November 03 2011 11:40AM
So here we are ten games, and a month into the season. As Kent pointed out in his article, Calgary has shown more areas that they need improvement in than they have excelled at. The PP being the obvious focus, and the inability to move around in the offensive zone to create better scoring chances with the man advantage, left Kent and many more of us with frustrating feelings and apparently hostile desires towards our T.V.'s. The Roman Statue reference was a suiting one I thought.
The Flames went with a different format prior to last game, going with the 11-7 formula, leaving Matt Stajan as the odd forward out and Anton Babchuk back in as the 7th D-man. The 2 game winning streak probably wasn't that indicative of the format change, thus we saw Stajan inserted back into the line-up vs. the Canucks. Babchuk isn't a great option against Vancouver at ES, so having the extra forward was probably seen as the better move at the time. As it turned out, it didn't really matter what they did or who they dressed. The whole team as a unit played horribly and was exposed in every way by the Canucks.
One Roman that hasn't behaved like a statue and has been a popular topic of conversation is Roman Horak. With five points in his first seven games with the Flames, the youngster has moved up in scoring, but what has been more impressive is even at his young age, he is being counted upon in a strong defensive role as well. Horak is sitting around 60% for defensive zone starts, so he is hardly being given sheltered minutes, and has improved his face off percentages, adding to his defensive success. He has received praise from not only the coach, Brent Sutter, but also his teammates. Sutter praised Horak for his ability to absorb like a sponge what he has been taught, and practice it; most comments that have been common from both sides have been about Horak's work ethic.
"He's a good kid. He's a smart kid. He wants to learn every day and he's asking questions (about) what he can do better, to be a better player. It's great to see a young guy who wants to learn. He works hard every day." - Olli Jokinen
Everyone is really saying the same thing right now. I could probably give you the links to several different stories around FlamesLand, but I'm going to focus on one in particular that was brought to my attention by my good friend (but still recently fired agent) icedawg_42. Mark Spector is knowledgeable and always a good read. The dude knows his stuff. That being said, I was a little put off when I was directed to his latest article. Really Mark? Come on man... If you wanted a quote or an interview, all you had to do was ask. If you notice the date of Mark's article, it's Nov. 2nd. If you still have no idea what I'm talking about then let's rewind the clock back to Oct. 25th, when yours truly shared his thoughts on the plights faced by the Flames much maligned GM. Of course I'm kidding and I'll just chalk the coincidence up to a good fortunate choice of topic on my part... Even though I was first.
Let's not dwell on the sour; there is enough with the team right now. Let's get to the good stuff. My good friend, the infamous and quickly evolving notorious Book of Loob took a different path to get his point across the other day. After writing an extensive 11 point plan to save the Calgary Flames, he quickly turned on his own writing. The next morning he came out with the blazing sequel to which I have now dubbed, War & Peace, if you still account for the previous night's rant. Get a cold drink and a snack people; it's a long read, but damn worth it.
"OK, so more to my point last night. What I was trying to say was, if you're of the opinion that the Flames are simply no good and that the whole thing needs to be blown up and the team needs to start fresh, I want to know what you think that accomplishes right now?" - BoL
Yeah, believe it or not, there is some good news in FlamesLand. How about this? Kris Kolanos made his return to hockey and the Abbotsford Heat last week after not playing, due to injury, since Jan. 16 2010. In his first game back he notched three goals and added an assist for a four point night in a 5-1 win over Grand Rapids. For his efforts, he was also named the AHL Player of the Week. well done Kris, and congrats!
One guy that we don't get to hear much about is Flames prospect John Gaudreau. The tiny but mighty forward is doing well at Boston College and has drawn the attention of the Flames brass. He is second in team scoring, one point behind fellow Flames prospect, Bill Arnold.
Another prospect that we haven't talked much about since his return to the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL, is Michael Ferland. he is currently second in the WHL, with 14 goals, and had a stellar game the other night with a 3 goal and 1 assist performance in a 7-3 win over the Swift Current Broncos. If you are looking to see this kid in action, the Wheaties are in town to face the Hitmen on Friday (*ahem.. icedawg!*); see this kid in person, he definitely has some skills.
Well here we go again with the Kyle Turris rumours. Not only are they not going away... they are actually gaining momentum. The good people over at Matchsticks & Gasoline have said that according to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, the Flames are very interested in Turris, though just how serious they are on the aquisition, is still unclear. I shudder to think of the fall-out if this deal somehow includes Mikael Backlund...