Postgame: Speechless

Pat Steinberg
December 20 2010 09:10PM

I'm not even quite sure what to write tonight...I've seen this movie before, but just like Remember the Titans when you continually scream at Gary not to get in that car, you know it's going to happen, and you know disaster is going to ensue.  That's exactly what happened on Monday in night in Minnesota when the Flames were unable to complete a strong 40 minutes of hockey, and they would end up falling 4-1 to their division rivals.

What Happened

The Flames came out exactly the way they needed to in this game, following a listless showing two nights before at home to the Wild.  Calgary was skating, hard on the puck, and forced a soft Wild team into numerous turnovers.  They were converting possession into scoring opportunities, and Calgary had legit control for the entire first half of the period...and then a goal. Except it wasn't a Flames goal.  Kyle Brodziak would finish off a nice passing play off the rush, where Martin Havlat would drop a pass to Marco Scandella who would put a puck on net before Brodziak would shovel in the rebound.  Minnesota would carry a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.

Give Calgary credit...there was no let up in the second period, in fact, the first ten minutes or so, they were probably better.  And they scored.  Olli Jokinen would convert a pass from the right circle for his sixth of the season just 3:23 in.  It was an important Calgary goal, and they'd play some good hockey for the remaining portion of the middle frame.  They'd continue to generate chances, and they'd be stoned a couple times by Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom...after 40, Calgary was in a good position to finish strong in the third.  Calgary outshot Minnesota 13-3 and also had the edge in scoring chances at 9-2 in the second period.

And then the third...Brendan Morrison would take an interference call at 5:37 to put the Wild on their second powerplay, and they'd cash in.  Martin Havlat made a nice move to the front of the net and beat Mikka Kiprusoff to put the Wild up 2-1, another powerplay goal against on the Flames.  Then at 9:59, on another powerplay, the Wild would go up by two...this time, on a baaaaad goal from Miikka Kiprusoff.  John Madden would bank one off of Kipper from the right corner to effectively end this hockey game...to make matter worse, the Flames made sure this game was over, as they quit and had next to nothing for the remaining ten minutes.  At 19:14, Cal Clutterbuck would score his ninth into an empty net to bring us to our final score.

One Good Reason...

...why the Flames lost? They were let down by their special teams.  No goals on four powerplay opportunities, including a big one early on in the third period, is going to come back and bite you on some nights.  Combine that with two powerplay goals against, and that's going to come back to bite you 99% of the time.  Sure, the third goal is square on Kiprusoff, but he's a penalty killer too...but even without it, they allowed one before that on Havlat.  In Calgary's last four games, they've allowed four goals on the man advantage on seven opportunities.  Special teams wasn't the only reason Calgary lost, but it was a big one.

Red Warrior

NEWARK, NJ - NOVEMBER 24: Curtis Glencross  of the Calgary Flames skates during a hockey game against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on November 24, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
 

Curtis Glencross.  I liked how he played after sitting out for two games, and this is how he needs to play on a regular basis.  The Flames outchanced the Wild 3-1 at even strength when he was on the ice, and he was strong in his PK role.

Sum It Up

I don't even know what to say.  If you saw this game, it does all the speaking for you.  They were dominant for 40 minutes, but couldn't finish, and they didn't dial in the way they needed in the third period.  I'd like to say I'm surprised...but I'm not.  We've seen this happen far too many times.

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Pat Steinberg can be heard daily on the Fan960 in Calgary at can be read at the FAN 960. Born and raised in Calgary, Steinberg considers himself a huge fan of all sports including the CFL, MMA and 13 round bare knuckle boxing matches. Follow Steinberg on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Fan960Steinberg.
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#1 teddy Mancusso
December 20 2010, 09:23PM
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just a heart breaking loss for the boys. we'll get em next time. go flames

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#2 BCFLAME
December 20 2010, 09:34PM
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Stick a fork in them, boys. Them Flames is done. Yeah, back to back losses to the Wild doesn't actually inspire confidence. They did not suck against a sucky team, but the results speak for themselves.

We all have subjectively scrutinized the perceived problems to death. All that needs to be said, however, is that the only thing the Flames consistently do well is find ways to lose more often than win.

Sigh..it's gonna be a looooong season.

Let's hope they A) lose every game of the year here on in (hey the Islanders have a hell of a head-start on us); B) Send Dutter packing (I'm still on the fence regarding Butter); and C) find a GM savvy enough to get us some good prospects and picks.

Two of Iggy, Reggie, and Kipper need to go in order to get us some decent picks/prospects and free up cap space to make some moves.

Hagman and Glennie need to be traded for second rounders (One of the reasons we need to let Glencross actually play).

Kotalik needs to be scared back to Europe.

Langkow, as a recent article suggested, will not be back. With Haggy and Langkow gone -in addition to trading away a couple of core pieces -we will actually have some cap space to pursue younger free agents over the next couple years, in addition to stockpiling prospects. Let the mini-rebuild begin!

(P.S., somebody please make the Iggy for Schenn, Simmonds, and a First deal already.)

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#3 backburner
December 20 2010, 09:37PM
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@Steinberg

I know the trade freeze is on... and we won't see any moves until January at the earliest... but

If you were GM... what moves would you make? Or what issue do you see needs to be addressed at the moment, if changes need to be made?

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#4 hal a pena
December 20 2010, 10:07PM
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fire every single one of the sutters.5 are too many to effectively run an organization. stagnant thought process.

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#5 walkinvisible
December 20 2010, 10:10PM
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i was having the age-old "my team is worse than yours" battle with a buddy of mine from toronto tonight. he gave me the "the leafs lost to the THRASHERS" to which i responded, "yeah well the flames just lost back to back to the WILD."

i think i won.

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#6 oilfan
December 20 2010, 10:48PM
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Hee....hee...(sorry couldn't resist) Time to make some management changes me thinks.....In turn the management will begin to make substantial player changes.....

What would Tampa give up for Kipper? Would Iggy be worth some high level draft picks/prospects?

Down with both Sutters and give Feaster a shot at the GM

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#7 gary suter
December 20 2010, 11:28PM
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im tired. sick and tired of this crap that i get every game from the flames. is darryl sutter mentally stable? "I think that this team is a player away from being a contender, as long as some players have bounceback season".

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#8 dave
December 20 2010, 11:31PM
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id rather the deal for iggy be Iginala to LA for Brayden Schenn, Colton Teubert, and Martin Jones.

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#9 CitizenFlame
December 20 2010, 11:55PM
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Wow. This is a definite low for the Flames, back-to-back losses to the Wild. So much for .700 on this 11 game stretch... back to .500. So what is the losing percentage required to hit bottom 5? It has been discussed ad nauseum how many points it will take to reach the playoffs, how many to finish bottom 3-5?

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#10 dotfras
December 21 2010, 12:19AM
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If we keep things consistent we'll pretty much guarantee a top 5 pick. Florida seems to be playin well as of late & have 3 games in hand.

At least the roster freeze is keeping Darryl from doing anything stupid. Change needs to happen but who knows if it will.

Sick of watching this team though, they are absolutely boring out there.

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#11 hal a pena
December 21 2010, 12:29AM
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dutter is the brett favre of hockey gms,arrogant,vain, and simply aint getting it done.

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#12 CitizenFlame
December 21 2010, 12:40AM
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@dotfras

What changes do you think that they can make? I keep looking at it but I don't see any easy moves. It's weird how the defense was considered the strong point for the organization going into this season, but now it's the big 3, then a cliff. Offence is constructed in a way that you don't have a true #1 line, and then you have 3 3rd lines.

I think that Sutter needs to look at packaging some forwards out or a forward for draft picks because there is too many forwards on this team and sitting a guy in the box is a good short term strategy but musical chairs is not good for morale long term. Another problem with that is that most of the forwards on this team won't garner much more than a third round pick.

I haven't been a proponent for buying out contracts but Kotalik seriously needs to be bought out, and Saarich needs to be looked at as well. I haven't checked to see how that affects the cap for the upcoming seasons though.

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#13 SmellOfVictory
December 21 2010, 01:48AM
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I would just like to say that I hate Minny for being the most boring hockey team in the world. And I don't even care where the Flames end up anymore, as long as they're above the Oilers.

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#14 CitizenFlame
December 21 2010, 01:59AM
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SmellOfVictory wrote:

I would just like to say that I hate Minny for being the most boring hockey team in the world. And I don't even care where the Flames end up anymore, as long as they're above the Oilers.

Amen.

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#15 CitizenFlame
December 21 2010, 06:01AM
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hal a pena wrote:

dutter is the brett favre of hockey gms,arrogant,vain, and simply aint getting it done.

If you want to make NFL comparisons I think that everyone should look at the Philadelphia Eagles. That is good asset management. They unloaded aging all-star Mcnabb and the aging oft hurt Westbrook in the offseason and go with Vick (although it was Kolb at the time) and McCoy. It helps they had a young stud receiver in DeSean Jackson too and suddenly they have a young, explosive offence.

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#16 icedawg_42
December 21 2010, 07:26AM
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Pat, on the overtime show, you should throw in some "scratches" onto that broken record...every once in a while interrupt the caller with a "wikka wikka"...that'll brighten it up. We've all beaten this horse to death..poor thing. Now we sit and wait for the hammer to fall. It really is unfortunate, because some of the players really deserve better than to be stuck on a team with this makeup. If you bring in that many players from the worst team in the league, dont expect to get better. AAAAAANNNNyway, I'd rather see Darryl GONE altogether rather than behind the bench. He's done nothing lately to warrant being employed by the Flames. Has Brent lost the Flames? Probably, but is this his mess? No..look to big brother. Get Rid Of DSutter..Get Rid Of DSutter..Get Rid Of DSutter..

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#17 icedawg_42
December 21 2010, 07:28AM
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BTW Pat, that pic DEFINITELY inspires the thought "What the F#*" - bang on!

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#18 CitizenFlame
December 21 2010, 07:34AM
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@icedawg_42

"Has Brent lost the Flames? Probably, but is this his mess?"

I actually don't think that Brent has lost this team. I would believe that if they weren't in the games but they are. They are still competing, outchancing, and outshooting the opposition on a lot of nights, but they can't finish. Lack of scoring and brutal special teams is killing this team, imo.

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#19 icedawg_42
December 21 2010, 07:46AM
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CitizenFlame wrote:

"Has Brent lost the Flames? Probably, but is this his mess?"

I actually don't think that Brent has lost this team. I would believe that if they weren't in the games but they are. They are still competing, outchancing, and outshooting the opposition on a lot of nights, but they can't finish. Lack of scoring and brutal special teams is killing this team, imo.

So basically "not for lack of effort" which is exactly why I feel bad for certain players. No finish - what does that suggest? Lack of talent up front? - I would think that a forward roster made up of past ~20 goal scorers is exactly that....anyway, you can see that at certain points, they play very structured hockey - which is good coaching, but at what point does losing structured hockey games have the players tuning out? A bit of freelancing was evident in the third last night...is that a sign that maybe it's beginning to happen?

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#20 icedawg_42
December 21 2010, 07:48AM
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- another question, at what point does the sitting a player become DE-motivational? (I would hope that as professionals the answer would be never, but they're all human)

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#21 CitizenFlame
December 21 2010, 07:50AM
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Could be. I didn't see the game last night so I couldn't comment on that specifically. I will say this though, if players keep getting rotated out of the press box then I wouldn't doubt if they start to tune him out. Getting benched for a period is one thing but getting benched for a game or two isn't going to sit well with guys. Especially if that is going to carry on for the rest of the season.

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#22 CitizenFlame
December 21 2010, 07:52AM
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Looks like we're on the same line of thinking there.

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#23 icedawg_42
December 21 2010, 07:58AM
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Yeah - I think so - the situation is aggravated by the glut of forwards...someone HAS to sit, so again, Brent is stuck with Darryl's mess!

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#24 jr_christ
December 21 2010, 08:42AM
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I feel bad for the Flames, I really do. However, it is the Calgary way to make others feel like crap when they are down...

FLAMES BLOW!!!!!!!

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#25 PrairieStew
December 21 2010, 09:17AM
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A cold chill came over me this morning, even as the hot water from the shower hit me on the head.

Even if the Flames were able to get some of the veterans to waive their no trade clauses to begin the rebuild in earnest, they can not do it. We know about the salary cap issues, but the Flames are also up against the limit in number of players under contract, meaning if they trade a player, they can not get 2 contracts back in the deal.

In dealing veterans to playoff bound teams, those teams are willing to give up future production but surely will not give up a current contributor at the same level, hence 2 for 1 deals. Since the Flames can not take on any more contracts, that takes out a bunch of prospects they can acquire, so it means one of two things -either they must take draft picks or they must include some garbage contracts in the deals as well, reducing the return on assets. Regehr to Wash for Alzner and Varlamov ? Sorry no can do unless the Caps agree to take Kris Chucko for the rest of the year. So instead it would be Alzner and a pick - presumably around 25th.

I'd far rather get 19-21 year olds that have shown progress since they have been drafted than another late first rounder that may or may not develop.

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#26 jr_christ
December 21 2010, 09:22AM
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No no, you've got it all wrong.

You have to keep trading your first 3 rounds of picks for players who have openly said they don't like it here...

I think Edmonton has some dead weight left on the team that Calgary could pick up.

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#27 RodBlogojevich
December 21 2010, 09:47AM
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The boys just gotta buy into the system and keep the goals against down.

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#28 Bob
December 21 2010, 10:09AM
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Nice touch by the those in Leadland last night by throwing out the "Awful Waffles" onto the ice while witnessing the Leaf's debacle against Atlanta.

Maybe the fans at the Saddledome need to do more than boo to send a message to ownership that they are not happy with the "Status Quo" as set forth by Mr. Sutter and Mr. King?

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#29 dotfras
December 21 2010, 10:13AM
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CitizenFlame wrote:

What changes do you think that they can make? I keep looking at it but I don't see any easy moves. It's weird how the defense was considered the strong point for the organization going into this season, but now it's the big 3, then a cliff. Offence is constructed in a way that you don't have a true #1 line, and then you have 3 3rd lines.

I think that Sutter needs to look at packaging some forwards out or a forward for draft picks because there is too many forwards on this team and sitting a guy in the box is a good short term strategy but musical chairs is not good for morale long term. Another problem with that is that most of the forwards on this team won't garner much more than a third round pick.

I haven't been a proponent for buying out contracts but Kotalik seriously needs to be bought out, and Saarich needs to be looked at as well. I haven't checked to see how that affects the cap for the upcoming seasons though.

The first decision that has to be made (as far as the roster goes) is who to get rid of.

Before any big moves can be made we have to lose some contracts.

Hagman for a pick, Pardy for a pick, find a way to get rid of Sarich.

Then decide who of your core is going to be traded.

I think the top candidates for an Iginla trade are: LA, Bufalo & Columbus. I'd like to think Boston would be on that list considering their draft pick, but I don't think it would be possible without taking on equal value in contracts as they are right up against the cap.

That LA rumor had something to it I think, it got talked about a lot. I think that's something that could happen, however with the signing of Marco Sturm it looks like chances of that happening have gone down.

Buffalo is a team who needs to make a playoff push now. They have the equivalent of Corey Sarich in Craig Rivet making 3.5M & eating popcorn.

Rivet is an upcoming UFA, send him our way with Hecht (3.525M 1 more year), Tyler Ennis & a 1st round pick for Iginla, Glencross & Sarich.

Evens out the cap hit enough while providing Buffalo with an all around upgrade to make a push this year. Sarich fits into their top 4 & could play with Myers. Buffalo's D is brutal.

This deal works for us because although we take on some cap for the rest of the year, we save a bunch of space going forward. Hecht is a pretty decent player, and Ennis is going to be amazing.

I say Columbus because Nash & Iggy would just dominate. The Jackets have some pretty good prospects and are likely going to have a good pick this year as well. They are also a team looking for a dman so we could get rid of Pardy, Mikkelson or Babchuk.

Just some ideas, I'm no expert, please don't hate. As of late I'm having more fun looking into trades than actually watching the Flames play.

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#30 funkyjaman
December 21 2010, 10:29AM
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Maybe it's time to waive a few players and then send them to the heat. Then bring up some of our young guys to start getting some nhl time. It's not going make us worse and we are already sitting millions in the press box. Hey we might even get lucky enough and have someone claimed off waivers!

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#31 B
December 21 2010, 12:19PM
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@dotfras

...no hate ;) I enjoy pondering different trade possibilities as well. At least your bringing possible solutions to the table instead of just "The Sutter's suck," or "Ken King is an idiot," etc. I don't watch Buffalo that often so I'm unsure about Ennis, but I would expect to get more than one first rounder in a deal for Jarome (if not another first, than a couple second rounders).

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#32 Justin Azevedo
December 21 2010, 12:39PM
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Jarome won't be waving his NMC for a team that's not guaranteed to go deep into the playoffs. Any deal the Flames make from now to the end of the season has to have an equal amount of AHL/NHL contracts going both ways, which makes it hard to "stock up on prospects" like so many of you want to do. The Flames should not trade contracts that have value. Hagman is by far the best trade chip right now, but he's a 20-25 goal scorer who has done OK against good comp-3 million is a perfect salary for him ATPIT. CF and PStew are right in saying it's going to be beyond difficult for the Flames to rebuild with the amount of movement clauses and awful contracts that have been given out. Face it, people: we're stuck with what we have. Might as well try and make the best of it.

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#33 PrairieStew
December 21 2010, 12:48PM
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@B

Ennis played in Medicine Hat - and did pretty well. Small, skilled, stirs it up - high ceiling would be a Theo Fleury, low ceiling would be Jordin Tootoo.

I like the idea of Rivet for Sarich as it frees $$ up in to next year and balances the contracts now. Once Iggy is gone though, salary cap is no longer a big issue, especially if Langkow is off the books.

What it amounts to is Ennis and a first rounder for Iggy - a start but maybe not quite enough.

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#34 T&A4Flames
December 21 2010, 01:23PM
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Seems that a few of us are enjoying the "what if" trade possibilities more than the games. I can't stop thinking about it. Some of my favorites are:

Iginla, Tanguay and any D not named Regehr, Giordano or Bouwmeester to ST. Louis for Boyes, Perron (yes even while injured if need be) and some picks.

Kipper and Sarich (perhaps Regehr instead) to Tampa for Connolly, Panik and picks.

Iginla, Tanguay and Regehr to LA for Quick (or Bernier), Schenn, Forbort, whatever castoffs LA have (maybe Poni) and picks.

Hagman, Moss and (prospect) Seabrook for Boston's castoffs, (prospect) Joe Colborne and picks.

Truth is, I could go on and on.... what else is out there for ideas?

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#35 B
December 21 2010, 02:13PM
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@T&A4Flames

...Iggy to the Yotes and Kipper to the Bolts.

...Iggy and Glencross to the Lightning for Wolski, Upshall, and two first round draft picks.

...Kipper for Ellis, Connolly and a first round draft pick.

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#36 B
December 21 2010, 02:15PM
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...Iggy and Glencross to the YOTES not LIGHTNING. My apologies.

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#37 dotfras
December 21 2010, 03:06PM
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funkyjaman wrote:

Maybe it's time to waive a few players and then send them to the heat. Then bring up some of our young guys to start getting some nhl time. It's not going make us worse and we are already sitting millions in the press box. Hey we might even get lucky enough and have someone claimed off waivers!

I'd also like to see that happen. Waive Kotalik (IMO our worst forward) & bring up Nemisz.

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