Five Things: Back to Reality

Ryan Lambert
January 04 2012 11:02AM

 

1. Will the real Calgary Flames please stand up?

Only a bad shootout win over the worst team in the league separates Calgary from being 0-3-2 in their last five, all of which were against teams either at or below the 7th place spot at the time of puck drop. In short, it hasn't been a good week.

The unquestionable low point came six days ago when the Flames went out and got beat pretty good on Long Island by an absolutely horrible Islanders side and somehow they've lost three since, conceding a whopping 15 goals in four games. That Washington game was not a good effort at all, and that's the tuneup for the Bruins?

This is bad. This is real bad.

It's not just that the team has been maddeningly consistent in its ability to play up or down to the level of its competition pretty much all season, it's that you can so easily predict what will go right or wrong in any given game that it takes the fun out of it. No secondary scoring? Bad D-zone turnovers? You can see it coming a mile away.

They've proven they can beat the good teams and play entertaining hockey doing it. So why is every middle-of-the-pack-or-worse team some boring drudgery that even the foremost Flames apologistas (and there are many) would have to admit has no aesthetic quality?

If the team loses, fine. If it wins, great. At least make it a good, entertaining game. At least show up, y'know?

2. Jarome at 499

Even as the Flames have stumbled and bumbled against some pretty garbage teams, at least we've had the fun of tracking Jarome Iginla's run to 500 goals.

Quite the little run he's been on even if the Flames are dropping games to bad teams left and right (though to be fair, the Caps are something like 7-3-1 in their last 11 or whatever).

I said it on Twitter over the weekend, but I really and truly hope his 500th is one of those patented Iginla leg pump wristers from the wing that goes in at about a million miles an hour and makes the goalie just go "What the heck was that?" and sigh deeply and shovel the puck out of their net while Jarome laughs and laughs and laughs and every child in the world smiles at the same time.

That is the kind of goal I hope.

The good news is that I'm going to the game in Boston tomorrow night and if Iginla scores his 500th then I'm going to actually cry in real life. This is my solemn promise to you, the reader.

3. Speaking of the Bruins

Tomorrow is my bi-annual trek to watch the Flames get humiliated by the Bruins. It's one I've come to cherish.

The first time I ever took myself to a Flames game at the Fleet Center/TD Garden, it was early in 2004 and Jamie McLennan was in net. A guy bet me $100 and took the Bruins -2. Calgary went on to win 5-0. Iginla had a pair. I laughed the whole time.

The other games have not gone so well.

The most recent was a 5-0 loss two seasons ago, when the Flames were all but out of a playoff spot and playing for pride (and because they were contractually obligated to do so). It was also a game that Craig Conroy likely had surgically removed from his brain. He was in the box for Boston's first and second goal, the result of what I recall as being two lazy-ass hooking and holding calls, respectively. The fourth goal was a Patrice Bergeron centering feed that went in off his body. Not Connie's proudest game as a Flame.

The only other Flames game I have attended in person was early in the 2006 season, which the Flames lost just 3-2 but were never really in it because Boston scored 18 seconds in. This game was most momentous, though, because it was the one in which Stephane Yelle crashed into the boards, broke his leg, and missed nearly two months.

So this one obviously has a lot to live up to.

4. Where have you gone Jay Bouwmeester?

I think I must have been one of the last holdouts.

For a very, very long time, I was one of the few people who would actually sit there and say to you with a straight face, "Well of course the Bouwmeester contract isn't great, but it's not as awful as everyone makes it out to be." And I just can't do it any more.

Even if I want to be super-nice and leave aside the minus-5 he put up in Nashville (which, yikes!), he's been downright horrible the last stretch of games at minus-8 on the road trip, and it's really starting to look like the scoring is never ever coming back. He has just eight goals in 205 games with the Flames, after scoring 42 in his last three seasons with Florida.

And now he's just getting beat along the boards on simple plays by guys who are on the tail end of long shifts, losing pucks I can't even imagine he would have lost a month ago. Not sure what you can even do with him at this point but someone needs to screw his head on straight. He's been a liability for a while now, and it's upsetting for me to see.

5. I don't know about you

...But wouldn't it be nice to see Leland Irving start a game or three here. Not saying all these losses should or even can be hung on Kipper but I thought Irving was dynamite in losing in overtime to Ottawa. He faced 49 shots and still picked up a point.

The team honestly didn't show up a even a little bit in front of him — they attacked just fine — and he had the best game of his very brief NHL career.

So why not run the kid out a little more? Clearly the team isn't being kept in games because of Kiprusoff and he's not playing well enough that he shouldn't be splitting time. Irving has at least earned a second look. Maybe he'll go against Boston... then give up five to the best team on the planet and promptly be stapled to the bench for a month.

(Do you guys want the Iginla pony picture for this one, by the way?)

 

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Yer ol' buddy Lambert is handsome and great and everyone loves him. Also you can visit his regular blog at The Two-Line Pass or follow him on Twitter. Lucky you!
Avatar
#51 RexLibris
January 05 2012, 02:02PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@Kevin R

Because the CBA is expiring I don't expect to see long term contracts moved (in Calgary's case Bourque, Iginla and Kiprusoff are examples, in Edmonton Horcoff is an example) at the deadline as no GM wants to be stuck with an albatross when the negiotations settle.

I don't think Kiprusoff is worth Connolly and a 1st. Sorry, but I believe Yzerman has positioned Connolly to gradually take over some of what Lecavalier and St. Louis have been to the team. Carter Ashton and a 1st, maybe. But that'd be a pretty good return in itself.

The problem with the current cap-floor system is that the profitability of the Canadian teams is what is killing the American market teams. All the talk about moving a franchise to the Toronto area is moot until they solve the floor calculations because no U.S. GM is going to want yet another team pushing the salary floor up to the $70-$80 million range. It would kill Columbus, Dallas, Nashville, Florida (both of them) and Anaheim. If they can reconfigure the method of determining the salary floor then there will be no problem putting another team in Ontario, because the revenue sharing will help everyone. The players would also benefit because the cap would then likely rise close to $100 million within a few years.

The Flames are going to rebuild, and it will probably be done the hard way starting next year. But I could go on about that for another entire post.

Avatar
#52 Kevin R
January 05 2012, 04:06PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
RexLibris wrote:

Because the CBA is expiring I don't expect to see long term contracts moved (in Calgary's case Bourque, Iginla and Kiprusoff are examples, in Edmonton Horcoff is an example) at the deadline as no GM wants to be stuck with an albatross when the negiotations settle.

I don't think Kiprusoff is worth Connolly and a 1st. Sorry, but I believe Yzerman has positioned Connolly to gradually take over some of what Lecavalier and St. Louis have been to the team. Carter Ashton and a 1st, maybe. But that'd be a pretty good return in itself.

The problem with the current cap-floor system is that the profitability of the Canadian teams is what is killing the American market teams. All the talk about moving a franchise to the Toronto area is moot until they solve the floor calculations because no U.S. GM is going to want yet another team pushing the salary floor up to the $70-$80 million range. It would kill Columbus, Dallas, Nashville, Florida (both of them) and Anaheim. If they can reconfigure the method of determining the salary floor then there will be no problem putting another team in Ontario, because the revenue sharing will help everyone. The players would also benefit because the cap would then likely rise close to $100 million within a few years.

The Flames are going to rebuild, and it will probably be done the hard way starting next year. But I could go on about that for another entire post.

Yes & that's why I argue so much that you are wrong & that we lose in January, to ensure that you are wrong.:-) The only thing is, yes contracts will be impossible to move like Horcoff, Stajan, Luongo, Lecalvier, Kovalchuk, Erhoff, Leino to name a few. Florida have a boat load of bad 4-5 year contracts. I'm blown away they are doing so well this year, but next year, the novelty wears off & these players may not be any where near performing the way they are this year. But if a player is a big enough piece to win a Cup this year, I think Iggy's & Kippers contracts will not be that hard to move. February will be a very interesting month my Oiler friend.

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