Thursday, October 30, 2008

flames v. B's: bring it on...

after ten+ days in oil country, the calgary skyline was a welcome sight, when it came into view somewhere around airdrie, as i drove southbound on the QE2. so when my brother asked me if i wanted to attend tuesday's tilt versus the avs, i could hardly say no.... and being back in the 'dome felt a bit like curling up in bed with a hot cup of tea and a good book: comfortably home-like.

too bad it turned out to be the most boring game i've ever been to.

sure the last ten minutes were pretty fun, but the first fifty were *yawn* sortof frustrating. nobody in red thought to finish a check, and guys like bertuzzi and phaneuf put out what seemed a pretty lazy effort. plus, keenan had his line blender going on 'high' (btw: i have developped a hand-sign for the keenan line blender. i'll show it to you sometime).

on the positive side, regehr had a very solid game, the newbies showed up to play (keenan is obviously taking a shine to both bourquey and glenX), and kipps should probably buy his goalposts dinner for helping him out the way they did....

and on to the B's.

i'm sortof excited about the idea of tonight being two former flames' first game back in the 'dome (ference & yelle ---kobasew, bless'im, out with yet another injury). other than that, i expect this one to be another low-scoring yawner. the bears have shut out two NW division teams in the past week, and i wouldn't expect the flames to hit twine more than once or twice. kipper, though looking stronger of late and notching the shutout in his last outing, is still giving up some mighty juicy rebounds.

it's been awhile since i've done a gameday prediction but i say the bruins take this one in a low-scoring affair. call it 2-1: savard/sturm and cammo for the flames.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Flames/Avs preview: Rest easy, all, I'm "feeling" good

I'm feeling better going into tonight's game against the Tony Granavalanche than I have since Game 1 of the regular season, which probably means the Flames are in for a 6-0 loss tonight. But, there must be reason for that optimism, right?

Well, other than the obvious, "Iggy's scoring, Kipper's saving" stuff, the Phoenix game was the first win of the season that never looked like it could unravel at any point. There were no five-minute scrambles, horrible PK sequences, or obvious Zyuzinesque performances. It was just good hockey for the most part, from start to finish.

Now, I'd bet Nervous Jimmy's new goatee that we won't see that same kind of thing tonight, if only because the Avs have two strong offensive lines they can ship out there. Unlike the Coyotes, who have zero. But having that one, good win under their garter belts might have knocked some sense into the Flames' ramblin' forward crew and its leader, Old Craig Conroy.

I'll also point out that this game is also an AWESOME matchup between the NHL PR department's first two "stars" of last week, Jarome Iginla and Avs goalie Peter Budaj. Both were much maligned in earlier days this season, only to rebound rad weeks that made everyone feel better. The big difference being, of course, that everyone knew Iginla would rebound, whereas Avs fans feel the need to launch mock political campaigns to keep their lot from committing suicide over the goaltending situation.

PREDICTION: Tony Granato will show the crazy eyes, and Joe Sakic will have at least one point. Go Flames!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Notes after two victories (hopefully this title will be oft-repeated)

So, here are my key thoughts after watching the Flames pull a couple of wins out this week:

1. I think Miikka Kiprusoff is bouncing back. Really.

Aside from the fact he's "winning," it's the rebound control, particularly last night, that has my spirits buoyed. The Kipper of old had this bizarre, miraculous, Krazy Glue equipment that always set him apart, but disappeared often last year and was gone completely to start this season. Not last night. The rebounds were gone, and so were the second-chance goals. The Preds scored on the rush and on bang-bang passing plays, none of which I'll attribute to Kipper sucking. (OK, maybe he should have had the Zanon goal, but whatever. He's getting better.)

2. The Lombardi injury, if it's something mid- to long-term, may be an opportunity.

Hear me out here, and understand ahead of time that I'm a huge Matt Lombardi fan, who thinks the Flames are better off with him than without him.

I also think, however, that Dustin Boyd has a bigger upside, and that he's being wasted in the fourth-line/penalty kill nonsense he's been stuck with most of the season so far. That changed last night after Lombardi went down. Sure, Mike Keenan was weirdly going with a top line of Iginla-Primeau-Vandermeer, but he was also shipping Boyd out there with a succession of better linemates, and including him in the rotation in the last two minutes. The Flames will only gain from this kind of usage: This guy has potential, and he needs the confidence gained from playing in these better situations regularly.

If Calgary can keep its head above water in an extended Lombardi absence, and Boyd can establish himself as a Top 6 guy when he's gone, that's a good problem to have.

3. Jim Vandermeer appears useful.

Since they reunited him with Dion Phaneuf, my eyes have him as the steadiest guy outside of Robyn Regehr. Cory Sarich was downright pathetic against Nashville, just like Phaneuf was against Washington. Meanwhile, you have Vandermeer playing effectively at even strength, on the PK, and occasionally at forward when Keenan decides to shake it up IRON STYLE. If I'm ranking Flames defenders this year on defensive merit, here's the list:

1. Regehr
2. Vandermeer
3. Phaneuf
4. Sarich
5. Giordano
6. Aucoin

And, the bottom three have all really struggled, with Phaneuf not being nearly consistent enough yet. Is "Jimbo" (take a look at his gloves next time they do a close-up) worth $2.3 million a season? No, but he's worth something, and everyone below him on that list save for Gio earns more.

Now, the advanced stats from Behind The Net have him middle-of-the-pack in most categories (even struggling) but, as I said, I think he suffered through many poor-ass pairings in the initial games, playing with both Aucoin and Giordano (who we all have to admit hasn't been the godsend we'd hoped for).

Also, I like the mean streak, if not the straight-arm-to-Tootoo's-face two-minute penalties, and he covers Dion's ass better than most.

4. Good-luck jerseys really work.

I busted out the 2004-era red Koho for Washington, and repeated it last night. 2008-09 record: 2-0. As for Saturday, I've got the Phoenix feed on Centre Ice but will be otherwise occupied, so I won't watch till Sunday. First game of the year I'll have to miss night-of, so no jersey, and I'll take full responsibility for the loss right now. Sorry.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

flames v. caps postgame: teammates

i will admit that i didn't watch a whole heckuva lot of last night's game but i will admit a couple of other things.

1. i am starting to detest being in edmonton. it's not the city itself, it's the misery of just not wanting to be away from home anymore (and also serious lack of sleep).

2. i am loving the way the flames are beginning to look like a TEAM by sticking up for their teammates. it happened in edmonton on the weekend when prust jumped on mcintyre for wallpapering boyder, and again last night when bourque (of all people) fed fists to sloan for LEVELLING langkow open-ice styles. sure it would be better if the flames' players avoided getting smoked EVERY GAME, and having all sorts of third-man-in infractions ain't the SMARTEST, but at least there's folks willing to fight for their buddies.

3. i want to read theoren fleury's book... like, BAD.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

arena report: rexall

okay, so rexall place is a pretty fun rink to watch a game at. fans are into it and rowdy as hell (my buddy swears he almost saw fights break out in the bathroom) and there's a lot more between-period chanting of opposing team put-downs. the beer guys wear fluorescent yellow shirts (ge.n.ius), and they have the decency to announce the rival's starting lineup....

[the bad things i noticed at rexall were:
- the bottleneck between the LRT station and the concourse, where you had to line up for about five minutes to get through the door ---this never happens at the 'dome.
- their hotdog pales in comparison to the pocketdawg
- the walls seem to be lined with asbestos
- the place is absolutely TEEMING with oilers fans]

anyhow. the flames looked hot out of the gate. the shots on goal were ridiculously lopsided after one (in the 14-to-3 range) and the play demonstrated as much. sure, the C's got more PP time, but even at ES they were dominating the greasers.

i'm not sure what happened in the first intermission but the lines and matchups we'd seen in the solid opening frame were apparently not good enough for heir keenan. less than five minutes into the second stanza, when bertuzzi was suddenly on-ice with prust and nystrom, i turned to my buddy [who's a torontonian, bless'im] and said "this is where the wheels fall off."

and fall off they did. what a fucking disaster those last two periods were....

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I've fallen out of love

It's after two periods, and my former BFF Craiggers Conroy has been directly responsible for two of the Oilers' goals tonight due to loafing and/or a lack of understanding of where he needs to be defensively. Ah, remember when he was traded to Calgary way back when, a Selke finalist seen as a defensive specialist? Those were the days ...

Anyway, Kent gave him a little reprieve the other day that I was trying to believe in because, well, he's one of my favourite players. Like, ever. But, so much as it's early in the season and I'm ready to forgive a little bit of this and that, holy crap. This is getting tiresome.

fun with comparisons: WI styles

i'm going to the game tonight and you're not.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Fun with comparisons that make things look better than they look on the surface

As my brain has been going into periodic "Flames are doomed" conniptions during the past week, and wondering why "Denis Savard" couldn't be replaced or joined by "Mike Keenan," I've been careful to try to REMAIN CALM.

Making that easier?

0-3-1, special meeting with coach/captains after losing to Andrew Raycroft, starting goalie 0-3-0, 5.82 GAA, .824 sv%.


0-4-0, lost to L.A. Kings, no player with more than two points.


Popular Stanley Cup choice, lost to St. Louis 6-1, starting goalie 1-2-1/4.57/.823, only win comes in game when Swedish import scores unlikely-to-ever-be-repeated hat trick.

So, from a similarly negative viewpoint, what do we have to deal with?


1-1-1, gave up 11 goals in two games to a team that may never score again, starting goalie 1-1-1/4.89/.826.

So, yeah, that's not the best. But are the Flyers, Ducks and Stars going to miss the playoffs? Is Marty Turco going to finish with a 3.00-plus GAA? Of course not. But when even Detroit is losing games to BOTH of Canada's favourite punching bags, it's too early to give a shit.

There's plenty of reason to feel good, a lot of it explained by Kent yesterday in an entry that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Meanwhile, fans like me who don't have the patience to dissect statistics can get all excited about the dazzling speed on the Cammalleri-Lombardi-Bourque line, Jarome Iginla finally scoring, Todd Bertuzzi somehow scoring at a goal-a-game pace and causing TSN analysts to declare he's again playing "with an edge."

Ye olde season is long, I'm saying. And we'll get back to it tonight, as Craig MacTavish and the scardey-pants creep onto the ice hoping that Robyn Regehr doesn't break their faces.

(Also, another shout-out to the good folks at Inside the Flames, who really are coming with the timely and useful information, but can't seem to get their heads around the Internet. Making your entire entry a link to the index page of the blog? Probably not a good method to grow your readership.)

Look, I like the Oilers almost as much as an Oilerfan, but Steve MacIntyre and the Craigster's pre-emptive message to the referees probably isn't going to do anything but provide licence to get distracted. Oiler fans can whine all they want: Ales Hemsky isn't dead, and Robyn Regehr is good at bodychecking.

Also, you'll all be complaining about Dion Phaneuf at the end of the night, which is the way we like it.

WI, see if you can get a "3" stitched on the back of your jersey by tomorrow — perhaps you won't like Edmonton so much after you leave the Northlands after three hours of listening to the outrage.

Prediction: Charlie Simmer will be just as bad during the regular season, and Peter Loubardias will pronounce "scores", "scewyoures".

Good times.

oil country

i'll let you guys in on a little secret. it's a bit shocking ---prepare yourselves for a little jolt.... um... i don't hate edmonton. i was here in july to see motion city soundtrack play at the starlight and found myself surprisingly fond of the city... uncomfortably so, actually. i kinda love whyte ave, i'm enamoured by the underground LRT stations, the embassy is a rad bar and the hilly river valley is kinda pretty...

so i've been in deadmonton for two days (note: when you use predictive texting, the first five letters --'edmon'-- shows up as "demon") and having a pretty good time. last night i went to rexall to see feist and got a nice photo of me with the gretzky statue. i'm hoping to go to the game on saturday (DOES ANYBODY HAVE A LINE ON TICKETS ???) and brought all my flames gear to wear this trip.

wow. this post makes no sense.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

on the bright side....

so the flames finally "put it in the win column" against a struggling avs squad last night at the 'dome, but it wasn't one of those feel-good W's.

on the bright side:

- bootuzzi looked mostly useless but still managed to net two.

- kipper looks mediocre at best... but if budaj was in a flaming C, life would be misery...

- giordano probably (hopefully) won't look that bad for the rest of his career...

- cammalleri. 'nuff said.

- no matter how questionable the officiating has been this season, mcgeough will not be responsible for any more flames' losses.

that's all i've got for the moment. the next couple weeks are gonna be hella busy, as i'm heading north to oil country for a job. with any luck, friday night i'll wear my flames T to some bar in deadmonton and cheer the red guys to a victory....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My vote: Yes to this lineup

I'm in "the news business," and thus tonight will be missing my first game of the season. It doesn't happen often, as I usually try to watch games on PVR if I can't be in front of the screen live. This time, it ain't gonna happen, as I'll be too busy finding out who's going to run the country which, slightly, carries more importance than Game 3 of the regular season vs. the Avalanche.

The Herald's Inside the Flames has Craig Conroy and Andre Roy sitting out tonight due to minor injuries, inserting Dustin Boyd and Eric Nystrom into the lineup. Mark me down as fine with this. Conroy has been a disaster in the first two games. I don't expect that to continue, but he's not up to speed right now. As for Boyd, it's insane he was out of the lineup in the first place, so let's hope that's for good.

Meanwhile, here's Robyn Regehr from another Herald story on what the problem's been so far:
"Defensive zone coverage is something that's pretty easy to break down," suggested Regehr. "It comes down to good positioning and it comes down to hard work."
Uh, maybe I'm naive, but I pretty much agree with that assessment entirely, and think it's at the core of the problem from the first two games. The power play does look pretty high on potential to me, and I fail to see how the goals won't come with the way the group is moving the puck. Cammalleri on the point is a positive. He clearly sees the opportunities with the man advantage as well as anyone in the league, and is going to open up space for Jarome Iginla. Also, Cammalleri has clearly, clearly been the Flames' best player in the early going.

But enough about the game. I'd like to share with you a little nugget from my Thanksgiving weekend, when I visited my parents' hometown of Simcoe, Ont., to attend the always awesome Norfolk County Fair. One of the fair highlights is the junior arts-and-crafts competition, which includes a "collage contest" on your future career dreams. Here's one that caught my eye:

Yep, kids from Simcoe want to be Calgary Flames. Or, players who bleed. (I'm going to just convince myself that they don't really, honestly, want to be "Todd Bertuzzi.")

Monday, October 13, 2008


i am stunned, saddenned and speechless about the sudden death of alexei cherepanov.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

flames v. canucks: excuses

so i opted to not watch game one, and i clearly dodged a bullet there. 6-0 against vancouver is one of those knife-to-the-heart kinda scores and i was pretty glad to not have suffered through it.... i'm optimistic about the flames' chances to redeem themesleves tonight in calgary, and pleased that we don't have to wait another month in order to (attempt to) even up the series....

from a purely theoretical perspective (the only one i have since i didn't see any lowlights after thursday's stinger), calgary was poised to lose on thursday. nerves due to pressure on the new guys (bootuzzi, cammo, bourque, glenX) could have been a factor, and the cobwebs were probably hard to shake for the vets who hardly saw exhibition action (read: conroy). the dustin boyd affair was presumeably a bit of a distraction for at least one guy (uh, dustin boyd), and the 'nucks had the spirit of luc bourdon in the room to nudge them along to victory....

oh, and primeau took some seriously ridiculous penalties.

it's my understanding that keenan put out 14 different line combinations in the garage the other night, which can't be good ever in a single game. i'm hoping it's purely because he knew the game was out of reach and thought he'd blend stuff up a bit, but i'm sure the juggling started long before 4-0... i honestly thought my rages about conroy on the first line were a thing of the past, but apparently i'll have to continue with them again this year....

as for tonight, regehr should be anxious to wallpaper SOMEBODY (presumeably with the last name "sedin") and i'm hoping his presence will help the team come out guns-a-blazing....

this post was pretty useless, i know. but i figure after two posts straight by duncan, it was my turn to do some of the heavy lifting...

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Come to think of it, the Flames do seem to lose every time WI and I get together to watch, so that makes sense.

Outrageous superstition out of the way:

1. It isn't that bad. Although it would be flat out hilarious if the Canucks scored 492 goals this season, and the Flames scored none.

2. If I'm going to stay up till 1:30, it oughta be better than this.

3. Kipper was bad, but not horrible. The Flames' defensive coverage, especially from their centres, on the other hand? Atrocious. My boy Conroy was especially bad, and it hurts.

4. Aucoin definitely looks like the game has passed him by.

5. I'm pretty sure Moss was demoted to the fourth line because he failed to knock in a pair of pucks on the power play. That makes no sense to me.

6.. If the kid wins the anthem challenge, we're doomed come election day.

See you Saturday, when Canada will learn that it picked a crap song to listen to every Saturday night because they thought the kid in glasses was cute. I know this whole Anthem Challenge is a farce, but it's a reality. So, remember: He won't be so cute when he's 18. I'm sure Robert is a nice kid, but pick the better song.

A season/game preview, in form of diatribe

Hi, I'm Duncan. If you're wondering why I'm here, read this or this. Now, on with it ...

So, if any of you are legitimately surprised that it looks like Craig Conroy will begin the year as Jarome Iginla's centre, that Todd Bertuzzi is the other player on that line, or that Dustin Boyd will start the year on the fourth line, well, clearly you haven't been watching the last four years.

Darryl Sutter and the Sutteriites (who include the entire management, coaching and scouting staffs) are the stubbornest bunch of bastards this side of Kim Jong-Il. THEY KNOW HOCKEY DAMMIT! The youngins gotta pay their dues! Craig Conroy and Jarome Iginla will play well together cuz' they're pals! If you make lotsa money, you must be good!

It's maddening. I know every fan of every team other than the Detroit Red Wings has their own set of maddening circumstances, but I'd argue that Darryl has pulled ours pretty close to the top of the list. I know we aren't the Columbus Blue Jackets fan club, and that making the playoffs for four consecutive seasons is a lot of fun, and ... aw, forget it. I'll say it now: It's worse to be "close, but not close enough" than it is to be "not close at all." The Young Guns years were cathartic: A rest from years of frustrated passion that allowed me to indulge in grunge rock, import beer and Europe. But ever since 2004, well, there's more Calgary Flames merchandise in my house than there should be.

Anyway, this diatribe has a purpose, which is to re-assert (I did my predictions ages ago) that the Flames will probably finish second in the division, seventh in the conference, and lose in the first round of the playoffs again. "Close, but not close enough," right?

But, seeing as I've already plopped down the two large on the Centre Ice subscription and stuff, I'm going to try be slightly optimistic and imagine factors that could lead the Flames to be closer this year. (They ain't winning the cup, but I think we'd all be happy with the second round of the playoffs in the final analysis ...)

  1. Anders Eriksson and Rhett Warrener leave the building. Wait, that already happened! Kinda! Eriksson on the farm and Warrener "injured" means they could both make unwelcome returns in the future but, for now, Adam Pardy is No. 7, and that's a very good thing.
  2. Mike Keenan's line-juggling finds two groups of players who can score, and two groups who can score once in a while and prevent other teams from scoring more than once in a while. I believe in "chemistry" on the ice. It's because of chemistry with my centreman on my beer league team that my horrendous skills have carried me to the top of its scoring list right now. That won't last for even one more week, but a team that finds they have players with complimentary skills to go together can go a long way. It's how Calgary reached the final in 2004. (Well, that plus they had Kiprusoff and Iginla.)
  3. Andre Roy gets hurt in the first game, and his replacement scores at a point-a-game clip while Darryl rushes to replace him, forcing him to back off. OK, so that's never going to happen.
  4. Miikka Kiprusoff goes 2004 on us. But we'd also accept 2005-06 or 2007 playoffs Kipper.
No. 4, I think, is actually the key to the whole thing. This team will figure out a way to score close to three goals a game, I'm sure. And if Kipper can hold the opposition to 2.2 or 2.3? Well, we're off to the races.

As for tonight, Kent's prediction makes a lot of sense, except for the fact that the Canucks may not score five goals in a game all year.

But I'd also like to think that we can get that nice Flames-Canucks rivalry going again tonight in earnest. All it'll take is a little Alex Burrows slew-foot on Jarome Iginla, followed by a Todd Bertuzzi intervention, followed by Dion Phaneuf falling down on Captain Bobby and IT'S ON. Nothing I like better than angry, nonsensical Canucks fans in comment strings trying to teach themselves English.

Good times.


so there's a couple of interesting things going on over here at hitthepost:

first off, while there's no need to adjust your links as the current blogspot address still definitely applies, we can now also be found at ... what can i say ? i'm lazy, and there's far less typing involved with that URL... ;)

but before you go and say "i can't believe i held my breath in anticipation for THAT, here's today's BIG announcement....

after hours of plotting over innumerable pints in both calgary and toronto in the past few months, duncan and i have decided to join forces. it seems to make a whole lot of sense: we went to the same high school, we both name håkan loob as our favorite alltime player, plus we almost got arrested that one time (outside flames central) with some drunk underagers, a magnum of wine & a shopping cart.... oh, and, um... we both like beer. ;) heck, i won't even fight his asinine insistance to use the shift key (thereby capitalizing the first letters of sentences and proper nouns)... meh. i guess that's how you'll tell our posts apart without scrolling to the bottom....

so you can check duncan's flames blog for his one last sentimental kick at the can over there, then take the link off of your respective blogrolls... instead, you might consider moving hitthepost up a few notches. :)

it's gonna be hectic.

the warrener/boyd mishap: theories

here's the facts:

yesterday, calgary put rhett warrener on injury reserve and sent dustin boyd to the AHL. the initial move seemed par-for-the-course in sutter's shocking inability to move the veteran defender, but the latter can only be deemed an absolute outrage.

there is no arguing that, with warrener's full salary currently counting against the cap, the flames needed to drop somebody. dustin boyd became the victim of his own two-way contract, by being the only guy on the team who didn't have to clear waivers on his way down....

it's entirely possible that the situation is that simple, though (in my humble opinion) a guy with as much injury history as warrener should not have been allowed to go on this long. it was far too risky... he should have been demoted with the first cuts, or told specifically NOT to get out of bed FOR ANY REASON. one or the other. to have this all go down on the eve of game 1 is a management disaster....

months ago, duncan and i discussed the merits of giving rhettro a hugely overpaid job in the head office. have him retire from on-ice play, and give him the same dough to wear a suit. everybody wins... rhettros kids stay in calgary schools, there's still a bowl-a-rama, and he makes a few mil in the first year that doesn't count towards the cap. if this were actually happening, though, i'd think the paperwork would have been signed and sealed long before yesterday....

yesterday, kent wrote "This *almost* makes me wonder if there is a trade in store...involving Aucoin. We know that Warrener is pretty much unmovable. But maybe the Pens came knocking for Aucoin recently due to their injuries and Sutter is putting the finishing touches on that. Which means; Warrener sticks around and the team gets under the cap." it is not a totally farfetched theory...

i had also theorized that perhaps a trade was upcoming that involved adam pardy, thereby creating a need for the seventh defender (warrener). i could only imagine it being a piggyback-type deal; an overpaid deadweight roster player (ie: primeau) coupled with pardy, traded for prospects or draft picks.

so is warrener actually injured ?? i have my doubts. i would think that if there were no waiver wires and no AHL, warrener would be ready to suit up tonight in vancouver. is warrener the crybaby here, or was it sutter's idea ??

anyhow. we shall see how this all shakes down in the next days. if the situation is allowed to continue, it will be a crying shame for this team. faith in sutter's abilities is at an alltime low, and i (for one) am just sore that the game tonight will not be played by the best possible flames group. as a fan, it is a slap in the face....

check back to hitthepost later today for some very exciting news !!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

ummm.... WHAT ??!?!?

eriksson to the minors *yawn.
warrener on IR. dumb, dumb, dumb.

this is the most ridiculous thing i've seen in ages by the flames front office.
i'm outraged.

uh. wow.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

slow news day notes for bored blog readers

- warrener and eriksson (and lundmark) cleared waivers today, and i fully expect an announcement before 3pm EST tomorrow describing where they're headed. i presume they will all go to the QC but i admit i think it's possible anders will head back overseas somewhere. i still haven't figured out what scenario would have any european hockey team looking for a guy like bubba, however....

- the vinyl trees have a gig in oakland california on october 10th. presumeably this means that mark smith has come to terms with not being signed to an NHL team and is thus focussing on his didjeridoo playing.

- the telus guy informed me today that dion phaneuf is dating elisha cuthbert. it's apparently been confirmed...

- sean avery had some interesting things to say in his interview with my boy strombo on the hour the other night. also interesting is how much he plays with his face. additionally interesting (albeit much less so) is that strombo calls him a "shitdisturber" on national public television.... it's a good watch, though... avery quotes include: "i'm really not an asshole... all the time," and (re: don cherry) "he really does not know shit about hockey."

- big news upcoming on hitthepost.... i figure it'll drop pre-game on thursday... :) check back soon for more !!!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

flames' opening night roster: PARDY TIME !!!

[note: the adjustment in the headline purely ripped off of colby cosh's comment over at the BofA]

the first step towards the team's final cuts began today, and there was really no surprise: warrener, eriksson, and lundmark were all put on waivers. when lundmark was re-signed this summer, it was almost certainly to add a veteran presence in the quad cities, and (despite a solid training camp) today's move appears to confirm this as the club's imminent plan.

that warrener and eriksson were placed on waivers this morning all-but announces that adam pardy will remain with the parent club as the seventh blueliner for (at least) the beginning of the 08/09 season. in my opinion, this is by far the safest move, as placing him on waivers seems a sure way to lose a cheap, young, NHL-ready blueliner with a ton of potential.

while lundmark is likely headed to the QC, there has been a lot of speculation as to where the 4-million dollars worth of blueliners will go. daz has been quoted as saying nobody will be bought out, "We explore opportunities to find places for players. If not, we want them to honour their contract(s). .. There are 18 teams that have buyouts as part of their cap this year, and we felt that's not what we want them to do." (calgary sun). obviously this points to the idea of trying to place them on an NHL team, but opens the door to other (more likely, at this point) possibilities. while most pundits think they will end up, like lundmark, as veteran s in the A, there has (in the last few days) been a resurgence in the "send'em to europe" option.

my current thoughts are that rhettro will spend the year in iowa/illinois while the organization witll try to send eriksson further away (read: sweden). if this actually transpires, it will restore much of my faith in the sutter-helmed front office, as i firmly believe warrener can contribute to the development of guys like pelech, palin, and cole, while eriksson will contribute to nurturing of bad habits. i believe it was with duncan, over beers this past summer, that we discussed the merits of sending rhettro to the QC: he plays out this contract and leads the young guns for a season, then takes a place on the bench alongside ryan mcgill in 09/10. clearly he's a standup guy that the calgary flames organization would be glad to keep on in some way (jamie mclennan styles)...

in other news, daz had some very nice and somewhat surprising things to say about my boy john armstrong. the calgary herald has him quoted as saying, "'No one talked about Armstrong the whole camp,' Sutter said of the 20-year-old, nabbed 87th overall in the 2006 draft,'" [further proof that daz is not a regular hitthepost reader]. "From my standpoint, I've seen him enough . . . to know where he was. He came from a good program (Peterborough of the Ontario Hockey League), a captain. A really good two-way player. If he hadn't (injured his leg during camp), he was really close to making our team.'"

um. wow. that's huge praise.... HUUGE praise....

Saturday, October 4, 2008

flames opening night roster: gettin' closer

no real surprises out of the flames front office today, as daz announces three more cuts, trimming the roster to a near-manageable 26. mikael backlund will return to västerås for the year, after a tough training camp that seemed to break his confidence somewhat. hopefully he can turn it around and come back next summer with avengeance.... the quad cities got two more players today as well; the new starting goaltender matt keetley, and first year pro and recent winner of the tomi mäki award, john armstrong.

the flames are still currently carrying 15 forwards and 9 defensemen, and are presumably only planning to cut two more of each. two of eriksson, warrener, & pardy will go, and two of nystrom, lundmark, or prust. i would think the team has enough problems with cap space without carrying more than one additional player at each forward and defense, and i'm guessing those pressbox guys will be andre roy and either pardy or warrener....

this, of course, said under the assumption that bootuzzi will be healthy enough to go on wednesday in vancouver... which i hope he is, since he'll be enemy #1, to be sure.

i suppose that means the lineup will probably look a little like this:

bertuzzi/bourque - langkow - iginla
cammalleri - lombardi - boyd
glenX - conroy - moss
nystrom/lundmark - primeau - roy/prust

could be better, could be worse. i AM excited that cammalleri looks to be slotted in with lombo, no matter what other combinations come up in the keenan line blender. i'm just hoping the hip ailment sidelining #13 is minor in nature...

i spent the day watching the pittsburgh - ottawa game, played in stockholm's globe arena. my hate for alfredsson softened juuust a little, watching him belt out the swedish national anthem, and watching godard take the most asinine hooking penalty for another team made me grin a bit..... also, i'll say it and i'll say it with a grin: jordan staal= 1 point. sidney crosby = 1.... and aside from not realizing the earliness of gametime (thereby leaving dubinsky on the bench), the screaming dobermans had a pretty good day. :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

flames v. canucks postgame: wakeup call

so i didn't watch the game last night but i DID get a text from my roommate at about midnight telling me the highlights were awful, and even the ANNOUNCERS were making the 'kiprusoft' jokes....

the stats on this game are scary. kippsy let in 6 goals on 23 shots. SIX GOALS ON TWENTY THREE SHOTS !!?!? now i KNOW the canucks aren't getting twenty-three amazing scoring chances... which means soft goals, indeed.

in watching the replays, it seems that craig conroy was on the ice for a good portion of vancouver highlights. this is not a good sign... he ended the night a team-average -2, though, which is simply not good enough for a 1.1 million dollar guy. *sigh... aucoin bottomed out the +/- with a devastating -3... it's really a shame cause a good showing by the flames blueline last night might have just sealed the deal sending warrener and eriksson to the QC. now they'll have reason to try it again....

boyd and moss came out at -1s, and glenX (bless his little heart) was one of only five or six players that ended at evens. bad, bad, bad game...

i'm sure vancouverites are absolutely glowing this morning. thank god that game doesn't count... i'm sure keenan's been quite level in the past weeks, but probably raised it up a decibel or two last night !!!