Sunday, January 27, 2008

flames tv

there's really nothing better than watching flames tv and sipping a hot cup of coffee on a sunday morning (other than watching dion phaneuf win the breakaway competition at the NHL allstar game).

reggie spills on lombo's new nickname: LOM-BODY, "cause the girls seem to really like'im."


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

coupla things

well, there goes my plan to get kaberle....

boy, they weren't kidding when they were joking about taking cliff fletcher off the golf course to put him back in the front office in toronto. the guy was sportin' a SERIOUS sunburn at the press conference today... don't get me wrong, i love ol' cliffy ---he built the flames into a winner in my lifetime, but i've got to think that 19months will be nowhere near enough to put the buds back on track. will leafsnation stand for a non-playoff [read: boring] team for the next three or four years ??? i doubt it... but hey, they're a couple years into loserdom already, so what's another half-decade ??? at least they've got mccabe signed up through 10/11, so there will be puh-lenty to giggle about for years to come....

my big question is: other than mats, did JFJ sign ANYONE to a 1-year deal ??!?!. the answer, of course, is yes. believe it. wade belak and dominic moore. this team looks pretty much as ugly through 08/09 and well into 09/10... yikes.
my other question is: if the board of governers has to okay all the GM's moves, is JFJ really to blame ???? the answer here, is... well.... kinda. good riddance, i say. the buds look poised to win the mug in about 14/15....

of lesser importance but far, far more interest (to me, anyways) is that it looks like our pal chuck kobasew is gonna start modelling his career after that iginla guy. chucky had a huge scrap tonight, which left him just a goal and an assist short of a gordie howe hattrick. the kid is having a monster season, and shouldn't need to worry about getting dealt this year. 'course, the fact that he's a 1.2 million dollar summer UFA on a debateably-contending team could make him tradebait.... damn, it would've been nice to see him get to where he is now whilst wearing a red sweater....


bummer about crosby going out with the injury that wayne primeau made so fashionable. mostly a bummer cause now i'm doomed in my pool.

and finally: good game tonight. nuff said.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

sunday musings

so i decided to skip the superskills today, since i'm a lazy bum with cable (which was installed yesterday) and a wickedly awesome new tv. oh, and the thought of a zillion eight-to-ten year olds up in my grill when i'm not drinking either beer or coffee [only eleven days left....] does not a happy WI make.

instead i thought i'd do a bit of research on don meehan; the guy who holds the key to signing neither/one of/both dion phaneuf and kristian huselius. admittedly, i know very little about player agents, NHL or otherwise, but a quick glance to wikipedia tells me this guy is makin' some pretty good dough...

i'm not inclined to do the math, but let's estimate and average fifty clients' salaries --from 'elite' players [yeah, i said it] like iggy and ryan smyth (7mil/yr) to league minimum-eque guys like corey perry and jordin tootoo. i'll even estimate low for argument's sake, and say the 'average' would be around 2mil/yr per player. multiply by 50.

then, for argument's sake, let's imagine that meehan makes a 5% cut, which is preposterously low. dude is bankin' 5 mil/year; 700K on iggy and smyth alone... in actuality, this number is probably more like 10%-20%, which would push meehan's annual payout to a realistic 15 million.


i wonder how sutter plans to sign both huselius and phaneuf when dealing with the same agent, if he does indeed want to ink them both. meehan, in my opinion, holds all the cards here, which can't be a comfortable position for our daz to be in (i picture him wanting to be the cardholding type). anyhow... i'm not sure if the fact that meehan reps both flames players will help or hurt in this situation, but i see it complicating the affair, to be sure....

that's all.

Friday, January 18, 2008

trade rumours

apparently darryl sutter was in attendance at the leafs-bruins game last night. speculation is that the flames will make a play for sundin. i figure he wanted to take a really really seriously good, hard look at chuck kobasew and/or andrew ference....

with any luck, he'll be able to take advantage of a drowning JFJ:
tanguay and warrener for kaberle and steen.
[could you imagine ????]

i've heard rumours about kessel. which would be nice, depending on the return ("not lombardi, not lombardi, not lombardi," WI says whilst rocking back and forth)...

flames v. kings pregame: goalies

the calgary flames officially signed cujo yesterday. i say 'officially' because the signing was reported early in the week, but during the news last night, as the anchor was handed a piece of paper, he announced " breaking news: the flames have signed curtis joseph, officially," which pissed me off cause when they said "breaking news: the flames have signed....." i was POSITIVE they were gonna say "dion phaneuf." which, of course they did not....

so i guess we have two NHL-calibre 'starting' goaltenders. alot of hullaballo has been made about cujo being one win away from tying terry sawchuck's wins-by-a-goalie record (fourth on the alltime list), which presumeably means he'll never get a W wearing the flaming C. i am pretty happy that there's a warm body on the bench that keenan will be willing to start, though, to give our kippy a night or two off. that said, i doubt the dogg [two g's cause he's pimp] will get any game action tonight, unless miikka decides to stink up the joint...

at the other end of the ice, the kings could be so lucky to have an experienced winner guarding the mesh. between aubin & labarbera, they have one quarter the number of career wins that joseph's got and 50% less wins than kipps (approximately). i'm sure they're counting the days until 08/09 when they can see how good jonathan bernier really is... still, the team is unbeaten in the last four, riding labarbera to some halfway decent stats during that period...

i can't say exactly what i expect out of the flames tonight. i presume (read: hope) that keenan will start conroy on the first line [my new theory on this situation is that if he's gonna play on the top two lines, let him play on the first since iggy and juice can get it done regardless], tanguay/langkow/moss on the second, nilson, lombo & boyd on the third & [please please please] smith, yelle & primeau on the fourth line.

did you see that ? i'm begging for primeau. that's where i'm at with the godard situation....

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

flames v. wild postgame: talking points

1. if nolan's willing to clobber dudes, why don't we bench godard (useless) and put primeau (expensive) out on that line ?

2. phaneuf's shootout slapper to the chest of backstrom
[two part question]
A) did he mean to do it ?
B) was he instructed to do it ?

3. habs' scouting staff present tonight and last night in nashville. [three part question]
A) is sutter shopping tanguay for cap space ?
B) are the habs shopping ryder ?
C) are the habs checking out PMB & veilleux (both RFA this summer) ?

4. how horrible wast the officiating, even WITHOUT mcgeough ????

5. who else was pretty stoked to see moss play with tanguay, and score on his second shift on that line ?

6. would it be at all possible for dustin boyd to skate harder than he did tonight ? (my opinion, for what it's worth ? NO).

7. did anyone consider how PISSED OFF vancouver would be re: the three point game ? :)

8. is it not amazing how much better hale is with aucoin than with warrener ?

9. is phaneuf's stock going up daily ???

10. did regehr's "calling out" of the team make a difference ?


flames v. wild pregame: enough, already

posting is a lot more fun when the flames are winning, so i've been undermotivated to write much of anything these last weeks.... my return from australia coincided with a pretty good run, but it turns out that my geographical location has very little to do with the outcome of games. additionally, my new jersey has been shelved at 1-1-1, and i will certainly not be risking its' mediocrity tonight.

i really like the minnesota wild. other bloggers i know can explain, statistically, why they're at the top of the NW division, but i'll just stick with the WI usual: the land of 10, 000 lakes is a hockey-loving community (you might remember it as "the state of hockey"), the excel is a fun rink, i've got demitra in both of my pools, the prospect of boogard meeting godard, and last, but certainly never least (except in size): petteri nummelin.

sure, my boy numms hasn't played in a week or two, but that hasn't stopped the wild from rackin' up the Ws. i fear that this game will be a total blowout by the xmas-coloured crew, as they are offensively capable and we are defensively inept.

i would not bet on a win for the flaming Cs.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

flames v. preds pregame: we shall see

well, i don't have a whole lot to add today, that MG and leanne haven't already said. additionally, though i have a cohort living in the music city (who is a massive preds fan), i'm sortof out of the loop where the team is concerned.

what's been killing me lately is chunkymoose's post: "the slump cometh" . CM posts are so infrequent, that i'm bummed this one was so well-timed and sadly accurate:

"Teams who are in a slump start to do good things right near the end of them, but unfortunately still manage to lose games.

Teams who are about to slump start doing things wrong, but still manage to win."

uhhhh, right. exactly....

i'd love to see the boys win this one, and if there's any truth to the re-insertion of aucoin into the lineup (which would, in my opinion, see warrener benched), we might actually pull off a W. i'm sortof gutted i'll only get to see the first... DANG !


Monday, January 14, 2008

a few things: the nutshell version

well, i doubt he'll end his tenure here in cowtown by losing his melon and slashing johan franzen across the belly, but curtis joseph will spend the rest of the season backing up our fair kipper.

i could make age jokes, leafs/coyotes jokes, eyebrow jokes, dinner with "the enemy" jokes, spengler cup jokes, delissio jokes or rabid dog jokes. but i think the only thing that needs to be said is that our kippy sure as hell had better look like kipps1.0 with a game or two off... also needing to be said is that darryl sutter is a slippery little guy: when interviewed about cujo pre-game v. islanders, he just said that he "heard on tsn that it was down to calgary and SJ, but the night before calgary wasn't even in the running." slick, daz. nice work... now get us a G*#@^D&%!! DEFENSEMAN !!!!!!!

[i just called darryl sutter "daz." take note, cause i sortof liked it....]

this, by my simple mathematics, leaves four goalies in the QC. which, by my simple mathematics, is about two goalies too many.....

uh, MLSE is um... kinda screwed.

they have a messed up system whereby it seems everybody gets a say (including the ---and this never ceases to amuse me---- teachers' pension fund). don't get me wrong, i think JFJ was the worst thing that ever happened to the buds, but it would be a tough job to have.... and also why scotty bowman, presumeably, insisted on having complete control over the team, and also presumeably why they never gave him the job...

[oh, and a little note to JFJ: psst: they are interviewing for your position...]

i think JFJ, and everyone for that matter, should always go out like our noodles: with a two handed baseball-bat-like homerunner across someone's midsection. in this case, i suggest JFJ take out richard peddie or cliff fletcher --his rumoured interim replacement.

oh, and they still have kaberle, so all hope is not lost. if i was in charge, that's who i'd start building around. although, with all those no-trade clauses hanging about, it's gonna be a tough go for whoever comes in. reminds me of some conspiracy theories i mulled over once upon a time (i refer to this post alot, it seems)...


- everyone keeps saying my boy foppa will be heading back to philly. i still think the 'lanche might have something to say about that.... i bet dollars to donuts that he'll be back in the NHL before the end of the season....

- kessel for phaneuf (and warrener) ?

- if rob blake comes to calgary i will have to re-think my affiliation

- prospal on the market ?

that's pretty much it right now.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

flames v. isles postgame: all kinds of bad

so, uh, watching the game last night was all kinds of painful... admittedly, the flames looked pretty sound offensively: good forecheck, good scoring opportunities from more than just the first line (i mean nolan AND conroy scored, for cryin' out loud), good pressure in the isles' end.... at the end of the first period, actual score notwithstanding, the flames were winning. oh, but wait.... hang on --it's the ACTUAL SCORE THAT MATTERS. there was a little too much "hospital hockey" on the powerplay and not quite enough in the way of shots. c'mon, fellas.... seriously....

defensively, the flames were outrageous (and in that godawful, terrible, feel-it-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach-before-it-happens bad way). i don't need to point this out to anyone that watched the game. this was, strictly speaking, a defensive disaster. sillinger scores on two breakaways ??? how does this HAPPEN ????

before the game, i was listening to the fan960: an interview with garth snow. one question they asked was if, after the 15-year contract, he still thought dipietro was a "kiprusoff or luongo" calibre goalie. snow said "absolutely." later on in the pregame show, rob kerr et al. were all-but chastising this comment... the question should have actually been "after signing a six-year deal, do you think kipps is a DIPIETRO calibre goalie ?" it's obvious who the better goalie on the ice was last night... when the game went to shootout, i'm sure we all already knew what the outcome was gonna be.
[note: did anyone else notice that during the pregame skate vs. the rangers, lundqvist and co. had a drill that specifically involved one-on-ones ? i presume they do this every night.... why don't WE ???]

onwards and upwards. this was a good wakeup call for the flames ---they can play hard for 60 minutes, but the stupid mistakes will always cost them in the end. i find it FASCINATING that lombardi and tanguay are paired in 4-on-4 but never in an ES line....


Friday, January 11, 2008

flames v. isles pregame: the crossroads

i used to think that somewhere along the line, rick dipietro sold his soul to the devil: first the guy gets drafted ABOVE heatley and gaborik (note: krahn, kolanos & hale were also drafted in the first round that same year, and henrik lundqvist went 205th overall), and if that weren't enough, he gets signed to a 15-year, 67-million dollar deal, on slightly-better-than average stats.... is there any wonder, really, that the guy was playing on a team with satan when the exhorbitant contract was signed [in blood] ????? he has, admittedly, proved his worth in the past year or two --and his worth is far beyond the 4.5 million dollars he's getting per annum. he's looking like a bonafide #1 guy and has some decent stats to back it up.

calgary needs to score tonight, and due to dipietro's solid play as of late, this is gonna be a challenge ----not unlike the game v. phoenix. i forsee keenan starting the lineup a little differently (fingers crossed that means a lombardi/tanguay line, even if it has to include nolan), but i also forsee the islanders shutting down the (b)iggy line. this should be a low-scoring affair, i'll call it at 2-1 for the hometeam in what might be my first prediction of the season. tangs and iggy each with one, while MAB will score to make up for the -2 he'll be running on the rest of the game....

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

flames v. coyotes postgame: skating is good

i will not take anything away from the product that wayne gretzky (and ulf samuelsson !!) put on the ice tonight, but the flames looked like they were still on hiatus. "flat-footed" was the word uttered extensively around me in section 201, but i'd go one step further. "disinterested," i'd say. "bored," even.

i've spent a large part of the last few months wailing about the existance of conroy on the first line and tonight was no different. every time he had the puck in a scoring position, my dad would catch his breath a bit --hoping for a goal. i didn't waste my time. i knew conroy infront was as much of a threat as the puck magnets that play at centre ice between periods...

i've also spent some time bitching about nolan on the second line, and again he proved tonight that this is not gonna work out. the most glorious scoring opportunity fell to his stick, a gaping net and flailing bryzagalov. nolan put it wide.... twice. stonehands, nothing. these guys are simply OVER.

MG posits that lombardi, perhaps, should be centering tanguay and.... boyd (?) and from the onset of the game [but mostly when things started to go badly], i was stating the same. the good news is that lombo got a shot with tangs (and nolan) in the last minutes of the third, when the game was essentially over. 'course, mark smith got a shot with langkow in the same time period, so i'm not at all hopeful that this combination will stick. but if keenan can guiltlessly bench nilson and primeau, then he should be able to demote both conroy and nolan to the third line, where (like MG says) they might actually prove to be effective.

i won't go into the mathematics of it all, i'll just point out that the current lineup makes no sense. at the risk of offending a veteran, i think keenan et al. need to take a hard look at the roles they are expecting out of everyone outside iggy and juice and make some changes (i will not include langkow in this, since i think he can be considered secondary scoring, over the past month, as he's been largely on the second line)...

"minutes"/yelle/whoever you want (godard, moss, primeau --i don't really care).

while i'm not hating keenan at all, i'm curious about some of his choices (see above). on the first phoenix goal, the redshirts on the ice were smith, yelle, godard, hale & warrener. i told my pops there would be a goal about 10 seconds before the goal. there is no way that the five worst flames players should ever be on the ice at the same time, if you ask me. this was, by the way, not following an icing or in the midst of some kind of strange line change. terrible call.

and lastly: jovo's a pussy.

Monday, January 7, 2008

flames v. coyotes pregame: the difference a goalie can make

first of all, apologies for my *gasp* four day absence. i sortof blew the proverbial load on six paragraphs in my last post and had nothing left in the tank to follow it up for anything regarding the kings.... ;)

secondly, i saw mikael tellqvist on the subway in toronto once, and wanted to just hug him and tell him to 'chin up.' partly because i love the swedes (and he looked so.... normal with his black pea-coat and satchel bag), but mostly because hogtown ain't no friendly place for a goalie.... he was dealt to phoenix a few days later.

well, i love telly to be sure. but it's no secret that the guy just ain't an NHL-caliber starting 'tender; which is clearly what GM don maloney decided when he saw ilya bryzgalov on waivers (??!?!!!?!) and put him in a crimson jersey. simply put: scott niedermeyer's return to the ducks might have been the best move of the year for the coyotes.... i could be wrong, but i'm pretty sure the team has gone 6-2-1 in the games played since adding bryzgalov, and they can most certainly boast a current four-game winning streak.

i've got a bit of a love-hate thing going with the 'yotes:
love telly.
hate jovo.
LOVE sjöstrom.
uh.... really hate jovo ?
love doan.
additionally, i also always thought brendan bell was a very promising defender in the leafs' system and, like the rangers, would love to see him succeed to spite JFJ and MLSE...

but i digress...

the coyotes, like the flames, are learning how to win games. now that they are backstopped by a guy with some actual talent, they are bound to play with more confidence. the flames have had a few days off (which any newsreading flames fan will know, since the team is now coaching the team, that presumeably means some light skating) and should be able to come out strong. i think it will be a pretty exciting matchup.


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

flames v. rangers postgame: phaneuf or huselius ???

it's like this.

i've been doing a lot of thinking lately (what with no job and all) and it's becoming clear that phaneuf, not tanguay, is our most tradeable asset. maybe we should let someone else deal with trying to sign him july 1, or the fallout of his expected stack of offer sheets. we really, truly, and honestly need to get huselius signed. this is now my official stance on the subject, after a lackluster performance from pretty much everyone in red tonight, aside from the guy wearing #20.

let's face it, guys like juice and dion don't come around very often, but since it's becoming clear that phaneuf doesn't play well with others, will never be a poster boy, and probably thinks he's too big for cowtown, i say let's deal him. not now, of course (we still need SOMEONE to make those crushing open-ice hits !!!). i'm talkin' about sometime after the silverware is handed out and before july1. if we can get a couple of halfway decent players, well.... we've got negrin a year or two from now, and aucoin is definitely picking up some of the offensive slack. huselius, on the other hand, is looking more and more like forsberg (on the ice, not in the eyes) with each passing game, and he's still got a half dozen career years left in'im...

tonight's game was a bit of a surprise, as neither team looked in any way exceptional. my boy lundqvist struggled throughout and jagr notched two points invisibly (his best play was a neat pokecheck off of a streaking lombardi, to which i said to my amigos, "you're not gonna get past jagr with those moves.... those are jagr's moves"). avery took a couple of really exciting dives and was readily booed for them. he did manage to get to kipper, though, and i'm not sure i've ever seen kippy engage like that with an opposing player (oh, how i'd love to know what was said).... dubinsky had a goal and another couple of good opportunities, and mark staal laid out a couple of nice hits...

for the flames, iggs looked solid as always. nystrom was again exceptional, especially on the forecheck, and drew a penalty on a play with some good old fashioned hockey sense and a lot of heart and hustle. lombardi and boyd appear to be 'getting' each other. eriksson pinched on a couple of two-on-ones; both times notably after exiting the penalty box and joining the rush. even the fourth line spent a couple of good shifts in the offensive zone, much to the dismay (i'm sure) of nilson and primeau, who were once again scratched healthily.

huselius was everywhere tonight, and i'm certainly not referring only to the two highlight reel goals he was around for. on iggy's second goal, juice absolutely undressed gomez and marc staal, before dodging michael rozsival's last-ditch stickless facedown snowangel bomb. passing off the puck to the igster after that seemed the easy bit, and our captain (standing unchecked on lundqvist's doorstep) just tapped it over the line. for his own goal, huselius chased down a deep dump-in and, seeing lundqvist move inches off the post (in case of a cross-ice pass to conroy who was coming in hot), scored on an unbelieveably bad angle. "juice" nothin'. we should be calling this guy "merlin."

i think about all the time and money this team has put towards finding somebody to make iggy play to his potential. well, we've found him. how can we not sign him ?!?!?!?

*****UPDATE: after watching further highlights, avery didn't get under kipper as much as kipper looked to be trashtalking avery. so... uh... what i said still stands --- i would LOVE to know what was said.... :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

flames v. rangers pregame: WI's dream matchup

my team: the calgary flames
my east coast team: the new york rangers

the last time i saw the rangers play live was in october 2005, when i went to madison square gardens twice in one week. first was the subway series, followed by a visit by the habs four days later. one win, one loss. the new hero on broadway was henrik lundqvist (dubbed "king henrik" only days before in the press), who had only just started to run kevin weekes out of town and across the hudson....

although i do have a bit of a soft spot for blue-eyed swedes, lundqvist is only part of the reason for my affinity towards the blueshirts. documented in a venomous anti-leafs post last may, i outlined why a ridiculously stupid trade by JFJ made me pronounce that the rangers would be cup contenders four years down the road...

well, it's four years later and i'm not convinced they'll be hoisting the prize come springtime. in saying so, however, i do think they still have some amazing young talent, a great veteran core and an excellent coaching staff. make no mistake: like the flames, this team looks pretty sound on paper and is clearly underachieving.... gomez and drury aren't making the impact everyone expected, and my boy henrik isn't having a vezina-worthy year like he did last season. prucha's efficiency has faded like jagr's interest, and sean avery is looking every bit the golden boy, lately, having picked up a shift on the PP a few days ago and assisted on a massive goal... (check this out, btw... i don't know if i've ever seen such a bad team pic).

this is gonna be a good matchup and i'm beyond excited.....