Sunday, January 31, 2010
i was woken up by a text from my leafs fan buddy in toronto, tanzir, "phaneuf to toronto ?" well, you can imagine my surprise that it was a burke deal and not a sather deal (and i gotta say, i would've been exponentially more shocked had i not been cryptically and vaguely forewarned)... dion phaneuf, fredrik sjöström and keith aulie for niklas hagman, matt stajan, jamal mayers, and ian white.... my initial reaction was that darryl got fleeced. i've 180º'd that, now, and i have a whole new outlook on darryl sutter....
the biggest name in the trade is obviously dion, and i definitely got caught up in that mindset for a few hours this morning. when i imagined phaneuf hitting the road, i always imagined a big name player coming back.... but having lived in toronto and *ahem* once supporting the leafs (to a certain extent), i quickly came to the realization that i have always liked matt stajan, and hagman and white are two quality players on decent (if not good) value contracts. this is a good trade, even if jamal mayers is a leafs salary dump (an even-up for primeau, perhaps ?). oh, and i think i even used to joke about getting "sjöström" on my leafs jersey.... perhaps i'll finally do it... ;)
having listened to the brian burke presser i now wonder about a couple of things. i wonder if there's any truth to the last puzzle pieces being, in a sense, sjöstrom for mayers. in my opinion, the player that daz would've been leniant to deal would have been aulie, but with ian white coming back i think it would've been do-able. to me, the defenders would have made this trade a deal, and not the fourth line pluggers.... but perhaps he needed the roster spot for someone else.....? which means mayers is a pawn and likely to get dealt imminently, himself...... ?
a lot of the upset callers to the fan 960 today seemed stuck on dion's potential; that someday dion might be a norris trophy candidate again, and a top offensive PP producer.... well guess what ? someday i might be the fucking prime minister but the odds are pretty huge that'll never happen.... ;) i would much rather deal a lazy, "erratic," unreliable blueliner who may or may not be detested by his teammates for a handful of useful players.... the potential of keith aulie was hardly discussed but TO ME that's gonna be a big deal... i watched the leafs deal a bunch of young talent in the JFJ era and i always thought those guys would come back to haunt someday (lauri korpikoski ? tuukka rask ? i'm talking to YOU guys)....
the radio pundits often made mention that "the winner of the trade is the team who gets the best player." well, "best" is rather subjective, ain't it ??? from the sounds of things, and i guess we'll have to wait and see until we know for sure but ian white seems the real "centrepiece" of this deal... he's been touted as the "mark giordano of the eastern conference" ---good first pass, big minute-eating, sound decisionmaker, PK/PP guy.... well, i'm pretty sure that when you get rid of a 6.5 million dollar player who kelly hrudey refers to as "not that smart" for a 900K potential first pairing blueliner, your team wins.... the pundits suggest dion's got a cannon point shot but they omit the fact that his cannon is RARELY on net (or that "high and wide" is the cornerstone of the dion phaneuf drinking game).... the kid needs some guidance at the very least. he's never gonna get it done here and ian white has a ton of promise.... oh, and stajan and hagman are just gravy....
and i'm sure nobody's happier than regehr....
jermaine franklin completely messed up the media scrum with phaneuf, when he asked "where do you go from here ?" to which dion answered (as if he could answer anything else), "I GO TO TORONTO." it was such a stupid question that i think (hope ?) the answer will be repeated ad infinitum on youtube or whatnot.... soooo amazing.
i admit i'm bummed about freddan because he said kent was his favorite swedish band. also because he said he'd bring electricity to a desert island. and i'm also bummed i cant tell him i'm bummed cause he's been hit with an immense amount of spam on his blog recently.... but realistically, i'm not all that bummed he'll no longer suit up for the calgary flames.... he's good but he's just another really fast fourth line grinder type.... take good care, freddan. xx
i don't think i'm ready to talk about the hypothetical second trade yet, since it's not all official-like, but in a nutshell i'll say this: if it's jokinen and prust for kotalik and higgins then it's a massive fail for darryl sutter. no matter how much i dislike the joker, there's no way he's bad enough to warrant shipping him off for a sack of pucks (one commenter over at m&g pointed out that nobody would make this trade: lombo, prust, prust, vandermeer & a 1st rounder for kotalik and higgins). if there's more to it than meets the eye (as in: it's a stepping stone enroute to landing kovalchuk as a rental) then i'm a fan. count me in. daz can stay....
more tomorrow to be sure.
hagman, stajan, mayers & white to calgary. shize. i hope daz ain't done.
the flames look more like the leafs than ever, and thank god i wrote that post cause dang if nhlnumbers ain't being innundated right now and totally unresponsive.
Friday, January 29, 2010
if there is, infact, a trade in short order then i have to wonder if daz will tack on my best boy freddan to the outgoing package. with the number of days he's spent in the pressbox (ie: lots) plus the number of minutes he spends on the ice in-game (ie: not lots) then methinks his roster spot might better be designated to another younger swedish forward.... one with slightly better hands and a helluva lot more nhl goals per games played....
plus, as mikeH said regarding my theory, "we're heavy on the swedes." ;)
i don't understand waivers at all but i've heard that if we demote lundmark again, he's got to clear'em before making his way back to abby. so he stays. conny is, presumeably, due back soon which means we'll have to demote backlund. will we want to do that, after last night's showing ?? probably not.... but any other player we send to the farm would be waiver eligable.... ergo: sending freddan back to the eastern conference means we aren't liable to pay half his contract for none of his play .
his minimal cap hit, good PK skills & speed would make him a nice little pickup for another team (perhaps one he's already played with)... this would mean that if the flames ever decided to release a women's cut retro throwback jersey i'd be forced to letter it with mickis' surname.
that's all for now.
oh, except for this little bit of nothingness:
god bless gio. i wanna make tshirts.
.....and so do these guys, apparently: check out the gio-for-captain thread over at CP. thanks to mikeH for the h/t.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
"...a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize." (wikipedia)
a 20-year old swedish kid that is a-okay wearing capri pants (god, i wish i'd taken a photo of the capri pants) has been brought in to solve the calgary flames scoring troubles.... i bet that makes HEAT leading scorer & AHL all-star jason jaffray one pissed off hockey player.
it also suggests that darryl sutter is beginning to kowtow to public opinion to satiate the masses, even though he went on record last week suggesting they can pretty much all fuck themselves (i'm paraphrasing, here, but the quote i'm referring to is "I don’t really care what you think, to tell you the truth.... It doesn’t really matter what ‘everyone in the city’ thinks . . . because I can’t imagine you’ve talked to 1.2 million people.”) nice one, daz. way to keep your job.
anyhow, a couple weeks ago ---just after the second bay-area blowout in as many years--- i suggested that if backlund was called up in lieu of a trade it would be a last-gasp, desperate move by an outgoing GM. here, darryl gets the best of all worlds; he inserts young, skilled, fast talent without moving a single organizational unit in the other direction. it's a no-brainer: bring up a guy the fans want in the lineup, and put him next to iggy who needs something new.... but here's what i'm thinking: it's all show. if daz was serious about his team sinking pucks into nets, he would take the baby flames' top scorer (jason jaffray) and give HIM top-line duties. cause let's be honest, here. jaffray was given a cup of coffee with the big club a few weeks ago, but it was two games with a TOTAL of 13:10 TOI and linemates like prust and mcG.... not an ideal goal-scoring situation for a guy with 16 of 'em (and 21 assists) in 46 games.
the bottom line is that, while i'm not certain i'd predict another flames loss tonight, i don't really think backlund's gonna have a great game. for a guy that's struggled throughout his career with confidence issues, i would think getting maybe 5 shifts on the top line and then being relegated to centering the fourth line pugilists isn't gonna make the kid feel good about himself. it'll also presumeably punch his ticket back to the coast tomorrow when conroy is magically 100% again and ready to play.
here's to hoping i'm eating my words in the morning.
Monday, January 25, 2010
-if the flames pull another one-and-done season (or, alternately, don't make the playoffs at all), i look forward to the "playing injured" excuses we'll get out of calgary flames HQ. here's what we know:
- conroy and sarich both spent some time on the shelf and neither are presumeably 100%.
- glenX didn't skate in the superskills because he wanted to rest his lower body
- lundmark skipped drills yesterday to nurse a shoulder ailment
-my buddy sjc turned up the other day to watch a game with a gem in-hand: a hard cover flames yearbook from 1982 called "fire and ice." i don't think i can quite describe the level of awesome that is contained within the glossy pages but i'll scan and post things now and then to remind you of its existence. there are a lot of moustaches and bucket-helmets (think: kent nilsson) but by far my favorite photo is of willi plett (left) and bill clement. soooo amazing.... also pure, unadulterated radness is, of course, is the rarely discussed fact that willi plett spelled his first name like that.
- tonight is jim peplinski bobblehead night at the 'dome. if i was going, then i'd get there early to pick one up and my chris drury bobblehead would be challenged for his current position as xmas tree topper. fyi: my tree's still up. if it makes it into february i might consider leaving it up all year. ;)
-see how far i got without discussing the current flames squad (y'know, the one that can't score) ? i think i did pretty well considering..... ;) mikeH and i attended the game v. chicago on thursday [fyi: it's always nice to see kent, even if mike & i weren't sober and probably ranted about nothing] and it was hardly the fun-fest of a normal draw at the 'dome. for a team that was hell-bent on coming out hard, the flames were hugely uninspired and waaaay average. if the 'hawks had responded full-throttle i think it could've been a blowout in their favour, but both teams really looked disinterested. it was as though 19,289 people showed up and interrupted the players' movie night....
-speaking of saddledome capacity ----the flames often refer to the consecutive sellouts but here's the thing: i'm 100% sure that's totally bogus. in the section that my dad's season tickets are located, there are two single seats one row apart that are often sold as a pair for big-name matchups (like pittsburgh or washington or montreal). when calgary plays, say, nashville or st.louis, those seats are empty. as in: not sold. as in: available for purchase at gametime. as in: how is it a "sellout" when there are available tickets ?? now THERE's a question i should've asked ken king at the fan forum.... :)
-in totally unrelated to hockey news, my friends' band (motion city soundtrack) released their fourth album last week and it's KICKASS. have a listen !!! maybe you'll love them..... you can buy their stuff on itunes, just fyi (dooo iiiitttt).... ;)
-what would a "monday randoms" post be without at least a MENTION of giordano ??! ;) in addition to being the blaze magazine coverboy on thursday (scan to follow at some point, i'm sure), there were a couple of comments from fellow bloggers this week that made me laugh. i noticed today that the link to htp over on the 4th line blog has the hilariously accurate tagline "general flamesness & giordano love." thanks for that, it's wicked. i've added you to the blogroll at right as well.... and over at m&g, responding to my description of the multiple dreams i've had lately about mikael backlund (i blame neo citran!), colinS wrote "now, now, wi..... you can't have your backlund and eat your giordano too." ;) i am STILL laughing at that one....
i guess that's about all i can think of for the moment.... tonight's game reminds me of the flames/blues matchup i attended in st.lou in november, and how heartbreaking the dude in the pronger jersey (who sat infront of me) looked when he described how badly his team needed a win. his eyes moist, his voice beseeching my beloved flames to take pity and lose..... ahhhh, i understand that pleading and sorrow, now.... *sigh
hopefully we'll have a win to talk about between now and next monday (hell, let's hope we've got a FEW !!!).... :) have a great week !!!
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
i think that's all that needs to be said on that front. as mentioned in the hundreds and hundreds of comments over on the M&G gamethread and postgame (where i'm responsible for about $75.00 worth of my two cents) i am starting to think that the flames look a hell of a lot like the toronto maple leafs and i've developped a little breakdown to support my theory. if you remember at the start of the year, we all wondered aloud who would do the flames' scoring, well, that query has reared its' ugly head once again.... at the same time, leafs fans joked early-on about having four 4th lines..... hmmm.... coincidence ? ah, this shit writes itself.... ;) i'm not gonna go by position, even though that makes the most sense, i'm gonna go by impact.... i won't even bother with the bottom 6 since i have a feeling it'll be pretty muddled ....
1. iginla (RW 7M: 21G / 22A) - kessel (C 5.4M: 15G 13 A)
kessel and iginla have similar numbers (the former missed 12 games to start the season), are both considered to be their team's "elite forward," are both the highest paid guy on their respective clubs and are both struggling in 09/10.
2. jokinen (C 5.25M: 10G / 22A) - blake (LW 4M: 10G / 16A)
fans love to hate these guys and are both a product of bad GM moves (olli in a trade, blake in a contract). for skilled guys they seem to have a lot of trouble getting pucks in nets.
3. bourque (LW 1.35M: 17G / 21A) - stajan (C 1.75: 14G / 22A)
these players both battle hard every night and come up with some beautiful and timely goals. neither are afraid to get dirty in the corners and both show good value contracts.
4. dawes (LW 850K: 10G /15A) - hagman (LW 3M: 17G / 11A)
i don't know that much about hagman but i'm thinking this is the best comparison. smart, useful, second line winger.... ?
5. langkow (C 4.5M 11G / 19A) - ponikarovsky (LW 2.1M 16G / 15A)
steady, steady, steady... always dependable. both have historically had top-line assignments but often find themselves relegated to second line duties. both play significant roles on the PP and PK.
6. bouwmeester (D 6.68M: 2G/16A) - kaberle (D 4.25: 5G / 36A)
a couple of strong, solid, smart puck moving defensemen. both play big minutes at EV, and on the PP and PK. both are bonafide #1 guys but often considered to be 2nd pairing....
7. phaneuf (D 6.5M: 8G / 11A) - beauchemin (D 3.8M: 4G / 16A)
both spend enormous minutes on-ice (EV, PP, PK) and are counted on to provide some offence. heavy hitters. neither (IMO) are super hockey savvy....
8. regehr (D 4M 1G / 12A)- komisarek (D 4.5M 0G / 4A)
both injured (i'm guessing at regehr, here but kommie's missed 16 games). both used to be pretty awesomely tough, stay-at-home, shutdown guys, and both are kindof painful to watch these days....
nystrom - stempniak: occasional flashes of brilliance. hard grinders.
glenX - kulemin: get moved up and down the lineup a lot.
boyd - mitchell: underpaid, underrated, young.
sjöström - primeau: both fast, good PK types, both pressbox sitters.
prust - mayers: 4th line grinders/pugilists.... some ability.
mcgrattan - orr: classic textbook goons. period.
pardy - schenn: young defensemen with rosy futures.
finger - sarich: overpaid for ability but still decent blueliners.
white - gio: highest value contracts per club. huge minute-eaters.
flames fans this year have been laughing at toronto getting run out of rinks night after night all season long.... but i gotta say, the make-up of their squad is not unlike the one we cheer for: frighteningly bottom-heavy with very little in the way of naturally talented scoring forwards. when healthy and "on their game" calgary's blueline is far superior, but lately i think the two have pretty much evened out.
the main difference between the two clubs is that the leafs have gone with a two goalie system (both netminders riddled with inconsistance) while the flames rely on workhorse kiprusoff for most games. backelhinney gets (and loses, it seems) only the occasional start. infact, it's in this capacity that i see the teams' divergence and the result seems plain, whether or not the stats are there to back me up: kiprusoff > toskala / gustavsson. quite simply, kipper has stolen games which we had no business winning, leading in no short part to why the flames' record is better than the leafs' in 09/10. end of story.
yeah, you heard me right... now: bring on the angst.
interesting reference pages: calgary player contracts/salary, toronto player contracts/salary, sportsnet player comparison page.
Monday, January 18, 2010
- first off: there's no two ways around it ---harvey the hound is the best arena mascot in the league (sorry, youppi ----ps: this link is one of my alltime favorites and sometimes i think i talk about harv just to put it up).... ;) harvey 's got more outfits than beyonce and i seriously i have no idea how a person can wear twenty pounds of faux-fur, and an oversized dog head, and still do this:
- thinking about all the back-patting that ken king did about darryl sutter's drafting abilities has pretty much irked me for four days. on thursday, i was annoyed about the two times during the fan forum that they boasted about how full the prospect cupboard is, considering that darryl's highest draft pick with the flames was tenth overall (even though dion was selected ninth in 2003). one would presume that if the president and GM of a profesional club were gonna gloat about something, they'd want to get it right... but i digress.... it occurs to me now that the 2003 nhl entry draft was kindof akin to shooting fish in a barrel; as long as the flames chose to hang on to a first round selection that year, the odds were good that the guy would be a big-leaguer. so congrats, i guess.... as commenter smellofvictory pointed out over on the gamethread at m&g: "good thing calgary drafted phaneuf over [getzlaf], eh ?".... while dion looked like a slamdunk in 2006 after his rookie year, later first rounders like mike richards, jeff carter, and brent seabrook look far sharper these days.....
so when the flames' brass talk about their wicked scouting/drafting skills, i gotta say that ---dion aside (and realistically, not even that guy most nights these days), none of darryl's selected first rounders (including chucko, pelech, irving, backlund, nemisz, or erixon) look like team-changers at this point. admittedly, it's mighty early on those last three.... so we can still hope, i guess.... i will also concede that he may have drafted some later round gems (tbd) in guys like pardy, prust, boyd, aulie, wahl, howse, brodie, and ortio.... also ? bummer about john armstrong's injuries, dan ryder's troubles and mickey renaud (full stop). those guys all looked so promiseful.... le sigh.
another thing that occurred to me today is that darryl always drafts a first rounder. i gotta say that i find it kindof unrealistic to think that he's going to go into draft day, come june, and select two third rounders, and one player each in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds. no way does that happen. in some way, daz will make a deal and i'll be shocked if he doesn't turn up AT LEAST a second round pick or a conditional first.
- the game sucked last night but... um... how good was THIS:
- remember last march when the team's fourth line was: vandermeer - peters - roy ? WHEW !!! okay, i feel a whole lot better, allofasudden.... ;)
- all talk of the flames needing a top-line winger was put aside last night after an admittedly poor showing by backelhinney. i've been standing up for that dude all season but yesterday, i had to concede that the couple of stinkers he let in probably lost the C's the game.... names in the loop included biron, irv & crazy manny, but i say (for entertainment's sake at LEAST) let's get pechursky and promise that we'll spell his name right on the back of his jersey...
- with xmas now finished (and on to valentines day with some immediacy, according to what's going on at the mall), now is a good time to stock up on your canucks merchandise. not interested ? hmmm... neither is anyone else, it seems:
- in saying that, i know it's probably time to take my tree down... but it looks so MONEY with my chris drury bobblehead tree-topper !!! the bobblehead option was justin pogge (i honestly have one --it's a collector's edition which i recently dropped on the floor) but the drury one is far lighter in weight and is therefore much more stable on the top of my fake pine.
no point, really (just sharing). :)
- i got a text this morning from the dude who flies an enormous flames' flag from a 50-foot pole outside his house in silver springs (and at half mast after blowouts or playoff losses). it said something like "rough loss last night, but at least tonight's bounce-back game should be easy !"
ahhhhhhh...... we're in deep s&%#.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
i spent a little time re-reading some old posts and decided it was fine time to go again on the poll i did exactly ten months ago where i perfectly described this kind of experiment about the joker, "now i have comparison numbers for the season's end when i ask it again... or around this time next year when we adore him/can't stand him."
ps: that post also goes into detail about how terrible dion's play had been, and his (infamous) quote about how the leafs are a hard team to defend against because they "throw pucks to the net all night." *snicker* when i think about how stalled dion's development is since that time, i can't help but ask myself, "we're in a whole world of fucking trouble here, eh ??"
so i'm sitting here on my couch avoiding doing the housework i SWORE i'd get to today, watching game seven of the 1986 flames v. oilers series. cheezus that's awesome hockey.... i'm so very excited to see the berezan goal (aka: steve smith off of fuhr) but i gotta say this: if the flames hadn't won this game, both reinhart and his defensive partner (al macinnis) would've gotten hung out to dry.... big al sure coughed up the puck a few times.... oh, and also ? håkan loob is still by far my favorite player of all time. what hands that guy had..... an absolute JOY to watch....
in saying that, it becomes obvious to me that PRECISELY what the 2009/2010 flames are lacking IS håkan loob.... think about it: every good current nhl team has at least one of those "finesse" guys who can stickhandle out of trouble, thread the needle on a perfect pass, speed in on net with full puck control, and just generally make most opposing defensemen look incompetant. the oilers have (*ahem* had) hemsky. the 'hawks have kane. the sharks have heatley. the nucks have sedins. the wings have z'berg.... infact, if you look closely at alot of this year's struggling teams, they have largely elected to substitute elite power forwards (in the iginla mold) for the loob-type of pure skill player; toronto, columbus, carolina, and dallas come to mind, here.
so there you go. problem solved. daz ? get us a tricky euro.
cup = as good as ours.... ;)
by the way: perry berezan was on the bench when the series winning goal went in. if ever there was a great argument for getting the puck deep into the opposing zone before a shift change, that's gotta be it. ;)
Friday, January 15, 2010
moments after arriving at flames central, it occurred to me that a really great question for ken king would be, "please explain why this venue has been open for over two years and brad mccrimmon's name is still spelled incorrectly over his 4'x3' photo in the second floor gallery." buuut since i'm not one for public speaking (and i was secretly still holding out hope that the amber-hued liquid courage would allow me to approach the mic and ask the more important salary cap question), i opted to simply mention the mis-spelling to peter hanlon as i passed him enroute to the bar. he seemed slightly surprised and amused by the error ("mcrimmon"), and noted that SOMEONE should have spotted it earlier, considering its proximety to the men's room.... as i returned to my table, with a pint of lager in each hand (one for me and one for my pops), he inquired with a smile, "double fisting?" hahaha.... what an awesome conversationalist for the head of the communications department.... ;)
while i feared the majority of questions aimed at the flames' bigwigs would be in the vein of "are the flames awesome or REALLY awesome ?" there were actually only a handful of soft lobs. the straight hardball queries were largely met with misdirection by heir sutter, and candor by sir king. there seemed a lot of questions about the proposed new arena (they'd like to break ground in 3-5 years, and for it to be a "technically superb building"), and there was a lot of backpatting about providing a first class product, quality of players on and off the ice etc.etc.etc....
- classic darryl sutter smoke and mirrors when asked about dion's on-ice play, "he's making progress," he said, and followed it up with some textbook crap about how he doesn't look at the individual, he looks at the group and that they're very young and experience isn't what he'd like it to be (*shudder* i think he said that when leopold came back) and that sarich is the eldest blueliner at 31. see how smoothly he did that ? you thought we were talking about phaneuf.... ;) later, someone asked if there had ever been talk of moving dion to the wing and daz essentially admitted it was a failed mike keenan experiment and, "quite honestly," NO... he did call dion a "semi-rover," though, and i quite like that title....
- the "quite honestly" count, fyi, topped out at five. yeah, it surprised me too !!!! kindof like those telus ads, i imagined there would be so many more.... ;)
-more misdirection on backlund's progress, that he's still making the adjustment (i call bullshit on this but whatever) and that he could be playing in the NHL right now on 7 or 8 teams. uh hunh.
- when asked about re-signing jokinen and bourque (seperate questions but i'll address them here together), it felt like he was tiptoeing quite lightly where olli was concerned and was far more stern and concise when discussing how bourque is a player he'd like to get signed ASAP. realistically, the answer to "will you try to get a deal done with jokinen ?" CAN ONLY be answered in the affirmative: let's face it, it's january and the dude is running a team that's just barely mid-season. only bryan murray would be dumb enough to answer "we don't really want him back, no." darryl DID suggest that there was no way in hell olli'd be getting a similar pay rate, though, so i think that's all we can hope for at this juncture....
- a couple of funny ones: someone mentioned that he'd been trying to figure out how many draft picks we've got this summer but couldn't find the info online. darryl cut the guy off and blurted out, "six: two thirds, four, five, six, seven... six." another dude inquired why we have a foghorn after a goal at the 'dome when we're so far away from a large body of water and ken king (without missing a beat) replied, "well you gotta have it loud enough so they can hear it in vancouver !" ....pure awesomeness. ;)
- not really surprising but i guess i'd never really thought about it: greg nemisz's nickname is nemo. this, of course, came during a rundown of how full our prospect cupboard is and how well we've drafted (especially, ken king pointed out, since the highest draft pick under darryl sutter was tenth overall.... ken and darryl actually mentioned that stat twice which annoyed me to no end since dion was drafted fucking ninth).
-"as long as jarome plays for this team, he's the face of the franchise." d. sutter.
- somebody actually asked if the change in goalie coaches is a factor in kipper's turnaround (and that somebody was not me). daz more or less dodged it but pointed out that noodles and kipps are buddies, and that mclennan offers a different prep style. or something like that... whatever that means.
- i knew it would happen, and was pretty happy when it did. :) while ken king pretty much ignored the query on whether macinnis or nieuwendyk's numbers would be retired, he gave a fairly straight-up answer on #14. the president and GM both laughed heartily when the question was asked (i bet they had money on it coming up) and king offered, "i'll give you my answer instead of darryl's." he went on to suggest that it's "not important" what fleury says in the media ("he needs to do what he needs to do"), and that the flames were proud to have given him the opportunity to come back and retire as an active player. regarding his banner in the rafters, king suggested that "at some point he'll get it." this statement is as close to a "yes" as i've ever imagined....
and finally, the coup: after the q&a, both ken and darryl kicked around taking photos and shaking hands. while i don't think i could have actually socked him with the cap question (i wanted to but i'm just not that tough), i did want to know about the maritime stats guy.... so i asked daz my question; is he still employed and has he come up with anything noteworthy.... daz starts telling me about moneyball and how there's tons of stats available on the net. i re-pose the question, "but is there like one guy who looks at specific stuff... does this maritimes guy exist ?"
"and he's on the payroll ?"
"and has he found anything of use ?"
i clapped my hand on the back of his shoulder, grinned, and offered "...ah, and you wouldn't tell me if he did..."
and darryl sutter laughed....
Thursday, January 14, 2010
like i said in a previous post, i'm not really much of an asker ---i prefer to sit quietly and take it all in (plus, i have found that historically there have been some really great queries off the floor)--- but if i had some awesome question submissions, i'd try to pipe up. feel free to drop a comment if you've got a good'er....
as for me, i sent this via email to the fan960 this afternoon, since a couple of the dudes over there will be emceeing/mediating the event (rob kerr, i believe, and someone else but i can't remember who). the odds that this question will be posed by anyone in the MSM is a longshot, so i'll write it down and bring it with me.... cause i, for one, would really like to know the answer(s):
anyhow, we'll see how it goes. i would imagine i'll have a pretty lengthy post at some point tomorrow....
this is the kind of hard-hitting quesiton that sutter and king never get asked and i hope you can fit it in between "how are we gonna get more scoring?" and "is noodles to credit for kiprusoff's turn-around" ? thanks....
last year's team was pushed so close to the cap (with the extra dollars picked up in the jokinen trade) that it was unable to squeeze replacement player salaries under the limit, and iced incomplete lineups and younger/cheaper athletes for ten days at season's end. this led in no short part to the flames falling out of first place in the northwest, and drawing a very strong chicago team in the first round of the playoffs.
what assurances can you give the fans that similar financial mismanagement, in regards to replacement player salaries and the cap, does not occur this year or in the future ?
(ps: another great question is whether or not noodles is to credit for kippy's turnaround)
ps: i couldn't resist emailing this afterthought:
here's another question for the suits:
tod button once made mention (in july '08) that the flames employed a "numbers guy in the maritimes," to work out the mathematics/algorithms of player stats. is this fellow still on the payroll, and has he come up with anything noteworthy ?
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
- kurt cobain once said "just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you," and in this case i'd suggest that just because you've got a history of embellishing to draw penalties doesn't mean the infractions don't occur.... [ps: i think kurt cobain might've ripped off that quote but the point stands....]
- no way does burrows take exception in the media to an on-ice official just for shits and giggles. for revenge ? maybe.... but doesn't that just prove his point.... ?
- burrows is an idiot for taking his claim public. even if it had merit, there was zero chance of a positive outcome for the canuck by going this route. the nhl will always back up their officials in a he-said/he-said dispute, especially when there isn't an iota of evidence either way....
- the diving call burrows received on tuesday night was a reputation call and totally debatable. the interference call was a giordano-like infraction: totally, utterly, and absolutely non-existant (and most certainly in a game-changing timeframe).
- speaking of gio, if burrows' claim is true, you gotta wonder how many of the zebras' wives and daughters our #5 has been sleeping with to deserve so much of their wrath. ;)
- the on-camera interview from tuesday night shows an obviously upset canuck. he looked like me when i feel flat-out frustrated, angry, and hard-done by (ie: verrrrry close to tears).... this (to me) gives his grievance merit...
- LONG before this incident, but FAR more this season than any previous ones, i've been questioning the bias and/or competence of the nhl's officiating. there have been numerous comments on recent gamethreads over at m&g regarding blatant missed calls (or, more accurately, NON-CALLS) for all teams and i've challenged the validity of the referees' decision-making on more than one occasion (the giordano on dustin brown call that resulted in a penalty shot, for instance). i recall getting into a bit of a squabble with another commenter who was making the ol' "refs work effin' hard and are only human" case.... well, the auger/burrows affair has incited commentary from pundits that, quite frankly, SHOCKS me: bob mackenzie, for example, doesn't suggest burrows is mistaken, he suggests burrows should, essentially, shut his trap... i'm mortified that one so knowledgeable in the sport i adore can't honestly suggest to the fans that the league's officiating is impartial..... unbelievably, i heard similar commentary elsewhere (the fan 960, for one).....
what i would EXPECT to hear (true or not) is that officals are professionals and are occasionally liable to make mistakes. there is a reason i've been egging on my friends who support rival teams (yeah, i'm lookin' at you, goad) this year with "may the zebras allow the better team to win..." over the far more standard "may the best team win." i just think the nhl needs to take a far closer look at the standard of officiating in every single game....
auger is on-ice at the 'dome tonight, and i would expect that he'll call the cleanest, most honest game of his career.... so i guess THAT's good.... ;)
on a sidenote, here's an email i got today from my pal bennie which included the following clip and a note that's pure awesomeness:
Dear Mr. Giordano,
Happy belated Birthday.
Monday, January 11, 2010
- i'll be attending the ken king / darryl sutter q&a on thursday at flames central... while i'm more of an observer, by nature, if anyone offers up a wicked question in the comments section, i'll ask it....
- i did a little reading on green laser pointers and it kindof freaks me out, where kippy's vision is concerned.... those things are REALLY not good for eyes.... a few interesting forums and articles about what an idiot laserdouche is, and a bit of follow-up/fall-out from lasergate.... considering that i just linked to a zillion different things and your attention span is probably as long as mine, i'll break it down for you here: green lasers are sixty times more powerful (and thus, harmful) than red laser pointers. the forum link above shows pics of a guy who has etched into plastic with his green beam, which is effin' frightening when you think about the ramifications: not only for kippy's career but kippy's LIFE, man.... anyhow. no question that there should have been an announcement on the PA at GM, and that brent should've probably stopped the game. on the other hand, if it was happening constantly, my guess is that kipps would've made more of a fuss (so i presume he's just fine).... it seems that barry trotz has vowed to remove his team from the ice if it happens again tonight. bottom line: laserdouche will get tattled on the next time he/she decides to play green lantern at an NHL game....
- toronto v. pittsburgh on saturday night produced a situation not totally unlike the giordano phantom penalty fuckup call from dec 29/08 (the quintessential of gio v. zebra mess-ups). this time, however, it was sergei gonchar who both scored AND (when play continued) hauled down ponikarovsky on a breakaway the other way. a lot was made of the situation, since the eventual awarded goal nullified a toronto penalty shot, and it caused me to re-investigate my stance on the giordano episode.... here's the difference:
NHL RULE 78.6 VIDEO REVIEW:
When a team scores an apparent goal that is not seen by the on-ice officials and play continues, the play shall be reviewed by the Video Goal Judge at the next stoppage of play. If the goal is confirmed by video review, the clock is re-set to the time the goal was scored. If the goal is not confirmed by video review, no adjustment is required to the clock time.
Only one goal can be awarded at any stoppage of play. If the apparent goal was scored by Team A, and is subsequently confirmed as a goal by the Video Goal Judge, any goal scored by Team B during the period of time between the apparent goal By Team A and the stoppage of play (Team B’s goal), the Team B goal would not be awarded. However, if the apparent goal by Team A is deemed to have entered the goal, albeit illegally (i.e. distinct kicking motion), the goal shall be disallowed by the Video Goal Judge and since the play should have stopped for this disallowed goal, no goal can be awarded to Team B on the same play. The clock must be re-set to the time of the disallowed Team A goal and play resumed.
Any penalties signaled during the period of time between the apparent goal and the next stoppage of play shall be assessed in the normal manner, except when a minor penalty is to be assessed to the team scored upon, and is therefore nullified by the scoring of the goal. If an infraction happens after the first stoppage of play following an apparent goal (infraction after the whistle) by either team, it is assessed and served in the normal manner regardless as to the decision rendered by the Video Goal Judge.
the verdict is that in the leafs/pens game, the goal AND penalty were pittsburgh so the penalty stands. in the gio incident, the goal was scored by minnesota which means that gio's delay of game infraction should have been "nullified by the scoring of the goal."
....and since we're on the subject of the lengthy list of gio phantom penalties, does anyone have any idea why it was GIO (and not iggy) who received a 10-minute misconduct during the pushing-and-shoving at the end of the second period on saturday night ?? no matter, the dude almost scored on his first shift outta the box.
- speaking of gio (almost) scoring, how good was THIS ??!?11!?:
- i know it has nothing to do with hockey but it's pure radness: beer can or bacon ?
[UPDATE: this link has totally disappeared, which is really too bad for you....]
- team canada numbers are out but unless you're planning to get a jersey, i'm not sure how exciting it is.... eric staal gives up #12 to alternate captain, our iggy (as if he wouldn't) and takes #21. getzlaf defers his #15 to veteran dany heatley and does the same (#51).... nothing else overly interesting to note beyond the team's lack of a #4.... ie: it's ready and waiting for jaybouw. ;)
- theo fleury apparently decided this week that he didn't want his #14 in the rafters at the 'dome and went ahead and posted some rather controversial comments over on his blog (he's since removed them). my opinion is this: he wasn't entirely wrong about any of it, but he's an idiot for announcing such things in a public forum.... regehr probably SHOULD be traded (like dion, his value will only diminish if his current play continues) and theo probably WOULD have scored more than conroy.... mind you, with the way that he was skating, fleury's +/- would be atrocious by now, and i'd be screaming about his floating more than i did with bootuzzi.... on the subject of #14 sabotaging his jersey retirement, my boy strombo pointed out that "one day he'll get there. when flambés fans realize that, short of one magical run, d.sutter is the c.mactavish of calgary."
Sunday, January 10, 2010
early in the season, hrudey discussed how lazy phaneuf was on the ice, chalking it up to the long shifts that dion played under keenan's rule, and his warranted habit of "resting" on-ice. well, here he points out what we've all been seeing for months now: that he "makes so many silly mistakes and it's as though he doesn't think hockey very well." it's clear to hrudey, as it's clear to me, that dion often challenges neither the man nor the puck, and spends a freakish amount of time infront of the goaltender doing a whole lotta nothin' [a tendency that i poked fun at during the new years' eve game, telling my section-mates that i'd like to make Tshirts that read "what is dion doing ?" and on the back they would say "ohyeah... nothing" ... btw: i may have had a few heroin beers in me by then but i still maintain that the concept is sound].
the HILARIOUS part in this clip is that ron mclean (bless'im) tries to argue that phaneuf is like scott stevens, who didn't start his career with the greatest "hockey sense" but was still one of the best hitters in the game. milbury and hrudey immediately shoot that idea down by, essentially, pointing out that dion is not aggressive in his style like hall-of-famer stevens was... mclean, dejected and exposed, responds "nooo, i know... worth a try on my part." [just before the 2:00 mark]:
the REAL kick in the nuts, here, is hrudey suggesting that "maybe he's not a top 20 defenseman in the league, maybe he's a top 100."
mathematically (and remember that i'm not so good at maths), that breaks down to kelly hrudey suggesting that dion might be in the lower half of NHL-calibre blueliners (30 teams x 6 defensemen = 180 total bigleague level Dmen). i might remind you all that we're talking about a 6.5 million dollar defender with four years remaining on his current deal.... and that top 100 would put him in montador territory. hrudey does a good job of addressing how disappointing dion's contract v. gameplay is....
anyhow, there is some really good defensive analysis in this segment, some good commentary on regehr and bouwmeester (in addition to phaneuf), and i can only hope ryan mcgill ---the flames D specialist--- is telling the boys some of the same stuff....
in other flames' coaching news, shootout hero and call-up jamie lundmark thanks the team's other jamie (goaltending coach and former luongo backup, mclennan) for tips on how to get one past the 'nucks captain. he also credits being a couch potato and sportscentre junkie in the greater vancouver area, during his time with the HEAT in abbotsford, and being innundated with highlights of bobbylu on the telly. yeah, i might be making assumptions here, but the point stands: jamie lundmark doesn't just watch teevee, he STUDIES it. also ? there's clearly fuckall to do in abbotsford aside from practise, gametime, and sleep. ;)
good win by the boys last night, way to define the term "dig deep." hopefully they can pull out the same kind of effort against the avs tomorrow, and that kippy's eyes are a-okay. i'd like to point fingers at canucks fans for proving why everyone detests them, but realistically it was just one total douchebag with a super high powered nerd-device and a vengeance. i hope he/she had money riding on the game and lost big.
ps: this is how you deliver (and dodge !!!) hits like scott stevens for a measley cap hit of 892K :
Thursday, January 7, 2010
This was an absolutely wonderful job by the cameraman after Dustin Brown's unfortunate penalty shot attempt a few games ago. This relates to this blog's favourite defenceman, of course, as Mark Giordano was the "guilty" party on the bizarro-world penalty shot call outlined here by walkinvisible.
I realize nobody's wondering but: I have been watching, pretty much every game, and I have thoughts. They will come.
In the meantime, please enjoy the photograph.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
- apparently dion went along on the two-game roadtrip with the team to nashville and minnesota but everybody's pal craig conroy did not.... this ultimately means that i was bang-on when i surmised that brent sutter's gigglefit with ms.campbell-pascale, during saturday's post-game, was based on phaneuf being pretty much a-okay. it also means that the rest of my post yesterday becomes a moot point. i bet dion doesn't miss a freakin' shift.... :(
- mikeH and i have made such a big deal about this whole swedish chef / organ music thing at the 'dome in the past few weeks that, with a little help from my parents (who pvr'd the nashville game dec 19), my bro (who has the right cables, a sweet macbook pro, and garageband) and the great apple corporation (who developped an extremely userfriendly movie-making program that even luddites like myself can figure out), i decided to go all-out with the following:
i'm quite proud of this, btw. thanks to all of the websites for allowing me to download their photos (even if they don't know about it), to tsn for broadcasting the game, and simmer & loubardias for yapping all the way through the audio. ohyeah, and superwickedthanks to WT (aka: deliciouscorn) for playing it....
- mikeH came up with one of my favorite one-liners of the year during the game on saturday: if the maple leafs get caught playing an extra player, do they get penalized for "too many mans on the ice" ???.... seriously ? there is no way to explain this other than effin' GEN.IUS.
- tuukka rask's helmet specially made for the winter classic is beyond amazing and (obviously) went over pretty well with the crowd in boston:
- a couple of updates on the flaming swede blogs: freddan explains how tough the schedule is around xmas, and how tough the conference is looking, and how tough it is not to be playing as well as he wants to... by the sounds of it, him and kronwall are now besties, and spent what little holiday time they had together with their families... it also sounds like if you stake out ikea's grocery area, you'll probably see one of the two sooner or later.... as for mikael backlund (aka: mickis heretofore) wishes us all a happy new year and talks a bit about his family being around over xmas.... it also sounds like someone (his mom ?) won the raffle at the heat xmas party and now mickis is hugely into rockband.... perhaps he's trying to get into the band "box play" ... anyhow. some good photos to check out of mickis' family, ladyfriend (?), and supremely barren abbotsford apartment.... maybe he's a minimalist like me, but more likely he just has no furniture.... it also appears that he's no longer driving the gold honda pilot with alberta plates, and has moved onto a gold beamer with bc plates..... ;)
- flames' superskills went on yesterday and here are your winners:
- jarome iginla wins the hardest shot 102.3 mph
- staffan kronwall wins target practice (accuracy) 4 in 5 shots
- robyn regehr goes 2/2 on the breakaway challenge for the win
- freddie sjöström takes the title of fastest skater, beating my boy gio by a half second... the incumbant (glenX) did not skate...
poor, lonely last #19 jersey.... fyi: if you're interested, it's a measly $89.99. that's a total bargoon (the surrounding named and numbered jerseys are a full hundred bucks more).... ;)
- my cousin, a montreal fan, was in town yesterday and when we started talking about hockey, he immediately jumped on "the best thing the habs did last summer was letting kovalev go."
"you mean the guy who scored four goals last night and did the moonwalk when he was announced as first star ?" i replied [see it here at 1:44]... after a moment of dejected silence, my cuz said "uh. yeah, that guy...." ;)
i guess that's it for this week, happy new year n' all that.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
obviously this photo is hard to beat among "best ever flames' pics," although we certainly did our damndest; after a boat load of those heroin pints, we rang in the new year with harvey in his tux and tails.... could we look any happier ???
in examining this photo, i noticed that harvey has two sets of eyebrows: one inside his googly eyeballs, and the other above... weird. anyhow. the new year's tilt was (as always) a hoot and we won it on what i believed to be a giordano goal (which made it that much more awesomer)... ;) of course, it ACTUALLY tipped in off of glenX but since i didn't find that out until much much later, i was the goof walkin' around the sutterdome post-game, pointing at the name on the back of my own jersey, crediting #5 for the GWG.... *shakes head* .... i'm an absolute loser for that guy. ;)
tonight's matchup against the godawful leafs actually has me running a bit scared. the flames RARELY play well against the buds for some reason, and it's an early game to boot. will the olympically ignored flames 3-D play all-out so that don cherry can bash stevie Y for his choices during the first intermission ? or will they come out flat to prove his Y-ness right ???
ps: did anyone catch the US olympic team announcement yesterday ? i refer specifically to the part where the fans at fenway boo'd phil kessel and the camera caught ol' burkey shaking his head in disgust.... it was pure awesomeness.... leave it to the yanks to boo their own friggin' olympic team... [mind you, i was TOTALLY prepared to hear boos after the announcement of dany heatley's name the other day]. i suppose that proves that canadians are classier fans. either that or it just proves that once you get a hockey game and a beer or three into people, they'll boo anything. ;)