GDFD No. 68: Regard the glass

Ryan Lambert
March 14 2010 12:06PM



Welcome to the Game Day Fire Drill, for this, Calgary’s 68th game of the season on March 14, 2010.

At this point can we all just agree that whatever changes Darryl Sutter has made have been incredibly helpful to the Flames at least in the short term?

I'm trying not to get too high on this Flames team because it's not entirely unlike when Don Waddell traded Braydon Coburn and a whole slew of draft picks for a couple weeks of Alex Zhitnik and Keith Tkachuk because a) he'd guaranteed a playoff berth to the fanbase and needed to deliver and b) he wanted to keep his job.

There were some awful, awful personnel decisions made with the Phaneuf, Jokinen, Staios and Toskala trades (i.e. why bring like half these guys on board?), especially considering that three of the most of the players acquired — Staios, Hagman and Kotalik — are signed next year for a total $8.5 million and not especially good.

But at the same time, results are results. The Flames are 4-0 since the deadline and that's obviously very good. Certainly it created a positive spike in the Flames' chances to make the playoffs and has the team actually playing well for the first time in what feels like months. No longer do you have to watch entire games through the cracks between your fingers. And it certainly woke up Jarome Iginla, who has four goals and seven points in the last four games. So far there's very little to dislike about it.

But at what cost next year? Cross that bridge when we come to it, I guess.

Who

The Calgary Flames (34-24-9 for 77 points. Ninth in the West, third in the Northwest) and the Vancouver Canucks (42-23-3 for 87 points. Tied for third in the West, first in the Northwest).

When

8 p.m. Mountain time and 10 p.m. Eastern time. All other time zones should find new reasons to love Jeff Bridges.

Where

GM Place, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Calgary is 17-9-6 on the road this year, and are 3-1-0 against Vancouver this year. The Canucks are 24-7-1 at home, and undefeated there since Jan. 11.

What (to hate about the Canucks)

They, too, don't have Steve Staios — Steve Staios is literally the best player in Calgary Flames history.

Alex Burrows — As irritating as he is given his normal style of play, he is, perhaps, even more irritating because he scores a bunch of goals alongside the Sedins (he's got 31 right now) and is by extension the mega-deal of the century. You know how much he's getting paid per season through 2013? A paltry $2 million. Imagine if Sutter could get deals like that.

Mikael Samuelsson — He, like Burrows, is a steal. He's getting paid $2.5 million this season and has 3o goals, one fewer than Jarome Iginla.

Why

Because Staios commands it! Enjoy the game and ride Steve Staios to victory in the comments section.

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Yer ol' buddy Lambert is handsome and great and everyone loves him. Also you can visit his regular blog at The Two-Line Pass or follow him on Twitter. Lucky you!
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#1 Jean Lefebvre
March 14 2010, 12:19PM
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Tough for the Flames to get traction. Ten days ago, they were one point back of Detroit for the last playoff spot in the West. Despite the four-game winning streak since then that includes a win over the Wings, they're still a point back of eighth.

On the other hand, they've cut the gap on seventh-place Nashville from six to two and also gained a game in hand.

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#2 rubbertrout
March 14 2010, 12:53PM
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STAIOS STAIOS STAIOS. 2.7 Million. Thank you Daryl!

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#3 nurad nurfo nuki nadarevic
March 14 2010, 01:00PM
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I believe tonights game will be a hard battle and i think we can all agree that if the flames get greasy, go to the front of the net and deflect shots from the point and even bad angle shots, the flames can come away with the two points. If they flames shoot low tonight on luongo, you will see a great result and i really hope they play with real emotion because as of right now, we are sitting 9th, and for me that is enough motivation to watch the game in indianapolis tonight with a bunch of canuck fans..

lets go flamesss, please make me super proud to be your fan !

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#4 Kent Wilson
March 14 2010, 01:11PM
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How Sutter knew that Staios' penchant for taking penalties and getting scored on would turn around the Flames scoring is beyond me.

That's why he's in the big chair I think.

Steve Staios doesn't sleep. He waits.

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#5 Brent
March 14 2010, 01:14PM
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2 days, 2 games, 2 directions to go: up or down. And like it or not, Steve Staios will play a key role either way.

Will all the talk about the Cooke hit these days, I'm reminded how much harder it is to hate the 'Nucks these days (though I still manage with Burrows around). Remember the days when they had Cooke, Jarko, Sparklepants, Jovo, and Marc Crawford? Now that was a team you loved to hate!

I really like that Samuelsson guy -- underrated, older, and has something to prove (and has proven it).

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#7 RossCreekNation
March 14 2010, 01:51PM
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@Ryan Lambert

Silly American... 80 p.m. Mountain time ;-)

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#8 RossCreekNation
March 14 2010, 01:57PM
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Steve "Mr. Perfect" Staios...

I hope he skates out tonight with a towel in hand and flips it behind his back, only to catch it with his other hand... and then for good measure, I hope he spits his gum out, swats it away with his free hand and then looks to the camera & says "NOW THAT'S PERFECT!"

The Steve Staios era, otherwise known as the "undefeated era"... Sutter Power... GO FLAMES!!

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#9 RossCreekNation
March 14 2010, 02:07PM
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@Brent

In the summer, I suggested the Flames should take a look at signing Mikael Samuelsson... and Ty Conklin. Would've liked to see what Samuelsson could do for Backlund (as far as getting him acclimated).

Instead they signed cheap-like-borscht Swede Freddie Sjostrom & opted to stick with CuMac. Oh wells...

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#10 Brent
March 14 2010, 03:08PM
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@RossCreek

Hindsight and all... but good call.

Can't say I entirely blame Sutter for finally giving McElhinny a shot, and Bouwmeester was a major coup which took up the cash remaining after the oh-so-ill-advised Jokinen trade.

So Sutter cheaped out and grabbed Dawes and Sjostrom. I still like the Dawes deal, even if he isn't playing right now.

But it all goes to show how valuable cap space is in today's NHL. Having the Joker and too much money on defense really cost the team a chance at some freebie acquisitions like Samuelsson. Plus Sutter could have taken advantage of a buyers goalie market, like you suggest (Conklin, Biron or even Roloson).

You'd think Sutter would have learned and not picked up Kotalik and Staios. But then again, the free agent forward market is a little thin this summer.

At least he didn't re-sign Sparklepants.

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#11 rod blogojevich
March 14 2010, 06:21PM
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Steve Staios went to the Virgin Islands during the Olympic break for some 'R and R.' The end result was that by the time he left, his holiday destination is now simply known as 'The Islands.'

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#12 Kent Wilson
March 14 2010, 09:03PM
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I'm not too encouraged by the opening 20.

Steve was really good in that period though. Top. Notch.

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#13 Kent Wilson
March 14 2010, 09:22PM
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At least Gio is smacking guys around tonight.

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#14 Kent Wilson
March 14 2010, 09:41PM
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Much better period, but it wasn't enough to get them back into it.

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#15 SmellOfVictory
March 15 2010, 12:56AM
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Steve Staios is testing our faith. If we stay strong he will bring more wins to us by the morrow.

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#16 Justin
March 15 2010, 06:35AM
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FUUUUUUUUUUU

That is all.

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