April 11 2011 06:02PM
The 2010/2011 edition of the Calgary Flames went their seperate ways on Monday afternoon after a second straight season out of the postseason. The team fulfilled their final media obligations, met with the coaching staff for the final time and, of course, cleaned out their lockers. Here are some observations from a day the that came too early for the Flames.
We heard from Alex Tanguay early on Monday, and the most telling answer he gave came on a question we were all asking in our heads. Tanguay was asked “would you forgo more money for stability and this situation” and the first word out of his mouth, without hesitation, was “absolutely”. It’s very clear Tanguay wants to be here, and he made that very clear once again, and his admission that a “home town discount”, or something similar, would be in the cards made many people happy. I’d be shocked if Tanguay wasn’t back with the Flames next season.
Brendan Morrison will have surgery Tuesday morning on an ACL injury he suffered early in March against the Blackhawks. He revealed the recovery time will be between four and six months, but said he’ll be able to be back skating within three months…the longer time period refers to taking contact. Brendan was very adamant that he wanted to continue playing, and wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the game, and was quick to say he’d like to be back with the Flames. With a number of centers already under contract, I’d be surprised if Morrison was back; but I think he’s earned another contract after the season he had.
Curtis Glencross is another high profile free agent, and coming off a career high in goals, Glencross also said he’d love to be back with the Flames next season. Just like Tanguay, Glencross hinted that maybe a longer term would be more desirable as opposed to a higher cap hit or annual salary. I’m not as negative about the possibility of Curtis returning next year, as I think it’s fully possible Calgary will look to make moves to free up flexibility this summer. That said, a huge offer on the market might make it difficult for the Flames to resign him.
Even though names like Giordano, Bouwmeester, Tanguay, Iginla and Glencross will not be representing Canada at the World Championships in Sweden, the Flames will have at least one representative there. Mikael Backlund will suit up in the blue and yellow for Team Sweden for the first time at the World’s. Hey, why not? Backlund really progressed at the NHL level, which Head Coach Brent Sutter said was because he earned more and more ice time. The fact he did progress at the top level was something I took value from, and it should be cool to see him in Slovakia.
Jarome Iginla was all about positivity on Monday, talking in glowing terms about his running mate all season long in Alex Tanguay. Again, if Iginla is here going forward, which I believe he will be; so is Tanguay. It just makes sense. Iginla also had some really great things to say about the powerplay and the play of Mark Giordano and Anton Babchuk. It’s funny; last year on this day, all the talk was about Iginla being traded or going elsewhere. This year, it was all about the great season he put together, with a 43 goal season in the books.
Not So Positive
Rene Bourque was asked about a possible invite to the World’s and said he hadn’t been asked as of yet by Hockey Canada. And I don’t really expect him to be asked. Bourque had an inconsistent season where he was very frustrating to watch at times. You know why it’s so frustrating? Because even with a season where he took weeks and, sometimes, months off at a time…he still put up 27 goals. Imagine what he could do without those annoying drop offs in play.
And Matt Stajan talked about really lacking confidence throughout the entire season. The guy had a rough season, partly by his own doing, and a little because things just didn’t go his way. I think the guy has some nice attributes, but he was far too soft this season, and he says he’s going to have to work hard this summer to correct some of the things that went wrong this year.
Overall…there are some positives heading into next season, and it would be inaccurate to say there wasn’t. But it’s also a second straight year out of the playoffs, so even with a nice finish to the season, the team can’t remain in tact. It just can’t, so changes have to be made this offseason.