Sunday, December 18, 2011


young leland on the bench in tampa (thx to kingjafi for the pic)

there's a lot of talk about whether or not leland irving should get some nhl starts, and i think the general consensus amongst sane people is that he should get all of the games that henrik karlsson was "scheduled" to play as the flames' #1 backup 'tender. no more, no less. in that time, we'll hopefully get a glimpse of what we've got as a netminding prospect.

in a whimsical sortof analogy, i think young leland is like a geode, and we're on the verge of breaking it open. from the outside, he's nothing really to talk about. y'know, like this:

but we're on the verge of cracking him open and who knows what kind of gem we've got ?!!

unfortunately, i think hank will come back after only a handful of games for the kid (unfortunately ? yeah, i said that...) and the small sample size of games will not sway the flames' hockey ops folks either way. i wasn't a fan of the two year karlsson signing as i thought it essentially told irving they weren't gonna give him a chance with the big club, and that they would likely skip over him in favour of joni ortio in the coming years (with the timeframe and length of the karlsson/kiprusoff deals). i thought it was rather.... discourteous (?) to a goalie who'd given the org his all since being drafted in 2006.

i'd love for leland to prove he's an nhl-level competitor, and then take his contract renegotiations as far as they can go this summer when he becomes an RFA. why ? because i can't stand the continual mismanagement of assets on this team.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Arena Report: Rogers Arena

There are a lot of things to love about Rogers Arena: fabulous downtown location, easy access via public transit, heaps of great restaurants and bars just a hop skip and jump away, everything that happened there on June 15th, the golden goal... But they are all pretty much outweighed by the fact that the Canucks call Rogers home ;)

Like I said, there are a plethora of choices for drinks and food an easy walk from the arena, ranging from Vancouver-snobby to loveable dives. But last game I pre-gamed at a friend's place in Yaletown rather than at a bar, mostly because the booze is free, and Flames vs. Canucks games tend to require a healthy dose of booze. But also because Yaletown condos have views like this:
Sunset over False Creek.
Rogers has, I guess, become my home arena over the past few years, even though I loathe the Canucks to an unhealthy degree. Vancouver has a great pre-game vibe, with lots of energy in the downtown core, even for an early start game on a Sunday night in December. The walk across town is filled with people in jerseys streaming to the arena and piling into bars for beer and nachos, and it's a pretty friendly crowd, even for those of us in red. The Flames fans — and Calgary is usually well-represented — are always ridiculous happy to see each other, ducking across the concourse to share high-fives with strangers and shouting "Go Flames!" from the other side of the street while the Canucks fans remind us that our team has missed the playoffs two years running, and we ask them if they've lit anything on fire lately ;) It's a great place to be an away fan, really. (Well, except that the Canucks own the Flames. But we can hardly control that.)

Rogers has a pretty generic arena feel, though recent tributes to things like the Olympics and the Canucks' 40 years have helped. The in-game entertainment is decent, and there isn't a bad seat in the house. Which is good when you're paying $60+ to sit in the top row.

Iginla to Crosby and in plays on a loop on the concourse.
I was at the game with two ticket holders, and we had a healthy debate as to what might constitute signature food at Rogers Arena. My votes were for either White Spot burgers — White Spot is a Vancouver institution, after all — or rice bowls, because I'm not sure those are available in a lot of NHL rinks. They thought beef dips, which seemed a bit generic to me. So we appealed to Guest Services, who promptly sent us to get "the best sandwiches in the building" at a concession stand on the exact opposite side of the concourse from us...which was closed. Very helpful. And by that time we had about reached the point where I had to either feed one of my friends or send him home to bed, so we scarfed down overpriced sausages and chased them with crappy — and even more overpriced — beer.

And that beer...yuck. Luckily, Wiser's Centre Ice Grill is a full bar, and one of my friends runs a tab. It's a great place to spend an intermission, and it's possible to get up there, have a couple of drinks, and get back to your seat before puck drop. To be honest, most of the third period is a blur. Too many mystery shots during second intermission? Wiser's is also a convenient post-game meeting location when you've got friends spread across the arena. The only downside? The bartender refused to pour me a glass of water and instead gave me this:

 I'm not used to sitting up top in Rogers, but it does allow a great view of the fans streaming out of the game once the score gets lopsided, and there weren't many people in the stands by the time the game ended. Surprisingly it was the Canucks fans who were leaving, while most of the Flames faithful seemed to stick it out. Felt like the building was empty by the time the final buzzer sounded. In recent years it's become more common for Canucks fans to come late and leave early, unfortunately.

Post-game, we headed back to Yaletown, and ended up in...a couple of bars. And, in true Vancouver fashion, we ended the night at a raw bar. Because, well, why not?

FYI, raw oysters to end a night of heavy drinking? Actually pretty great.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

nyc: the nhl store boycotts cool flames stuff

this is definitely overdue (as is my arena report on MSG, i realize now) but the beauty of hitthepost is that we only write when we feel like it.... so i'm gonna try to hammer out a few entries over the holidays. starting today.

for the record: i totally understand the lack of calgary flames stuff at the NHL store on manhattan's avenue of the americas; it's not like merch sporting flaming Cs would be flying off the shelves in a market where half the shoppers probably couldn't find calgary on a map. heck, one of the ushers at the flames v. devils tilt last year in jersey asked me if calgary was in the the same league (ie: the NHL !!!), cause she'd never heard of it.... so yeah. you can definitely buy a jersey, and there are a few different options in tshirts, but what stunned me is that you can't buy a single "cool" item with a flames' logo (aside from this reebok ---avs and oilers seen in the background-- which comes in all 30 team models).

i asked an employee if there was any "good" flames merch available (maybe in the back ?) and he brought me a mug, an ugly banner thingo, a jarome action figure, and a mini-stick. just in case you thought you read that wrong, it was a shitty small mug, a banner, an iggy figurine, and a mini stick. no toques, no glassware, none of the basics, and certainly none of the AWESOME stuff:

(left: flyers zamboni nightlight !!!)
(right: habs hockey bag shaped toiletries bag/purse)

a brief (admittedly not-thorough) look over on doesn't have these items with a flames logo, either. i think it's totally bunk. the good news is that my east coast team is the rangers, and there was obviously an exorbitant amount of cool stuff with the blueshirts' logo. except i couldn't bring myself to buy any of it.... so it's not really that good news.

anyhow, it's xmastime and i would have loved it if one of my friends or family had the option of some cool flames stuff to get me. instead, i'll probably get something lame (cause that's all there is). ah, well. i've already got two signed gio jerseys so it's not like anyone could top that anyways... ;)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Happy Holidays Flames Fans.

Courtesy of my dear friends over at eBay (who I may add are the newest sponsor of my posts here at htp)...I bring you the Calgary Flames Gnome...

Just in time for the holidays, you can get yourselves (or a family member or loved one or that Oiler fan at your office who was so sure the Oil had turned the corner this season) one of these interesting pieces of Flames merchandise. It's not really clear to me what this gnome is used for but it seems to be some sort of garden item. Duh...who doesn't know you're supposed to put gnomes in your garden...especially ones wearing Flames jerseys that appear to be on fire. I'm sure they're supposed to scare rabbits or some sort of vermin away from eating those prized carrots you've been growing for the past few months. Anyways, Travelocity has nothing on this particular bearded little man and your neighbors will be soooooo jealous. Here's the of the time I've drafted this post, there are two available for $24.95 each plus $4.99 shipping ($30.58 CAD). You know they're gonna get snatched up fast (stocking stuffer for sure) after this post goes live so here's the link...

Happy Holidays Flames Fans!

blogger meetup: DECEMBER 23 !!

(darren helm as todd bertuzzi. editor's note: i'm now in love with darren helm)

hey, remember last year when we held a blogger meet-up at schanks north (cause steinberg was working the game and had to be there) on december 23rd, and the flames beat dallas and then the entire season started to turn around ? yeah, well we're doing that again and hopefully it'll spurn the same results (though a playoff finish, would be nice this year, thank you very much).

where: schanks north, 103 crowfoot terrace NW calgary
when: december 23rd, 2011 8:00pm
who: flames v. canucks
why: to hang, chill, watch, cheer, drink, and have fun with some of your calgary flames blogger brethren. also ? why NOT ??!

i'm fairly certain that the guestlist will be decent. i'll be there, for starters. i know Pstein will be there cause he gets paid to. hitthepost sometimes-blogger mikeH will be there, and jazzyV from M&G. if any of kent wilson from flamesnation, hayley from M&G, and our very own duncan are in town, they'll show up for sure. maybe dph will come if he can free himself from the new family. newsboy says he'll make the effort from mackenzie town (hopefully he brings the wife cause she's outrageously hot), and wilhelm from edmonton has pondered the journey.... are YOU coming ?!?

(you should)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

pocket gaudreau hits the dome !!!

pocket gaudreau watches the flames beat the avs 3-2

pocket gaudreau looks for the fleury banner

stay tuned for the continuing adventures of pocket gaudreau...

the pocket gaudreau project

in conjunction with arik from M&G, i present to you: the pocket gaudreau project. born out of pure flames-loving giddiness and a penchant to over-adore prospects ( MIGHT have been involved...), arik and i stumbled on this bit of fun during my sojurn at his pad in puerto rico last month. why ? because the flames blogosphere needs a mascot, and because john gaudreau (drafted 2011, 4th round, 104th overall) is unquestionably the CUTEST !!!
my backyard, december 8, 2011

anyhow, it goes like this: when/if you receive the pocket gaudreau in the mail, you must take some photos of him travelling gnome prank style before sending it on. if you would like to participate in the pocket gaudreau project, you can email me or arik your street address (,, and we'll try to get the cuddly little guy headed your way... please email one of us when/if you find the lovable wee dude in your mailbox so we can track his journey. i've definitely got enough of the current nerdy blog buddy mailing addies to get this party started....the adorable mini fella's making his first trip to the 'dome tonight (along with the inaugural game for the signed gio captain jersey) and then he'll be off to the warm beaches of aguadilla.

and, john ---if you're reading this ? i'm sorry about the harassment you're gonna get from your teammates forevermore...


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Thursday, December 1, 2011

arena report: first niagara center

first thing's first. buffalo gets a bad rap...

after attending the nov3 game at the joe louis, my buddy zak and i packed up the car and took off on a mini roadtrip: via fort erie through canada to the peace bridge into buffalo to catch the flames play the sabres nov4. i never consulted a map on this beforehand (even though the plan had been in the works for eons), so i was somewhat surprised at the distance and route. but no matter, we got there and only fought like a married couple for the last hour-or-so.

admittedly, i can be difficult. i'm pretty sure zak's a saint. ;)

we started at the pearl street brewery for a pregame pint. zak had some kind of gouda soup that looked amazing (when you mix two of the world's most wonderful things, cheese&soup, how can you go wrong??) but i opted to wait for the arena snack... pearl street brewery is awesome, and about a block and a half from first niagara, so we were obviously surrounded by blue sabres jerseys. still, there was the occasional spot of red (mostly IGINLAs but the occasional FLEURY and one, special, solitary GIO retro captain jersey). flames fans represent.

our seats for the game were by the glass and we got a good close-up look at enroth's heroics and karlsson's height. it was nice to see reggie front and centre, too, and i think we were on the telly once or twice. the arena itself is on the newer side, like the excel or the prudential, with a nice windowy & wide open concourse. i wasn't such a big fan of the green floors, though, and i couldn't come up with a good reason why they'd do that. it was also quite a massive leap from the more storied, older joe louis we'd been to the night before... still, we found and photographed their mascot, sabretooth, whilst on a beer run (we were slamming labatt king cans, since our "good" beer options were non-existant).

the arena snack was a bit tougher to find. most people suggested hotdogs or nachos (the nachos actually looked DAMNED fine, with rice and other interesting toppings ---see them in the background) but the information booth dude pointed me towards the fried bologna sandwich. it was essentially a 1/2" thick slab of grilled hotdog meat with fried peppers and onions and topped with fake cheese; SO wrong but actually not that bad tasting.

midgame, i hit the ladies and the girl in front of me had a signed tyler myers jersey. it was rad, but i couldn't help but notice that myers had signed a little extra something that i can only assume is 100% legit (and 100% embarassing):

postgame i met a dude in the concourse sporting a giordano jersey. he REALLY liked the gio captain model and wanted to take some pix of it, then surprised us with the fact he was gio's first cousin and invited us to meet the man himself. the whole giordano mafia was there; gio's bro, dad, uncle, and cousins since the rink is only an hour from toronto. i got the captain jersey signed (gio says sheepishly, "oh, i don't know about that" but his pops looked pleased as punch!) and nabbed some killer photos of this episode, but they're not for public consumption.

after the game, we went bar hopping. first we went back to the pearl and sampled the don cherry cherry ale. generally, i'm not a massive fan of fruity beers but i really enjoyed this one. honestly. probably one of my favorite pints ever (next to the left hand sawtooth i had in NYC, but that's a whole other story). from there we cabbed to cole's up elmwood, but the kitchen was closed, so we ate wings at some other fast food type place, witnessed a Tbone car accident, hit mcgarrett's for a laugh, then the blue monk for some local brews (where we met clutterbuck's cousins), then we cruised down to allentown and tossed back many a brew at hardware. *sigh* it was a fun night but ohmygod i couldn't deal with a 4am last call on a regular basis.... ;)

the moral of the story: buffalo's a pretty fun town.