have for granted. But maybe not everyone has what we have.  We need to remember the needy in our own lives. The Flames Foundation for Life do something about it, and so can we. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Flames Panel Judgment Day: Sean Monahan

The Flames used their sixth pick in the first round selection to select Sean Monahan.  I can give you the obvious reasons. There is no doubt why they picked him.  The question is should he play this season?

I have no problem with the selection. I have no trouble with Sean, he is a terrific young player.  So today Flames panel is whether or not Sean deserves to be on the team.

First of all my two cents.

On why I think he should:

#1 Leadership - He knows what it is like to play on a bad team. He showed his 67s teammates how to play by his example.  He never asked his teammates to do anything he hadn't already executed himself.

He is a complete player

Simply put, he may not be outstanding in one part of the game.  But he is very good in all of his game. He will help the Flames, especially in the draws in the defensive zone. He is great play maker who would be a great combination with Cammy.

On why I don't think he should:

I hate when teams rush their young players.  The Flames need to take their time with this young stud. I too often see teams ruining a player's career by pressuring him into more than the prospect is ready for.

What I think the Flames will do:

The Flames suck at Centre. They are desperately in need of a new knight in shining armor. They will try everything to keep him and give him every opportunity to make the team.

Dearen's answers:

Should Sean Monahan make the Calgary Flames this coming season?

This will be a debate for the next month and some until the Flames have played 10 regular season games. Monahan will get a long hard look and will be given the opportunity to make this team. But the argument is do we want this kid to be around a losing environment for his first pro year?

You can argue that the Flames will finish in the bottom five this year and it will be a long season. But, the coaches and the players do not have this mindset. And honestly, as a fan, neither do I. Anything is possible and the games will have to be played. If Monahan can help, plus gain valuable experience I want him up with the big club.      

Monahan is the best prospect the Flames have and has been in a losing environment with the Ottawa 67s and took the road to lead the team instead of folding up and asking for a trade. That speaks volumes about this guy and makes me believe that he could handle a pro season on a transitioning team. Even if we send him back to the OHL he will be on a bad team anyway. So, do you want him developing with the Flames and learning to be a pro and perhaps not play every day with the possibility that he excels in his first year? Or do you want him going to juniors where he will play on a bad team and gain very little?

Sure, he can be traded by the 67s and play on a more competitive team and hopefully make it to the memorial cup and gain some more experience. But in my opinion unless he looks way over his head in training camp and the first 9 NHL games, you do not send him back. Let him become a pro and let him go play for Canada at the World Juniors at Christmas.

Monahan physically looks like he can hold his own and has been training with Cammalleri in Ontario this off season. I trust he will be ready and we will get a good look at the prospect tournament in Penticton coming up.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Goalies goalies everywhere!

Everyone is waiting for Kipper to announce his retirement. Obviously, it's only a matter of time, as the Flames have no shortage of goalies:

Karri  Ramo

Ramo has been outstanding the last two years in the KHL. He has great rebound control and strong positional play. He has been the go-to guy. He has had experience in pressure situations and does not fold under pressure.  My concern is that his days as a Bolt were not memorable. My other concern is that the KHL is not the NHL.  The number one position is his to lose.

Joey MacDonald 

The problem and worry of most of the Flames fans is that Joey Mac is the one with the most NHL experience. 

Not that there is anything wrong with Joey.  It is just that he has been a backup journeyman goaltender. Although arguably the better goalie, he is far from a number one goalie.  Joey is a solid goalie, but not outstanding.  You know what you will get from him.  

Last year, for a good part of the season, Joey was good enough to win, he just could not come up with a save big enough to ensure a victory.  You can count on that first save from Joey Mac, but the Flames are going to need a second and third one too.

Reto Berra

If there is one bright side, it is that Berra is not a rookie.  He has had nine years of experience. He is a good, stand-up goaltender.  He plays the angles well.  His stats have never really been stand-out.  The Flames made a solid depth move in acquiring him.  He should be number three.

The Flames have two young prospects.  Laurent Brossoit (who has been signed), and Jon Gillies have both been outstanding in their junior years.  Brossoit should back up Berra with the Heat. He has been outstanding in Edmonton.

I'm looking forward to seeing what Ramo can do for the Flames.   He has been terrific for Europe. Can he make the leap? Only time can tell.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My Kingdom for a Centre

There is an ongoing conversation amongst Flames fans regarding their lack of a first line centre. Can you imagine what stats Iggy would have had with the right centre?  The Flames tried to fix the problem for years, but have failed in so many ways.

The issue with Iginla was not in finding him a decent centre. They tried after attempting to sign Richards.  Flames fans were beginning to think they were cursed.  Oh yes, the Flames were trying to find themselves a centre.  Iginla waited for ten years, and the best centre was Conroy. The next best centre was not even a centre - Cammy.

They have tried through the draft.  I could name many attempts and failures, but I think I will mention the two worst. The first was Rico Fata. He was supposed to be Greg Nemisz. Oh wait -- no, that's not right. Rico was suppose to be a stud. Instead, he turned into... well... Greg Nemisz. Do not get me started on Nemisz. Yet he is still a Flames prospect.  Although with him, he is pretty much a farm hand.

Do I need to mention the Oli fiascos? Acquiring him twice?  First of all, they traded for him from the Coyotes in exchange for Matthew Lombardi and a first. Matthew was the better player, but the Coyotes got the first round pick. Then of course, they traded him to the Rangers.  And then they resign him for $3.5 million. I think he played very well, yet the Flames let him go to the Jets. The Flames fans can blame the curse. Olli never really meshed with Iginla.

Last year, our best centre was Roman what-was-the-last-name-oh-yeah Cervenka.  You remember the hype. Before signing, he was supposed to be the best forward not in the NHL.  All season they argued about whether or not the Flames gave him a chance.   Whether you believe the people like me that feel he was or not, he just did not fit into the Flames' system. 

Then there was Mr. Backland. If he could stay healthy, he could be blossom into a number one centre.  The problem was that last year he turned into Mr. Fragile.  On the bright side, he was playing the best of his career as a Flame.  Still, the centre curse continues to haunt the flames. 

So you can forgive my skeptical self as we enter the season.  The Flames have promised us that they have addressed the issue with the two incumbents, Knight and Monahan. Let me add Mr. Backlund to the list.

Why Backlund?

I know I said he was part of the problem, but I saw some positive signs in his play. He was terrific at times, killing penalties, and his defensive game improved immensely. Backlund stepped it up his offensive performance. If he keeps it up, he could be the number one centre the Flames have been looking for. 

Why Monahan?

Simply put, he is potentially the best player the organization has ever drafted. He has great skills with the puck -- he could stick handle out of a phone booth! His leadership skills are top notch.  He knows how to play on a bad team. He never gives up, no matter what the score.

Why Knight?

I have never seen him, I am getting all this second-hand: He plays a complete game and has a chip on his shoulder. He might very well be ready to play. He understands the defensive zone coverage. 

There you have it. Whether these three end the centre curse is anyone guess, but one thing for sure -- the Flames have definitely taken a new direction on fixing the problem.

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.