Honest, it's almost hockey season

Jean Lefebvre
August 31 2009 04:55PM

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On the eve of the month when business finally picks up in the NHL, let's bid farewell to a few topics that determined fans will now be able to forget about and concentrate on more important matters. You know, things like the No. 1 defence pairing in Abbotsford, Liam Reddox's potential linemates and the over-under for the number of times in the coming weeks and months that the words "Luongo" and "extension" will appear in the same story on the pages of the Vancouver Sun or the Province.

Issue 1: The forgotten sons

As August gives way to September, let the record show that the list of those who remain NHL contract-less — and in most cases, it's not the players' idea — includes Mats Sundin, Mike Comrie, Robert Lang, Rob Niedermayer, Radek Bonk, Manny Malhotra, Michael Peca, Chris Gratton, Dean McAmmond, Dan Fritsche, Jiri Novotny, Eric Perrin, Blair Betts, Josh Green, Craig MacDonald, Krys Kolanos, Ben Guite, Maxim Afinogenov, Miroslav Satan, Petr Sykora, Michel Ouellet, Dan Hinote, Ryan Bayda, Dominic Moore, Taylor Pyatt, Kyle Calder, Andy Hilbert, Martin Skoula, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Christian Backman, Philippe Boucher, Francis Bouillon, Patrice Brisebois, Jassen Cullimore, Darryl Sydor, Dennis Seidenberg, Manny Fernandez, Olaf Kolzig, Curtis Joseph, Manny Legace, Kevin Weekes and Marc Denis.

Some of the above are gone from the NHL for good and some will eventually sign on somewhere or other. Others may get an NHL tryout and others yet may end up in Europe or in the minors. In any event, it's just another reminder that for every Raymond Bourque, Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky who gets a star-spangled farewell from the game, there are dozens of others who exit stage right with barely a whimper.

Issue 2: Where's Dany?

L'Affaire Heater is far from over, of course, but at least the summer-long game of "Where's Dany" is behind us now that the mercurial winger has finally made public comments on the matter of his discontent in the Nation's Capital. Based on what he said, you have to wonder why he bothered. If weeks of seclusion in his B.C. summer getaway could produce no better explanation than "I'm not happy with my declining role with the Senators" and "I'm not very happy with the way the media has portrayed me in a bad light" then get this fellow and his handlers to Spin Doctoring 101 classes as soon as possible. Then again, for an increasingly unsympathetic figure who has burned his bridges with at least three NHL franchises while playing only for two, public relations has never been a forte.

By way of contrast, one thinks back to Darren McCarty during his time with the Flames when fresh word leaked of his financial troubles, the situation being so dire that his Stanley Cup rings were being put up for auction. There was all sorts of emotional and legal baggage associated with that little revelation but instead of hiding, McCarty agreed to face the media en masse to issue explanations and answer questions. He even managed to preface the session with a joke, innocently looking at the media mob and asking: "Did you want to talk to me about something?" Whatever sins McCarty has committed, his handling of the unpleasant situation had a lot more people rooting for him then than Heatley does now.

Issue 3: The Phoenix Coyotes

The Never-ending Saga of the Phoenix Coyotes is another story that ain't going away anytime soon, but at least it will soon be a pleasant diversion to sprinkle in some references to Mikkel Boedker, Peter Mueller, Kyle Turris, Keith Yandle, Shane Doan et al when discussing the Desert Dogs. The topic of actual hockey can't come soon enough, especially since the ownership/bankruptcy wars has degenerated into a nasty game of besmirching the character of that would-be owner or any number of current owners. Taken to its logical conclusion, that game would result in the hockey world noticing an awful lot of unclothed emperors and, well, let's just say that even Derek Boogaard's skating is a more visually appealing image.

On that note, we say good riddance to August and welcome September. Let the first "Ha, nobody wants to play in your city/Oh yeah, how many Cup banners do YOU have?" exchange of the season begin.

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Lefebvre is in that awkward stage of hockey following -- old enough to fondly remember the Cleveland Barons and too set in his ways to accept charity points and games where there's a winner but apparently no loser. As a long-time ink-stained wretch, he's also a firm believer in the old Bobby Knight quote about journalists: "All of us learn to write in second grade, but most of us go on to better things."
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#1 toprightcorner
August 31 2009, 05:13PM
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That would be 5 cup banners!!!!!

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#2 Dallas
August 31 2009, 05:21PM
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Hell ya and I think our cups no matter how long ago WAY over trumps the flameouts nobody wants to play in our city image. LOSERS

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#3 Fiveandagame
August 31 2009, 05:29PM
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Flames Suck!

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#4 Alex87
August 31 2009, 05:32PM
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Not to nitpick but Marchant signed a 2 year deal with the Ducks. ;)

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#5 Librarian Mike
August 31 2009, 05:42PM
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Instead of going back and forth between "Nobody wants to play in your city nyah nyah" and "We were a better team 20 years ago than you were", I think it's time to unite in a common cause: ripping on the other Canadian teams!

"Luongo is a great 'regular season' goalie!"

"The Leafs think Komisarek is a top defenseman!"

"The Habs are even smaller than the Oilers!"

"Dany F$$king Heatley!"

This season is going to be hilarious, so come on, let's not fight my fellow Albertans.

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#6 Lefebvre
August 31 2009, 05:50PM
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Alex87 wrote:

Not to nitpick but Marchant signed a 2 year deal with the Ducks.

Not a nitpick at all, but the setting straight of a stupid mistake. Thanks.

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#7 Eric
August 31 2009, 05:50PM
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Hockey season is almost upon us, and with that let me point out that THE FLAMES SUCK BIG TIME!!!

GOOOOOOOOOOOOO OILERSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#8 Archaeologuy
August 31 2009, 07:10PM
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Does anyone else think that a team could be made of the contractless that would compete pretty well most nights? I count 8 ex-oilers, is that right?

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#9 Librarian Mike
August 31 2009, 07:22PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Does anyone else think that a team could be made of the contractless that would compete pretty well most nights? I count 8 ex-oilers, is that right?

I see what you mean. You could sign them for $1 million each, I'd bet. I can think of a coach who's unemployed and has a knack for veterans with lots of 'jam'...How depressing would it be if they ended up being better than the Oilers?

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#10 ronaldo
August 31 2009, 07:24PM
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@ Librarian Mike While that sounds nice and all, they are our sworn, mortal enemy of which only one can survive, so......no. Cowtown hosers...u suck. Go Oil! (Canucks and Leafs- u suck too.) Ahhhh,feels good, bring on the season.

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#11 ronaldo
August 31 2009, 07:36PM
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@ Archy The nhl could put the team together and film it reality style for a season. I would actually watch that, and they would instantly be my second favorite team. It would be a great story and probably get better ratings in the states than regular nhl games.

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#12 DangerMan
August 31 2009, 07:38PM
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The fact that Seidenberg doesn't have a contract yet is absurd. Either he has an idiot for an agent or he's a total dink. But either way, I'm shocked he hasn't been signed by someone yet. He was very instrumental in Carolina's run last year.

As for making a team out of the contractless, it would make for a good expansion team but too many one dimentional players on that list to be taken seriously.

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#13 Samwise
August 31 2009, 08:00PM
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but a team made up from that list would probably not be 30th at season's end. Too many players playing for better contracts/one last kick would mean there might be some cohesion...

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#14 hatecrime
August 31 2009, 08:15PM
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i think everyone should cross their fingers and hope for a couple things.first that horcoff plays to the level that he is getting paid this year.second cogs and gagner gel and play like the second line everyone thought they were going to be last year.oh yeah one more thing GO OILERS!!!!!!!!!

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#15 Archaeologuy
August 31 2009, 08:24PM
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ronaldo wrote:

The nhl could put the team together and film it reality style for a season

Maybe if they buy the Coyotes that's what they should do.

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#16 Librarian Mike
August 31 2009, 09:01PM
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ronaldo wrote:

@ Librarian Mike While that sounds nice and all, they are our sworn, mortal enemy of which only one can survive, so……no. Cowtown hosers…u suck. Go Oil! (Canucks and Leafs- u suck too.) Ahhhh,feels good, bring on the season.

Haha. Fair enough. I can live with that, but I'd like to call a moratorium on the whole '5 CUPS' thing. It just makes us seem pathetic. Instead, let's try some new stuff:

i.e. The Phaneuf Hattrick: 1 big hit, 1 bad penalty, -1 on the night.

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#17 Archaeologuy
August 31 2009, 09:07PM
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@ Librarian Mike: is that like the Elisha Cuthbert Hat-Trick of Avery, Phaneuf, and anyone else who owns a pair of skates?

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#18 Librarian Mike
August 31 2009, 09:08PM
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@ Archaeologuy:

LOL! The Sloppy Second Assist.

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#19 ronaldo
August 31 2009, 09:10PM
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I own skates!!!!

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#20 ronaldo
August 31 2009, 09:17PM
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@ LM I agree on the 5-cup thing.

However the Phaneuf hattrick is one helping of sloppy seconds, one kill of a wooly mammoth, and one date with Pierre Mcquire.

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#21 Archaeologuy
August 31 2009, 09:25PM
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@ Librarian Mike: ZING!

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#22 Honest, it’s almost hockey season | ilegal money
August 31 2009, 09:47PM
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[...] Original post:  Honest, it’s almost hockey season [...]

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#23 Jay Gray
August 31 2009, 09:51PM
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How much do I hate the Flames...hmmmm, would I laugh if they all perished in a plane crash, well I wouldn't laugh, but I probably wouldn't mop around all that much either.

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#24 Jay Gray
August 31 2009, 09:51PM
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@ Jay Gray: mope? is that how you spell it...uhh

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#25 Wanye Gretz
August 31 2009, 10:36PM
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Well I just think it's fantastic that this is how we are behaving when we have company writing for us from Calgary.

*knows Flames fans are pointing to our commentary and saying "see? SEE?"*

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#26 Fiveandagame
August 31 2009, 10:54PM
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@ Wanye Gretz:'

And despite you saying that the earth shall always recognize the galactic suckitude, of the scrotatious flaming flames.

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#27 Dallas
August 31 2009, 11:16PM
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@ toprightcorner: And a ton of legend jerseys

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#28 Dallas
August 31 2009, 11:17PM
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toprightcorner wrote:

That would be 5 cup banners!!!!!

And a ton of legend Jerseys

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#29 Bob Cob
August 31 2009, 11:27PM
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I finally figured out why the Flames didn't win more cups during the 80's than the just watch this video they obviously had bigger ideas on the mind. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjgZxAqCPAU

That said, Calgary Sucks and will always be the armpit of Alberta. Go Eskimoes, Go Oilers and long live the "City of Champions"

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#30 DonDon
September 01 2009, 12:45AM
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Do you think Paul Kelly got fired on account of all the NHL players that are sitting at home without a contract as the season is about to begin? In any event, the 'contractless' NHLers may be a sign of the future due to reduced salary caps and failed franchises.

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#31 humantorch
September 01 2009, 01:34AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Does anyone else think that a team could be made of the contractless that would compete pretty well most nights? I count 8 ex-oilers, is that right?

Yeah, but if that team managed to compete, then Tampa would want one too.

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#32 humantorch
September 01 2009, 01:36AM
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Still, with names like Comrie, Afinogenov, Sykora, Satan, Peca, and Malhotra on that list, I'm wondering why the hell Nilsson is still on our roster.

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#33 Dallas
September 01 2009, 04:43AM
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humantorch wrote:

Still, with names like Comrie, Afinogenov, Sykora, Satan, Peca, and Malhotra on that list, I’m wondering why the hell Nilsson is still on our roster.

Because Bobby has the ability to be a better offensive player than any player on that list. And we have to see what he can do with an allstar coaching staff. And you don't just throw that type of player away.

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#34 cableguy
September 01 2009, 07:52AM
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Dallas wrote:

Because Bobby has the ability to be a better offensive player than any player on that list. And we have to see what he can do with an allstar coaching staff. And you don’t just throw that type of player away.

sarcasm?

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#35 BingBong
September 01 2009, 08:15AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Does anyone else think that a team could be made of the contractless that would compete pretty well most nights? I count 8 ex-oilers, is that right?

First time poster, love the site! I'm representing from our beautiful capital of Ottawa...

I count 9 ex-oilers...i think? We had Kolanos for a bit did we not?

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#36 ronaldo
September 01 2009, 08:41AM
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Welcome BingBong. And technically yes, he was Oiler property for about the length of time it took me to write this. Then reaquired by the Cototes I believe.

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#37 Dallas
September 01 2009, 09:01AM
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@ BingBong: Yep and good point

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#38 BigE57
September 01 2009, 09:07AM
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~Wow, is it September already? Where did the off season go?~

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#39 ronaldo
September 01 2009, 09:15AM
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@ BigE57 Well, there was the promise of change, that little Heatley thing, the....oh, sarcasm. Yeah, it seems lately that the winter is the Oilers' offseason.

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#40 Fish
September 01 2009, 09:31AM
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ronaldo wrote:

it seems lately that the winter is the Oilers’ offseason.

HA. Brilliant.

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#41 BigE57
September 01 2009, 09:31AM
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@ ronaldo:

Exactly, without playoff hockey again this year I managed to replace my windows and side my house, renovate my basement and build a deck, I am now broke but I have a nice room in my basement where I can watch the Oilers forwards get pushed around by some pretty good sized defense units in the Northwest division.

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#42 hockeychild
September 01 2009, 09:44AM
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@ Archaeologuy: I count nine on that list...but I agree; you probably could ice a team with those guys.

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#43 MattL
September 01 2009, 10:10AM
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I wonder if the Western travel schedule looks any better to Peca now... If he wanted to spend another year out west, I would take him back in a heartbeat.

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#44 ScubaSteve
September 01 2009, 10:13AM
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Wanye Gretz wrote:

Well I just think it’s fantastic that this is how we are behaving when we have company writing for us from Calgary. *knows Flames fans are pointing to our commentary and saying “see? SEE?”*

You're probably right, but I don't care what those 5 guys think.

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#45 Quicksilver ballet
September 01 2009, 10:16AM
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DonDon wrote:

Do you think Paul Kelly got fired on account of all the NHL players that are sitting at home without a contract as the season is about to begin? In any event, the ‘contractless’ NHLers may be a sign of the future due to reduced salary caps and failed franchises.

I think Paul Kelly was just the closest guy standing in the NHLPA offices when the Escroe (possible transgression in spelling there)doo doo hit the roof, it more than doubled in the last 18 months. Mr. Kelly was the sacraficial lamb, the players are pissed they've lost 25% and won't be getting any of that back.Someone had to pay for allowing this to happen.

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#46 Fish
September 01 2009, 10:28AM
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@ Quicksilver ballet: He has a brutal hair cut as well. Who wears their hair over their ears anymore? Sickies. Thats who.

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#47 Dallas
September 01 2009, 10:48AM
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hockeychild wrote:

@ Archaeologuy: I count nine on that list…but I agree; you probably could ice a team with those guys.

Bing bong already said that

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#48 BingBong
September 01 2009, 11:19AM
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@ Dallas:

I'd be happy to share the credit for a 6 pack.

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#49 Cam
September 01 2009, 12:05PM
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Dallas wrote:

Because Bobby has the ability to be a better offensive player than any player on that list. And we have to see what he can do with an allstar coaching staff. And you don’t just throw that type of player away.
cableguy wrote:
sarcasm?
I think Dallas is right. When the young guns were giving hell at the end of the 2007-2008 season, there were a few quotes (one from MacT) that aside from Hemsky, Nilsson was the most skilled on the team. That is pretty high praise. Now if only he could get Ethan Moreau's jam then we could see some magic.
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#50 Archaeologuy
September 01 2009, 12:10PM
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~I cant believe i forgot about the 6 games Kolanos played with the Oil~

9 ex-oilers. Yikes that's a lot of people who cant get a job these days.

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