Postgame: Sinking, Sinking...

Pat Steinberg
December 21 2010 08:02PM

COLUMBUS, OH - DECEMBER 21: Jakub Voracek  of the Columbus Blue Jackets is congratulated by his teammates after scoring against the Calgary Flames during the first period on December 21, 2010 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

A battle between two teams not playing very well went the wrong way for the Calgary Flames, as the Columbus Blue Jackets rode a first period goal to a 3-1 win on Tuesday night.  It drops Calgary to a new season low, four games below .500 with a Thursday game against the Dallas Stars to finish off a three game road trip.

WHAT HAPPENED

It didn't start well for the Flames, as Jakub Voracek opened things up with a nice individual effort at 5:14.  Grabbing the puck in the right corner, Voracek went on a little bit of a walk and found some open ice in the high slot area, where he wired a shot past Calgary goalie Henrik Karlsson.  It was Voracek's sixth of the season and the Jackets would carry their one goal lead into the second period.

After a fairly even start to the middle frame, the Jackets would score at even strength once again, this time on a goal mouth scramble.  After Tom Sestito put the puck on net from close range, Boll would follow up by pushing the puck past from the crease area, and the Jackets would take a 2-0 lead at 11:18 of the second. 

Karlsson would make some big stops in the second period, including a real nice glove save to thwart a golden Columbus chance, and the Flames would finally got on the board late in the period.  On the powerplay, Jarome Iginla showed some nice patience on the left half boards before firing a nice cross ice pass to Olli Jokinen; he'd make no mistake from the right circle to get Calgary within one, and after 40 the Flames were down 2-1.

It was the 18th time this season the Flames would find themselves down after two periods of play, and they'd get some push at times in the final frame.  Calgary generated a few opportunities, and caught a break late in the third thanks to a bench minor on Columbus for too many men. 

They would be unable to tie the game up though, unsuccessful on a key powerplay and didn't do much once they pulled their goalie for an extra man.  After a few times being unsuccessful gaining the zone, Jackets defenceman Rostislav Klesla banked the puck off the glass and the puck found it's way into the empty Calgary net to seal the game, and seal Calgary's third straight loss.

ONE GOOD REASON

...why the Flames lost?  Because they just didn't have enough.  I'm sure the fatigue of back-to-back games played it's part, but all teams play games on consecutive nights, so it's not a viable excuse.  They just looked flat for too much of this hockey game, and didn't generate enough at even strength. 

Not taking credit away from the Jackets, because they played their game well, but this is a team Calgary should be able to generate on...yet it was the Columbus fourth line generating at even strenght and not enough of Calgary's offensive players.  The likes of Rene Bourque, Curtis Glencross and Brendan Morrison were no good and well under water in the scoring chance count, and 11 chances at even strength isn't going to get it done.

RED WARRIOR

PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 26: Olli Jokinen  of the Calgary Flames skates during a hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on November 26, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flames won 3-2. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
 

I don't know, why not - Olli Jokinen.  I'm thinking of just disolving this particular part of the postgame.  He scored a goal, because he shot the puck...and yeah, he made you drop a few four letter words tonight, as he usually does, but at least he scored. No one else did.

SUM IT UP

The team is four games below .500 for the first time this season, and they have one more game before the Christmas break.  The Head Coach continues to say "stay the course" and that's all he can really say...but the fact of the matter is, they just aren't playing well enough on a game in, game out basis.  Stay what course?

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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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#51 RossCreekNation
December 21 2010, 10:31PM
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hal a pena wrote:

Package kipper and iggy for Jeff Carter, Claude giroux and bobrovsky

LOL

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#52 John Deere Green
December 21 2010, 10:33PM
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Is there a way of getting Segiuen(sp?) out of Boston besides a hope and a prayer?

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#53 hal a pena
December 21 2010, 10:35PM
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@RossCreekNation

hows gio to the bruins grab ya. torontos pick and wheeler and prospets

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#54 B
December 21 2010, 10:36PM
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@John Deere Green

...believe me, if fans really put up a stink and stopped attending the games, heads would roll. The Flames owners aren't rich because they enjoy being FKED (pardon my Francais).

...I'm not one to make quick decisions, but enough is enough. Something needs to change. I know lots of the "Nation" was called for King, "D"utter, and "B"utter's heads during the offseason, but there was enough past success to negate the post season miss IMO.

...that is not saying I agreed with all or even the majority of their decisions. IMO when someone is given a job and they are successful, they should be able to do that job without undue scrutiny.

...with that being said, at the halfway point to the trade deadline (Feb 28 @ 68 GP) the Flames are 4 games under .500 and on a 3 game losing streak against C+ teams intra-conference. After a playoff miss, this kind of slide is completely unacceptable. I wouldn't do anything rash at this point, a coaching change would be the most logical first step.

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#55 RossCreekNation
December 21 2010, 10:36PM
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dotfras wrote:

We should just go after all the black guys.....PK, E. Kane, Grier, bring back Anson Carter & Laraque.

I bet Iggy would love it.

Atlanta's already doing this... Byfuglien, Kane, Oduya, Stewart, Dawes, Aliu, Donald Brashear's contract...

jk

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#56 RossCreekNation
December 21 2010, 10:37PM
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hal a pena wrote:

hows gio to the bruins grab ya. torontos pick and wheeler and prospets

LMAO. You're not serious... are you?

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#57 B
December 21 2010, 10:38PM
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hal a pena wrote:

hows gio to the bruins grab ya. torontos pick and wheeler and prospets

...dude? I'm not a hockey snob by any means, but seriously?

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#58 RossCreekNation
December 21 2010, 10:39PM
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John Deere Green wrote:

Is there a way of getting Segiuen(sp?) out of Boston besides a hope and a prayer?

No.

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#59 Teddy Mancusso
December 21 2010, 10:40PM
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hal a pena wrote:

Package kipper and iggy for Jeff Carter, Claude giroux and bobrovsky

I wish hal a pena, but I think it's wishful thinking to pull that one off. That would be stealing and besides Giroux is shaping up to be unreal

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#60 RossCreekNation
December 21 2010, 10:45PM
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I've been a staunch Darryl supporter for over a decade (probably closer to two - his time in CHI & SJ).

The time has come.

Goodbye Darryl. Have fun coaching the Kings to a Cup in 3 years.

IF he were to admit the team needs a rebuild, and ownership was willing to give him the chance to do it, I MIGHT consider it. BUT if he continues the "we're only a player or 2 away" BS, and he actually believes it, he should be fired on the spot.

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#61 the forgotten man
December 21 2010, 10:54PM
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Dear Dutter, Butter, K-Squared:

Door.

Ass.

Some assembly required.

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#62 Teddy Mancusso
December 21 2010, 10:55PM
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@RossCreekNation

agreed were only 2 players away, Sid and Ovie, how about Glenx and bouwmester plus a 3rd for sid and iggy straight up ovie.....hahaha, hey hal a pena.

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#64 RossCreekNation
December 21 2010, 11:05PM
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@Pat Steinberg

That's what I think, too. I'm just curious if behind closed doors, he'd admit a rebuild of sorts is in order. If so, I'd consider it (although I'm not sure how seriously), but it would definitely surprise me if he would admit it. There's this rumor that Sutter's are stubborn ;-)

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#65 BCFLAME
December 21 2010, 11:20PM
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RossCreek -What makes you think the Kings would want Sutter? His defense-first style would be anathema to the Kings.

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#66 RossCreekNation
December 21 2010, 11:23PM
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@BCFLAME

1. Dean Lombardi (Darryl's former boss).

2. Terry Murray's inability to get them to next level (prediction).

3. 2004 (he may not find work as a GM all that easily, but I bet there's a coaching gig somewhere sooner than later).

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#67 BCFLAME
December 21 2010, 11:29PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

1. Dean Lombardi (Darryl's former boss).

2. Terry Murray's inability to get them to next level (prediction).

3. 2004 (he may not find work as a GM all that easily, but I bet there's a coaching gig somewhere sooner than later).

HAha. Oh, I see. The old San Jose connection. However, I doubt even Lombardi would touch Sutter given how toxic the latter will become once he is relieved of his duties.

Plus, I think everyone knows that Dutter is a relic of the pre-lockout era.

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#68 B
December 21 2010, 11:35PM
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...going forward, I have no problem with Stajan and Borque as our second line, Backlund developing on the 3rd line, and Bow/Gio anchoring our first and second defensive pairing respectively. These players are all late twenties and are just coming into their prime (minus Backlund). However, everyone else with significant salary should be shopped.

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#69 Kent Wilson
December 21 2010, 11:40PM
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The current state of the Flames is perfectly reflected in the fact that post-game threads are far more active than game threads.

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#70 hal a pena
December 21 2010, 11:46PM
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Teddy Mancusso wrote:

I wish hal a pena, but I think it's wishful thinking to pull that one off. That would be stealing and besides Giroux is shaping up to be unreal

hey teddy next time you use my handle dont be an idiot and post a response to it.

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#71 BCFLAME
December 21 2010, 11:49PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

The current state of the Flames is perfectly reflected in the fact that post-game threads are far more active than game threads.

HAHA. Well said, Kent. Everybody loves being a critic.

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#72 hal a pena
December 21 2010, 11:49PM
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time for you to grow up teddy

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#73 hal a pena
December 22 2010, 12:02AM
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B wrote:

...dude? I'm not a hockey snob by any means, but seriously?

the bruins own torontos pick from the kessel deal, plus the flames own pick would be 2 in the top 6,plus prospects and immediate return for gio. frees up 4 mill for next year.start rebuild now, gio will be 30 ish by the time the flames shed darrylls bad moves. right now gio is the only marketable asset.

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#74 B
December 22 2010, 12:13AM
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hal a pena wrote:

the bruins own torontos pick from the kessel deal, plus the flames own pick would be 2 in the top 6,plus prospects and immediate return for gio. frees up 4 mill for next year.start rebuild now, gio will be 30 ish by the time the flames shed darrylls bad moves. right now gio is the only marketable asset.

...WWOOWW. Again, I'm definately not a hockey snob and I just like chatting hockey with my fellow Calgary Flames fans, but not only is that trade rediculous, but you read my insult the totally wrong way.

...you thought that I was writing that I wouldn't want the Flames to give up Gio for Wheeler, the Bruins (actually the Leafs) "FIRST" 1st round pick, prospects? I'd make that deal in a heart beat! I can GAURAUNTEE you however that deal would never happen. You extremely over value Gio.

...the force is not so strong in you HAL A PENA.

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#75 hal a pena
December 22 2010, 12:25AM
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@B

lol just throwin out a what if scenario. as for the flyers trades some idiot is usimg my handle. see previous posts.

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#76 RodBlogojevich
December 22 2010, 01:06AM
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OK guys, enough with the stupid trade proposals. Giordano isn't going to Boston for Toronto's eventual Kessel Lottery Pick. Iginla and Kiprusoff won't be off to Philadelphia for Giroux, Bobrovsky and Carter.

The realistic scenario on the horizon is that Darryl Sutter will be fired, and likely Brent too.

Who will replace them? If anything, that is what we should be arguing about. Is Jay Feaster the answer? Nah, I don't want to see some lawyer thrust into the role of determining the future of the Flames. We need a good hockey guy to set up a quality team- who is out there?

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#77 B
December 22 2010, 02:17AM
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@RodBlogojevich

...I totally agree. It's just getting silly.

...Nill from the Red Wings.

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#78 CitizenFlame
December 22 2010, 03:20AM
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I'm starting to think Darryl is an evil genius. I just can't figure out why he hates the Flames organization.

He signs 2/3 of the roster to NTC's & NMC's. The rest are signed to bloated contracts that are on par with a NTC. He's locked up the biggest contracts long term well into most players mid to late 30's making the contracts even less attractive. Then he signed so many 3rd liners that they are rotating in & out of the press box. He's maxed to the cap (and beyond) and signed to the limit of allowable contracts (50). Thus, even if the team was able to find a willing dance partner they have to match the # of players and $ figure. Making a trade that much more difficult as it practically means trying to move a serviceable 3rd liner for a draft pick... which almost no one in the cap-era NHL is willing to do. This pretty much locks up Calgarys roster for a couple of years insures Calgary will be a bottom feeder.

It's so brilliant it couldn't be by accident. I just can't figure out the motive? Maybe Daryl knew Calgary needed a rebuild a year ago but knew ownership wouldn't buy into it so this is his clandestine way about it. If so, this could be his Sistine Chapel. !)

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#79 icedawg_42
December 22 2010, 07:24AM
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@CitizenFlame

"It's so brilliant it couldn't be by accident. I just can't figure out the motive? Maybe Daryl knew Calgary needed a rebuild a year ago but knew ownership wouldn't buy into it so this is his clandestine way about it. If so, this could be his Sistine Chapel. !)" ---After Phaneufgate I actually began to wondor if Sutter was deliberately trying to sabotage this team - maybe he thought his days were extremely numbered, and decided to throw one last "F*%& YOU!"

And yeah, I think you're right - even "blowing this up" is going to take a couple years at this point..some of these contracts are so bad we'll be stuck with them till they expire.

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#80 icedawg_42
December 22 2010, 07:31AM
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Here's my trade proposal: Kotalik, Babchuck and Staios straight up for Ovechkin, Backstrom and Semin. Book it!

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#81 Gange
December 22 2010, 08:16AM
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All this trade talk makes me laugh. LOL even.

The assets this team has to trade are limited by value, NTC/NMC, and contract. It's great to say "Trade Iggy today and get draft picks!!!". That's not reality though, well not without taking salary back in a serious way. Also no team is going to empty their team for that deal. Meaning no one is going to trade 4 players for Iggy just to make salary work, besides the Flames can't absorb any more contracts. So it would pretty much have to be one for one or two leaving one coming type of scenario. That, hopefully, rules out Iggy.

The reality is that Darryl needs to go and you can replace him with Feaster as interim GM. Perhaps you could entice Kisio to take over if you're confident in him. He's doing a good enough job with the Hitmen. In the offseason you try to unload some contracts that you have remaining (encourage KHL visits and the such) and you trade one or two assets for a 2nd and 3rd rounder.

If you can trade up to get Landeskog, you do that and thus the future looks a TON brighter.

There is a corner that can be turned but this year is a write off. Stop thinking of ways to lose a great draft position!!

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#82 SmellOfVictory
December 22 2010, 09:34AM
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If the Flames did want to rebuild I'm sure either Regehr or JBo coul fetch a 1st rounder. With a little finagling the team might be able to get a pair of picks in the top 5.

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#83 icedawg_42
December 22 2010, 09:43AM
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The thing that bugs me the most is the status-quo and the seeming unwillingness for the organization to do anything about it. Lets face it, this has been a below .500 (read LOSING) team for very nearly an entire calendar year (Feb 2010). Why does management and ownership continue to believe that something magical is just about to happen and the team is going to start scoring? Has anyone figured out what the Flames average goals per game has been since Feb 1 2010? Bet it's hovering around 1.5 - 2

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#84 ACasualFan
December 22 2010, 09:59AM
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Love reading your comments guys, this site is awesome.

The one thing that leaves me scratching my head is that I can't believe the flames management doesn't see what's happening with this team as well or better than us looking in on the outside. Despite this, there's been no changes. The whole thing makes me wonder what we're missing, maybe suitable replacements for Darryl or Ken just aren't available. Is it possible that most prospective GMs wouldn't want to take on the burden of a team so handcuffed with bad contracts and difficult to move asset's whose value continues to plummet as the season goes on?

Maybe ownership is focused on the dollars and cents, while I find it hard to believe that ownership isn't invested in winning I have to wonder if they're choosing to avoid pulling the pin in hopes to squeeze as much profit out of the franchise before the inevitable rebuild, where fan support will likely decrease to some extent.

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#85 Tach
December 22 2010, 10:22AM
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While the state of the team clearly leads to the armchair GMing, I tire of it. I don't think a trade is coming because of all the reasons Gange listed.

In terms of this team, we are now mired in another rut of three 1-goal performances. The scoring chance numbers against Minnesota seem solid enough, but clearly they were lacking against Columbus.

This team has a $5.833 million goalie, and close to another $20 million in defencemen. The forward core, while capable, lacks a certain skill set in order to generate scoring chances off of possession in the offensive zone. My impression is that this team is very poor at generating any scoring chances off the rush.

If this team wants to be successful, I would suggest that the strategy needs to open up. Let the forwards play more run and gun, let the defencemen jump up more. Let our high paid goalie bail the Flames out more. The GA are already not that high. (About league average of 2.7 if you take out empty netters) They are a net outshooting team (although some playing by the score effect there). What they need is to generate more goals off of their possessions. The strategy of trying to play a tight controlled game is clearly not working. I say let them open it up and see what happens.

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#86 hal a pena
December 22 2010, 10:29AM
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The flames should fire the sutters and get feaster behind the bench as coach and be the gm. Then he could trade jokinen, kotalik, and sarich for brad richards and picks. It works cap wise and should help rejuvinate iggy.

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#87 everton fc
December 22 2010, 10:32AM
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The ideal way to blow up the team is to fire King, Darryl and Brent. Let Feaster "GM" for the rest of the season, and bring Playfair back behind the bench. Less strain on the organization, not to mention the players.

After the season, I think you punt Feaster. If Playfair has > .550 winning percentage with this group the rest of the way, I think he's proven he's our guy. I think Playfair would do well behind the bench... with a progressive GM.

Other than Noodles, The entire coaching staff needs to go, as well, in order to get a truly "fresh start".

AS for GM/Coaching candidates, I posted earlier regarding McNabb in Anaheim. He'd be a super GM, I think. Nill is another good option. And I always liked Basil McRae, who seems to have done well in London with the Hunter Brothers.

As for coaches, outside of Playfair, I like Kirk Muller. Tim Hunter is apparently one of the most progressive people in hockey, and has obvious, deep roots here. Bob Boughner is a good coach and a good business man, when it comes to hockey. John Hynes in Wilkes-Barre's another. Ray Edwards in San Antonio also looks good. There are others... But we don't need Ken Hitchcock!

Look at Colorado. Tampa. Pittsburgh. Look at these coaches. Look where they came from. The AHL. This is the model. Even Babcock with Detroit - look where he came from.

WHL to the AHL. A formula we need to drink here in Calgary.

All this talk of trading players, blockbuster deals... Not the answer. There is no need to move Iggy, Kipper, Reggie, Gio... Bouwmeester's salary's a concern... But he could be retained... Backlund deserves a chance... Jackman is far under-rated, far under-valued... Tanguay is only 30-31... You have Bourque... Sarich at half the price is a decent 5-6 man, and a good veteran for the dressing room (look at how Aucoin's doing in Phoenix) We have a nice core here to RE-BUILD on. A solid foundation of classy veterans, and true professionals, who can help the kids come along. Iggy could coach in this organization someday. Ditto Reggie. Perhaps Kipper could, as well. He's a phenomenal goalie. One of a kind. Unique.

Brodie, Meyer, Erixon, Howse, Reinhart, Ramage, Irving, Seabrook, Rheault, Nemisz... Perhaps Josh Meyers... Leach... Arnold... We have some prospects that obviously need a look. And some middle-of-the-road vets who can be moved for some picks...

I'm no expert - just a fan... But the path outlined above, to this fan, makes most sense.

(As an insane aside, can you imagine a line featuring Jordin Tootoo and Tim Jackman!)

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#88 REAL hal a pena
December 22 2010, 10:33AM
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not sure why so many people are pretending to be me. i am the real hal a pena. what does everyone think about trading hagman to NYR for a nice package of young players. im thinking hagman and regehr for callahan and dubinsky. time to rebuild begins now. also time for a new gm i think that we need to fire darryl and pick up bob gainey he did a great job rebuilding montreal

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#89 Domebeers.com
December 22 2010, 10:34AM
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P S, listened to the beginning of OT, ran off, came home and turned the radio on, bout what, 12:30, 1 o clock, and who is on the radio other than yourself.

Mans game Patty. Good on you.

You bill by the hour or what?

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#90 Gange
December 22 2010, 11:10AM
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REAL hal a pena wrote:

not sure why so many people are pretending to be me. i am the real hal a pena. what does everyone think about trading hagman to NYR for a nice package of young players. im thinking hagman and regehr for callahan and dubinsky. time to rebuild begins now. also time for a new gm i think that we need to fire darryl and pick up bob gainey he did a great job rebuilding montreal

Even if NY wanted to do that deal they couldn't. Cap gets in the way.

The season's almost 1/2 over, maybe we can dump players at the deadline. Maybe we can trade our first round for a higher first rounder and a player?

Just don't let Darryl do it.

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#91 Teddy Mancusso
December 22 2010, 11:29AM
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check out espn burnside and lebrun talk about blowing up the flames, its a good read

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#92 CitizenFlame
December 22 2010, 11:58AM
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@everton fc

"(As an insane aside, can you imagine a line featuring Jordin Tootoo and Tim Jackman!)"

I'm thinking Landeskog on the right wing with Backlund is looking pretty good to me at this point. Maybe throw Hagman on the left (if he isn't moved) and you have a nice looking 3rd line.

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#93 B
December 22 2010, 12:10PM
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@everton fc

...you seem to think that the team doesn't need major changes, but the coaching staff and front office do? I'm not sure I follow that logic.

...I definately don't want to see any panicing by the organization, I want to see a slow, methodical approach to making the Flames better. The easiest place to start is by giving the players a different coach.

...if by the deadline the team still isn't getting it done, the owners need to change the Preseident and GM (maybe a week or two before the deadline and possibly just on an interm basis until the offseason).

...I don't buy into the talk that moving players with NTC/NMC isn't an option. It just gives the players more of an option in where they want to go.

...I haven't given up on this squad yet, but I think the squad has given up on Brent.

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#94 Theo is a junkie with a foot fetish
December 22 2010, 12:14PM
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The Sutter-rights are doing a great job, Mike Keenan ruined this team. He vouched for #13 & #4. The rebuild has begun only a matter of time before the Flames trade players for picks. Can't wait for the deadline and draft.

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#95 Theo is a junkie with a foot fetish
December 22 2010, 12:26PM
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hal a pena wrote:

The flames should fire the sutters and get feaster behind the bench as coach and be the gm. Then he could trade jokinen, kotalik, and sarich for brad richards and picks. It works cap wise and should help rejuvinate iggy.

The flames should get Feaster on a bench at the GYM and put an out of order sign on the saddle dome elevator.

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#96 Kent Wilson
December 22 2010, 01:07PM
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B wrote:

...dude. Just sign up for an account then no one can use your "handle". But yet again, rediculous trade proposal. Callahan and Dubinsky are both in their early 20's and are having great years the for NYR. There is no way Sather does that deal.

...and oh ya, it was YOU making all those other rediculous trade proposals, NOT some "handle" theif. Get real dude. Just watch alot of hockey and try and school yourself up a bit. It's no big deal. Again, not a hockey snob, just trying to help as much as I can.

Alright, feel free to disagree everyone, but let's leave personal attacks out of things. Trade proposals are little more than conversation starters anyways, there's no need to get bent out of shape about them.

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#97 negrilcowboy
December 22 2010, 01:16PM
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the christmas freeze is on, so when will the real changes begin?

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#98 icedawg_42
December 22 2010, 01:22PM
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negrilcowboy wrote:

the christmas freeze is on, so when will the real changes begin?

My personal guess would be we see nothing until after the Heritage Classic

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#100 CitizenFlame
December 22 2010, 01:28PM
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Kent,

I saw that the Flames signed Howse to a entry-level contract yesterday. I thought the team was already at the 50 contract maximum? Because Howse is still in junior does this not count against the "cap" or does it not take effect until next year?

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