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^ For some reason, I was having a nice little brainstorm session this morning about Ramo as I was snoozing in and out of consciousness.  It's wierd that this is when my mind is most clear.

 

Question: Are the Flames setting Ramo up for failure?

 

Lets take a look.

  • When the Flames acquired Ramo, they expected him to come over and play the backup role behind Kipper and learn a thing or three from the best.  He was to decrease the workload of our franchise ace by shouldering a third of the games in a season.  Eventually allowing Karri to take the reins and secure the number 1 starting position when Kip retired.
  • They signed Ramo to a 2 year deal, and expect him to compete on NA ice like it was second nature given his past experience with playing on smaller ice previously.
  • Most are hoping history repeats itself and he evolves into what was once a phenomenon in Kipper; a guy who was looked at as a mere backup, a lowly regarded underdog, and became a franchise legend.

 

Let's see what factors Kipper had to work with in his era vs what factors Ramo has to work with in his era:

 

Leadership (Captaincy)

  • The biggest difference between the two eras is the fact that the Flames currently don't have a league wide star captain, Iginla.  Yes they have a few up and coming names such as Baertschi, Monahan, and Gaudreau, but these aren't established names with 11 straight season of 30+ goals, none have the ability to enforce respect from the opposition with their fists (both fists being equally dangerous), and none have the leadership quality that sets them apart from about 95% of the league.

Defense

  • Kipper Era - Regher in his prime was one of the hardest to play against in the league.  He was responsible defensively, and he was a VERY heavy hitter.  Phaneuf, ignoring his attitude, came out blazing in his first NHL season with 20 goals and 49 points in 82 games and didn't look back.  His bomb from the point on the PP is something the Flames haven't been able to recoup since trading him.  Boumeester, well we all know how much he got paid, but that is a moot point. We all know he was soft, again moot.  J-Bo was never injured, he is still the reigning NHL ironman.  His ability to minute munch with the top line talent in the league was a commodity most fans didn't even recognize, nor was defensive reliability.  Mark "Jor" Giordano has been a consistent hard hitting and offensive defenceman...until this lockout shortened season.  He made a name for himself with the team after not being drafted and coming from a much different development path.
  • Ramo Era - The noteables on the current D ranks have Brodie as an up and coming regular. While not the kid is consistent, defensively responsible, and has one of the best breakout passes this team has seen in a decade.  Offensively minded Wideman has shown to be a player to chip in to the scoreboard when needed and his defense hasn't been terrible to date, but we'll see in the next coming seasons. Gio is a crossover from the Kipper Era to now.  Notable up and coming prospects are Sieloff, who most are hoping repeats the play of Regher with extremely hard hits, can hold his own in fights, and backs down from no one, and Wotherspoon, who is a very consistently steady and very solid stay at home D-man. 

Coaching

  • Kipper Era - Darryl Sutter left Feaster with a mess.  Plain and simple.  His drafting was horrendous, his trades not much better, and his ability to plan for the future seemed non-existent.  However, this was Darryl the GM, not Darryl the head coach.  Everyone can agree that D-Sutter is one of the best coaches to ever manage the bench in Calgary.  He pulled a team together from nothing and pushed them all the way to the '04 Stanley Cup final (we all know the Flames actually won), and pushed this team into the playoffs year after year until he stepped down as coach and took the reins as GM on a full time basis.  Sutter recently took a very similar gritty and hard hitting team in LA, turned their season around and led them to a Stanley Cup.
  • Ramo Era - Bob Hartley came in as the Flames new head coach before the lockout was issued.  His history dictates he is able to win.  He won a Stanely cup in '01 with the Avalanche.  Some would argue that on paper, the '01 Avs team was bound to win the cup regardless of who the coach was.  During this past shortened season, we hadn't seen a consistent line from Hartley. Ever.  We can argue that Hartley wasn't given an all star lineup, the team was broken, and hard decisions were made to find chemistry, but when we saw chemistry growing, he would confuse the masses and place such players as Comeau on the top line center position.  Kipper struggled under Hartley's watch, but there were too many intangibles to say it was Hartleys fault.  Kipper was injured, he struggled when Iginla and Bouw left, the team's coIt remains to be seen if he can utilize the younsters properly, form some lines with chemistry with the remaining vets, and play a style that doesn't allow 3 goals against per game meanwhile giving us some upbeat and offensive hockey.

 

The Core

  • Kipper Era - Iginla, Kipper, Regher, Phaneuf, J-Bo, Gio - Gave the Flames a solid identity.  Easily identifiable by the fanbase, by the media, and the rest of the league. A threat on paper.  However, we all know there was no one available to center the best player the Flames have ever seen.  We are left wondering what could have happened.
  • Ramo Era - Cammalleri, Baertschi, Backlund, Brodie, Wideman, Gio - Not really a solid identity.  Not so easily identifiable as some may contest some of these names and whether they belong or not, and not as much of a threat on paper either.  Some of these names may not even be with the team within the next year.  It's too early to say that one or two of the up and coming prospects will emerge as a sure fire number 1 star for the organization, but from what we see with the younger core and the up and coming prospects, it looks to be a shared burden amongst the ranks instead of a whole team's burden upon the shoulders of the ex-captain, Iginla.

Backup Goaltending

  • Kipper Era - It's no secret that Kipper didn't have much to rely on in terms of a contigency plan.  Nor did the Flames.  Much like the lack of support from Iginla's missing top line center, the same can be said for Kipper's backup.  Year after year we saw a new name emerge as the backup to the hot Fin goalie, but none established themselves to a point where they stayed, nor to the point where they could relieve Kipper of his over 70 game/season duties.  The Flames outright had to play their best player, or they wouldn't have been competitive for as long as they had.
  • Ramo Era - This seams to be a different outcome.  The Flames recognized (finally) that they couldn't rely on Mikka Kiprussoff forever.  After the acquisition of Karri, they acquired Reto Berra as an asset in the Bouwmeester trade.  They have already established backup Joey MacDonald who stood out as last season's starting netminder.  Since 2009 the Flames have drafted goaltenders Joni Ortio, 2011's Laurent Brossoit, and 2012's Jon Gillies who looks to project as the Flames future star if development remains steadfast.  As there are many options to choose from, there seems to be an established backup in the works. But are any of these, including Karri Ramo, able to emerge as the team's backbone and retain the number 1 position?  Still too many question marks until we see some regular season action.

 

What we see and know now...

  • The young and bright eyed roster is going to have struggles; defensively, responsibly, and possibly even offensively (while I believe offensively will be the least of the team's worries).
  • With not much defensive support projected, Ramo will be the last line of defense for the team and at times will have to try and steal wins when the team can't support him.
  • The culture in the dressing room and around the fanbase certainly has changed for the better
  • Kipper had a much more enticing core around him on paper.
  • To date, the coaching seems more in favor of D-Sutter compared to Hartley, although we have only seen half a season with him.

so to re-visit the question above...

 

Are the Flames setting Karri Ramo up for failure?

  • In my opinion, it's not fair to call him the next Kipper, nor to expect the same level of play from our elite Finnish legend from the past decade.  We as fans and the Flames themselves need to garner their expectations. 
  • If Ramo does evolve into an elite goaltender, then the Flames are that much more ahead in the rebuild, and a new star with a new exciting era will most definitely be welcomed by the fans with open arms.

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Kipper was not as unknown as you think. He was a back to back AHL all star and initially faired pretty well at the NHL level but he struggled to take the reins and eventually lost his job. To me kipper was your classic example of a change of scenario type of player not one that was picked up out of nowhere. I don't think the flames were expecting the level they got but I think they expected a decent starting goalie when they made that move because he had already proven the talent was there and I think Ramo is fair more of a wild card than kipper was when he was traded because at least kipper has North American success where Ramo has had none, not even in the AHL. Not saying that I think that means Ramo will fail just I don't think the two sides are very comparable.

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Kipper was not as unknown as you think. He was a back to back AHL all star and initially faired pretty well at the NHL level but he struggled to take the reins and eventually lost his job. To me kipper was your classic example of a change of scenario type of player not one that was picked up out of nowhere. I don't think the flames were expecting the level they got but I think they expected a decent starting goalie when they made that move because he had already proven the talent was there and I think Ramo is fair more of a wild card than kipper was when he was traded because at least kipper has North American success where Ramo has had none, not even in the AHL. Not saying that I think that means Ramo will fail just I don't think the two sides are very comparable.

 

This is more of a comparison of the Flames during Kip's era vs. the Flames in the upcoming Ramo era and what assets/tools Ramo has to work with vs what he won't have that Kipper had for success. 

 

This wasn't a comparison of the two goalies themselves as individuals, or their past achievements.

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so to re-visit the question above...

 

Are the Flames setting Karri Ramo up for failure?

  • In my opinion, it's not fair to call him the next Kipper, nor to expect the same level of play from our elite Finnish legend from the past decade.  We as fans and the Flames themselves need to garner their expectations. 
  • If Ramo does evolve into an elite goaltender, then the Flames are that much more ahead in the rebuild, and a new star with a new exciting era will most definitely be welcomed by the fans with open arms.

It is important to distinguish that no player will replace what Kipper or Iggy brought to the table. It is going to more difficult to do in net because the goaltender spends the whole game on the ice.

 

Kipper in the last few years wasn't at his best anyway. It won't be hard to replace that work but it will be difficult to get a performace from <insert our goalie flavor of the season here>, comparable to his early performances. Kipper won games and usually at the expense of his GAA or his SV%.

 

When looking at it from a "goalie tandem" view, we know we have a fairly solid backup that can well.. Backup a short stretch.

+advantage New Flames.

 

If the defense can block a few shots, play reasonably solid in our own end then I see no reason why Ramo can't adjust quickly. I don't see us with allowing huge amounts of goals unless the goaltenders struggle.

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I think it's fair to say Ramo is a wild-card, Kiprusoff wasn't near as much a wildcard.

Smaller ice is one thing, but the talent level in the NHL is far greater than the KHL.

Ramo is Feaster's baby, he's on a limb on this one because this has been his big plan to overcome the loss of Kipper, which has been coming down the pike long enough to make changes.

His change is Ramo alone, as prospects are just that, and MacDonald couldn't hold a job in Detroit on a much better team.

We'll find out soon if this dipping into the KHL has been a bad move all along, of course I sure hope it hasn't.

I'm a little leery though.

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I don't even know what Ramo and Kipper are doing in the same thread.

 

We DO have prospects who could potentially draw comparisons.  But we will have to wait.

 

Gilles, Ortio, Brossoit.   

 

Kipper Can be replaced.  But not this year.  And not for sure.

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Kipper was not as unknown as you think. He was a back to back AHL all star and initially faired pretty well at the NHL level but he struggled to take the reins and eventually lost his job. To me kipper was your classic example of a change of scenario type of player not one that was picked up out of nowhere. I don't think the flames were expecting the level they got but I think they expected a decent starting goalie when they made that move because he had already proven the talent was there ...............

To add to that a bit...

I still remember the Canucks-Sharks game where they started Kipper (my first experience of watching the kid play) and thinking... "oh good, they are starting their backup".

He went on to shut us out and was amazing doing it... I was like, where the hell did this guy come from?!?

Such a frustrating game to watch... but an eye opener as I sat there going this guy is(/going to be) awesome.

If i was thinking that... the management across the league must of as well. Fans in 01-04 obviously didn't have a fraction of the exposure to hockey as we do now, so he was generally unknown to the public... not to the people in charge who had watched him play, sharks fans, or the fans of teams he was shining against.

Outta curiousity I bet i can exactly pinpoint the date I first saw Kipper via his game log... gonna go check...

Edit: March 9th, 2001. 2-0 shutout, 32 saves.

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^ Yep.  And that Sharks team was coached by none other than Darryl Sutter who would then go on to acquire Kiprusoff for a 2nd round pick 3 years later when he was with the Flames.

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 Fans in 01-04 obviously didn't have a fraction of the exposure to hockey as we do now, so he was generally unknown to the public... not to the people in charge who had watched him play, sharks fans, or the fans of teams he was shining against.

 

 

Thats everything now though. Be it twitter or automatic texts or youtube videos, its all too easy to look at players and prospects. The end result is that players are either hyped up because the person likes them based on the internet, or critized because the person wanted someone else based on the internet.

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Zirakzigil, on 29 Aug 2013 - 00:33, said:

Thats everything now though. Be it twitter or automatic texts or youtube videos, its all too easy to look at players and prospects. The end result is that players are either hyped up because the person likes them based on the internet, or critized because the person wanted someone else based on the internet.

Remember the old days, where you read the paper the next day for the list of players your team drafted and thought "oh that's interesting, good for the kids to get drafted.. maybe one day I'll hear their names again"...

And you would read or hear every once in awhile about general progress. And then get excited when they were finally fighting for and had a chance to make the team in the following yrs?

Basically expectations and hype were reserved primarily for whoever Don Cherry interviewed during the SCF, or the top 10 picks of the first round..

The beauty of information overload and over analysis.

I mean we now see crazy message board debates arguing 2 weeks after a draft of prospect A vs prospect B... and you see people ultra passionate and vicious over what essentially is a crapshoot! Hilarious to me sometimes.

We went from a draft culture of little expectation and pleasant surprises to a culture of overhype and massive busts...

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My bet as to what happens with the Flames' goaltending this year is this:

Ramo as starter, playing 40 games.

MacDonald as backup, playing 25 games.

Berra as a second backup, playing 17 games.

 

I believe the Flames will roll with a three goalie rotation - not such a far-fetched notion, considering that as well as Ramo has played in the KHL, he's averaged around 40 starts per year.  MacDonald with more experience will get the nod most of the time as backup, but after his outstanding play on the international level, Flames brass will want to get a serious look at Berra, too.

 

That will leave Brossoit and Ortio in Abbotsford.  Ortio had a couple stints with the Heat over the past two year, but sadly his play was attrocious.  His play back home in Finland hasn't been anything to inspire hope.  Brossoit, on the other hand, has been outstanding in WHL play, both during the regular season and during the playoffs.  He will be the starter for the Heat and future starter for the Flames (making an outstanding tandem with Gillies, once he turns pro).

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Ortio had a couple stints with the Heat over the past two year, but sadly his play was attrocious.  His play back home in Finland hasn't been anything to inspire hope.  

 

Actually, Ortio's play in Abbottsford was better than a lot of Ramo's stints in North America.  And at times, Kipper as well for that matter.  It's a big jump to the AHL and some of the greatest goalies in the game have struggled with it.

 

I'm actually extremely hopeful about Ortio.   Not for the NHL yet.  If you're defining "hopeful" as helping us in the NHL this year, then no.   But at the AHL level, I think he's more than ready.

 

What inspires hope about him, to me, is the Steady yearly improvement.  As long as he keeps that up, he has no limits. And last year, in SM Liiga, he was rougnly 5th to 9th best in the league.  In terms of prospects, he is hands down the best prospect in Sm Liiga, imho.

 

I expect him to come into the AHL, and rank similarly.   The AHL is only a slight step-up from SM Liiga, and he's shown impressive improvement each year of his young career.

 

http://www.eurohockey.com/stats/league/2013/128-sm-liiga.html?is_order=1&order=8&dir=1&position=1&type=1&season=2013&list_number=&

 

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=120919

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We went from a draft culture of little expectation and pleasant surprises to a culture of overhype and massive busts...

 

Pretty much, with most people having never actually seen these kids play and are quickly willing to label them a bust when they dont produce.

 

Im not worried about the Flames goaltending this season. It cant be worse then last year. Personally I think Berra takes over from Mac at some point this season. I think Berra is going to surprise people and play in 20 or so games at minimum.

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Remember the old days, where you read the paper the next day for the list of players your team drafted and thought "oh that's interesting, good for the kids to get drafted.. maybe one day I'll hear their names again"...

 

 

I was always this way......the internet just enables it more.  Before that, I'd buy magazines and go to great lengths to acquire info on prospects....   I can't debate your logic.....lol.    It's a weird hobby.

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When do you think that we will get an actual retirement announcement from Kipper and the Flames?  To date it has only been a strong rumor, has it not?  Any chance Kipper plays this year?

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Maybe never?   Maybe a retirement announcement isn't Kipper's style.   Obviously would be a very difficult transition, going from NHL star to common folk such as ourselves lol.

 

I would guess we'll know in two weeks time.  Maybe one week.   I'm not sure if there's be an announcement, but he has to file retirement papers.

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When do you think that we will get an actual retirement announcement from Kipper and the Flames?  To date it has only been a strong rumor, has it not?  Any chance Kipper plays this year?

Personally I don't think you will get an official announcement of any sort other than what we have already seen.

 

Remember he told the Finns Olympic program something like "he was going to retire and if the Calgary Flames haven't already announced it..." This indicates he has;

1. Made up his mind.

2. It is only on Calgarys end that they don't want to announce it.

 

There are a few things at play here.

1. His contract.

2. Flames ability to eat the contract and the cap hit(cap hit 5.833m; contract hit $1.5m)

3. Either way in this contact with throw away years, Calgary is going to have to pay and eat the remainder of the contract.

4. There is little benefit to Calgary wanting a "formal retirement or statement" as they still have to pay.

5. Kipper seems to have made his decision and is unlikely to change it.

 

Pretty much the same deal as trying to trade him at the trade deadline last year. Calgary wanted it, Kipper pretty much rejected it in advance, and Kipper gave the talks to TO minor lip service to passify Feaster and the Flames with the outcome exactly what Kipper said before as to what he was going to do.

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Ortio's performance tonight was, gulp, holy crap.

Good net coverage for the puck to hit him, but wow, the wide open slot slapshot.

The post to post skate to skate.

In case anyone's too shy to mention it, that wasn't a lucky performance.

He was on every puck and every move, all game long.

That was skill, not good fortune.

I'm left with wow.

He was scary good, even his rebound control was good with a very good Horvat annoying him.

He owned this one, no denying that.

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Ortio's performance tonight was, gulp, holy crap.

Good net coverage for the puck to hit him, but wow, the wide open slot slapshot.

The post to post skate to skate.

In case anyone's too shy to mention it, that wasn't a lucky performance.

He was on every puck and every move, all game long.

That was skill, not good fortune.

I'm left with wow.

He was scary good, even his rebound control was good with a very good Horvat annoying him.

He owned this one, no denying that.

 

Exactly.  Beautiful performance.  And Not unusual for him.

 

People are going to say this is premature....

 

It's not:

 

I-dont-always-say-i-told-you-so.jpg

 

 

lol...... had to.  I'll refrain from directing it at anyone in particular.

 

But seriously...I think we should all be able to agree on this one thing now:

 

We don't need to give up any more draft picks for the next random "best goalie not in the NHL".

 

 

 

We may disagree with each other on everything else, but by now we're unified on this, aren't we?

 

:)

 

 

joni_ortio_calgary.jpg

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Personally I don't think you will get an official announcement of any sort other than what we have already seen.

 

Remember he told the Finns Olympic program something like "he was going to retire and if the Calgary Flames haven't already announced it..." This indicates he has;

1. Made up his mind.

2. It is only on Calgarys end that they don't want to announce it.

 

There are a few things at play here.

1. His contract.

2. Flames ability to eat the contract and the cap hit(cap hit 5.833m; contract hit $1.5m)

3. Either way in this contact with throw away years, Calgary is going to have to pay and eat the remainder of the contract.

4. There is little benefit to Calgary wanting a "formal retirement or statement" as they still have to pay.

5. Kipper seems to have made his decision and is unlikely to change it.

 

Pretty much the same deal as trying to trade him at the trade deadline last year. Calgary wanted it, Kipper pretty much rejected it in advance, and Kipper gave the talks to TO minor lip service to passify Feaster and the Flames with the outcome exactly what Kipper said before as to what he was going to do.

 

Maybe the Flames want to do a surprise ceremony for the Fans in the first home game and are keeping it tight lip?

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Maybe the Flames want to do a surprise ceremony for the Fans in the first home game and are keeping it tight lip?

That only works if Kiprusoff is in town and not back home in Finland.

 

I have to say it...I have to own it - I WAS DEAD WRONG about Ortio.  He might have been pasted when he played for the Heat, but going home to Finland and getting some serious workhorse experience did wonders for improving his game and maturing him as a player and as a person.  He was outstanding in the Young Stars game last night, poised, confident, and sensational.  The way Vancouver out-played Calgary for the first 30 minutes, it was obvious that Ortio stole the game.  His head was in the game and he remained seriously focused throughout, even with the jostling and scrums around him.  I'm very impressed!

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That only works if Kiprusoff is in town and not back home in Finland.

Finland is no longer Kipper's home. He sold his house in Turku and only has a summer cottage in Finland. In the Finnish media he confirmed he's going to live in Calgary retired from hockey or not. Kipper our new assistant goalie coach/mentor?

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Remember he told the Finns Olympic program something like "he was going to retire and if the Calgary Flames haven't already announced it..." This indicates he has;

1. Made up his mind.

2. It is only on Calgarys end that they don't want to announce it.

 

There are a few things at play here.

1. His contract.

2. Flames ability to eat the contract and the cap hit(cap hit 5.833m; contract hit $1.5m)

3. Either way in this contact with throw away years, Calgary is going to have to pay and eat the remainder of the contract.

4. There is little benefit to Calgary wanting a "formal retirement or statement" as they still have to pay.

5. Kipper seems to have made his decision and is unlikely to change it.

Feaster has stated he has not asked for, or gotten a definitive answer from kipper for the simple reason that if he (feaster) asked him "today" (this was about a month ago), kipper would retire. The reason it is delayed is because the Flames are hoping he changes his mind over the summer.

 

My understanding of the cap recapture rule is different from yours;

 

If kipper plays, the Flames recieve a 5.833m cap hit, and pay him 1.5m. If he retires they get a 4.333m cap hit (since it is 6+ years the lou rule comes into play), but no actual money payout.

As either way the Flames are over the minimum cap payout, assuming we can agree that they will not hit the ceiling, whether he retires or not does not affect Calgary from a cap perspective. Where it does affect them is in the crease.

 

Considering how Calgary is expected to occupy the bottom of the standings this year, I am betting the reason the Flames want to do everything they can to keep kipper from retiring is out of hopes that he plays and it keeps them somewhat respectable in losses. Last season after the trade deadline the dome was far from packed, and by the last few games it was half empty, and that was with most of those seats being pre-sold before we traded iggy, etc. Every year in the current playoff hiatus after the flames are out attendance drops noticeably. During the infamous 90's-2000's drought the flames almost moved due to lack of ticket interest.

 

I cannot imagine how bad attendance (and ticket sales) will be if not only are we losing, but we are consistently losing badly enough that the outcome is never in doubt, Considering we are expected to finish in the bottom five for the first time in Flames history. by all rights attendance should be worse then the past few seasons.

 

Most fans on this board like to claim that Calgary supports a re-build, and they may very well be correct from the perspective that the average Calgarian believes it is needed and the right thing to do. However Calgary certainly have demonstrated time and time again that they will not support it with their dollars.

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