Postgame: November Blues

Pat Steinberg
November 25 2011 08:56PM

Another November night, another November loss.  For the first time this season, the Flames have lost three straight games, dropping a 2-0 decision to St. Louis.  Give the Blues all the credit they deserve, as they're a very regimented squad getting goaltending from Brian Elliott, and they grinded out the victory.  It was a decent outing for Calgary, but in the end, they were unable to cash on their chances and have fallen four games below the .500 mark.

What Happened

It was a fairly low event first period, kicking off a fairly low event game.  Neither team generated a whole lot, even with the Flames getting the benefit of two first period powerplays.  In fact, the man advantage was Calgary's downfall in a number of different ways on this night, as they would finish 0/4 and getting outscored in the process.  With the Blues serving a too many men penalty, they'd open the scoring at 10:39 following a great opportunity for the Flames at the other end; in transition, David Backes would blow by T.J. Brodie and elude a chasing Olli Jokinen to fire home his eighth of the season for a 1-0 lead.  Scoring chances finished even at four after one, with the Flames winning on the shot clock 9-5.

The second period was bordering on unwatchable, especially from a Calgary perspective.  Outchanced 7-2 in the frame, the Flames were very fortunate to still be in this game, as Miikka Kiprusoff stopped all 13 St. Louis shots in the middle frame, giving the visitors an opportunity heading to the third.

With a push on in the third, Calgary was able to generate a few opportunities, including two breakaway chances, but were stopped by Elliott at every chance.  To say the Blues goalie stole this one would be 100% wrong, as he did his job, helping a team protect a one goal lead, which would turn into a two goal bulge at 13:17.  With Chris Butler chasing a puck in the left corner, he'd cough it up while absorbing a solid Backes jolt.  That freed up Alex Steen to feed Alex Pietrangelo all alone in the slot and the young blueliner would make no mistake, finishing off his fourth of the season.  The Flames did outchance the Blues 7-3 in the period, but more often than not, you don't come back, especially against a Hitchcock coached squad.

One Good Reason...

...why the Flames lost?  Overall, just not enough was generated offensively on a fairly punchless night, especially through 40 minutes.  Again, give credit to St. Louis, who clog things up very well in front of their goaltender and do a nice job of working the clock in the offensive zone.  That said, Calgary struggled far too much getting the puck to the real scoring areas, and by the time they started playing the score effectively, it was too late.

Red Warrior

There weren't a lot of standout performances for the Flames on this night, but I'll go Mark Giordano just because he went beast mode in continuing to play on a shift where he got kicked in the face.  Yes, he got kicked in the face, by accident, in the second period.  It was actually a scary moment, and it's good to see he'll be no worse for wear; on the ice, he was one of Calgary's better defenders, and came away +4 in even strength scoring chances.

Sum It Up

After a 10-2-2 month of November in 2009, the last two penultimate months have been kryptonite for the Calgary Flames.  Combining this eleventh month with that of 2010, Calgary is 8-15-2 overall.  It's no fun to be playing from behind the eight ball like that, it wasn't last year, and it certainly won't be this year.  Now the Flames finish their road trip in Minnesota, hoping to salvage at least two points off of what has been a dismal jaunt.

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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 dbuc
November 26 2011, 09:49AM
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OilFan wrote:

The only player you wrote down that had any talent to begin with is Jaybo. Unreal how Flames fans think players like Stajan or Hagman and Kotalik were any good. Calgary will be on a 10 year rebuild book it.

Ok, but it's a question of acquiring players that can't play (but have shown some potential on other clubs- see stats), or poor player management or both. No matter how you look at it, it's frustrating as hell as a fan to watch a team go out there with no heart - Every Game Doesn't Matter to these guys, and something has to give.

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#52 Quintana
November 26 2011, 09:53AM
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Tommy by wrote:

Man, can't believe Feaster made those comments about edmonton now... He looks like a real idiot... Tsn kindly replayed it and they laughed at him

"I'm really getting sick of questions like this caller. How much are you willing to wager that we finish higher in the standings than EDM. I'm really looking forward to the battle of Alberta the next decade."

-Jay Feaster.

LMAO. Go Oil!!!

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#53 ForeverRed
November 26 2011, 10:31AM
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Something tells me the trolls won't be disappearing anytime soon. Can hardly wait till the Canuck trolls start voicing their educated opinions on the status of the Flames, then the fun will really begin!

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#54 JohnnyK
November 26 2011, 10:44AM
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Dbuc wrote:

I just can't get passed the sheer number of players whose careers have basically come to die in Calgary. Stajan hagman kotalik bow amongst so many others... Is it that these players suddenly turn bush when they come to Calgary or is there a much bigger philosophical problem with how the players here are coached and managed? Seems like too many players who were at least contributors on other teams have been stifled in Flameland.

Totally agree!!

Lets not forget the players that floundered while being a Flame and once traded became amazing players.

Brett Hull-Matin St Louis to name a few, or players that we could have kept under contract and chose not to, as in Cammalleri, Phanuef and even Brandon Prust who is a great spark plug.

Bad hockey decision after another has led to our current state. No one gets a free pass here on accountability. Ken King's main concern is filling the seats. Since the Flames do so well at the moment, the impression is he is doing a bang up job. Once fans stop showing up, it will be extremely hard to get them back again and that will be the true indicator on how well he is doing his job!

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#55 BrianSheva
November 26 2011, 10:54AM
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When the opposing goalie stones you on three attempts down low, you'd think the forwards would start shooting up high at some point.

I can't fault Sutter for poor individual efforts by players who are more talented than what they are demonstrating on ice. There really is only so much blood you can wring from stone. This team is a coach graveyard - i can't imagine there are many people that would relish the opportunity to get involved with a team that has so many points of contention. The Flames showed moments of compete, yet can't bring the skill component of their game up to take command of their game on a consistent basis.

Comeau looked promising last night - very very fast player and is not afraid of driving to the net. Been too long since i saw someone go to the net with authority on this team.

Gut the under performing veterans and give the kids the opportunity to shine.

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#56 RKD
November 26 2011, 11:04AM
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Brutal, the Flames cannot score right now to save their lives. How do you not score at least once on three breakaways. Both Iggy and Tangs looked very awkward on their chances. Iggy tries a backhand five-hole shovel and Tangs runs out of room and his head hits the crossbar.

Backlund needs to produce, zero points is unacceptable. Even if Backlund has been the most consistent player on the line he has to step it up. Most believed this year was supposed to be a huge leap for Backlund, maybe even a break out season.

Instead, a broken pinky has really slowed his progression. He's not a top line center. Maybe Jokinen comes up to the top line.

The Blues younger players are more talented thant the Flames young players.

Even if we have guys like Backlund, Horak, Byron, Smith and Brodie they probably still are not good enough.

You need gamebreakers like a Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle, Hall, Stamkos, etc.

If Barstchi has 41 points in 18 games, I'd say bring him up. Let him have a taste of the NHL. The guy is on pace for 161 points. Bartschi has only played 18 games, if he played 27 like Mark Stone, then Bartschi would be the current the WHL scoring leader and not Stone. Reinhart has 31 points in 23 games, he's on pace for 96.

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#57 Kevin R
November 26 2011, 11:50AM
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@everton fc

Hey hombre! Absolutely, a different GM may have made different signings but cmon, Nemitz was not NHL ready nor 2 others you left open. Nemitz is succeeding in the AHL, exactly what you wanted. If Feaster had that crystal ball & knew this team is 4 games under .500 by Nov 26th, absolutely he would have done different signings & trades at the draft, including the Regehr deal. Lest we forget, Flames were one of the "hottest teams" last 2nd half & did an amazing comeback to give us meaningful games right to the end of March. If Feaster took the destroy approach come June, how do think that would have been perceived by the majority fan base? He was still burdoned with horrendous useless over priced, NM/NT contracts. There is no secret solution to the last 3 years of D Sutter's inappropriate contracts. Anything good from some of Darryls drafting, rub your lucky rabbits foot. Feaster has had 1 draft, I'd cut him some slack.

Our farm team sucked. Daryls decision again to have over priced depth & sitting $$$ in the pressbox as opposed to successful teams having solid prospects to call up for injury & shakeup situations has not been an option for us for how long. Given that amazing 2nd half, the crappy contracts carrying over to this year, Feaster in my mind was smart, kept basically the status quo & focused on getting our farm team out of the pit hole. Look where Abbottsford sits now & the fact we have players that can be called up is more than what D Sutter has given us for years. I call this a huge success in the early stages of a year of awful failures on the big club. Maybe try to give the guy some credit where it definitely is due. Any of his missteps have been minor of nature.

I think Management knew this team was a middling hockey team at best but were not about to publicly state that. They gave the chance to the players to back up the redundent rhetoric they spewed after every loss & during the exit interviews. P3L isnt the reason we're 4 games under .500. Hell, I'd hire Fleury & teach the tree trunk how to deflect pucks in front of the net, how to get under the skin of opponents without getting penalized & make him a power play specialist & plop him in front of opposing goaltenders on the power play in Dustin Bfuglien fashion.

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#58 the forgotten man
November 26 2011, 12:27PM
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@RKD

As I said earlier, do not let Baertschi or Reinhart near this current bunch - they are toxic soup.

For that matter, send Horak and Brodie back down until most of the current staff and players have been shipped out ie. end of this year.

Let the young guys learn how to win in Abbotsford or with their Junior Teams...guys like Iginla/Tanguay/JBlow/Stajan etc. are simply poor role models and simply not WINNERS at this point.

The quicker they are all gone, along with the Feast and K-squared, the sooner the healing can begin.

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#59 ville de champignons
November 26 2011, 12:43PM
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Ah...Charlize.

The Flames are actually incredibly lucky to be where, who and what they are. Has anybody noticed that there is a Perfect Storm of opportunity in all of this for the Flames?

They have the $$ but do they have the stones? There is a real opportunity to get 5 first round picks with 2 picks in the top 5 this year. Added to the current prospects that gives you an instant core.

It will mean tanking the season, moving all the vets and eating some very bad salary. That's the cost. The benefit is a rebuild accomplished in 2 years instead of 5. Or 10. Or forever.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't want a 'better' team next year; I want a great team 3 years from now.

There is a helluva draft pool out there, plus some solid AHL/WHL talent to build with. The opportunity to cash in is there and the Flames are in a better position than anybody else to take advantage. Opportunities like this don't come along very often.

Such is the reality of the post-lockout league: You play every angle to win. Go big or go home. Think about it.

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#60 Wanyes bastard child
November 26 2011, 12:50PM
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ForeverRed wrote:

Something tells me the trolls won't be disappearing anytime soon. Can hardly wait till the Canuck trolls start voicing their educated opinions on the status of the Flames, then the fun will really begin!

I was here first :P

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#61 Chris
November 26 2011, 12:59PM
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Lanny, Lanny, Lanny...Whooooooa, Lanny! Lanny for Prez. Ok, that might be lofty. Just another fan that wants change. Preferably starting at the President and right on down the line.

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#62 the-wolf
November 26 2011, 01:17PM
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Iggy is a cancer in the room. He came out in the media and basically said he wants to play his way. What a suck and a whiner.

The sooner this team realizes that the Iginla/Bourque/Glencross/Tanguay/Jokinen era is over - the better.

If you had wanted to keep a heart and soul leader to mentor that would've been Regher, a guy who doesn't constantly fight the coaches on whatever system they're implementing.

It's time to usher in a new era in order to bring hope back to the fan base and a top 5 lotto pick is essential to a rebuild.

It's a deep draft and first round picks may actually be better to get in exchange for Iggy (hi Washington!) than 2nd tier prospects.

The future starting next season has to be Backlund, Horak, Brodie, Baertschi, Reinhart, Granlund, Bouma, Ferlund, Byron, Comeau, etc.

Not all at once, but the entire core listed at the top needs to go in order to bring about a culture change. The vets are infecting the youth with their country club mentality right now and it has to stop.

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#63 RexLibris
November 26 2011, 01:27PM
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@Kevin R

I agree that Feaster had an obligation to the fans to give this roster a chance to demonstrate which team they are (2010 winter or 2011 spring) and he is very much hamstrung by the contract situations. If you were to remove every single NTC/NMC then he could perhaps do some damage, but some guys aren't going anywhere, short of a buyout (Stajan in the offseason perhaps?).

At this point, the best guess for the trajectory of this team is that they continue their slide, a few pieces are moved at the deadline (fewer than probably many fans might hope, after all how much can you expect for Letourneau-Leblond or Kostopoulos, a 6th round pick?) after which the team begins to find some success (because they always seem to) and they eventually play themselves into the 6th to 8th draft slot.

In the summer I suspect Feaster approaches free agency the same way that Burke approached college free agents in his first year in Toronto (Both men believe that they know a smarter, more efficient way of doing things and this leads them to explore unconventional development paths). The team will most likely have a very different look next season, albeit probably with a similar core in Iginla, Glencross, Kiprusoff, Tanguay, Backlund and Bouwmeester, and an injection of youth in Baertschi, Horak, Byron, and Brodie.

There has been a big mess to clean up, and Feaster's decision to start with the farm system is a sound one. He's not a GM I'd want for my team, but he is doing some good things thus far.

Only time will tell.

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#64 loudogYYC
November 26 2011, 02:09PM
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The farm team under Feaster is probably the clearest sign of improvement from Dinosaur Sutter. I know that won't get us in the NHL Playoffs, but culture changes take time and fixing the current NHL squad will take time too. Good on Feaster for building a winning AHL farm team so far.

I have to say I completely agree with @ville de champignons in that in all this mess, there is great opportunity to turn the franchise around rather sooner than later.

Management has admitted to be using a different approach by focusing more on non-conventional sources of talent like the NCAA and digging much deeper than usual in Europe with Conroy and Wisebrod spending more time there.

All that hard work SHOULD pay off when it comes time to cash in the assets that are Iginla, Kiprusoff, Jokinen, Bouwmeester and to a smaller degree Moss, Morrison, Hannan and Sarich (I wish).

By this time next year we could be looking at a young, talented team with a future. I will definitely start paying to watch Flames games again if that's the case. In the meantime, I'm saving tons of money watching every game on TV!

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#65 Kevin R
November 26 2011, 02:44PM
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@RexLibris

Yeah, a lot of people dont realize how hard it is to rectify the yuck contract situation Feaster inherited. Interesting to see some of the players you think will still be Flames next year. Players I think will be here next fall are GlenX, Tanguay & Backlund. Players gone will be Kipper, Iggy, Sarich, Morrison, Bourque, Moss. Players I say 50/50 is JBO because of his contract, the return may not exceed his value & Joker at the right price may get resigned.

Agree Feaster would not have been my first choice for GM either but he's there & all we can do is hope he does the right thing. Also, keep his mouth shut about other teams. He had to have known his comments were going to bite him.

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#66 ForeverRed
November 26 2011, 02:48PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

I was here first :P

Fine.. we will make an exception for you. But just this once!!! :P

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#67 Словари
November 26 2011, 04:01PM
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@ville de champignons @the-wolf Agree with you both.

I think it was Kerr who used the term "lightning in a bottle" in 2004. Well, the lightning in the bottle for the Flames in 2011/12 is in this year's draft.

The Flames ONLY objective for this season should be to get as many 1st round picks as possible. This will mean buyouts and eating salary, but these were just terrible contracts and you gotta pay the price somehow, sometime. That's just business.

The way I see it, the total pain felt will be the same - you can bleed for seven more years or get it over with in two. I'll take two, thank you.

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#68 RKD
November 26 2011, 06:23PM
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the forgotten man: not all the players on the current roster are toxic losers.

Bartschi can help us right away, look at what the Nuge is doing right now and he's a year younger.

The only toxic losers on this team are Jay-Bo and Stajan.

Shame on you clowns for bashing Iggy, he will have the last laugh when he pots another 40+ goals.

As much as we doubt the Flames now, they might wake up and play some .700-.800 hockey in the second half.

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#69 loudogYYC
November 26 2011, 07:39PM
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.700-.800 hockey in the second half would be the worst thing that could happen to the hockey club. Ken King recently admitted that last years run "teased" management into thinking they were a better team than they actually are.

This current pace is what's gonna trigger change. For the good of the future of the franchise, keep it up boys!

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#70 JohnnyK
November 26 2011, 08:11PM
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RKD wrote:

the forgotten man: not all the players on the current roster are toxic losers.

Bartschi can help us right away, look at what the Nuge is doing right now and he's a year younger.

The only toxic losers on this team are Jay-Bo and Stajan.

Shame on you clowns for bashing Iggy, he will have the last laugh when he pots another 40+ goals.

As much as we doubt the Flames now, they might wake up and play some .700-.800 hockey in the second half.

RKD.. Really? Clowns? Well spoken!!!

I love Iggy, but he is an asset that can return an even better asset. Not only that, as a huge fan of Iggy, I want to see him win a cup. He will never win a cup as a Flame. Let him go to a team that has a chance at winning. He deserves it.

And, speaking of clowns.. You would have to be a clown to think this team has the potential to play .700 to .800 hockey. Keep it real!! People like you are the reason the Flames are in such a state of pergatory right now. Hey, the glass if half full.. Endless potential.. Wake up man!!! This team is horrible! Top to bottom!

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#71 Kevin R
November 26 2011, 08:58PM
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JohnnyK wrote:

RKD.. Really? Clowns? Well spoken!!!

I love Iggy, but he is an asset that can return an even better asset. Not only that, as a huge fan of Iggy, I want to see him win a cup. He will never win a cup as a Flame. Let him go to a team that has a chance at winning. He deserves it.

And, speaking of clowns.. You would have to be a clown to think this team has the potential to play .700 to .800 hockey. Keep it real!! People like you are the reason the Flames are in such a state of pergatory right now. Hey, the glass if half full.. Endless potential.. Wake up man!!! This team is horrible! Top to bottom!

Well said.

RKD: Dude I love your optimism but cmon, shake it off. I would say 99% of us (with the exception of Wolf) love what Iggy has done for the Flames, the pride he has given us on the big stage of hockey & how he has worn the Flaming C. But the clock has struck midnight & he needs to move on & give us his last gift, the seeds of our future. I hope he doesnt restrict us on the teams he will go to too much, so we can procure our best deal. Before you get teary eyed, remember Calgary has given him & his family $70+ million to have a life we all can only dream of having. He will be back & he will be retired a Flame & number 12 will be hung up in the rafters before he`s done.

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#72 schevvy
November 26 2011, 11:26PM
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@Kevin R

Agree with you on this one. I love Iggy, my all-time favorite Flame. But the chances of us winning a Cup with him are gone. Do I think they absolutely have to trade him? No, I don't. But trading him would get us back alot of assets for the future. Plus trading him will give him the opportunity to win the Cup, which we all know (except the-wolf) he deserves. Who knows, maybe he can even come back for a discount once he becomes a free agent and finish off his career in Calgary. That would be best case scenario in my opinion. I'll admit, I will probably get teary-eyed if/when Iggy gets traded, cause he's been the face of the franchise for so long, but I'll know that it is most likely better for the future of the team.

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#73 Captain Ron
November 26 2011, 11:39PM
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loudogYYC wrote:

.700-.800 hockey in the second half would be the worst thing that could happen to the hockey club. Ken King recently admitted that last years run "teased" management into thinking they were a better team than they actually are.

This current pace is what's gonna trigger change. For the good of the future of the franchise, keep it up boys!

I couldn't agree more. Every loss has me giddy with excitement. The last thing I want to see is another miracle run to 10th place.

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#74 todd
November 27 2011, 12:05AM
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Hail Nail Yakupov

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#75 ville de champignons
November 27 2011, 11:54AM
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@loudogYYC @johnnyK @Captain Ron

Thanks, boys.

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#76 Kevin R
November 27 2011, 12:46PM
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schevvy wrote:

@Kevin R

Agree with you on this one. I love Iggy, my all-time favorite Flame. But the chances of us winning a Cup with him are gone. Do I think they absolutely have to trade him? No, I don't. But trading him would get us back alot of assets for the future. Plus trading him will give him the opportunity to win the Cup, which we all know (except the-wolf) he deserves. Who knows, maybe he can even come back for a discount once he becomes a free agent and finish off his career in Calgary. That would be best case scenario in my opinion. I'll admit, I will probably get teary-eyed if/when Iggy gets traded, cause he's been the face of the franchise for so long, but I'll know that it is most likely better for the future of the team.

You know the thing is, I think we have a better chance winning with Iggy if we trade him now. If we get that kickstart to rebuild a new young exciting core by trading him, we are probably talking 3-4 years before we really become a playoff threat. I see Iggy, his fitness level & pedigree to that of Selanne. So Iggy spends the next 3-4 years chasing the dream with a true coontender today & then will be ready to sign & by that Lanny Macdonald type of influence with the Flames in 3-4 years & turns out to be that last missing piece. What a story that would be.

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#77 RKD
November 27 2011, 12:48PM
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Eric Francis said last night on HNIC that while Iggy wants to remain in Calgary, people very close to him have said he is starting to think what life would be like without the Flames.

Interesting for sure, as much as well think Iggy should be traded for assets, it's ownership who refuses to trade Iginla.

I can't see Iggy going to management asking for a trade, that's just not his style.

Also, Iggy is very concerned about his legacy as a Flame and how it would look if he is the one asking for a trade. Management and ownership are paranoid of one single potential question: "Whose idea was it to trade Jarome Iginla?". No one wants to be the one to say "I did.", Regardless if both parties said it was a mutual decision, one person would have had to initiated.

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#78 Wanyes bastard child
November 27 2011, 12:54PM
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Kevin R wrote:

You know the thing is, I think we have a better chance winning with Iggy if we trade him now. If we get that kickstart to rebuild a new young exciting core by trading him, we are probably talking 3-4 years before we really become a playoff threat. I see Iggy, his fitness level & pedigree to that of Selanne. So Iggy spends the next 3-4 years chasing the dream with a true coontender today & then will be ready to sign & by that Lanny Macdonald type of influence with the Flames in 3-4 years & turns out to be that last missing piece. What a story that would be.

Kinda like a Ryan Smyth type story :)

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#79 Kevin R
November 27 2011, 01:11PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

Kinda like a Ryan Smyth type story :)

Yeah you kinda have a point & I think he is instrumental in where the Oil are currently sitting & plus Khabbi decided to play his 1 good year of a 4 year contract this year. Dubbi didnt look that good on a few of those goals last night.

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#80 Captain Ron
November 27 2011, 03:59PM
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RKD wrote:

Eric Francis said last night on HNIC that while Iggy wants to remain in Calgary, people very close to him have said he is starting to think what life would be like without the Flames.

Interesting for sure, as much as well think Iggy should be traded for assets, it's ownership who refuses to trade Iginla.

I can't see Iggy going to management asking for a trade, that's just not his style.

Also, Iggy is very concerned about his legacy as a Flame and how it would look if he is the one asking for a trade. Management and ownership are paranoid of one single potential question: "Whose idea was it to trade Jarome Iginla?". No one wants to be the one to say "I did.", Regardless if both parties said it was a mutual decision, one person would have had to initiated.

This is why I have said in the past that the situation with Iggy is extremely delicate and must be handled by the team with the utmost care and consideration for everyone involved. Or it could be one of the biggest PR disasters this team has ever had to face. I agree with Kevin R in that he at some point leaves to pursue the dream elsewhere only to return again some time in the future and retire a Calgary Flame. Personally I don't think at this point the fans would go after him in a negative way if he did ask to be moved. It would be a sad day indeed for many people, myself included when that happens. Eventually we will probably look back at the event if it happened and realize the positive effect it had on the team moving forward. One thing I see as a major roadblock to Iggy leaving is Tanguay and his contract. I have little doubt he signed here long term with at least some verbal assurance that Iggy is not going anwhere. Maybe if Iggy goes Tanguay will be on the plane with him. Problem is that they both like it here and have said as much. I do think that if what Francis said is true, then Iggy is becoming open minded to the idea and that might be the first step. I also believe that there would be a considerable amount of pressure from his teammates to stay regardless of what the rest of us think. One way or the other this is no slam dunk deal.

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