FlamesFanatic

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FlamesFanatic last won the day on January 15 2011

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About FlamesFanatic

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    I Cannot Die
  • Birthday 12/28/1989

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  1. Happy Birthday, laddie!!! Hope you have a great day!!!

  2. I agree wholeheartedly. When I was at the game on Saturday that was one of the things I noticed. The Flames simply didn't hit. For a team that once prided itself upon its aggressiveness and physicality, and even got within one goal of a cup because of it, it is severely lacking in consistency in that department today.
  3. Thing to remember guys is that if Calgary hadn't gotten him at the price we did, I can almost guarantee that someone else would have given him over 7 million in Free Agency. To acquire a player through free agency, you have to overpay. That's why its not wise to build your team through free agency (Sather...)
  4. After a shootout loss tonight, the hope for the current edition of the Calgary Flames gets slimmer and slimmer. Calgary is back down to 15th in the Western Conference, despite having as many as 2 or 3 games already played compared to the teams ahead of them in the standings. As we look at the days to come ahead, there has to be the realization that a rebuild is entirely possible, and some that may become necessary as time goes forward. Today I will attempt to discuss the many pros and cons of rebuilding. First off, we all realize that a rebuild will not be a short term affair. As has been witnessed in the catastrophe that is the Toronto Maple Leafs, there is no such thing as a quick rebuild. If the Flames ownership group commits to a rebuild (a fact that I'm not entirely sure they will), then we are in for the long haul. For those of us Flames fans who have been around the sun a few times, we remember the dark days of the 1990's and the early 2000's. The team as a whole jettisoned practically every player that had made the team successful during the 80's and left the team with absolutely nothing. The ownership group and management tried to promote a "Young Guns" theme, and it turned out so terribly that many fans still have shivers at the mention of the movement. The Flames attempted to rebuild through prospects and the draft, and failed absolutely miserably. We drafted highly so many times, taking players like Daniel Tkaczuk (6th overall), Rico Fata (6th overall), Oleg Saprykin (11th overall), Brent Krahn (9th overall ), Eric Nystrom (10th overall). High picks historically have been terrible for the Flames. The last first round pick that worked out well for the Flames was Derrick Morris taken 13th overall in '96, and then the only other high first round that worked well for nearly a decade was Dion Phaneuf (9th overall in 2003). I'm sure how that played out is still rather fresh in our memories. Drafting high does not always equal success in the NHL. There are many more modern examples of this that are very true. Florida, Columbus, Atlanta (though its changing now) all picked very highly for years, and still have yet to achieve any success. They've all had high first rounders fail. Look no further than Atlanta's first ever draft pick in Patrick Stephan, 1st overall, who barely had a cup of coffee in the NHL. There are plenty of high drafted players in recent years that have not lived up to their billet. In the 2005 draft that will always be famous for being the draft where Crosby was awarded to Pittsburgh (conspiracy!), there are plenty of examples of the draft not working as planned. Taking a closer look, there was plenty of failure. Benoit Pouliot (4th overall), Gilbert Brule (6th overall), Jack Skille (7th overall), Brian Lee (9th overall) all in the top ten alone are fringe NHL'ers at this point and time. In 2004 it is similar as well. Cam Barker (3rd overall), Blake Wheeler (5th overall) and Rostislav Olesz (7th overall) have had some success in the NHL, but nowhere near the potential they were believed to possess. There is also Al Montoya (6th overall), Alexander Picarde (8th overall) and Boris Valabik (10th overall) in the top ten who aren't even NHL regulars. Some of the more recent drafts seem to have had much more success from its top ten picks, though it still early to judge many of them. Drafting high in the NHL does not always equal success. However, for all the negativity that I just promoted, there is always hope as well. Take for example the Chicago Blackhawks, last years Stanely Cup Champions. On their roster they had Patrick Kane (1st overall), Jonathan Toews (3rd overall), Andrew Ladd (4th overall) just to name a few. When you examine teams that are considered up and comers such as the Los Angeles Kings with first round players such as Drew Doughty (2nd overall), Jack Johnson (3rd overall), Anze Kopitar (11th overall) and many more. There are teams that have had success drafting high in the NHL, and have become successful teams or at least are on their way to becoming so. In summary on drafting high, you cannot assume that just because a player is ranked highly going into the draft that the player will turn out perfect 100% of the time. The Flames from 95-02 are a sad testament of that fact. Despite the negativity a rebuild can have, there is always hope, as the several of the more recent Stanley Cup winners can attribute. For a team that is losing as much as they are, the Flames have some very valuable trade bait that could assist in a rebuild. There really aren't any players on the Flames that have fully negative value, and almost everyone could garner a worthwhile amount come the trade deadline. As we have witnessed in past years, the amount of teams that are willing to admit defeat by the trade deadline has gone down drastically, making it a sellers market. The Flames also know historically that sometimes it is better to trade a star player for a prospect and pray that the gamble works out for them. Jarome Iginla for Joe Nieuwendyk is proof of this stratagem. At this years trade deadline, the Flames will have several players who are notable by the UFA status at the end of the season, garnering them the title of potential "playoff rentals". Craig Conroy, Anton Babchuk, Brendan Morrison, Alex Tanguay, Curtis Glencross, Steve Staios and Adam Pardy are the ones of note. Several of these players could potentially return mid round picks, if not better. I'll do a small breakdown on each player. Craig Conroy - the oldest player on the Flames roster and one of those players who is hard to gauge in terms of value. In Conroy does in fact end up being traded, expect the return to be fairly minimalistic. A team like the Dallas Stars or the Chicago Blackhawks may have some interest in Conroy as a depth player or as a potential injury backup. A 7th round pick would be likely. Brendan Morrison - as I stated in my last blog entry, Morrison is a bit harder to gauge. With the production that he has supplied at the cap hit he possesses (750K), he could be a valuable asset to a team lacking center depth either offensively or defensively, as Morrison possesses both. However last year his offense trailed off around the halfway point to the season. Assuming that his offense stays up, Morrison could garner a 2nd round pick at best, which is a pretty good return on a player signed after the preseason is over. I would once again imagine the Chicago Blackhawks being interested, as their bottom six depth is not quite what it used to be and their lack of cap space makes Morrison a great fit. Anton Babchuk - an often underrated offensive defenseman, I believe Babchuk could net a rather nice return. Offensive D are something of a commodity at the deadline, as shown last year with players such as Leopold and Corvo providing very nice returns for their teams. Both the aforementioned players were traded for 2nd round picks, so it would be hopeful that Babchuk could get something similar. Alex Tanguay - a player who has struggled with injuries and inconsistent play in the past two seasons, Tanguay has had a very positive start to the season. Tanguay is signed to a very cap friendly deal, and also plays very well on the penalty kill. The problem with Tanguay is his possesses a NMC, as he has stated that he would like to stick around in one place for a while, as he and his wife have a newborn baby in their lives. So it becomes entirely possible that Tanguay is not moved at all. However, there is potential for a Joe Corvo style deal from last year, where he waives his NMC to go to a contending team, and then re-sign in Calgary in the offseason. Tanguay with the way he has played could return as high as a 2nd round pick, and perhaps a prospect if a bidding war erupts. It is all conditional of course. Curtis Glencross - Glencross is something of a fan favorite in Calgary. Then again, so was Eric Nystrom, and if the Flames are going into a rebuild mode, its better to trade him now than potentially lose him for nothing at the end of the season. Glencross is a pro-typical third line winger, with excellent speed, the ability to chip in 10-15 goals and great on the penalty kill. Unfortunately, his penalty kill time has been limited by the fact that he is in the box much of the time. Glencross could return a mid level prospect, or perhaps a 4th round pick. He is definitely an object of consideration for many teams looking to go deep into the playoffs. Steve Staios - a bottom pairing shut down defenseman who has definitely seen better years. Renown for his leadership and steady play, Staios last year at the deadline went for a 3rd round pick, and I think management would be delighted if they could get as good a return. Adam Pardy - another bottom pairing player who brings some grit and size to the blueline. I don't expect much of a return on Pardy either, though a 5th round pick is not entirely out of the question. So that summarizes potential rental style players that could be on the move. There are a handful of others that could potentially be shown the door as well. There are several players would could attract considerable interest as well. David Moss - while not really a big name, it is possible that he would attract some interest and potentially get the Flames a mid round pick, which would be a fair investment considering the Flames drafted him in the last round of the draft. Robyn Regehr - one of the best bang for your buck shut down defenseman in the league, Regehr has had an excellent year so far. It is entirely possible that Regehr is interested in be on a contending team and has no interest in going through a rebuilding process, so he may be willing to waive his NMC. At his 4 million dollar cap hit, whatever team that trades for him will have to make sure they have space for him next season as well. Regehr would hopefully return a 1st and a prospect, though perhaps the pick may be later and the prospect may be better. It is very difficult to tell. Miikka Kiprusoff - the savior of the franchise, and the man who helped the Flames reach the Cup finals in 2004, would undoubtedly be of interest to several teams if he were made available. Kipper is also in possession of his own NMC, so he would have to agree to wherever he would be traded. It is hard to predict the return on goalies nowadays, as the goalie market seems to be flooded with talent. The return on Kipper would have to be a good one for Flames managment to move him, so short of a solid offer, its likely that the earliest we'd see Kipper move, if at all, would either be at the draft or in the offseason. Jay Bouwmeester - the 25 year old defenseman is the definition of a minute muncher, and with his speed helps provide stability both in the defensive zone as well as the offensive zone. When Bouwmeester refused to re-sign with the Florida Panthers, he made it clear it was because he wanted to go to a contending team. If Calgary decides to go through a rebuild, then Jay may consider waiving his NTC to go to a contender. Finding a team that no only has the cap space but the money to afford such a high salary may leave Bouwmeester on the Flames until the offseason. Jarome Iginla - the heart and soul of the Flames franchise, trading Iginla seems unthinkable at times. However, as the trade that brought him to the city, fans have to realize that it may be better to get something in return for Iginla. As with Bouwmeester, Jarome carries a rather hefty cap hit and any team trading for him would likely have to send significant salary back to Calgary. For the Flames to trade Iginla, it is likely they would be looking for a top prospect and a 1st round pick as a starting point. Again, the offseason or the Entry Draft is a much more likely time for Iginla to be moved, assuming he would waive his NMC if management asks him to. There are several other players that could be moved as well, including Cory Sarich (whom has a NMC and is still signed for next season as well), Ales Kotalik (with a limited NTC and signed for next season), Olli Jokinen (NMC, along with another season on the books) and Niklas Hagman (another season left) who could all garner some interest. However, all of these players returns would be limited by their salary and are much more likely to be moved in the offseason, if at all. There is also a big question of whom would lead the rebuild? Many fans believe that if such a rebuild were to indeed happen, that the Sutter clan would finally get the boot from the Flames organization. A replacement is so readily apparent. Assistant GM Jay Feaster is a likely candidate, and as a fan it worries me slightly. Feaster has one of the worst drafting records in the NHL as a GM, so I'd be hesitant to suggest his name. After successfully recruiting from the WHL Calgary Hitmen last off season in the form of Dave Lowry, it is entirely possible that Kelly Kisio, the GM of the Hitmen, could be a candidate as well. There are always a few long shot options out there as well, such as past GM's and media types such as Pierre McGuire. Personally, it would have been nice to snag Jim Nill, the assistant GM in Detroit, but he just signed a 5 year extension with the club, so hopes on that front are practically nil. If Darryl Sutter gets the axe, its highly likely that his brother, Head Coach Brent Sutter would suffer the same fate. Who would replace him as head coach in the interm? Jim Playfair, ex head coach of the Flames and current head coach of the AHL affiliate Abbotsford Heat, is a possible choice. However, he has had his chances and he may not get another. Dave Lowry is a potential coach as well, since he has much experience developing younger players during his days in the WHL. Some fans have suggested Ken Hitchcock, though I'm extremely hesitant with the idea after seeing how he butted heads with top prospects in Columbus. As a die hard Flames fan, who has already suffered through some rather painful years as a fan, a long term rebuild does not seem like a appeasing prospect. However, I think the proof is in the pudding. This current Flames core has had ample amounts of opportunity under a variety of head coaches, and have failed to achieve anything. Its time for this team to be dismantled, and due to fear of turning into a Toronto, its time to build this team through the draft. The way the team is playing at the moment, there is potential for a top five draft pick, which could be a great way to jump start the process. I never want to see the Flames lose as an organization, but perhaps it is necessary for the team to be able to compete for the Stanley Cup, which has been absent from our great city for more than two decades now. My next blog posting will likely be about current Flames prospects, as well as an early outlook on the potential picks the Flames could make in July, assuming there isn't any drastic difference in placement in the standings. The halfway report card will also likely come up around the 41 game mark.
  5. I think Sutter's a GM that takes gambles, and a lot of them paid off well in his first couple years. Then things started to go downhill, as we saw with Amonte, Stuart, etc. I think he's still too set in his defense first mentality, and that for the Flames to be successful in the new NHL, speed is extremely important. We have several players that can skate for sure, but the team doesn't use as system that USES that speed. The franchise is without a doubt stronger than what he started with and there is no denying he made the team better, but the midas touch has turned to a touch of death, and its time that we sought new leadership.
  6. Just tried my hand at blogging for the first time. Let me know what you guys think. http://fans.flames.nhl.com/community/blog/11/entry-15-calgary-flames-zeros-and-no-heroes/

    1. bigchief

      bigchief

      Pretty good read, even with the typos.

    2. FlamesFanatic

      FlamesFanatic

      I think it perhaps has something to do with me writing these things at 2 in the morning lol. I'll try my best to edit these things the day after and get the writing up to snuff.

  7. Just tried my hand at blogging for the first time. Let me know what you guys think.

  8. When it comes to the 2010-11 Calgary Flames, there is perhaps no team in the NHL that has created such an intense sense of painful failure as the Flames. The Flames entered the season after a tumultuous off season that had many media pundits confused and perplexed. There was no clear consensus exactly how the newest iteration of the Calgary Flames would perform. Some predicted glory, with perhaps the chance of challenging the Vancouver Canucks for the North-West Division title. Many predicted that the Flames would be struggling to reach a playoff spot, and few were even bold enough to utter the dreaded term "lottery team" into the mix. Now that the team is 29 games into the season, its time to take a look to see which seers predicted correctly. To say that the Flames have been bipolar this season would win you the understatement of the year award. We have witnessed games where the Flames have absolutely dominated, such as the Flames victory over the Chicago Blackhawks 7-2 on November 19th. There have been games that the Flames have capitalized on chances and weak goaltending and have survived through the strength of team defense and exceptional goaltending, such as the 4-0 win over the San Jose Sharks. Then there have been games where the Flames show up for only parts of the game, put in sincere efforts and fail to have anything to show for it, such as the recent 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on December 9th. There truly hasn't been a stretch of longer than three games where the same team has shown up to play. The question of course becomes just why is the team so terribly inconsistent? Its not like the team is filled with players whose character screams of comparisons to Alexei Kovalev. Perhaps we can blame it on our top paid players in Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester. There can be no denying that both players have had their fair share of struggles this season. The other option that comes to mind is the lack of top end players. While the Flames seemingly on paper possess great offensive depth, they are truly lacking in the high octane offensive forwards. While the Flames sit much higher in the goals per game category than last season at 18th with 2.62 goals per game, there is still some highly disturbing trends. For example, the Flames have played in 29 games, yet in 10 games they have scored one goal or less. Considering the Flames have won only a single game 1-0 this season, this lack of scoring becomes an obvious problem. Its practically a minor miracle that the Flames have only been shutout twice up until this point (three times if you count the 1-0 OT victory in Nashville on Oct 19th). When you calculate two goals or less per game, it becomes nearly half of their games played. When you examine the Flames roster, you have to imagine that there would be more goals being scored. Up front, the Flames have been led by a set of five forwards in Brendan Morrison (17), Alex Tanguay(23), Jarome Iginla(25), Matt Stajan(16) and Rene Bourque (22). Only one of those names really screams offensive prowess nowdays, and even then there are those that would argue its more of a whimper. There is no denying that Iginla had a brutal start to the season, though thankfully he seems to have picked up his game. Alex Tanguay has experienced a revival in Calgary after two forgettable seasons in Montreal and Tampa Bay. Matt Stajan, while putting up points, has at times been forgettable and downright putrid on the top line. Rene Bourque is quickly becoming known as a streaky player whom enjoys racking up multi point nights and then disappearing for games at a time. Brendan Morrison was a late acquisition for the Flames and one that has worked out handsomely so far. Nobody expected Morrison to join the team and put up as many points as he has. The only major issue to be aware of with Morrison is that he did the exact same thing with the Washington Capitals last season, with an extremely strong first half to the season only to end up being a healthy scratch by the time the playoffs rolled around. As long as he can continue to bounce around the lines and contribute defensively at least, there is truly no worry about him, especially at the cap hit he provides. Defensively, as much like last season, Mark Giordano has been a bright spot offensively. Jay Bouwmeester is having a much better campaign offensively than the season before, already matching his goal totals from last year. He still has not lived up to his salary offensively and his defensive game, while normally stalwart, has definitely seen signs of the occasional brainfart. Anton Babchuk, a relatively new acquisition for the Flames provides something that the team has been lacking on the second powerplay unit since the departure of Adrian Aucoin and that is a booming slapshot. Now if only that shot was put to use more often and more accurately, but we can only pray at this point that Babchuk achieves half the success he had two seasons ago when he had 18 goals. So who does that leave? The absence of Daymond Langkow due to the lingering injury from last season is definitely a major factor. Say what you will about the fall in his offensive totals, there is no denying that a healthy Langkow could help provide some offense, especially with his in front of the net crash and bang style. Niklas Hagman has lived up to his reputation of an offensive enigma, with 7 goals and 13 points in 29 games. However, for a player who is renown for his streaky goal scoring ways, I'm hesitant to cast much blame on Hagman for the Flames lack of scoring. Curtis Glencross experienced his best start to a season in his career putting up second line numbers for much of the month of October. By the time November rolled around however, his impact has disappeared from the stats sheet and spends much more time in the penalty box than desired. Ales Kotalik has only played in a handful of games for the Flames after suffering an injury early in the season. It is hopeful that his booming shot will add some offense to the team. Rookie Mikael Backlund has struggled offensively for the Flames this season, though his superb defensive play has somewhat made up for the difference. It would be nice if Head Coach Brent Sutter was willing to take more of a chance and let Backlund perhaps get more ice time with Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay, especially in games where Matt Stajan looks as motivated as Don Cherry trying to be nice to Europeans. Olli Jokinen was the most controversial signing of the summer, prehaps even more so than Russian winger Ilya Kovalchuk. When Flames GM Darryl Sutter re-signed Jokinen less than three months after trading him to the New York Rangers for Ales Kotalik, many believed him to have gone mad, and to many, the feeling has not changed yet. Jokinen was brought back to "bring some size and offense down the middle". Its entirely possible that Sutter was aware of the severity of the injury suffered by Daymond Langkow and realized just how thin the depth at center would become and made a desperation move to solve this problem. Its not like there was much choice in the Free Agency market for centers either. Regardless, Olli Jokinen has been just as much a disappointment as last season through the first 29 games. Notching only three goals on the season, Olli is on pace for 9 goals and less than 35 points. Jokinen is without a doubt one of the most frustrating players on the Flames, because there truly is no question that he has the drive and effort, just it seems that the talent that made him a 91 point player and three time thirty goal scorer has completely vanished. In my humble opinion, Jokinen's drop in offense directly correlates to the incident involving teammate Richard Zednik, and I believe mentally that Olli has never fully recovered. When looking at our bottom six, there really isn't much should shock many. Darryl Sutter has successfully found several grinders and muckers in the form of Tim Jackman and Tom Kostopolus that can work well on an energy line. Throw in some players such as David Moss and Craig Conroy, and sometimes they can even chip in offensively. Defensively, the Flames have been mystifying as well. With defensive defensemen such as Cory Sarich (3.6 million caphit), Steve Staios (2.2 million cap hit) and Robyn Regehr (4 million cap hit), one would be led to believe that the team would preform admirably. However, the truth of the matter is that the Flames 20th in the Goals Against category, a fact that no doubt has defensive minded GM Darryl Sutter grinding his teeth in the press box. Goaltending, while imperfect at times (see Harju vs Kiprusoff, December 7th), it has remained a relative position of strength, as both Miikka Kiprusoff and Henrik Karlsson have had games where they were one of the few bright spots. Karlsson, acquired in the offseason from San Jose for a 6th round pick in the 2010 Entry Draft, has been something of a pleasant surprise, quickly becoming a fan favorite for his emotional style of play. When it truly comes down to it, the players on the Flames simply have failed to find a sense of consistency and effort. For a team that once prided itself on its blue collar work ethic and hard nosed play, this is a drastic difference. Head Coach Brent Sutter has accused his players of simply taking shifts off, and sometimes even full periods and games. The lack of effort is simply unacceptable on a team that ranks consistently amongst the highest spending teams in the league. On that note, at different points this season, we have seen healthy scratches of Stajan, Staios, Sarich, Moss. If you expect your team to have success in the cap system set down by the NHL, you simply cannot afford to have so much salary simply keeping seats warm in the press box. Up front, there needs to be a much more responsive top six. Arguably the only top line player the Flames have is Jarome Iginla, and he needs to find his consistency that won him two Richard trophies, an Art Ross and a Pearson. A case could be made for Alex Tanguay being a top line player as well. However, Brent Sutter has yet to find a centerman that can keep up with the duo of Tanguay and Iginla. His centerman of preference seems to be Matt Stajan, though as mentioned before, he is prone to games where it is painful to watch him. Olli Jokinen has seen spot duty on the top line as well, with no great success. It would be nice to see Brent Sutter take a chance when his team is struggling and letting centers such as Brendan Morrison and Mikael Backlund have a game or two to try and establish some chemistry, since it seems a terrible waste of talent to have such offensive players languishing in the bottom six. Niklas Hagman and Rene Bourque are second line caliber players and need to start acting as such on a more consistent basis, because with the lack of offensive from the top line in certain games, the scoring still has to come from somewhere if the Flames hope to have any form of success. Defensively, the Flames have shown the potential to shut down some of the better offensive teams, yet have yet to display that sort of effort in more than one game at a time or without several lapses in judgment that result in goals against. It is not to say that all hope is lost for the current edition of the Calgary Flames. Truth be told, while they do currently occupy the 14th spot in the Western Conference, they are only a half a dozen points out of a playoff spot. However, this team cannot afford to continue digging itself into a hole and expect to be able to stay this close to playoff contention. The Flames Faithful whom occupy and create the C of Red need to stay supportive and perhaps with a bit of luck and effort, the fans will get to see the Red Mile again in April. Note: If the Flames lose again in Anaheim tonight, it is entirely likely you'll see a second blog, discussing the idea of a potential rebuild. If not, a halfway report card is more than likely around the 40 game mark.
  9. I hang out on fh.ca from time to time but I haven't really been posting on a hockey forum since this one went down the crapper.

  10. Where have you been posting instead?

  11. I don't know. Maybe you should ask everyone's favourite ninja. :P LOL! I'm doing well and trying to make a comeback here as well. :)

  12. I is back. How is everyone's favorite ninja?

  13. Yeah I'm finally back. Got bored of the pure negativity of other boards. I figured even unreasonable optimism of this board might be a nice change again lol.