March 25 News and notes

Robert Cleave
March 25 2011 08:31AM

 

 

I had wished that as with my Arizona sojourn, another trip to the Southern U.S. would signal a Flames' winning streak. We've seen how that's worked out, unfortunately, so any hope that spending all my time during the winter months in a more hospitable climate would act as a talisman for the team has foundered. I was all ready to pitch that idea to Murray Edwards for a few bucks, too. Drat.

At any rate, life does go on, and the round-up is back for a perusal of a few items of interest around the patch. This week, the Flames hit the rocks, the Pens carry on quite swimmingly, and the endless bickering over the Coyotes' fate is, well, endless.

 

Flames:

The Flames are just about done, by the looks of Wednesday's affair. 4 scoring chances in 56 minutes at EV won't do, and frankly that 6-3 score was kinder than the game itself might have merited. The official end may not happen for a bit, though, since Calgary has a middling AHL team on the schedule Saturday, followed by several more days off. Small mercies, indeed.

The players gave the usual spin afterwards, but reality puts me in the uncomfortable position of agreeing with both DomeBeers and Eric Francis. That fact alone should drive me to a contrary position, but the evidence is fairly clear. The Flames likely aren't good enough, and their putrid record against the best of the West this season has been no accident.

There was some fairly pointed grumbling about the play of the Flames' most expensive defender in Wednesday's game thread, as more than a few folks were ready to run Jay Bouwmeester off the road following a series of sad performances over the last week. I'm not content with his offensive output over the last couple of years, and lord knows he was horrid in San Jose, but he's a long way down the list of villains this season.

As I often tried to note when people were exasperated with Dion Phaneuf's ticket, it's always wise to remember that “bad contract” “bad player”, and the fact that Bouwmeester is likely making about 2M too much is just one of those things that happens. There are a few players on the Flames that are basically operating at replacement level making 3M a year or more, so any serious crying about Bouwmeester seems to be a case of people wilfully missing the point.

Beyond the foregoing, I'm going to allow the season to finish before offering up any sort of proper eulogy. They looked dead as a doornail at Christmas time as well, which leaves me inclined to let it all play out, delusional as that likely may end up being. Calgary has run pretty hard up until Wednesday, so if nothing else, the days off might be enough to at least let them finish decently.

One matter I am curious about is the potential for a return by Daymond Langkow. The reports that came out when he returned to practice implied that it was strictly conditioning that was holding him out, rather than any fear of re-injury. That, and making his cap hit work, of course, although the injuries to Moss, Modin and Pardy should create enough retro LTIR space to allow Langkow to be activated if he's ready. I have no expectations of him, and irrespective of results, I'm just glad he's healthy enough to play at all.

 

Futurewatch:

Ryan Howse was named to the WHL Western Conference 2nd all-star team after a 51 goal season. Somewhat surprisingly, he still has some junior hockey to play, as a late season streak pushed the Bruins into 6th place after they spent most of the winter outside the top 8. They'll play against Spokane in the first round.

Across the Atlantic, Tim Erixon has been playing a ton of minutes for Skellefteå AIK in the Elitserien playoffs. He's been at or around 25 a night through the first 9 games, and he tallied nearly 34 in SAIK`s second round opener against Luleå . SAIK has lost the first two semi-final games in OT after dispatching Linköpings HC in a 7 game first round series.

 I suspect Erixon will be given even more responsibility with Adam Larsson missing due to an injury suffered in the first Luleå game, and given his progress this year in a good league, he has a hope of being in the NHL next year. He and T.J. Brodie actually resemble legit NHL prospects, which is more than one might say about the forwards in the system.

 

Elsewhere:

The Western Conference race went on without the Flames last night, with Nashville and L.A. winning their matches by a goal. The ageless one did score two more for the Ducks in their loss, as Anaheim went about business in their standard fashion, almost reeling in the Predators after spotting them a 5-1 lead. Considering how poorly he played in Colorado before the lockout, Teemu Selanne's subsequent six-season coda has been nothing short of astonishing. 11 th in league scoring at age 40 despite missing 9 games? Preposterous. He and Nik Lidstrom must have made some spectacular pacts with Beelzebub.

The West takes this evening off before hostilities resume on Saturday, and amongst the matchups of interest will be Anaheim at Chicago. I know that most have conceded a spot in the post-season to the Hawks, but their schedule is ridiculous down the stretch, with the Ducks, Detroit x 3, Boston, Tampa and Montreal making up 7 of the 9 remaining encounters.

The only games that would normally be considered easier might be Columbus on the road and St. Louis, and with both Sharp and Bolland likely done for at least the regular season, Chicago's already iffy depth will be tested to the max. Toews might well get them over the line by his lonesome, but as Calgary well knows, losing worthwhile forwards late in the year can wear on a team.

Out East, as easy as it might have been to write off the Penguins, their 2-1 SO victory has them only 4 points out of the conference lead. Marc-Andre Fleury has been pretty good for them as they've kept in the race without Sid and Malkin. If they get Crosby back, they're right back to being a favourite in the conference, if for no other reason than they can likely trust their goalie to some degree. Washington and Philly, not so much.

Fleury aside, the one Pen that's really allowed the team to keep things together is Kris Letang. It would be one thing for him to pile up points, and he's certainly done that. It's the quality of players he's been matched against that adds some context to his performance. Having Michalek, Martin and Orpik on the team one wouldn't expect him to get the toughs, but he has, and he's done well at it. His ZS numbers aren't so outrageously high that his year doesn't pass that sniff test, either.

As a final on-ice note, the Oilers had 12 shots in last night's 4-0 loss to the Blues, including a whopping 8 at EV. I don't really have any more to add on the matter. Just felt I should put that out there for our friendly visitors from Stinktown. You know, as a service. I'm good like that ;-)

 

This again?

I'll finish this week with two very brief editorial notes. First, Matt Cooke got what he deserved, but if a player that's more well-regarded performs a similar act of stupidity, I can only hope the punishment will be roughly analogous.

Second and last, the Coyotes' saga might end some day, but I wouldn't bet a nickel on when that day might be. Goldwater and Glendale are still hissing at each other, and I gather that Matthew Hulsizer advised Darcy Olsen of the Goldwater people that he doesn't really need Glendale's money to buy the team. If that's actually so, I'm only left echoing the words of a great man as a response.

That's all for this time around.

1a1030a8151ca7a0d81aea58f0fb1dbc
Robert Cleave is a perpetually grumpy Winnipegger.
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#1 negrilcowboy
March 25 2011, 09:36AM
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the heat has certainly been turned up on jbo, and rightly so. perhaps throwing an occasional body check would help tone down the critics. jaybo is currently exhibiting the quality one looks for in bathroom tissue, soft. the marleau goal wednesday sealed the deal for me. jaybust lets up not risking taking a penalty, great intensity. no wonder this guy hasnt seen a playoff game since the clinton administration.

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#2 JF
March 25 2011, 09:44AM
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The Ageless One... yeah, I don't know what kind of deal Selanne made with the devil but I'm pretty sure the devil got ripped off.

On the neverending saga of the Phoenix Coyotes... I have a lot of sympathy for the position of the Goldwater Institute, there's definetly something fishy smelling about the deal with Hulsizer. Firstly, by my calculations they'd need to clear (meaning after taxes) at least $10.58 per space (which is a big step up from their current non-valet price of $0.00) in order to just pay off the principle on the Bonds I don't know how much more to pay off the accrued interest and that number assumes full capacity... is that really a reasonable scenario? Secondly, they're planning on selling the bonds and then giving the money to Hulsizer who doesn't even own the team yet... shouldn't they be either waiting for the team to be in his possession before doing that? or alternatively buying the revenue stream from the NHL and then let them sell the team (sans parking rights)? Honestly, this smells like a subsidy to me and my admittingly basic understanding of the Arizona laws is that such a thing is illegal (I believe they call it the "Gift Clause"). Beyond that there is also the GWI assertation that the city already owns the parking rights (no idea if it's true) and the $97,000,000.00 arena management fee (no idea if that's industry standard or not) sounds like a dicey situation to me.

And as for the flames... sigh. Maybe next year.

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#3 who is alright?
March 25 2011, 10:15AM
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http://www.sportsclubstats.com/NHL/Western/Northwest/Flames.html

They flames have a 6.1% chance of making round 1 this year...

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#4 coggsforsale
March 25 2011, 10:27AM
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haha haha :) flames fans rippin jay-bo lmao you guys are just as bad as we are haha :).

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#5 Scott
March 25 2011, 10:39AM
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@coggsforsale

If we wanted to sit back and say everyone on this team is playing great, everythings good, the flames are the best team, etc. then we really wouldn't be fans would we? (Sidenote: is this the definition of a canucks fan?)

Being a fan, gives you a right to complain about your teams management, coachs and players. Wanting the team to play better is what being a fan is all about.

I don't expect oilers fans to understand. They come on here talking about how great the potential is for their team, and then go to the oilers games and boo those players. You guys don't know what you want. You either accept a rebuilding team or not.

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#6 who is alright?
March 25 2011, 10:49AM
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Woops! See below

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#7 who is alright?
March 25 2011, 10:51AM
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doh!!

that didn't work too well :(

anyway, it shows that if the flames go 4-1-1 (which they likely can)

Dallas must be 4-4-1 or worse Anny must be 4-4-0 or worse

...or else it is over

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#8 Scott
March 25 2011, 11:08AM
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I apologize for my ignorance, but don't the flames need to beat both of these teams to jump for 10th to 8th?

Which do we bet on first, Flames beating out Dallas and Anaheim, or Chicago dropping out?

My guess is that it depends on how many games Turco, and Hiller will play in the next week or so.

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#9 Justin Azevedo
March 25 2011, 11:08AM
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http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/globe-on-hockey/man-games-lost-to-injury-in-the-nhl/article1955920/

The Flames are technically 5th in the league in terms of man-games lost. That number is deceiving, though-Ivanans and Lankgow are 149 of those games. Take those games out and the Flames are at 169, or 19th in the league.

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#10 Scott
March 25 2011, 11:14AM
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@Justin Azevedo

All this discussion in regards to injuries is definately deceiving. Its not the number of games lost, or necessarily who was lost, but the timing of the losses. Both at the start of the year and at the end of the year, the flames had trouble keeping centremen in the lineup. Changing the centremen can really obstruct the flow of the rest of the line/ strategy of the games.

But it all goes back to mgmt and not having great depth. Me thinks if Conroy was still a play we wouldn't be having this discussion.

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#11 FireOnIce
March 25 2011, 11:39AM
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Should've brought back Theo, he's only 43, off the booze, and could've contributed!

The Flames need to see what it would take to bring Hakan Loob into the organization.

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#12 Monaertchi Gaudnett
March 25 2011, 12:52PM
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@Coggs - we are pretty much the same, except that we're not in EDM so that's one point in our favour

@Who - Yup, if either Dallas or Anaheim finish better than .500 in their remaining games, the Flames are almost certainly out.

@Fire - Looooooooooooooooooooooooooob

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#13 Kent Wilson
March 25 2011, 01:22PM
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@Scott

Both at the start of the year and at the end of the year, the flames had trouble keeping centremen in the lineup.

The fact that Morrison (last minute signing due to injuries) and Moss ("third line" winger) are considered key losses to the Flames center depth at the end of the year - despite the fact that the club has some $6.5M in recently acquired "#1 centers" healthy and playing - says all you need to know about the way this team was constructed.

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#14 who is alright?
March 25 2011, 02:30PM
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Well at least we aren't the Oilers, they are dead last again haha

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#15 the forgotten man
March 25 2011, 02:44PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Both at the start of the year and at the end of the year, the flames had trouble keeping centremen in the lineup.

The fact that Morrison (last minute signing due to injuries) and Moss ("third line" winger) are considered key losses to the Flames center depth at the end of the year - despite the fact that the club has some $6.5M in recently acquired "#1 centers" healthy and playing - says all you need to know about the way this team was constructed.

Kent encapsulated the Flames' woes exactly...this team is just poorly constructed and frankly full of mediocre talent (cough! Daz cough!) How can you be a Stanley Cup contending team fielding "centreman" like Morrison / Moss / Glencross / Conroy / Jokinen etc. during the year. Half of them are "way past their prime" and the other half didn't even break into the NHL in that position - what a frickin' joke. The greater tragedy is that Backlund is supposed to "develop" around these guys?? With the dog's breakfast he assembled (always at the cap ceiling) there is no way Daz should ever again see the light of day in a NHL GM office...the saddest part is that he always thought he was the "smartest guy in the room". Loser.

If the owners are serious about this franchise and its fanbase, it is time to clean house. The day after the season ends, K-squared, Feaster, Button and Butter et al. all need to be shown the door (sorry Ken - your yearly internal dissection of the Club is not needed...go sell a handful of newspapers or something), and someone with hockey sense needs to be brought in as President who can then revamp the whole front office from GM down...no position should be considered safe and quite frankly with the Flames recent 20 year track record a clean sweep would not be an irrational move. Due to bad contracts/NMCs/cap space, next year is a write off "on the ice", so at least use the year to allow the new management team to gel and evaluate every aspect of the Club...a rebuilt scouting staff may actually make good use of the high draft pick the Flames can expect following the 2011-2012 season. Just cause the team sucks on the ice, it doesn't mean productive/positive things can't be happening behind the scenes. That said, if the season ends, and all I get is K-squared rambling about the 97.5% season ticket base renewal, then the Canadiens on RDS looks ever more appealing.

Amen

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#16 Keith M
March 25 2011, 02:57PM
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Of course it is better to be dead last than just missing the payoffs. At least the Flames gave us something to cheer about since Christmas, it was a good run.

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#17 SmellOfVictory
March 25 2011, 03:08PM
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@the forgotten man

Despite the issues he caused this team in the past, Jokinen isn't a problem anymore in my eyes. He's a decent 2nd line centre and doing fairly well at it, these days. Backlund is a solid 3rd line centre at the moment, and I'm sure he'll grow past that in the near future. Unfortunately, Stajan has been garbage and the Flames don't have another centre of note right now, so they're a team without a 1st line C of any description (be it a "true #1 C" or a "2a centre"). Even when Moss and Morrison were in the lineup, it was a quartet of centres who are around a 2nd/3rd line level of ability, and then there was Stajan.

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#18 who is alright?
March 25 2011, 03:09PM
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Monaertchi Gaudnett wrote:

@Coggs - we are pretty much the same, except that we're not in EDM so that's one point in our favour

@Who - Yup, if either Dallas or Anaheim finish better than .500 in their remaining games, the Flames are almost certainly out.

@Fire - Looooooooooooooooooooooooooob

No, if either finish better than 0.500 then calgary cannot make it because they have 8 shootout wins

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#19 who is alright?
March 25 2011, 03:16PM
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You hear what Fleury said today? What an idiot....

He said that an 8th place team would have a better shot at the cup than the Canucks!

The only 8th place team to ever make it to the finals were the 2005-06 Edmonton Oilers but they lost in 7 games to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Besides that, there have been two other teams who were last place but not in 8th place (this is before there were 8 teams in a conference). The 1948-49 Maple Leafs (22-25-13) were the last 'worst' seed to win the Stanley Cup. The 1937-38 Blackhawks (14-25-9) are the only other 'worst' seed to win the Cup. In fact by there record, they are the worst team to have won the Stanley Cup.

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#20 the forgotten man
March 25 2011, 03:20PM
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@SmellOfVictory

Agreed S.O.V.

After I posted comment I realized that Stajan should have been inserted for Jokinen...force of habit although Jokinen has played much much better in 2nd half and actually has a reasonable cap hit considering his recent play.

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#21 negrilcowboy
March 25 2011, 03:28PM
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no bona fide nhl proven frontline centre, and a country club attitude. langkow is not and never was a true blue top line player. ideally a solid second liner. and horrid drafting.

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#22 Monaertchi Gaudnett
March 25 2011, 03:29PM
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who is alright? wrote:

No, if either finish better than 0.500 then calgary cannot make it because they have 8 shootout wins

Unable to update comment

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#23 FireOnIce
March 25 2011, 03:44PM
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How is it that Nashville, with the tight budget they run and lack of "stars", was able to go up 5-1 on Anaheim last night?

Watching that was pitiful. They went up 5-1, but Anaheim still clawed their way back to 5-4. Guess who? Teemu and Perry both had 2 goal nights. If they can only get their goalies to stay consistent they may have a shot at the cup.

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#24 schevvy
March 25 2011, 03:48PM
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I believe the Flames can at best finish 8th and play Vancouver. While that is unlikely could you imagine the chats and blog comments, that would be awesome. Calgary needs to go 6-0-0 to get to 97 points, which will give them a good chance to be in. Unlikely, but not ready to give up hope yet. Here's what the teams around Calgary would have to go to get 97 points.

LA- 3-4-1 NSH- 3-3-1 CHI- 4-4-1 ANA- 5-3-0 DAL- 5-3-1

Realistically, Anaheim and Dallas are the only two teams we could catch IF we ran the table. But wouldn't it be something if we win the first 5 games and that game against Vancouver is win you are in or lose you are out.. The chat would be historic!

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#25 coggsforsale
March 25 2011, 04:52PM
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Scott wrote:

If we wanted to sit back and say everyone on this team is playing great, everythings good, the flames are the best team, etc. then we really wouldn't be fans would we? (Sidenote: is this the definition of a canucks fan?)

Being a fan, gives you a right to complain about your teams management, coachs and players. Wanting the team to play better is what being a fan is all about.

I don't expect oilers fans to understand. They come on here talking about how great the potential is for their team, and then go to the oilers games and boo those players. You guys don't know what you want. You either accept a rebuilding team or not.

i exept the rebuilding years to come,the funny thing is the flamers have not even started yet,and fighting for 8th place every year is just stupid,hurry up flamers catch up!!

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#26 coggsforsale
March 25 2011, 05:00PM
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who is alright? wrote:

doh!!

that didn't work too well :(

anyway, it shows that if the flames go 4-1-1 (which they likely can)

Dallas must be 4-4-1 or worse Anny must be 4-4-0 or worse

...or else it is over

the flamers will be put to sleep this this sat night after the soilers beat them up,why dont you guys dress somebody to dance with big mac he needs a dance partner!!

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#27 SmellOfVictory
March 25 2011, 06:16PM
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coggsforsale wrote:

i exept the rebuilding years to come,the funny thing is the flamers have not even started yet,and fighting for 8th place every year is just stupid,hurry up flamers catch up!!

I wish a focus toward future assets would've begun two offseasons ago (you know, when Phaneuf was still around to be swapped for someone other than a grab bag of dudes who were at/past their primes and not particularly good).

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#28 schevvy
March 25 2011, 06:24PM
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For everyone giving up hope, if Virginia Commonwelth, VCU, can make the final 16 of the NCAA, than the Calgary Flames can make the playoffs. Just take it one game at a time

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#29 negrilcowboy
March 25 2011, 11:24PM
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In Sutter We Bust. thanks dutter.

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#30 schevvy
March 25 2011, 11:32PM
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negrilcowboy wrote:

In Sutter We Bust. thanks dutter.

Since the trade to bring in Jokinen from Phoenix, 100% agree.

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#31 OilFan
March 26 2011, 09:03AM
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Well tonight is the night. Hoping for an upset by the Oilers.

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#32 coggsforsale
March 26 2011, 11:10AM
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who is alright? wrote:

Well at least we aren't the Oilers, they are dead last again haha

yes thats true,but you dont make the playoffs and you got no future no picks and a team full of old plugs! glencros will want the bank lol !

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#33 schevvy
March 26 2011, 11:23AM
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coggsforsale wrote:

yes thats true,but you dont make the playoffs and you got no future no picks and a team full of old plugs! glencros will want the bank lol !

i'm not going to lie, you got some great young players in Edmonton and if you looked at their roster they should be good in a couple years. But my question is, are they too young? They have no real veteran players to help mature the young players, that's why I think here in Calgary if we do go into rebuild we have to keep Iggy, because he would provide that. For tonight's game though the Flames better not overlook the Oilers because I'm sure all Oilers players and fans would love nothing more than to put the final nail in the coffin.

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#34 schevvy
March 26 2011, 11:26AM
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who is alright? wrote:

You hear what Fleury said today? What an idiot....

He said that an 8th place team would have a better shot at the cup than the Canucks!

The only 8th place team to ever make it to the finals were the 2005-06 Edmonton Oilers but they lost in 7 games to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Besides that, there have been two other teams who were last place but not in 8th place (this is before there were 8 teams in a conference). The 1948-49 Maple Leafs (22-25-13) were the last 'worst' seed to win the Stanley Cup. The 1937-38 Blackhawks (14-25-9) are the only other 'worst' seed to win the Cup. In fact by there record, they are the worst team to have won the Stanley Cup.

Fleury's just a true Canucks hater, he still hates them from when he played here. Could I see the 8th seed winning that series? sure. But would they be the favorite? Absolutely not.

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#35 SmellOfVictory
March 26 2011, 11:47AM
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I love Fleury for his trash talk.

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