Thursday, December 30, 2010

my thoughts on feaster: stepping back

i don't have any formed opinions on flames "acting" gm jay feaster's CV and how it reflects upon the future of my favorite hockey team. i understand that his draft history is spotty except for some obvious slam dunks (who would surely have been selected by any literate human), and i'm aware that he's made some godawful trades. i know that he won a cup but wasn't really responsible for assembling the important winning players, and i know that he spent a long time managing a very successful AHL club. extrapolating these facts to how he's going to handle eleven no trade/no movement clauses, a boatload of lengthy contracts (some overpaid), an aging player corps, and a shallow pool of prospects seems pointless to me, at present. especially since he's not the guy in charge. he's the INTERIM guy in charge....

what i DID come to today, in my semi-hungover haze (after a pretty serious night of booze and laughs ---btw: fun times if you're reading this, teetotaling pals) is this:

it makes no sense that the org would sack darryl ---a guy who's been on his way out for eons--- without a backup plan in place. if feaster was brought in by the owners to replace darryl, then he would have been given the GM title on tuesday, non ? i mean, why keep the guy in indefinite GM limbo when he's already been walking the halls of the 'dome for five months ?? like.... what's the point in that ??

here's my take: feaster was brought in to oversee darryl, and to assure that he didn't make any rash/imbecilic moves before he was ushered out the door. feaster wasn't handed the title of GM outright because the org has earmarked someone else (who needs to concede his current position with another club before joining the flaming C's).

i came to this theory because i just can't get past why the executive/owners wouldn't hand feaster the reins entirely, unless there's something else at play, here. i can't comprehend the value in making the man plead his case a month after darryl's dismissal when he's been exposed to the team, it's players, and inner workings since the summer.... wouldn't his opinion on the club's desired direction have been made quite clear to the ownership by now, ESPECIALLY if they were the ones to bring him in ??!

methinks yes.
i guess we'll see....

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

my thoughts on darryl's tenure, point form:

GENIUS darryl sutter moves:
- picking up kippy for a 2nd round pick (2004)
- picking up rene bourque for a 2nd round pick (2008)
- langkow for saprykin & gauthier
- turning an unhappy tanguay into mike cammalleri at the '08 draft
- letting theoren fleury play the '09 preseason ;)
- wearing the road tie

good darryl sutter moves:
- huselius for montador/johner
- re-signing gio
- leopold for ryan wilson/nycholat/2nd (albeit overpaying) cause we needed D badly
- seducing jaybouw (albeit overpaying)/trading leopold for his rights
- bringing in noodles as goalie coach/scout

bad darryl sutter moves:
- ference/kobasew for stuart/primeau
- jokinen/prust for kotalik/higgins
- 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 drafts (04/08/09 are actually not THAT bad, and selecting dion in 03 was like shooting fish in a barrell)
- letting huselius, cammalleri, and bertuzzi walk without actively replacing them with goalscorers
- telling mickis he should buy a house in calgary [regime change = buhbye, baby backlund...]
- building a team where 11 players have no trade/no movement clauses
- leaving the bench

REPREHENSIBLE darryl sutter moves:
- signing ference to a longterm "hometown discount" contract then trading him six months later
- re-upping primeau for 2 years at 1.4 mil per
- making ference pull his bags off the bus and leaving him at the rink in buffalo
- making jokinen and prust play v.philly after the kotalik/higgins deal had been leaked
- refusing giordano a one-way deal, signing anders eriksson 2 days later
- signing anders eriksson
- jokinen/3rd for lombo/prust/1st
- jokinen for 2 years at 3 mil per with a NTC
- andrei zyuzin
- cheaping ian white out of $5 so as to not sign him a 3 million dollar contract
- staios for johnson/3rd
- buying out a good-value contract in nigel dawes (15 goals, $850,000)
- signing raitis ivanans (1 game, 1.2 mil)
- not promoting rookies (dion/pardy notwithstanding)
- trading keith aulie
- not shopping dion phaneuf to all 29 teams

the move that should have led to darryl sutter's immediate dismissal (and didn't):
- miscalculating the cap (subbing jokinen's 5 mil for lombo's 1.8, leaving scarce room for injury replacement players), and being forced to ice a short bench to end the 08/09 season thereby falling out of first in the NW and thus facing (and losing to) chicago in the first round

am i missing anything ?

mikeH reminds me about the sutter(s) dismissal countdown, which started here on march 4, 2010 (but was alluded to here ---a harbinger of today's 'resignation'). tap out at day 299. booyah....


so long, dazza. thanks for the jokinens....

"darryl stepped down because i asked him to."
--ken king, 12/28/10

....uhhhh.... then it's not really "stepping down," is it ?

just sayin'.

[ten minutes into this presser, and i'm already kindof missing the smugness and 'quite honestly's.... ken king is a yawn]

Monday, December 27, 2010

Why Mikael Backlund will sit in the press box all season

I haven't been around these parts much for a couple of reasons. First, our team is losing. This makes it tough for me to get up any motivation to write. Second, I am dwelling in a pit filled with hate. Most of this is directed at Darryl and is probably justified, but I'd rather not pollute the Flames world with more calls to fire the GM. Well, "rather not" ends today.

In Sunday's paper there was a "feel good" story about Mikael Backlund, going on about how Mickis had his whole family in town for Christmas. I'm happy that the young swede was able to chow down on his mom's home cooking surrounded by his loved ones, but one part of the article left me fuming:

"Told to buy his own place this year, he moved into a new home in December..."

Really? Someone told Mickis to set down roots? To my eyes, this means that, realistically, no matter what happens, he is not going back to Abbotsford. You can't tell a player on an entry level deal to buy a home, incur the debt obligation, and then ship him back to the minors to slum it out in some rental condo with four teammates. Daz basically upgraded him to a one way deal with 6 words: “Go ahead, kid, buy a house.” And the blame HAS to be placed on the GM, adding another bullet point to the long list of Darryl mis-steps. All the NMC/NTC deals. The brain dead contract extensions. The bad trades. Picking up Olli Jokinen. Twice.

I can hardly type my hands are shaking so hard, and I hope to get through this piece without throwing my computer across the room. Backlund could be getting solid development minutes, while making $65,000 a year (capgeek), with no cap hit, but instead he's wearing a suit, munching popcorn, and warming a chair in the press box. What a total waste. Maybe up in the rafters of the 'dome is where Daz envisioned Staios' leadership making a difference.

So this is me begging now: Please fire Darryl. As soon as we possibly can. Every day that goes by he finds a way to push the team further from success. Some people have suggested that since we are already hogtied for the next season (because of Darryl), that there is no advantage to destabilizing the management at this point. I think this example with Backlund proves that an early intervention is required.

End venting session. That felt good, but it will feel better when we see some progress. And you know I'm still a fan...

Go Flames!

Friday, December 24, 2010

merry xmas !!!

sending all the best of holiday wishes to everyone out there.....

much love,


stats on blogger meetups

there have been a lot of nerdy blogger meet ups, and there have been a lot of losses... it's taken me the better part of the morning surfing the vaults and archives of hitthepost, openicehits, fiveholefanatics, completelyhammered, flamesblog, and (blast from the past) doubledion to try and nail down exactly which games coincided with blogger meet-ups and whether or not the flames did, infact, give away the two points.

the very first flames blogosphere hangout night was in toronto at shoeless joe's. it would've been sometime late in 06 and i'm quite confident it finished in a loss. that was me, duncan, hockeygirl, leanne, randy (stealthunder) from C.H, and my buddy ian. i know there's a photo of this in existance somewhere. maybe someone can point me to it....

there was a repeat of that event april 7, 2007 at the wheatsheaf in toronto with the same gang (think: nachos with onions). oilers took that one 3-2.

december 27, 2007 was when we all watched the flames fall 5-3 to the canucks whilst drinking pints at the kilkenny in brentwood: me, kent, leanne, rob from the GSN, his wife shannon and buddy ryan. i can't recall who else might have been at that one....

when randy and his twin bro were in town on march 7, 2008, we got a mini-crew together at flames central: kent, rob & leanne joined me there. nashville came out victorious 2-1.

12/5/08 we hit up schanks crowfoot and the flames actually beat the blues in OT. i guess we remember it as a loss cause the team didn't deserve a win ----and also most likely we were drunk. ;) kent, subversive (?), fenwick (?), doogie2K, and leanne (?) joined me for that one. details are fuzzy. feel free to set me straight.

saturday, march 27th 2010 was the PPV blowout in boston (bruins won 5-0) ---where we met at 11am at flames central, got loaded on breakfast beers and watched some random bears fan down two pitchers at a front row table by himself.... ;) me, kent, mikeH, azevedo, hayley, and sjc showed up to that one (before moving the party to the ship for way too much booze).

and then there was last night !!! good times had by all at schanks crowfoot (i'm sensing a pattern emerging) where the flames won again !! eight pitchers of 'hopper plus some nachos n' snacks made for a really fun night. supergood to see duncan back in town, as well as mikeH, azevedo, hayley, leanne, sjc & steinberg.... who later gave shoutouts on the fan, noting all the represented blogs... super radness.

happy holidays, everyone.
see ya at the next one....

Thursday, December 23, 2010

nerdy blogger meet-up TONIGHT !!!

anyone who's at all interested in watching the flames lose to the dallas stars tonight should hop a c-train and get on over to schanks crowfoot where we can at least mourn the loss together (over a couple too many pints). i'm pretty sure our team has never won when there's a concerted effort by us followers to hang out.

the RSVP list includes the ENTIRE hitthepost family, together for the first time, (me, mikeH & duncan, fresh off a plane from phaneufville), hayley from M&G, justin from the4thlineblog, and everyone's favorite non-blogger, SJC. steinberg has no choice but to be there repping flamesnation cause he gets paid for it (kent'll be enroute to exotic medicine hat for the holidays).... domebeers may or may not send a delegate, tbd, and invitations have officially gone out to some of the oldschool blogger crew like rob from the guerrilasportsnetwork, and leanne from openicehits.... a "regretful decline" was offered from newsboy at X92.9, who got suckered into xmas dinner with the inlaws.... just remember: you don't have to be a blogger to come, you just have to be able to find us. we look like nerds. keep your eyes peeled for the GIO jersey, as i'll be your gracious host.

ridiculously, gametime is 6:30pm MST.
see you there.

Monday, December 20, 2010

if gio had a pet....

...he would teach it to sing this:

i know it's stupid but it totally made my day.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

flames v. bolts: bits n' bobs

i had a superfun time at the game last night with my boss & our cordial host from f&d scenechanges, a staple in the calgary film & tv industry for decades and setbuilders extraordinaire. he plied us with booze (and more booze, and more booze) and snacks, and the flames didn't stink out the joint and made the firespitters go off four whole times, so it all made for a pretty fun night.

with kotalik back in the lineup, it's conroy+1 in the pressbox every night and last night it was david moss's turn (much to my surprise). alot of people see the value in sending mickis back to the farm but if the guest's seat beside conny is gonna be a rotating door of players, i don't necessarily see the value in it. and let's be honest: young backlund had a pretty solid game last night. not only did he make a crucial non-play on the game winner, but he seems to be playing with massive confidence at both even strength and on the PK. even after the beauty drop-pass to glenX, he drove the net and took away the man infront, allowing bourque a clear shot. that's some mature play, in my opinion. at this point, i'm not sure a demotion would help his game, so long as he's not eating popcorn upstairs with #24 every night...

before puckdrop there was some talk that the lucky player getting the night off would be olli jokinen. oh, how many flames fans that would have pleased !!! further rumour has it that david moss was feeling under the weather, but it may also have to do with his ill-timed double minor the previous game. either way, i think the lineup looked pretty solid without him, even though the hagman-jokinen-kotalik line did a whole lotta nuthin.

not much else to report; kippy looked in fine form, and it was nice to see gio's face without a bunch of metal cage in the way. also ? you don't realize how small martin st.louis is until he's getting absolutely CRUSHED in the tunnel of doom. i looked for a highlight of this but couldn't find it in the tsn or sporstnet summary packages.

lastly, i just want to point out that darryl sutter is paying the flames' third line nine million dollars. NINE MILLION !!! that's three each for kotalik, jokinen and hagman.... how do i know they're the third line? well, bourquey tells us so when asked about him and iggy both getting goals for the first time since october, "if we're both scoring that means that both lines are playing well & the top six forwards are getting the job done."

that's 6,175,000 for your second line, people. and i guarantee mickis would be happy to know that makes him a second line centreman.

Monday, December 6, 2010

i think i'm gonna be sick...

i just watched keith aulie stand up ovechkin on a quasi 2-on-1 (beauchemin made it back at the end). also ? he played 21 minutes on saturday in the win over boston. TWENTY ONE MINUTES !!! are you READING THIS SHIT ??!?! keith mafackin' aulie has played 8 national hockey league games and he's being considered a top four defenseman. yeah, i totally saw this coming when the trade was made (ie: "the potential of keith aulie was hardly discussed but TO ME that's gonna be a big deal... ")... i'm disgusted right now.

phaneuf trade: official fail for the flames. not because of dion, not because of white, but because keith aulie is gonna be better than both of them combined. in six months. [if he can stay healthy] book it. brian burke DID fleece darryl sutter... though not the way everyone thought... ugh.

and don't say aulie's only top four since he's on a terrible team, cause he'd damn sure be top four on ours. for 575K thru 11/12.


[as i hit "post" on this one, aulie got schooled by a hard capitals 3-on-2.... but i think my point still stands in comparison to staios, sarich, mikkelson & babchuk]

do you ever wonder....

....if roberto luongo has a bit of a mancrush on patty kane ?

i mean, there's obviously been the on-ice one-on-one stuff for the past few years, where kaner often gets the better of bobbylou but sometimes the goalie stonewalls the kid. then there was the olympic tournament hijinx where, early on, kane announced to the media "I've had my luck against him personally, so he's a goalie I wouldn't mind facing," and perhaps in response, in the post-gold medal match handshake lineup, luongo said something to make kane laugh (reportedly, simply, "see you in the playoffs.")

now, i'm all for sportsmanship so ---even though i openly detest the canucks as a rule--- i have to hat tip alex burrows* in last wednesday's blowout, for summoning the trainer immediately after mark giordano took a puck in the face, and for leaning over gio's crumpled, leaking body to see if he was okay. it warmed my cold, granite heart just a little to see that kind of humanely concern between bitter rivals (1:31).

on the other hand, when i saw this exchange the other night (@ 0:21, and also seen here at 1:01), i couldn't help but notice that there was MORE concern by the 'nuck for the 'hawk, when the situation was FAR less dire.... it looked more friendly than courteous, more compassionnate than considerate.... and when you factor in their storied past, soooooorrrtof out of place....

do they pal-around after-hours in limos with the ladies ? do they pubcrawl or clubhop in the offseason ? or do they just sit around and write poetry:

*alex burrows !!! in a post about good sportsmanship !!!


Saturday, December 4, 2010

paul maurice, ian white, and the situation in calgary

about nine months ago i had the good fortune to spend a couple of hours shooting the proverbial shit with the coaching staff of the carolina hurricanes, which certainly stands out as one of the single best events of my entire life. tom rowe is an incredibly genuine, personable, and intelligent human being (and coached gio in lowell, so we had lots to chat about !), and paul maurice is pretty much the coolest guy i've ever had the pleasure of meeting.

i won't go into a lot of detail here (but the tales are immensely awesome and i'd be happy to share them in person), but let's just say this: when maurice quizzed me on the dion phaneuf trade, i wonder now if he wasn't already pondering how to poach ian white from calgary... the linked article, here, kindof fascinates me on a few different levels, but before i take that on, i would like very much to wish coach maurice the most enormous of congratulations on his 1,000th game, being the youngest to ever do so at a spritely 42, and of course to offer my best wishes for another thou' before he chucks in the towel...


so ian white was coveted by maurice, a man i have the most intense respect for, who coached him with the marlies and the leafs. i've said time and time again that white was the only piece of the dion trade that made it worthwhile (unless hagman can ever play to potential), and was aghast that darryl sutter offered him the five dollar slap in the face... if i was ian white, i totally would've gone to arbitration.... anyhow, following that debacle, white had to go and have an awful october & november in the flaming C and make me look dumb. well, here's the thing: other than jackman, gio, and kiprusoff.... who DIDN'T have an awful october & november in the flaming C ??!? and it seems that on a team with little-to-no pressure, with a reliable defensive partner (joni pitkanen) on the first pairing, he's thriving. that says alot about the dire situation in calgary, if you ask me.

from the article on white:

He said the pressure to win in Calgary this season exceeded even that of his years in Toronto, with its massive media presence.

"It was big-time refreshing to come here," White said. "I know most of the guys there aren't having a whole lot of fun now. It's not fun when you're losing, especially all of the pressure and stuff there. It was a very, very stressful first two months of the year there for me."

so there you go. it's a pressure cooker in the flames dressing room and 'most of the guys' aren't having a whole lot of fun. while you can clearly chalk this up to the team's losing record, you have to also wonder how much of it can be attributed to coaching, management, ownership, and the other players in the room.

happy saturday, everyone.

Friday, December 3, 2010

flames v. wild: again !!!

in what will probably be a recurring theme this season, i would like to thank gary bettman for (yet again) scheduling two games in one week with the same intradivisional opponent. it's kindof hard to muster up the panic to want to watch this one, what with all the good feelings around the convincing win against the wild on monday evaporating with the wednesday shaming at the hands of the hated vancouver canucks. so we get to see if we're ACTUALLY better than the wild, or if it was just a one-off. the good news is that this team can no longer be considered elite, even by the city's most hardcore koolaid drinkers and all those guys named sutter.

it's starting to look decidedly possible that kotalik will finally take his #26 off the shelf and suit up for the first time this year. it's also official that our team's favorite hot-head and king of the terrible penalty (rene bourque is the obvious runner-up in both categories), curtis glencross, will be allowed to play: apparently the colin campbell wheel of justice landed on apple fritter. i was totally convinced with glenX's history that he'd get at least a game or two.... i guess that means jackman on the shelf ---it should be kostopolous but we all know how the sutter-to-player tunnel vision works.

follicularly, i give the upper hand to the flames... too bad good haircuts don't win games. perhaps in an anti-movember stance, alex tanguay FINALLY conceded to the baldspot and shaved his lid, and in a show of support (or drunkenness, or desire to be mistaken for his countryman, jokinen), nik hagman also lopped off his goldilocks... iggy was also sporting a fresh bic'ing during monday's pre-game skate. on the wild's side, i gotta say ---although eric nystrom still boasts some killer lashes, he still looks like this on top:

time to throw in the towel, bud. a decent pair of clippers costs about forty bucks...

and speaking of hair, poor, poor gio is gonna have to grow a full beard, since he's gonna have a mess of a time shaving away the 10am shadow with all the foreign material holding his face together:

(god, that looks sore...)

anyhow, i'm gonna stay in this evening and catch the game on the telly whilst socializing with my nerdy blog pals over at M&G. come join us !!! and speaking of joining us.... i'm still aiming for a blogger meet-up on december 23rd for the flames v. dallas game. i believe duncan will be in town, and though i'm not yet sure if kent or mikeH will be in the city, i'm trying to decipher if we'll need to book a table (schanks crowfoot, so we can make life easy for steinberg who may or may not be allowed to drink pints on the job). lemme know if you wanna come :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

flames v. 'nucks postgame: god bless gio's face

"I will always cheer for the Flames... unless one day I have a son that plays in the NHL then I'll cheer for his team, which I hope isn't the Flames."
--- my friend Bryan, postgame 01/12/10

flames v. 'nucks: i've missed you, goad !!!

while i can't think there's any way ----short of a kiprusoff xmas miracle---- that the flames might actually WIN the game tonight versus their peskiest divisional rivals, i AM excited to see a good, heated tilt. while we've seen the greasers three times this year already, tonight is miraculously the first matchup between these two squads and it's effin' DECEMBER. thanks for that, gary.

if you want a good pre-game stats report, go check out htp friend kent wilson's write-up over at flamesnation. if you want a bit more humour and some lineup notes, check steinberg's post. and if you want to see puckdaddy's take on the best movember moustaches in the nhl (including one that turns my current favorite swede, nic wallin, from "hawt" to "70's pornstar hawt"), you should click here.

with raitis ivanans still on the shelf (thank god), look to tim jackman & glenX to handle the fisticuffs. and while we're on the subject, i wonder if flames fans shouldn't buy steve mcintyre a little xmas cheer as a thankyou for keeping him out for as long as he has. god knows who will get to sit when our own overaged latvian is deemed healthy (which probably won't be long, given the frequency his name pops up alongside ales kotalik's on the "any day now" list).

on another note, i took a bunch of pix in NYC that i'll have to find appropriate places to post, and today's gem is this ---in the heart of the east village, i found a bar called iggy's selling $5 shots & hipster favorite, or as i like to call it "breakfast beer," PBR.

if only OUR iggy could get five dollar shots. for seven mil, that's a LOT of shots.