Friday, July 30, 2010

an explanation on why i love the swedes part 1

csi: white

according to the herald, the flames have signed ian white to a one-year deal for $2,999,995.00. i'd like to call that five bucks the ol' darryl sutter slap in the face: "son, to be perfectly honest, you're simply not worth three million."

the eleventh hour settlement before a scheduled arbitration hearing means the dudes over at the NHLPA get to go for an extra-long lunch today, and that the flames are WELL over the cap. well done, darryl. the dud kotalik and staios contracts you picked up for absolutely no effing reason last year are currently having their way with your backside.... how does it feel ?

i wrote the following in the comments section over at domebeers, in response to a post querying the lack of offersheets for the diminutive defenseman, but i thought it was worth re-posting here:

- other GMs know that sutter can ill-afford to sign white to anything above 2 and would scoff at anything above 3. [editor's note: when i read the terms of white's deal, i actually thought of this exact sentence]

- a 3.5 million dollar offersheet would not be matched by the flames, and white's new home club would give up a first, second, and third round pick (what i figure sutter was HOPING for). [editor's note: the last-minute, pre-arbitration deal makes me doubly sure that sutter was expecting an offersheet, and when one didn't come he was forced to re-sign the asset. i would not be remotely surprised to see white+ dealt for parts before training camp opens: see the asterisk section below, which fully applies here.]

- if an arbitrator gives white anything above 3, odds of sutter walking away are probably 50/50. this would make ian white a free agent.

- if i was a GM, i'd probably wait it out. then you can get ian white for 3.5 and lose nothing.

**alternately, if sutter signs him at 3.5, other GMs can trade their expensive, useless, old players for him.... WAY better than dropping high draft picks.

much to olli jokinen's chagrin, the flames keep the best moustache on the team for a dollar amount that, in my opinion, is a good deal for both sides. sutter gets to maintain that the phaneuf deal was sound, and white gets to enter free agency with a couple extra mil in his pocket... i will be thoroughly surprised if either he or gio make it through next summer with a flaming C on their chests but that will be a tale for another day, to be sure....

**UPDATE: jay feaster says exactly what i said above (in different words); that the white camp were insistant that there be a 3 in the number, and flames camp were insistant that there not be. so sutter says "we'll give you 3 mil minus five goddamned dollars so that you end up essentially getting 3 mil and we end up looking like a bunch of monkeys in suits."

happy long weekend, everybody...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

2010 prospect camp: day 4

"uh.... is armstrong injured ?" i said to kent, mikeH, and hayley as we arrived.

"he's right there !" says kent (no doubt thinking i've presumed armstrong injured due to absence),"...but... he IS wearing a white jersey..."

"uh, yeah."

"and nobody else is wearing a white jersey..... so...uh... he's injured."

"uh.... yeahhhhhhh...."

while none of us had noticed armstrong 'taking it easy' at any point earlier in the week, apparently he's still not 100% and opted out of today's contact drills. it actually makes perfect sense: i mean, why risk injuring yourself in july when if you can injure yourself in september, when there will be no time to heal before the NHL contract (and capspace) kicks in ??

so i ATTENDED the afternoon practice today but i admit i didn't see much of it. that's what happens when you pick a fight via text message... my apologies to the blog posse for being the annoying texting chick, and apologies to dgb for being a girl.

but i digress.

mickis was the standout today and by that i mean he is really the only guy on the ice that's noticeably GOOD. everyone else has been unremarkably average, it seems, with the occasional display of brilliance (great shot, great save, great defensive move). it's a sad state of affairs, to be perfectly honest (haha) cause in my prospect camp experience, there has ALWAYS been standout guys. they're often different types of role players, but they're interesting to watch and show some potential (taratukhin, tömi mäki, dvdg, boyd, pelech, backlund). not really sure what it means that guys like wahl, nemisz, howse, and brodie aren't really strutting the stuff that we presume they all have....

anyhow. i may or may not show tomorrow afternoon. we'll see...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

2010 prospect camp: day 2

enjoy this post, friends, cause i will be unable to attend day 3. days 4 & 5 are currently tbd.

i tripped down to the 'dome today and spent the day with kent and hayley. good thing they were there cause i'd forgotten just how boring skating drills can be.... sandwiched between a bunch of practice time were a trip to timmy ho's and a couple patio beers at the ship. those were probably the best parts of the day.... also, it was really nice to see sjc. it's been too long, mofo. dayum... ;)

not much to note from this day's events, other than the following standouts:

- darryl sutter was either cold or embarassed about his matching ensemble in the morning, as he donned a flames coaching style jacket to watch the afternoon session.

- #40, giffen nyren, is this year's jd watt and easily the most amusing guy on the ice (for all the wrong reasons). the most frequently uttered query from my cohorts: "who's 40, again ?" after a particularly bad display. also ? we called him "nyren giffen" all day because, well... i guess probably because i know a dude who's first name is nyren, and also because let's be honest: a name like giffen nyren could seriously go either way....

- i still like josh meyers after day 2, but have discovered that (at 25 years old) he SHOULD be better than the other guys...

- john armstrong is thoroughly unremarkable (other than his rugged handsomeness, of course).

- jon rheault stood out today cause he was a total keener in drills, cause he has bigger hair than mitch wahl, and because he's actually kinda good in a feisty sortof sparkplug way.

- best quote during skating drills: "poooor goalies...." ;)

- i should have figured it out but only realized today (hat tip to hayley) that the dude i thought was matt keetley is totally not matt keetley. i'd tell you his name but he won't make it out of camp anyways...

- negrin attempted the morning skate but bailed out of a lot of the harder stuff... he didn't attend the afternoon sesh.

- greg nemisz is thoroughly unremarkable.

- mickis was largely invisible today.

- wahl was noticeable only really cause of the hair:

the twins (rheault & wahl)

the other twins (irving & ortio)

that's pretty much it from me.... except i should point out that whilst at the ship for lunch, newsboy from x929 came up with a rather interesting job idea for now-former news anchor barb higgins. watch this clip (skip to about 2:13) cause anything that suggests imagining olli jokinen acting like a pro wrestler is money, in my books....


Monday, July 26, 2010

2010 prospect camp: day1

(click for a larger version with some names attached)

in past years, for the most part, i've skipped the first day (monday) of the flames' annual summer development camp cause usually it's pretty tame since the boys spend the morning in fitness tests and medicals. today wasn't really much different but after an animated phonecall around noonish from my brother ("are you way STOKED or WHAT ???! today is the unofficial start of your hockey season !!!"), and with nothing else to do today, i bit the bullet and headed down.

always my loyal sidekick, mikeH opted to duck out of work for an hour and come with. coffees in hand (a tradition, and an absolute MUST), we pulled into parking lot A and noticed a significant number of cars ---probably double the norm for the first day of camp [generally by week's end, and with far more press, the number of attendees increases]... in fairness, the flames really got the word out this year, both on their website and with articles in the herald and on various blogs.

as in previous years, the team neglected to print, copy, and make available the roster list for public consumption on day 1. i actually enjoy this because i'm able to watch the dudes i can identify from memory or facial recognition (in this case: 57 bouma, 75 armstrong, 48 nemisz, 43 seabrook, 60 mickis, 52 wahl), the goalies by their helmets/pads, and i'm able to analyze the others for standouts without any name-based bias.

the most shocking revelation of the day ? two words: josh. meyers.

without a list of players by jersey number, i presumed that #63 was tim erixon because he was in defensive white, a big guy, good skater, with a great shot and was noticeably aware of his drillmates. i figured erixon's experience in a men's league would elevate him over the rest of the blueliners and this dude looked.... better. when i found out it was josh meyers i was totally stunned cause... well... um... who the hell is josh meyers ??! he'll get a better look thru the week.

61 negrin was noticeably absent. not sure the deal there.

what else ? i made some minor scribbly notes with jersey numbers (whether i knew who they were or not) that equate to the following:
-seabrook is still recognizable with all of his clothes on:

-nick larson totally doesn't give up
-nemisz has a bullet wrister and TOTALLY schooled chris breen in a foot race
-lowry told the boys the ice was bad and banned one touch passes
-mitch wahl grew some effin' hair
-johnny armstrong's back
-joni ortio kinda looks like leland irving:
that's pretty much it for day 1. i'm pretty sure day 2 will be lengthier and i look forward to catching up with kent and hayley (and anyone else who's around) at some point. i'll be the one with the medicine hat tigers to-go mug. come say hi.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

2010 prospect camp: colour me excited !!!

well, it's fine time for me to do the following:
a) start writing on this here site regularly once again
b) stop being so goshdarned negative about the moves darryl's been making
c) learn to stop worrying and love my team

monday heralds the start prospect camp which has historically been my absolute favorite time of year. [that last link is a gem, btw....] there's truly nothing like ducking into the cold, quiet saddledome to watch the baby flames run some drills, and get a feel for their potential, current skills & personalities. camp historically runs the week after stampede or, alternately, the week after the week after stampede ---and this year is no different. it just feels a whole lot later because we didn't start parading until july 9th as opposed to the greatest outdoor show on earth's general rule of beginning"the first friday of july."

this year there are alot of ahl-level guys who won't suit up for summer session; prospect camp is considered a development camp (not an evaluation camp), and only the players on their first pro contracts are invited. this means that this year, we don't get to see the likes of matt pelech, gord baldwin, brett sutter, and there will be a new "worst decisionmaker" on the ice since kris chucko ain't gonna be around....

i really look forward to checking out how far tj brodie, mitch wahl, and my boy lance bouma (lancey-pants wears tömi mäki's #57, which automatically makes him my favorite) have come in the past ten months since rookie/training camp. i'm also curious to see if mickis looks head and shoulders above his peers (like dustin boyd did one year ago), and if john armstrong can prove me right by playing well and staying healthy.... other dudes i'm excited about are negrin, erixon, ortio, and marvin. i must admit that the newest crop of draftees don't interest me much, but perhaps by the end of next week i'll have changed my tune... ?

roster here

schedule here

see you guys at the 'dome. personally, i kinda can't wait to see that one super crazy annoying dude who goes every year.... it's like homecoming !!!

and no, i don't mean kent. ;)

Friday, July 2, 2010

an explanation on why i despise my team, part 1.

i have a feeling that this will be the first part of a continuing series that will no doubt run through and well past the 2010/2011 season. initially, i thought i'd ignore the whole thing; my initial stance on jokinen yesterday, for instance, was "i refuse to discuss this." but eventually people are gonna wanna know what i think, so here goes, in order of most-to-least infuriating:

1. that the calgary flames organization allowed darryl sutter to completely napalm this team. he should've been sacked following the cap debacle/short bench situation at the end of the 08/09 season and (having gotten a do-over on that little fuckup), without question should have been handed his pink slip following last year's failure to make the playoffs in spectacular fashion. i've been saying it for ages and i'll say it again: john ferguson junior was given far too much time at the helm of the maple leafs, and brian burke is only now (nearly three years later) beginning to dig the team out of the hole jfj dug. as mikeH suggested yesterday, perhaps there are some counsellors in toronto that can teach us what it's like to support a team that absolutely sucks.

2. there is no reason whatsoever to sign raitis ivanans. if you add his 600K/year to the buyout number on dawes' contract (somewhere in the range of $150K), you could pay for *ahem* an actual hockey player like, say..... nigel dawes. i would like to ask herr sutter if he knows how many fistfights there were in the stanley cup finals. infact, i would like to ask daz if he has any idea how many punch-ups there were in total during the playoffs. having a pure goon has gone the way of the cooperalls. completely infuriating.

3. olli jokinen. jeeezus. if the guy can't score for 5.5 million, why would anyone in their right mind think that he can score for 3 ? because he's got alex tanguay as a winger ??!? LOL. god, i hope tangs remembers how to enter the offensive zone cause neither of his linemates can do it.... in olli's interview yesterday, he admits being surprised at darryl's call and that he jumped at the opportunity to come back to calgary.... uh, no shit. because none of the other 29 gms are insane enough to have offered him a two-year deal at 3 mil per ?? and what REALLY gets my goat on this one is that chris higgins signed for 1.6mil on a one-year deal. so wtf was darryl offering him ?!??!? the flames could probably have had him for 2 mil for a one-off. hell, give chris higgins the jokinen money and you've probably got a better team..... ugh.

4. ales kotalik. being totally serious, now (putting the sarcasm aside for just a sec), i actually hope kotalik gets a chance to play in calgary next year. and why shouldn't he ? he's no worse than anyone else on this roster, and equally effective as the other 3-million dollar guys (let's count hagman, jokinen, sarich & staios in there). also ? he actually wants to play (well, he did before he was waived, anyways. that's got to be a kick in the nuts) and is probably the most skilled dude on the roster. yes, this is goddamned depressing, i know. talk about asset mis-management.... i don't understand how you put kotalik on waivers and then sign a dud like jokinen in the same week. one step forward and two steps back indeed.

5. alex tanguay. yesterday, i described my thoughts as "tanguay: waste of time, but hey ---okay. let's try that out again." at 1.7 mil on a single year deal, i'm all for this brand of patented darryl sutter reclamation project. very little to lose (other than hockey games) and the potential upside is there. the upsetting part, to me, is that it sounds like our captain might have suggested this deal. apparently (according to some dude i met at the stampeders game), iggy thought that tanguay was crosby-calibre when it came to sweet passes tape to tape. maybe so. or maybe it's time for hockey players to be hockey players, and gms to be gms. infact, i've heard some buzz about our captain having input into coaching decisions as well..... hm. perhaps an extreme makeover is in order; a COMPLETE overhaul of this team ---from players, to coaches, to management. heck, maybe it's time for gus thorsen to find something else to do...

6. ian white. where's the effin' contract ? i like to think of ian white as the last man standing in a couple of trades made by a desperate GM during a 9 game losing streak. if white goes (offersheet or otherwise), then i would deem the phaneuf trade a failure. and the kotalik trade has already been acknowledged as such by his placement on waivers and higgins contract with florida.

7. with all of these bad acid flashback signings, people seem to have forgotten that we still have steve staios at 2.7 million. good lord.

it's gonna be a looooooong summer.