Don't Panic

Kent Wilson
October 11 2011 01:47PM

 

 

Okay. So the first couple of games have been, uh, underwhelming. The Flames have been outscored 10-5, have the worst shot differential in the league and have looked for all the world like a hopelessly outclassed collection of overpaid stiffs.

Coming into the season, FlamesNation detailed some noteworthy concerns with the club: Kipper's poor season(s), the lack of truly elite forwards, the club's bad record against high-end teams in the etc. I think those are still realistic anxieties and ones the Flames organization will have to continue to assess and address.

All that said, let us all take a collective breath here. Any team in the league can stink for two games. Human performance is variable. I once saw the Red Wings lose to the Blue Jacket by 6+ goals (and they were fill value for the suckitude that night). Sometimes performance doesn't equal ability.There are games when the bounces go against you. There are others where you just play well below your ceiling. It happens.

We can safely say the Flames first two losses probably aren't accurate reflections of the team we have. Whatever faults there are on the roster - and there are a few - the Flames simply aren't this bad. They've come out of the gate rusty and snoozing for whatever reason. I'm not sure how long it will take for them to get back on the horse be it another few games or another month, but things will turn around.

I'm not usually one to play pollyanna and I certainly think fans are certainly entitled to be skeptical of the Flames given the last couple of non-playoff seasons. That said, I think there's been a few bright spots:

- Curtis Glencross is having a decent strart to the year. I think he's been one of the more dangerous Flames forwards thus far.

- Mark Giordano looks like he'll be able to carry Hannan or whoever he skates with. It wouldn't surprise me to see him get an all-star nod this year.

- As evidenced by the Babchuk scratch, Brent Sutter is obviously not intimidated by contract status. Clearly the upper office isn't dictating coaching strategies anymore.

That's a few dim bright spots in the murk for now. Feel free to chime in with your own.

As regular readers know, I'm not an apologist for this club (quite the opposite) and I will certainly be unflinching in my criticism should the Flames continue to flounder as the season moves along. Right now, though, we're just two games in - less than 3% of the season as a whole. And just as no one would be etching the Flames name on the cup if they dominated the first two contests of the season, no one should be writing their obituary quite yet either.

It'll get better folks.

39d8109299a9795cb3b41a4e9b49d501
Former Nations Overlord. Current Fn contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#1 Domebeers.com
October 11 2011, 02:16PM
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Maybe they would be more inclined to score if the goal song wasn't so terrible.

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#2 Graham
October 11 2011, 03:19PM
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Also, please take Moss off the top line. I'm a big Moss supporter, but this simply isn't a good fit for him. Iggy and Tangs are not effective when they are standing still. Guys like Backlund force them to move their feet, get the play moving North quickly. Iggy is very predictable when his feet aren't moving, and Moss just doesn't have enough speed through the neutral zone to get the puck moving in the right direction as a C. He is an effective two-way, complimentary player, but Moss in the middle puts even more pressure on Iggy and Tangs to carry the play, which is difficult when they're primary targets as is.

This top line will never excel defensively, so why bother trying to improve their two-way consistency with Moss at C? The top line needs to score, and I don't see Moss fitting in to improve this aspect.

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#3 Bustmeester
October 11 2011, 02:11PM
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Fire the coach! Trade Kiprusoff! Try to trade Bouwmeester! Ken King, please step away! I'm only joking of course..

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#4 icedawg_42
October 11 2011, 02:20PM
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I can handle watching the Flames lose games, I can't handle watching them skate around like they are carrying mom's fine china! or at public skate with their 7 year old daughter... WTF was Bork doing out there? It was like he was in a heroin trance. Anyhooo..it will get better, and we'll see plenty of wins.

when I said I expected the same results without the peaks and valleys, I didnt mean I expected the team's emotion to be a flatline.

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#5 icedawg_42
October 11 2011, 02:21PM
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and yeah, that goal song blows.

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#6 Kevin R
October 11 2011, 03:05PM
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Pat Steinberg wrote:

But Kent, you're missing one thing. Yes, they'll get better at some point, but it HAS to be immediate. They cannot fall behind the 8 ball like they did last year, because they're NOT going on a crazy two month stretch.

So while, yes, it's stupid to panic now, the Western Conference is going to keep winning, and Calgary needs to stay somewhat in line.

Pat, that is what's giving me churning sounds in my gut as well. Everyone else has improved their team & if they havent, they were way better than us before. Columbus is going to kick our butts if we play like this. St Louis is going to rebound from a horrendous year last year & the scary thing is we actually swept them in all the games last year. I'm a little scared next time we play even the Oilers. My God, if we lose the next 2 road games & then lose to Oilers on our first home game back, oh oh! The boys will be gripping those sticks so hard, we'll be able to get fingerprints on the wood shafts. these next 2 games are going to be huge or I'm going to start feeling like Bill Murray on GroundHog Day.

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#7 Super_Gio
October 11 2011, 03:28PM
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Yup, not a fan of Moss on the 1st line. I am however, a fan of Moss in general. Try someone else up front.

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#8 xis10ce
October 11 2011, 03:35PM
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Problem is there is a serious lack of options for the 1st line center right now. I agree Moss should be back on the OMG line, but who replaces him as the 1st line center. Then who replaces that player as the X line center?

Morrison isn't ideal, but he's probably the best choice till Backlund is healthy, and more to that point, Morrison himself needs to be healthy enough to play.

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#10 Vintage Flame
October 11 2011, 08:41PM
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Bob Cob wrote:

Flames players have been overrated for years, ever since '04, but thats the way it is for any organization after one lucky playoff run, everyone overvalues what they have. The Flames are, like Brent Sutter expressed, basically Kiprusoff, Iginla and a bunch of pluggers.

It won't get better and it will be funny watching this season go down in Flames. Better start watching the Draft rankings now and thinking about the rebuild.

It absolutely amazes me how you come on here time after time and just start rambling on like you have the typing version of turrets syndrome.

"Flames players have been overrated for years, ever since '04, but thats the way it is for any organization after one lucky playoff run, everyone overvalues what they have."

You mean like the Oilers in '06? only you never had the luxury of having players even considered over-rated. Not to mention that at least the Flames beat 3 division champions to get to the SCF, while the Oilers benefited from the 2nd and 3rd seeds being upset prior to having to face them. Then they lost to the 4th seed in the Eastern conference, while Calgary again faced another division champion in TB, whom we actually beat.

"The Flames are, like Brent Sutter expressed, basically Kiprusoff, Iginla and a bunch of pluggers. "

I'll take the Flames "bunch of Pluggers" over the just plain plugs that your crap-assed team has bolstered every year since you lost your precious dream team of the 80's. Your level of delusional surpasses any other Oil fan that "graces" our forum.

At least you can have a decent intelligent conversation with Rex Libris or rubbertrout or edmontoncritic.. You... You are way out in left field.

Some simple facts.. You have no point against Brent Sutter, when you haven't had a decent coach since Glen Sather. You talk about pluggers when you haven't had a player on your team that gives a rats ass about the logo on the front of his jersey more than the name on the back of it since Mark Messier.

You want to talk about over-rated Bob.. Take a look at your fan base.

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#11 ChinookArch
October 11 2011, 09:17PM
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@Vintage Flame

Nice reply to BobCob!

And to dovetail onto that response. By all means Bob Cob, please come and visit FN, but in the words of Rome "have a take!", and in my own words stop being a Troll, it's boring.

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#12 schevvy
October 11 2011, 02:01PM
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Well if they continued to play this bad there would be nobody in the dome besides the players come December. I think that they will turn it around, I mean, not even the Oilers are this bad. The year Detroit won the Cup they lost something like 8-0 and 8-2 within a week, it's just what happens to a team throughout a season. For the Flames it's happened at the start. I'm not saying the Flames are anywhere near the Red Wings of 2008, but they aren't nearly as bad as they have been these first two games.

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#13 RexLibris
October 11 2011, 02:03PM
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Awww, come on. If you remove Panic and Exhiliration from a fans normal range of emotions what's left? Reserved appreciation? How much fun is that?

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#14 Pat Steinberg
October 11 2011, 02:10PM
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But Kent, you're missing one thing. Yes, they'll get better at some point, but it HAS to be immediate. They cannot fall behind the 8 ball like they did last year, because they're NOT going on a crazy two month stretch.

So while, yes, it's stupid to panic now, the Western Conference is going to keep winning, and Calgary needs to stay somewhat in line.

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#15 jeremywilhelm
October 11 2011, 02:13PM
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Emotion trumps reason EVERY time!

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#16 Rk
October 11 2011, 02:26PM
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Please someone in management wake up and see this team needs to rebuild , trade iggy,kipper,boumeaster and get fresh young hungry talent , please do something , I have watched this team go from a powerhouse in the 80s to ajoke in the in 2000 and up , Ken king hit the road and take the rest of the sutter clan with you , boumeaster is not worth 6 mill for sure , signed devastated fan

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#17 schevvy
October 11 2011, 02:30PM
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@Domebeers.com

haha so true. They don't wanna be associated with anything to do with Barbra Streisand.

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#18 Brent G.
October 11 2011, 02:33PM
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Bustmeester wrote:

Fire the coach! Trade Kiprusoff! Try to trade Bouwmeester! Ken King, please step away! I'm only joking of course..

It's funny I know you are joking but other than firing Sutter I do agree with that post. I was listening to the fan 960 post game show and people were jumping all over JayBo. Honestly that guy has NO DRIVE AT ALL! There is a reason he has never been to the playoffs because he is apathetic. To me I would rather have a team of pluggers who care a lot than some highly skilled guy who just doesn't give a $hit. I suppose he got used to his long summers and really learned to appreciate them. To me, I agree with the callers on the Fan 960, they traded the wrong $7 million defenseman in the Phaneuf trade. Simply put, good players make their team and players around them elevate their game, JayBo doesnt necessarily impede other team mates progress but he definitely doesnt enable it either. Trade him now while the rest of the league is ignorant to his apathy and uselessness.

BTW, this has nothing to do with the points he doesnt put up. I appreciate he is an important member of this team but just how he plays out there really irks me.

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#19 JF
October 11 2011, 02:47PM
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@Brent G.

That's funny. I knew he was joking and the only thing I agreed with was firing Sutter. The guy just seems like he loves repeating the same mistakes at the start of every season.

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#20 Graham
October 11 2011, 02:59PM
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As expected, I have been very annoyed with Sarich out there. As a "stay-at-home" D man, you would expect the basic elements of defensive play to be evident. The first St.L goal was a poor rebound from Karlsson, but what was Sarich doing? In the neighbourhood, paying no attention to the Blue standing two-feet away, stuffing the rebound into the net. I don't understand the Sarich support to this point. His speed doesn't match up, his puck skills are very average, and his salary is just gross. The combination of Sarich and Babchuk in game one? Really? Sarich was serviceable last year because he played alongside Giordano. Sarich makes 3 impressive, highlight reel body checks a year, that's it. How does this impact the win column? It doesn't. He can sit.

The defensive awareness from our wingers has been suspect as well. I understand that our D corps took a hit with the loss of Regehr, but these guys are still NHL defenders. "Team defense" was a major factor in the turn-around from last season.

Watching the first two games here, there is a complete lack of back-pressure from the forwards. As a result, opposing players have the ability to stroll into Flames territory, and our D men are forced to a) go after the guy, potentially leading to an odd-man rush against, or b) back-up, in order to keep pace with the oncoming forwards, thus creating more time and space for them. Without back-pressure from the forwards, any D corps will make mistakes and look awful. Once our D finally gets possession of the puck, our wingers are *standing still* in high-traffic areas, waiting for a pass. Either the pass is easily picked off and the puck is turned over, or these wingers receive the pass with *no speed* and are easily knocked off the puck.

Wingers need to back-check to create pressure, make themselves available for a relief pass from defenders, move their feet, and get the puck moving north. Until then, we will continue to see what we've been seeing. It's easy to blame D men for turnovers and goals against, but look closer at the big picture, and you see just how difficult their job has been to this point.

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#21 Kevin R
October 11 2011, 03:13PM
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Oh yeah, Kent I love that picture, how perfect. If we win the next 2 games you need to put a picture of Joe Pesci off of Goodfellows titled "Dont worry. You worry too much"

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#22 icedawg_42
October 11 2011, 03:34PM
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Super_Gio wrote:

Yup, not a fan of Moss on the 1st line. I am however, a fan of Moss in general. Try someone else up front.

Agreed. reunite OMG.

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#23 Vintage Flame
October 11 2011, 03:40PM
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Super_Gio wrote:

Yup, not a fan of Moss on the 1st line. I am however, a fan of Moss in general. Try someone else up front.

I'm sure once Morrison is back, he will be centering the top line, but until then, who is the option to center Iggy and Tangs. Are you going to put Stajan there? Horak?

Until Backlund is back, Moss is still the best choice.

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#24 Bob Cob
October 11 2011, 03:47PM
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Flames players have been overrated for years, ever since '04, but thats the way it is for any organization after one lucky playoff run, everyone overvalues what they have. The Flames are, like Brent Sutter expressed, basically Kiprusoff, Iginla and a bunch of pluggers.

It won't get better and it will be funny watching this season go down in Flames. Better start watching the Draft rankings now and thinking about the rebuild.

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#25 shutout
October 11 2011, 03:52PM
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If the losses were due to team talent or lack thereof, it would be a different story. If the losses were that they just were not good enough or got bad breaks, it would be a different story. But the problem is that the team has been playing without emotion, without drive, and without hunger for the majority of the first two games. Both games they have come out with the hunger and desire but it has faded by the 15 minute mark and then is gone for the rest of the game.

Is that the coach not driving them hard enough to stay focused? A lack of team depth where players dont feel the competition level internally? Lack on the roster for an energizer fireplug of a player that generates something every shift out there? Or a leadership issue within the group that lacks a stand up and be accounted type of person that is willing to stare into each persons eyes and make them compete.

Iginla, Bouwmeester, and Tanguay are not the types of leaders that make others accountable. They dont drive a team to play with heart and soul. They dont demand passion and desire from the guy sitting next to them.

Similar team to last year. Same problems as last year. Team can talk about needing to work hard and about every game matters. But until they instil some of that hatred to lose into the team (outside of the coaching staff) they are going to be an average team that will lose more games than they win.

They need a big smacking wake up call. And they need it before things get too bad. Stajan does not belong on the team. I would rather have a young kid there playing hard and making mistakes. They lose the next two games there needs to be a change to the team. Make a deal that does not involve the future, and make it shake the team to the core.

Flames are going to go 3-7 in the first ten and will be 7-13 at the first quarter mark and in 13th spot. The apologetic fan will wax poetic about the second half of last year, but this is a team without a true leader, without any heart, and with a present and future built around being just more than average.

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#26 propositionWes
October 11 2011, 03:56PM
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"Flames will make the playoffs this year."

propositionWes October 11, 2011

I will be referring back to this post later in the year when the bandwagon is once again full.

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#28 Kevin R
October 11 2011, 05:05PM
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@shutout

What you say may be right but I think the organization just has to cross that bridge if & when we get to it. Right now, there isnt a shake up than can be had at this point that can benefit this team. There just isnt any buyers that we could even hope to get any kind of overpayment at this time of year. The desperate go for it GM's can be had at the trade deadline. Not sure what you had in mind that would shake this team to the core right away but I would be all ears. We do have some character guys on the team so before we start throwing dirt on this hole, lets give them a chance.

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#29 icedawg_42
October 11 2011, 05:24PM
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propositionWes wrote:

"Flames will make the playoffs this year."

propositionWes October 11, 2011

I will be referring back to this post later in the year when the bandwagon is once again full.

If the Flames make the playoffs, there will be 3 types of Flames fans.

1) You and Vintage - the unwavering optimist, who can say "Told you so"

2) the negative pessimist (or not-so-covert cOiler fan) who will hear "I told you so"

3) and me - ima drop it all like "yyyeeeeaaaah - I told you so b@tches...they made the playoffs" - even though I'm saying they wont make the playoffs.

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#30 icedawg_42
October 11 2011, 05:33PM
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Kevin R wrote:

What you say may be right but I think the organization just has to cross that bridge if & when we get to it. Right now, there isnt a shake up than can be had at this point that can benefit this team. There just isnt any buyers that we could even hope to get any kind of overpayment at this time of year. The desperate go for it GM's can be had at the trade deadline. Not sure what you had in mind that would shake this team to the core right away but I would be all ears. We do have some character guys on the team so before we start throwing dirt on this hole, lets give them a chance.

Nicely put.

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#31 jimirude
October 11 2011, 05:39PM
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icedawg_42 wrote:

Agreed. reunite OMG.

I agree... But, it's a hard spot to be in with Morrison and Backlund out who do you promote up to play along side Iggy and Tangs? Horak? The guy's played solid enough to be sure but not well enough for that kind of promotion. The idea of Jokinen moving up is laughable in lue of his history with Iggy. That leaves Stajan as the only real choice to take the center position on that line... Yikes!

I hate to beat a dead horse here but the flames depth (or lack thereof) up the middle is their real Achilles heel. It should be painfully obvious to everyone. Until that turns around this team will be looking up at a playoff spot this year.

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#32 icedawg_42
October 11 2011, 05:41PM
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This is actually somewhat reminiscent of late last season where a couple key injuries have completely crippled the team....is this really what we should consider "depth at forward"?

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#33 petemaherrocks
October 11 2011, 05:43PM
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I am not ready to panic, i will say that i was throughly disapointed on the home opener, drove the family 6 hours from Saskatchewan, overpaid for lower bowl tickets on stubhub, and watched a brutal 2nd period......that being said I will throw out the first 2 games and think about the next 80....I look at it this way break it down into 20 4 game segments, they need 5 of 8 points out of each segment to get to 100 points which will get them into playoff position So the test is to have 25 points over the next 20 games...then will fill out report card.

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#34 VK63
October 11 2011, 07:37PM
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@Kent Wilson

Your mom would be proud of how kindly you hid the word "delusional" in your response.

Props for u!

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#36 ChinookArch
October 11 2011, 08:59PM
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@Vintage Flame

"Until Backlund is back, Moss is still the best choice."

But, if he's getting crushed (and he is) what's the point? At least on the OMG line he and the line were productive.

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#37 icedawg_42
October 11 2011, 09:05PM
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@ChinookArch

yeah Chinook - this was kinda my point - they need to shelter Iggy and Tangs a lot right now, so much so that I think Stajafail could fit - let OMG do the yeoman's work against the heavies until Backs makes his return. Maybe by then Iggy will have found some rythm and they can start doing some real damage.

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#38 icedawg_42
October 11 2011, 09:10PM
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@Vintage Flame

*sigh* shallow and pedantic. - take a deep breath. HAHA!

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#39 OilFan
October 11 2011, 10:04PM
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@Vintage Flame

Smyth bleeds copper n blue. I will agree Calgary has had a better team for a while now. The Oilers had the best team of all time, and the Flames were a very good team in those years. My guess is neither team makes the playoffs this season.

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#40 MC Hockey
October 11 2011, 10:10PM
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Entertaining comments everyone, thanks for that! I agree that OMG needs to be together as the line to take hard minutes. As for centre options on line 1, why not Horak? He seems to be very offensively aware and defensively sound and can obviously be fast at his age.

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#41 Brent G.
October 11 2011, 10:19PM
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OilFan wrote:

Smyth bleeds copper n blue. I will agree Calgary has had a better team for a while now. The Oilers had the best team of all time, and the Flames were a very good team in those years. My guess is neither team makes the playoffs this season.

"Remember when we won the city championship for midget football back in high school and didn't suck? Who cares that I work the night shift in an A & W drive through, live in my moms basement and the last three girls I had sex with I had to pay for it. But man those really were the glory days!"

@ Vintage Flame: That was an awesome response. Hence why you were the writter of choice. Keep on keeping on.

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#42 Vintage Flame
October 11 2011, 10:49PM
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OilFan wrote:

Smyth bleeds copper n blue. I will agree Calgary has had a better team for a while now. The Oilers had the best team of all time, and the Flames were a very good team in those years. My guess is neither team makes the playoffs this season.

Something that always cracks me up about Oilers fans is that you guys seem to think you are the ONLY people that follow hockey or news in general... Case in point.

"Smyth bleeds copper n blue."

Smyth left the Oilers for a better paycheck. The only reason he is back in the "copper and blue" is because you guys are the only ones that would take him. Smyth wanted back to Alberta and would have been just as happy in a Flames uniform. The only difference was we weren't prepared to give up anything more than a Harvey the Hound doll and Kotalik's jock.

Go sell stupid somewhere else.. We ain't buyin.

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#43 everton fc
October 11 2011, 11:10PM
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I posted this last evening. No one commented. Here goes again, with expansion.

Our defence reads like an expansion team, if you don't count Gio. And I'm counting Bouwmeester. Hannan is in our top 4 - no one wanted him. Butler is a 5-6 d-man now. And maybe for his career. But on an expansion team, he'd be right where he is now.

Babchuk would certainly be expansion fodder, as would Smith.

I like Morrison, and see his value on a roster - as a 3rd/4th line wing. Not at centre. He's said it himself - at his age, he's better suited for the wing. Less skating. His words (paraphrased). Yet, he is our #1 centre if Backlund's down. As for Backlund - he's growing on me. But he's not a #1 centre in this league. He might be on an expansion team.

Horak's making the team is a nice surprise. Perhaps he can play up front? Why not?? He looked good with Tanguay in pre-season. Stajan... Hagman...Kostopoulos... Expansion guys... Jackman is a true 4th liner. He's fine. I'd like to see Nystrom centering our 4th line, with Jackman and whomever on the wing. He's dirt cheap...

There must be some team willing to take Stajan for a 5th round pick.

I guess I look at our roster... And the 2nd line, with Moss on it, is the only one that doesn't look like an expansion line. But they are really a third line unit on a great team. At least that's how I see it.

I'm in no panic. It's just that our team looks a lot like an expansion team, in some respects. And Bourque has to be the weakest, most inconsistent. 25 goal scoring wing in the league. And I actually like the guy.

At least we didn't poach Avery off the waiver-wire.

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#44 Captain Ron
October 12 2011, 12:25AM
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This team more than anything needs an emotional leader. Someone who plays on the edge and is a pain in the ass to play against. Some skill would be nice too. Dion used to do that for us until he was reeled in by management and later traded away. There have been others as well. Think Lucic, Brad Marchand, Cory Perry and guys like that. This team is too pedestrian most of the time. I'm not talking about a 4th line guy like Jackman either. I like him but want to see a little more grease in the top 3 lines on a consistent basis. We're way too easy to play against right now.

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#45 Vintage Flame
October 12 2011, 12:30AM
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@Captain Ron

That's a fair assessment Cap'n. I as well would like to see someone with some skill but is a pain in the ass to the opposition. And no.. not Avery.

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#46 jimirude
October 12 2011, 03:15AM
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Captain Ron wrote:

This team more than anything needs an emotional leader. Someone who plays on the edge and is a pain in the ass to play against. Some skill would be nice too. Dion used to do that for us until he was reeled in by management and later traded away. There have been others as well. Think Lucic, Brad Marchand, Cory Perry and guys like that. This team is too pedestrian most of the time. I'm not talking about a 4th line guy like Jackman either. I like him but want to see a little more grease in the top 3 lines on a consistent basis. We're way too easy to play against right now.

I think Glencross (at his best) can be that type of player.

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#47 ChinookArch
October 12 2011, 06:28AM
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@everton fc

You are circling around the Flames biggest weakness, we don't have depth at center. At best, the team has one 2nd line center, two 3rd liners and a 4th. It has to be a focus for management, in both the short and longterm. I'm willing to give a little more time to the defensive group, I think they need more time to gel, Butter and Bouwmeester especially. On Stajan, the best scenario is a late season trade, but I believe he could be a target for a floor team next year, since his salary will be $2M, and cap hit $4M (new CBA not withstanding).

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#48 Mike
October 12 2011, 06:39AM
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Kent - did you happen to catch the performance of 4th round pick John Gaudreau last weekendat the Ice Breaker? He had the game winning goal, 3 assists and was easily the best player on the ice. Looks like the Flames got a steal in the 4th round! http://www.bceagles.com/sports/m-hockey/spec-rel/101011aaa.html

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#49 JtBear
October 12 2011, 06:41AM
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Only worry..... I hope Feaster & King don't Panic !

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#50 negrilcowboy
October 12 2011, 06:48AM
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simply stated the flames defensive game sucks. aside from gio nobody is really carrying the mail. jbust has to be the most unexcited player in league history, no drive what so ever. no legit nhl centreman aside from ole. ya i said it olli is the only big league centre on the club. butter seems to make dumb decisions that a pee wee coach wouldnt, very ineffective at asset management.

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