Five things: Same old story

Ryan Lambert
February 08 2012 09:14AM

 

 

1. Here's an easy way to fill column inches

This time of year, if you're a Calgary Flames beat reporter kind of kicking around in the dirt looking for a story and coming up with dick, there's a pretty easy way to get some half-decent quotes:

"Say [player/coach/executive]," you should ask, "Do you think this is a playoff team or what? I mean seriously now don't josh around here."

Then just kind of lean back against the wall, because you just earned your day's pay in six seconds.

It's so dumb and at this point in the season, particularly before or immediately after every single loss, we see it about once a week. Sometimes more. It's been this way for three goddamn years.

The answer the players give reporters EVERY time this question comes up is the same: "Sure we're a playoff team. We just need to get on a nice little run here and we're right back in the thick of things. In the room, we know we have the talent to get there." Why not just copy and paste it from the stories where you asked Jarome Iginla the same questions last year?

The reason this pisses me off so much is that I have been in NHL dressing rooms and, because I was like 24 at the time, asked some seriously dumbass questions that drew pretty disdainful looks from guys like Tim Thomas and Shawn Thornton. Rightly so. Again, they were some Grade-A dumbass questions.

This is right up there. What are they supposed to say? No? "Nah man, you know, the more we play this season, the more I realize we're slipping farther down the standings and have no business making it."

2. And here's another one

"Say Jarome do you want to be traded because there have been rumors like there were like a million other times in your career and while none of them turned out to be true they could be this time right?"

"Nope I sure don't want to leave Calgary because I've been here forever and as you can see from the answer I gave to your last question I think we're a playoff team so why would I want to be traded when you take those two things into account?"

"Okay thanks Jarome that's another tap-in column for me."

"You bet."

*cashes another paycheck*

3. No good in Anaheim

On Monday night Calgary lost in a shootout to the Ducks at Honda Center, and it was the 14th consecutive loss they've suffered there. That's a streak stretching back before the lockout.

And it's not like when, y'know, Calgary goes down to Detroit or San Jose and gets jobbed. Detroit and San Jose are and have been very good teams for pretty much the entirety of the last six-plus seasons since 2003-04. And yeah, the Ducks went to a conference final the year after the lockout, then won a Cup the following year, but then they put up 89 and 91 points in back-to-back seasons, needed a dizzying dash to make it last year and will need another to do it again.

That's three or four seasons of bad Ducks hockey, and still, Calgary can't win there. In fact, I looked it all up and the results are actually worse than I expected: In 14 games at Honda Center since the lockout, Calgary is 0-10-4, with just 30 goals for and 45 against. 

Calgary has a chance to keep that streak from running to 15 on March 2, but probably won't because it's the back end of an all-road back-to-back. They play in Phoenix the night before.

4. Poor Kipper

Miikka Kiprusoff is still a win away from No. 300 all-time, and that's pretty amazing if you think about it. Only 14 of them came prior to his being traded to the Flames. That's good for No. 27 all-time, but No. 22 is just five more away, and he should at least draw within hailing distance the top-20 all-time (Nikolai Khabibulin's 327, though presumably that will grow a bit as well) before the season is over.

Kipper probably, at 35 years old, doesn't have too much left in the tank, and it may very well be time to start thinking about his legacy. He's not Tim Thomas, who got a late start in the NHL and only has 183 wins to his name. But his first regular playing time in the league came at 27 years of age, which, in itself, is a pretty late start.

Not that wins are even remotely the best way to measure a goaltender's quality (see also: Osgood, Chris), but one can't help but wonder if, like Iginla, he'd be getting more widespread acclaim for a pretty damn strong career had he been playing behind better teams. It's looking more and more likely that he's toiling admirably but fruitlessly to get the Flames into the playoffs for the third straight year and, much like Iginla has scored 500-plus goals and 1,000-plus points with a series of little more than plugs on his line, Kiprusoff has had very little in the way of help the past few years when it comes to making his win total — which, again, is only a good baseline for mainstream media idiots — look more respectable.

Certainly, he came as close as possible to winning a Stanley Cup without actually doing it and probably being one of two candidates for the Conn Smythe. He has a Vezina to his credit, though he should have two. He has a Jennings trophy from that same year.

He's one slightly-less-injured year (as well as, I suppose, a pair of pretty bad seasons) and a terrible call in Game 6 away from having all the same credentials as Tim Thomas, as far as being among the best goaltenders of his era are concerned.

Am I out of bounds in thinking that?

5. Here's the Iginla picture

Sorry for bumming you out.

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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!
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#1 Kevin R
February 08 2012, 09:40AM
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Well, that was pretty good Ryan. I think you should have started it with an Aerosmith video of Same Old Song & Dance, but then just my classic rocker coming out of me. You are right, these are some pretty classic reporter questions & if you already know what the answer is, why even bother asking? I guess the same could be said for Feaster questions & quotes. What do you expect him to say?

So do we set Kipper free to the first team that would give us a gross overpayment & are desperate, I'm kind of thinking Chicago or do we keep him caged here condemned never to fulfill his destiny? I guess the same question can be asked for Iggy too. Nahh!! That would mean there would have to be a truthful statement made.

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#2 redricardo
February 08 2012, 09:51AM
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Kipper's no-trade apparently expires this summer. That means his value will be highest next year, right before the trade deadline. Which, obviously means we won't trade him then, since in February of 2013 we'll be about 4 points back of a playoff spot, and believing that if we can just go on a run, we'll make the playoffs and once there anything can happen. However... if we wanted to maximize our gain from an asset... Trade Deadline 2013

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#3 Chris
February 08 2012, 09:52AM
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Great article....

Kipper should go down in history as one of the greats of this era. Too bad his best years have/are being wasted on this middling team.

Anyone wondering about realistic playoff chances, check out this site: http://www.sportsclubstats.com/NHL/Western/Northwest/Calgary.html

Its all math and bases everything on the rest of the schedule in a non biased way.

Our chances sit at 19% to make the playoffs right now. To get that number to 75% we have to go 17-9-3

We need a reality check, baring a miracle run this team is going nowhere, now is the time to sell some assets and figure out how to not be in this EXACT SAME PLACE Feb 2013, Feb 2014, Feb 2015 ad nauseum.

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#4 the-wolf
February 08 2012, 11:08AM
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I normally don't mind Vicki Hall, but that Iginla article was pure journalistic laziness. She could've just changed the date at the top and mailed it in and in fact, that's what it looks like.

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#5 Robert Vollman
February 08 2012, 12:19PM
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"In 14 games at Honda Center since the lockout, Calgary is 0-10-4, with just 30 goals for and 45 against."

So they have a -15 goal differential in 14 straight losses? So they were essentially all by a single goal, and could have just as easily been 14-0-0?

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#6 Rain Dogs
February 08 2012, 01:26PM
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Re: Kipper

I personally think it's a bit of a stretch to compare Kipper to Thomas. But that's more because you have to ask how good would he have been?

However, I wonder if the numerous critics of Martin Brodeur will say the same thing about "The Tank". The fact he has been supremely successful on an absolutely incredible team.

He's been outplayed by Tuukka Rask in terms of sv%, so it begs the question:

How good is Boston's goaltending? How good is that team?

Anyway, I'll raise you one. the aforementioned Tuukka Rask may only be in the league because of one Miikka Kiprusoff. The debate would be never ending where Kipper should rank as an "all-time great" but his influence on a specific demographic of goalies is maybe second only to Patrick Roy.

In fact, I think it's fair to say that he IS the Patrick Roy of Finland, and quite nearly every Finnish goalie in the league has his early success to thank for their current opportunities and exposure to the talents of Finnish goaltending/training.

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#7 wawful
February 08 2012, 01:48PM
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Is Irving really ready? Can Ramo come across the pond if he's needed and is he ready for the NHL? These are questions that should be answered before Kipper is traded, but won't be before this year's trade deadline.

What is needed is a larger sample size, and that means Irving has got to get some more starts. Those will most likely be back-to-back's that he has little or no chance of winning, but if he can pull off a few more quality starts under those kinds of circumstances I think everyone will feel a lot better about giving him a starting position.

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