Tuesday, June 30, 2009

best D in the league, bar none

as of this very moment, it would be nearly impossible for anyone to explain to me how the current flames' defensive corps is second to any other team in the league.... it'll be interesting to see the pairings but it looks like sarich is the only guy who shoots right....

will he be paired with regehr to form the ultimate nhl tunnel of doom ?
will he be paired with dion to remind the kid how to man the blueline ?

what an embarassment of riches.

in other news, i guess we now know why sutter turfed vandy in the past few days: so jaybouw could take his rightful jersey #4.

also, i'm feeling rather confident that gio's high value, low cost contract (cap hit of $892K) is a keeper, which obviously makes me a pretty happy little lady this afternoon.

now. who's gonna be the odd man out ?
lookin' a little thin up front, methinks.

june 30th discomfort

i'm not a happy kid today, but i will tell you this:

if we don't manage to sign EITHER of pardy or jaybouw, my gio jersey is lookin' miiighty good for this season.... ;)

i'm actually getting a little nervous; not about bouwmeester (who i think will test the free agent market but may still end up signing with the flames), but about adam pardy who will probably go to the richest suitor. i'm starting to think that, less than 24 hours away from being an unrestricted player, pardy would be stupid to sign for the pennies/term that darryl is most certainly offering at this point.

here's to hoping i'm entirely wrong....

the other interesting rumour is phaneuf-for-heatley, currently circulating around sports networks, blogs, and watercoolers alike. i'm not sure that daz has given up on his prize thoroughbred, but it wouldn't entirely shock me, either. i'm certain that coming to terms with bouwmeester would precede the departure of our #3, but i wouldn't necessarily dub it impossible.... heatley would sure look good in a flames jersey, but there would most definitely have to be a big contract moved to make way, with dion being a potential candidate. let's just say that right at this very moment, i'd be most surprised to see regehr moved, out of anybody in a flaming C.

in other news, i decided yesterday that signing gionta would be awesome, for one simple reason:
two gios are better than one.


Monday, June 29, 2009

abbotsford heat logo unveiled

the abbotsford heat logo is finally revealed and it's... well.... it's better than the quad city flames' logo, that's for sure.

it doesn't scream "heat" to me, but i think that's probably what the vancouverites were hoping for, to distance the team from the nhl arch-nemesis flames...

anyhow. i've screengrabbed it here for your viewing ease:

or you can go to the heat's website to learn a bit more about the new design... it sure doesn't talk about the insignia that failed a few weeks ago for looking a little too much like a current sports logo.... and it certainly doesn't explain why the "original pencil sketch" is so much better than the final product....

anyhow. onwards and upwards, abbotsford heat !!!!

in case you don't read the comments....

some witty reparté between myself and my westcoast canucks-lovin' pal, goad, that's been going on the past few days....

GOAD in italics
walkinvisible (aka: me) in bold


"....Well done Sutter. You have stirred interest in Flames fans for a few days and allowed them to dream of their full team + JBo.
Dream on."

"'well done sutter' is now considered an incomplete sentence. you must specify which of the five flames' sutters (darryl, brent, duane, ron, brett) you're referring to... infact, the last name "sutter" is redundant in these parts.... 'well done darryl' is preferrable in and around the pengrowth sutterdome."

"On the contrary.

The Flames have made references exceedingly simple with their one-name-fits-all solution. "Sutter can't run a power play" "Sutter will never figure the cap out" or the classic "what the hell does Sutter even do?". It takes all guesswork out of a late night rant.

Thanks nepotism."

seriously ?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

sutter's work: smoke and mirrors

somebody told me this summer that brandon prust was coming back and that it was already a done deal. i can't even remember who it was but it was like a cab driver or something.... he said "you'll see this summer" and he was RIGHT.... which makes me wonder if the ACTUAL jokinen trade was for lombardi/vandermeer/1st rounder, but sutter refused to give up a defenseman heading into the playoffs (cause we were so short). i think i speak for all of us when i say that this is good news all-around, to be sure.

also ? leopold for the rights to jaybouw could not make me happier. for serious.... my gut tells me that daz will get'er done, and with vandy's salary/contract off the books, it'll be interesting to see how much he has to spend.... it will probably take a full mulligan on the "nobody makes more than the captain" statement, though, and i'm not convinced the current egos on our blueline will handle a 7 million dollar guy...

my boy strombo woke me up with the leopold-for-jaybouw news to which i responded that the flames would certainly need to drop some salary in order to sign him. strombo (cheeky bastard) texted : "or you could just dress 15 players a night ;)".....

Bouwmeester: Smoke, or fire?

I don't have the time or inclination to figure out the potential salary-cap implications of adding a defenceman at what will probably end up $7-million per. (Also, I'm sure Kent will do that.) Here's what I think about this:

• Jay Bouwmeester is a Top 10 defenceman in the NHL.
• I'm skeptical that he would actually make the team better.
• I still think Dion Phaneuf has a higher upside.
• I think Robyn Regehr is the best defencemen of the three mentioned here.

The Flames have struggled to get out of the first round for four straight years while spending too much money on its defence, percentagewise. Bouwmeester, Phaneuf, Regehr, Sarich and Vandermeer would be a $23-mllion back-end, and that's before your factor in D6-7 and Kipper.

So, who will score? Perhaps there's an answer to that question, but it doesn't come to mind very quickly. I just don't like the idea of having to pay 13 forwards with about $20-million total. So, could they move Sarich and Vandermeer, and replace with $1M/yr guys? Can you build second and third lines even with that budget? All stuff that Darryl Sutter has to figure out. Good luck, Darr.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dreams and draft day

Busy, uh, life for me right now, so most of my "contributions" to the "social web" lately have been via Twitter. Thought about a long post on these topics today, but 140 characters did it instead.

I plan to watch tonight. Go Flames.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

busy summer for avery ?

last summer, sean avery had just signed on to be the latest forward/antagonist for the dallas stars, and had procured himself an intern gig at vogue magazine.

this summer ?

well, he's apparently done some stuff with entertainment tonight, he's the buzz rumour (mostly in my fabricated dramas) that jarret stoll has dumped former model rachel hunter at the proverbial alter, and now rumour has it that he's makin' the moves on NY jets' quarterback mark sanchez' ex girlfriend

like they said on deadspin.com:
Why hasn't someone invented a catchy phrase to describe this very situation?


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

new coaches *yawn*

uh.... so here's a shocker:

in the worst kept hockey secret of all time, brent sutter has been officially named as the next head coach of the calgary flames.

the assistant coaches are (huge surprise here, obviously, since i suggested it in the post below): ryan mcgill, dave lowry and our boy noodles.

noodles, in an interview on the fan 960 after the presser, proved to me why kipper will have a better year this season: he's a good laugh. one thing i can say about MYSELF (if nobody else) is that i work much harder and with better results when my boss is fun:

on the press conference announcing him as part of the new flames coaching staff:
"i didn't even know it was a press conference... i thought it was a free buffet until they started asking me questions."

on where he and dave lowry see their assignments ending up as bench staff (and here i'm paraphrasing):
"i think it's pretty obvious what my job is gonna be being that goaltending is my area of.... well... not EXPERTISE but.... uhhhhh... EXPERIENCE."

i love that guy.

am i worried that two of the new assistant coaches have played with a good number of the players on the flames' current roster ? not really.... but i could certainly be eating these words in the next few months....

the part that annoyed me the most about the presser was where darryl sutter quasi-admitted that he should have allowed mike keenan to hire his own assistants.... well guess what, folks ? by the looks of things, brent sutter didn't get to hire his choice of coaches either.

so there you go.
onwards and upwards.... D (draft) day minus 3.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

pick a sutter, any sutter

i forgot to mention the nhl awards in the stuff upcoming.

i also forgot to mention the fact that the flames should (by all accounts) have announced a new head coach by the end of next week. here are my thoughts:

1. ryan mcgill
after the flames spent the better part of four years grooming mcgill for a big club coaching job (by giving him the head coaching job of the baby flames in 05/06), there's absolutely no way in my mind that this guy will end up anywhere other than behind the bench in calgary next season. will he be the head coach ? probably not.... but let's be realistic here: until jim playfair was appointed head coach in abbotsford, there was nary a peep in the press about mcgill's future. if you're a vegas type, i'd call this a sure thing.

2. pick a sutter, any sutter....
once you've established that ryan mcgill will be assistant/associate coach with the flames next season, you really kindof have to consider that the guy making these calls has already got a head coach in mind who would ACCEPT mcgill as his right hand man. which signifies (to me, anyways) that it's either himself or a close member of the inner sutter circle (ie: one of his brothers). while darryl has himself quite a lengthy leash, it seems, with the flames upper management, it's hard to imagine them allowing him to hire a head coach with no previous bigleague coaching experience. which obviously narrows the gap to himself (darryl) or brent. if i was gonna bet on it, i'd put my money on daz, only because i'd LIKE to think the already millions of wasted sutter payroll (marcus nilson, anders eriksson, rhett warrener, wayne primeau) will get cut off at some point; and buying brent's availability from the clutches of the new jersey devils won't come cheap.

other asst coaches:

- dave lowry gives up the head coaching job with the hitmen to take an asst. job with the flambés, and/or wayne fleming walks away from avangard omsk where he is no longer under contract.

- noodles gets promoted into the head goalie coach job (yikes !).

these are my thoughts, not yours.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

NHL Awards 2009: W. T. F... all over again

first off, i realize that the nhl is NOT the nba or the nfl, and has nowhere near the pomp and circumstance... but could they really not do ANY better than chaka freakin' khan ?!?? i mean, seriously.... isn't there some way that they could have procured AT LEAST a top country star and former idol winner (nudge nudge) ?? i'm embarassed that the best entertainer they could find/afford/think up's most recent accomplishment seems to be her 1999 re-recording of the reading rainbow theme song....


the nhl awards are never a big deal, to me, and the winners are usually met with a big ol' "meh" by yours truly: steve mason winning the calder ? yeah, i called it. tim thomas taking home the vezina ? no big surprise there. chara beating liddy for the norris ? kay... but sometimes the writers simply choose the wrong guy, methinks. hey, i'm not gonna say that steve sullivan has had it easy the past few years, but zednik just about kicked it right there on the ice in buffalo. if anyone seemed a shoo-in for some hardware, i'd say it was that guy...

of course, once again, my favorite moments were with datsyuk and ovechkin.... if you remember last year, pavel accepted the selke by pulling a pre-written speech out of his pocket and reading some thank yous to the detroit redwings in rather broken english. minutes later, after being announced as the lady byng winner, he approached the mic and proclaimed "i used all my english in first speech." tonight, datsyuk was awarded the selke and read a list of thankyous that he pulled from his pocket. like déja vu, a commercial break-or-so later, he was announced as the winner of the lady byng.... i was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen THIS year.....

...and he pulled another speech out of his pocket and said, "this year i'm more confidence."

as for the inaugural mark messier award, honouring a leader in the sport and the community, big congrats to our boy iggy. also, HUGE kudos to our #12 for saying some really nice things about the flames, the fans, reggie, conny, kipper, langks, and dion, and offering his hope that they will soon raise the prize for the great city in which we live.... beautiful and touching (and not a whisper of the name "sutter" in any way, shape or form).... ;)

the laugh of the night again went to ovechkin: following a choppy attempt at thank-yous by evgeni malkin for the art ross trophy, ovie queried the crowd, "do you think malkin's english is better than datsyuk's english ?"

congrats on the hart, ovie.
well deserved.

Monday, June 15, 2009

stuff upcoming

i've been away a bit but now i'm back... of course, i'm thinking there's not a whole lot to write about, currently, but here's some stuff i'm looking forward to talking about in the next month or so:

1. the abbotsford heat logo
apparently the new baby flames' logo was supposed to be unveiled almost two weeks ago... it seems it may have infringed on an existing logo (atlanta flames, perhaps ?? miami heat, maybe ??) and has been scrapped. i would imagine the team wants to show off/sell/promote their new jerseys ASAP, so i would presume we'll see the final design shortly.

2. the draft
kent has been talking a bit about the potential future flames, considering the low first-round position the team currently holds. with all the dough tied up in current salaries, and sutter's propensity for draft-day deals, i fully expect to see a major transactiom occuring on june 26th... it's very close to being the year that the team deals their captain, and i wouldn't be remotely surprised to see one of the "core group" guys dealt in the next few weeks. i have read and re-read the al coates quotes on the niewendyk-for-iginla trade, and i realize that this franchise is on the brink of that kind of team-changing move. the guys i consider "hands off" are no longer; even those with no-movement clauses could agree to be dealt: any of iginla, phaneuf, and kiprusoff could go, with the more likely players changing colours being sarich, vandermeer, and langkow. i would be far more surprised to see any of the "good value" players change hands; nystrom, bourque, glenX, moss, gio, or any of the "high potential" babies (backlund, negrin, aulie, pelech, irving, wahl). like i've said in previous posts, i would be BEYOND surprised to see jokinen change hands this summer, as his return (lombo, prust, 1st rounder) is too high for a GM to send him off after a mere forty days... it would be admitting fault, and i certainly don't see darryl effin' sutter being the guy to make that deal... i also envision regehr as the captain-in-waiting, and i don't see him getting sent away either.

3. prospect camp
as any longtime hitthepost reader should know, july's prospect development camp is largely my favorite time of year... to me, there is nothing better than shacking up in a cold rink, during calgary's hottest months, to check out the team's futures... this year there will be no boyd, vandergulik, palin, or greentree, but it will be nice to have a look at the other kids; pelech, negrin, aulie, irving, backlund, wahl, nemisz, and armstrong (among others). it usually starts the monday after stampede, which puts it somewhere around july 13th. i. can't. wait.... :)

over and out for now.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I can't believe it's not Sutter: Brent out in NJ

Credited originally to Calgary's CTV outlet, I'm linking here to the New York Times, Brent Sutter's going to step down as Devils coach later today.

As the Times points out, it's unclear how brother Darryl's going to figure out how to get Brent behind the Flames' bench this year while he still has a year left with the Devils. And while Lou Lamoriello might be willing to not stand in the way, he might stick out a leg — and that means some kind of compensation.

I like Brent Sutter a lot as a coach, and have seen him first-hand do wonders with the Red Deer Rebels when I was all over the Western Hockey League in the late-90s, but I wonder if the Flames really have to do a Michel Bergeron-style compensation deal here, or if there might be somebody better out there for free.

Like I said, just wondering. Perhaps I'll have an answer later on.

But regardless, with today's events, I find it almost impossible to believe that we won't be seeing Brent Sutter behind the bench with the Flames this season.