Five things: Cross one off the list

Ryan Lambert
May 16 2012 09:12AM

1. Well there goes that

The search for a guy who will be in charge of coaching this team rolls on and, even without anyone making hires yet in the offseason, the field is thinning.

The latest casualty, Elliotte Friedman reports, is the guy many tabbed as the most likely candidate: San Jose coach Todd McLellan, who's staying put but likely getting a slew of new assistant coaches. That's too bad. McLellan has, in the past, done a pretty good job of managing a roster that was often made up of a healthy mix of both young and veteran players (for every Joe Thornton, Dan Boyle and Patrick Marleau, it seems, there's a Logan Couture, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Joe Pavelski). This makeup is, obviously, not unlike the Flames'.

The problem with the NHL coaching fraternity, if you want to call it that, is that your options for replacing someone you fire — who leaves of their own accord? Dale Hunter and nobody, that's who — are often old retreads or NHL assistants who have quietly been making names for themselves for years. Not to say either is a bad choice, necessarily, but at some point you know what you're getting with whoever you hire, before you hire them, and so the rumors about guys that might or might not come to the city are easy to suss out as being either good or bad for the team as it's currently constituted.

Which is what makes the hire of Troy Ward to run the hockey club both intriguing and, apparently, more likely by the day. Puck Daddy had a big story earlier this week about Ward and the job he might do — very good? — with the team given its newfound and wise move toward a youth movement, relying heavily upon the guys Ward wrangled as an assistant last season and a head coach this year.

And I guess the more I think about it, the less jazzed I am to see the team bring aboard a guy like a Bob Hartley or Marc Crawford or whoever else's name has been trotted out in the time since Brent Sutter's ship was scuttled. I think I like Troy Ward for this job. Glowing testimonials aside, no one is going to have a better idea of how to handle the roster, and obviously the young guys, whose development is more important at this point than actually going somewhere in the standings, in particular. He'll know who's ready for such-and-such a role and when, and will be in a position to help them succeed.

People might say he's not ready — and perhaps my support for his hiring is predicated upon 1) my desire to "blow it up," and 2) my associated belief that the team can therefore lose all it wants and still be a-okay in my eyes — but the concern I have is that, like a Kirk Muller or Guy Boucher before him, some team will come in and snatch Ward up while Larry Robinson or whoever is on the second of a three-year contract and performing dismally.

As the PD story noted, it's not like players like Ward because he's easy on them. He isn't. He gets them to buy in with what is apparently disconcerting ease, and then gets them to play physically dominating and exciting hockey. Isn't that, like, what everyone said the Flames' problem was?

Look, I get that longtime NHL players like the Flames have on the roster aren't the Abbotsford Heat's mix of so-so rookies and AHL vets, but this is, at this point, their concerns shouldn't be the team's concerns. Don't like how Ward (or anyone really) is coaching? There's the door.

That went on far longer than I expected it to. I guess what I'm saying is Hire Troy Ward.

2. Sven Baertschi's future

We can all pretty much agree he's an NHL player at this point and will be with the big club to stay come October, right?

I was able to catch only the highlights of some of his games in the WHL Finals and he made the Oil Kings defenders look silly. FInishing these playoffs with 14-20-34 in 22 games doesn't seem particularly fair, but he's done playing against this soft competition. This time next year, he'll have a full season of playing against men under his belt.

Or at least, he should.

3. Karri Ramo and the goaltending situation

Two weeks ago in this space I wondered about the future prospects for Leland Irving, who, mere hours after I posted the item, spectacularly flamed out (no pun intended) in his attempt to regain the Heat's starting goaltender position in the playoffs. I found that curious but wasn't necessarily discouraged — it didn't, for certain, preclude him from being the backup with the big club after toiling in the minors for parts of two seasons.

But then there was word from the World Championships, carried over to this side of the globe by the Canadian Press and later, the Calgary Herald, that Karri Ramo would entertain thoughts of leaving the KHL to return to the NHL in a backup role. And now things are interesting.

On the one hand, Ramo was a bust of the highest order in his first try at North American hockey and has been hiding in the KHL, which is simultaneously the second-best pro league in the world and also a massive step down from the NHL. On the other hand, he has been a wall over in Russia.

In two seasons, he has a .925 save percentage and 1.96 GAA and that, I don't need to tell you, is unbelievable, even in a relatively low-scoring league. Does that translate here? Who knows? But it has to be seen as bad news for poor Leland Irving, who might be stuck riding the bus for another season or perhaps more if Ramo comes over and acquits himself well.

4. The last thing I'm going to say about shot-blocking

I know it's a new big thing to act like shot-blocking is ruining the NHL, but it is, of course, not doing that. In fact, I saw where the Hockey News said there were actually more shot blocks per game in last year's playoffs, widely considered to be exciting and cool and great because guys also punched each other with regularity.

All you need to know about what the "THIS IS AN OUTRAGE" crowd wants out of the league was tweeted a couple weeks ago by Kevin Paul Dupont, the Boston Globe columnist and Hockey Hall of Famer whose work got me into hockey writing in the first place when I was a way little tyke.

Tweet 1: Not unreasonable. 

That is, I think, something everyone can get behind.

Tweet 2: A head-scratcher.

This, at least, addresses the actual problem seen in the postseason: Goaltending is realllllllllly good. Everyone is good at it. If you want more offense, you have to restrict goaltenders' ability to make saves, probably by shrinking their equipment. But dreams of an .800 league-average save percentage? Based on the number of shots being taken in the league these days, doesn't that put us on pace for games to end 7-6 every night? Isn't that obscene and bad? Seems like it to me.

Tweet 3: Outrageous. 

This is perhaps even more unlikely than the save percentage demand, because in the modern era, the only teams that ever finished with 30-something save percentages were the 1970s Habs. Y'know, the best hockey teams ever assembled. And this is something he wants for the league average? Keep dreaming.

Tweet 4: Laughable.

So in the end, what they want is physically impossible. Just so we're all clear and on the same page here.

5. One last quick question...

Is anyone else surprised that the Flames haven't come to terms with Mikael Backlund on a new deal yet? Just wondering.

686dfac3780611cb7acad6ce5166c6c1
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 sam67
May 16 2012, 09:41AM
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Kent.... You take that back!

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#2 SeanCharles
May 17 2012, 12:01AM
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Backlund is in that 22-26 age group that Feaster said the team is focusing more on acquiring so there is no way Backlund gets moved unless its part of something bigger where in the end we have young guys coming back. Plus Backlund is proving to be a solid nhler, even though his points dropped he was/is still an nhl caliber player. Everyone saying backlund needs to go is one of the things I'm sick of reading in the comments about. The other is the smack everyone talks about iginla being a coach killer, a bad captain, a horrible leader...the list goes on. Here's a question do any of u actually know any factual information to back this stuff up? cause when I continually read these comments about iggy I wonder if it is a bunch of adolescent pseudo-fans who think they know what they are talking about, but are actually idiots. I don't mind criticizing anyone on the team, even iggy, but I'm sick of reading all these Eric Francis wannabe comments. No one here knows iggy is any of these things, all I know is I'm a die hard fan and it disappoints me and pisses me off to see what other 'fans' are continually saying about arguably the best, and most classy flame player to ever don the jersey. Seriously everyone/anyone respond cause its the same old cr@p when I read your comments, am I really the only one sick and tired of these baseless claims?.......

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#3 RexLibris
May 16 2012, 10:21AM
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Kent, if the Flames made that move I think there would be dancing in the streets, fireworks, a parade, dogs and cats hugging each other, and a general state of exuberant revelry...in Edmonton.

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#4 the-wolf
May 17 2012, 01:08PM
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@sean charles & colin s.

First off, the classiest Flame to ever play is Lanny. Period. Full stop.

Iginla has a ton of talent. He scores a lot of goals, even big ones.

However, he's on the ice for more goals than he scores. He refuses to play any of the coach's systems. He doesn't backcheck to save his life. He rarely even practices according to Playfair and the Mike Rogers.

If you've ever had a job or played team sports and I've had many and in a wide variety of fields, other workers/players find these attitudes resentful. Don't kid yourself that it's different because they play pro hockey. Special treatment is picked up on instantly and not well-received.

Darryl made comments about them being a tough group to coach. Playfair and Keenan made their recent comments. Brent made his. Iginla himself has stated his job here is to score goals.

No objective observer can watch Iginla play and state that he plays the system. He does what he wants. Spends half of his time on the wrong side of the ice on a team that plays a north/south game. Rarely crosses into his own end and when he does he's never blocking shots or taking away passes or picking pockets. Just lazy circles at the top of the circles waiting for the breakout pass.

The team has gone through how many coaches? Must be because they're all bad coaches.

Iginla is the Captain and face of the franchise. So when someone in that position believes that the system doesn't apply to him, insists on playing his own way, doesn't practice, doesn't ever go to WC when asked and is in a roundabout way bad-mouthed by his past few coaches it makes me take notice.

Again, any unbiased observer can also watch him take off huge strecthes of shifts, periods and even games. Where was he in game 7 against the Ducks in 2006? Invisible. Or the Olympic year when only started to score after Yzerman announced the roster was not set and past performance was no guarantee of being on the team. Why did he stop scoring after the roster was announced? Where are the goals during the stretch runs? Read between the lines a little. Iginla has the run of the team and is lazy and selfish. Just becuase he's always smiling and willing to do interviews doesn't make him a great leader.

You're sick of anti-Iginla comments. Good for you, I'm sick of pro-Iginla comments. I'm really sick of this whole "he's owed" crap. $7 million/year is a lot of compensation. Good for him, but this city or team does not owe him anything. He doesn't wear a cape and stop bank robbers or rescue cats from trees or anything else on his multitude of days off. And there are scores of other players on this team and around the league that do tons of charity work. Phaneuf is somewhat reviled around these parts, but I have it on very good authority that he would regularly show up, on his own time, alone, and visit kids at the Children's Hospital.

Yes, he was great in 2004. But Kipper was what really carried the team, Darryl was the true leader and Gelinas was the hero.

And that's it. One run. In his entire career here Iginla the 7 million dollar superstar who is supposed to be able to make those around him better and should supposedly have his jersey retired and be in the HOF has gotten the Flames past the first round once.

I owe him nothing. He's an asset. A 2nd line 30 goal, 1-dimensional aging scorer who couldn't get this team anywhere in his 20's and certainly won't in his 30's. Trade him for whatever you can get and move on.

Leaders lead by example. I just don't see it from Iginla. Overrated and if he a European last name he would be compared to Gaborik and Kovalchuk. Except they play a better 2 way game. Hero worship and nostalgia do not win championships.

My opinion, but that's what these forums are for.

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#5 Kent Wilson
May 16 2012, 09:16AM
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Flames haven't come to terms with anyone yet. I still fear they're going to use Backlund in some package trade that doesn't really help the team though.

"The Flames have traded Mikael Backlund and Miikka Kiprusoff for.....VINCENT LECAVALIER!"

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#6 Austin
May 16 2012, 09:51AM
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Noooooo

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#7 the-wolf
May 16 2012, 10:04AM
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@ Kent - YES! - finally the #1 center we've been after forever! That'd be a great move! Stanley Cup, here we come!

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#8 loudogYYC
May 16 2012, 10:14AM
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Flames haven't really done anything NHL related lately. Cerveza is a KHL signing and mostly a scout and Weisbrod thing.

My guess is that the Flames brass are waiting for Sullivan and the Rangers to end their season and maybe pitch him the job? If not, I'm now comfortable with Ward being the coach next season. As long as Iggy the Country Club host is traded.

As for Backlund, you have to think that Chris Snow likes the kid and hopefully lets Feaster know that all the time.

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#9 Arik
May 16 2012, 10:19AM
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@Kent Wilson

From my understanding the Flames are only passively moving forward with contract negotiations. Moss mentioned something about how there were very /vague negotiations for a new contract for him, but it sounds like the team is probably waiting on the playoffs to end to take care of re-signings, etc.

I'm guessing they have interest in a player or two that's still in the playoffs and don't want to unnecessarily commit $$$ that could preclude a trade.

Pure conjecture based on a lot of unknown quantities of course.

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#10 Drew
May 16 2012, 10:22AM
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Brent Sutter's looking pretty good right now at the worlds. I think possibly coaching wasn't the problem and it really dosent matter who the flames hire were going to end up the same or worse next year. God I hope they blow it up.

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#11 Vintage Flame
May 16 2012, 10:24AM
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@Kent Wilson

"The Flames have traded Mikael Backlund and Miikka Kiprusoff for.....VINCENT LECAVALIER!"

Kent, the only thing that didn't make my heart stop when I read that is the solace I took in that Tampa Bay will get Roberto 7uongo, so they won't need Kipper.

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#12 Vintage Flame
May 16 2012, 10:28AM
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@Arik

I'm guessing they have interest in a player or two that's still in the playoffs and don't want to unnecessarily commit $$$ that could preclude a trade.

Pure conjecture based on a lot of unknown quantities of course.

I don't think you're too far off the mark there Arik. My thinking is that they haven't announced a coach because they want to wait until the at least the Stanley Cup finals to allow for more possibilities; it only stands to reason that they are approaching contracts and player moves in the same fashion.

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#13 Colin.S
May 16 2012, 10:36AM
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@Kent Wilson

Well that's going to replace the regular monsters in my nightmares now.

I was trolling Vancouver fans earlier that they were going to trade Luongo and Ballard for Lecavalier. That did not go over well for them.

Anyways back to five things, 1.) I think Ward is the perfect coach for our team minus 1 player. With guys like Butler, Smith, Brodie, Backlund, Aliu, Cervenka, Bouma, Horak and Jones, I think he gets through to all those guys. Most of the middle-aged and younger veterans will also most likely buy in. However I just don't see 1 guy buying in. And it could ruin Ward.

2.) Baertschi will most likely start his year off on the big club, doesn't mean he'll finish here. The big concern with me is where he slots in the Lineup. He's currently playing LW, which has Tanguay at 1 and Glenncross at 2. Would Tanguay be okay with playing the 3rd line with say Backlund if Baertschi starts hot With whoever is 1C and Iggy/? I know Glenncross could be move to 3LW as well and probably be okay with it, but after his stellar year last year, he should be given a fair shake at 2LW.

3.) Don't care much about the goalie situation unless Kipper gets moved, cause if he doesn't, it does not matter really much who the backup is. All we know for sure is Karlsson is in Europe next year.

4.) Shots are going to get blocked and there is no realistic way to stop that, deal with it. Not saying that to you, but to those who hate shot blocking to the 10th degree.

5.) Backlund is an RFA with no real negotiation rights or arbitration rights either. So there is absolutely no rush to get a new deal done, I think we hear something around the draft. We'll get our new coach and he'll have some input into where he thinks Backlund fits in the lineup and if the Coach and Feaster both think that he's an expandable part of the lineup, he'll be gone at the draft. If the new Coach and Feaster see that his possession numbers reflect a guy moving the puck in the right direction and the offense will come we'll see a new contract after our coaching situation is finished.

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#14 Arik
May 16 2012, 10:52AM
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@Colin.S

You're not the first person to mention it (though you were somewhat more discreet than the last), but I don't buy the idea of Iginla ruining Ward.

The fact is, Ward is a grown man- one player, regardless of whether or not he's a star- shouldn't ruin him. If Iginla does "ruin" Ward, then shouldn't be coaching in the NHL.

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#15 Parallex
May 16 2012, 10:57AM
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1: Ward - Don't want him as head coach. Even if he is a good developmental coach, the NHL is not a developmental league. If he's good at developing players into NHL quality talent (evidence of which is pretty lacking actually) then he ought to stay as a coach in the league whose primary purpose is developing assets into NHL talent. Plus not having him as coach will save us having to listen to the mouthbreathing blathering segment of the population insisting on the team slapping a pair skates on undeveloped fetuses on some sort of misguided notion that since he's allegedly good with young players somehow promoting guys not ready for prime time will magically make the team better. Not to mention that IIRC the Heat didn't exactly have an impressive offense which is probably the area the Flames need to improve upon the most

2: Baertschi - Yes he'll be with the club next year baring some sort of unfortunate calamity. Seriously 2.0 PPG during the reguler season and a performance near as good in the playoffs absent the weak sisters of the WHL... amazing. Ordinarily I'd be in favor of folk spending a year in the AHL just to get them experience playing against men if nothing else but I think I'd be a shame to burn a ELC year in the AHL for a talent like him.

3: Goaltending - If I had my way I'd trade Kipper post-haste (He'll never be worth more to us in trade then he is right now). I'm more then willing to take a gamble on a Ramo (if he can come over) Irving tandom and reap what riches we could get from a Kipper deal... unless the deals all stink

4: Shot Blocking - Yeah, I want more offense too but that guy is just a wee bit unrealistic. 70% Kill rates? .800 sv persentages? riiiight.

5: No not surprised at all. I mean all the team has done so far is sign Cervenka, lot's of time to sort out the off-season and a guy who you can retain via qualifying offer is hardly a high priority.

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#16 RexLibris
May 16 2012, 10:57AM
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Perhaps Feaster is leaving Backlund's negotiations for the last minute in the hope that Scott Howson puts in a $5 million dollar/year offer sheet? (that thought should brighten VF's day)

Baertschi sounded like he knew his WHL career was over in his post-game interviews the other night.

The best place to slot him in on the wing is probably either 2nd or 3rd line in front of or behind Glencross so that he can play easier competition with less pressure. He won't have the best linemates, but I suspect that will be compensated with some powerplay time.

Ward might be a good choice, but I do have to wonder about a younger coach coming into the Flames dressing room that has chased off veterans like Keenan and Brent Sutter. Then again, what have the Flames got to lose by trying?

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#17 Kevin R
May 16 2012, 11:01AM
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Kent, I would rather see a #1 line of Desbians, P3L & Aliu than see that trade you suggested. So please delete it just in case Feaster reads this & thinks thats a great idea :-(

Ryan I agree with a lot of your points & agree we just hire Ward & get this mini explosion(trade Iggy & Kipper) going.

Rex, lets put a damper on the parading,dancing & celebrating 7 lets leave that celebrating for Vanc so they can do their Luongo for Lecalvier flip.

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#18 Graham
May 16 2012, 11:07AM
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The signing of Cerveza may make Backlund expendable. I wouldn't be surprised to see Backlund packaged off in return for a top six center. Backlund, Cerveza as your top centers simply isn't going to cut it. Cerveza on the second line playing behind a quality center does...

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#19 Colin.S
May 16 2012, 11:21AM
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@Arik

Maybe Ruin isn't the right word. However the last three coaches (playfair, Keenan and Sutter) have all may somewhat ambigious comments when they left town and most people can connect the dots.

So here's an example, say Iginla decides to go for a stroll on the back check again and we get scored on again (lets say its the oilers for rivalry sake) and Ward decideds to drop him down the line-up for the rest of the game. Iggy complains to the owner. Now who's the owner going to listen to, easily replaceable head coach or Star Player bringing you in millions of dollars to the team and an institution in Calgary. You can bet the owner is giving Ward an earful before next game. And then what happens if the same scenario happens again and Iggy isn't benched? The rest of the players know whos boss and Ward is just killing time at that point.

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#20 the-wolf
May 16 2012, 11:27AM
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@Arik - you should buy it and I don't see how you can't. All the other coaches were grown men too. If he can get rid of a man like Brent Sutter then why would Ward fare better?

Maybe the word "ruin" is not quite what the poster intended. More like he'll get him canned. Prevent him from being able to achieve full buy-in and implement the total team game he desires. Prevent him from fully putting his stamp on the team. Cause him to be dismissed before his time.

Which, in turn, could hinder future career aspirations. You know, "ruin" him.

Iginla is a selfish player and a coach-killer. Period.

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#21 Parallex
May 16 2012, 11:37AM
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"If he can get rid of a man like Brent Sutter then why would Ward fare better?"

Well the first thing I'd say is what kind of man do you know Brent Sutter to be?

The second thing I'd say is he didn't "get rid" of Brent Sutter, Sutter wasn't even fired... he worked to the end of his contract and was not offered a new contract just like most underperforming assets are not offered new contracts.

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#22 Arik
May 16 2012, 11:45AM
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@the-wolf

That's not "ruining" Ward, it's just running him out of town.

Either way, if Iginla's as much on the block as he's rumored to be, and HOPs are as much pro-Ward as they're rumored to be, I see no reason why ownership would blindly back Iginla.

I've written about this in regards to leadership and chemistry, but I work in a team-oriented environment that's not altogether too different from a sports environment.

The fact is, a good coach needs to be able to navigate egos like Iggy's purported ego. Playfair, Keenan, and Sutter are not exactly a trio of guys I would expect that of. I'm not sure if Ward is, but he seems far more likely to than prior three.

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#23 Colin.S
May 16 2012, 11:54AM
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@Arik

Ownership will back Iggy because it's easier to replace a coach than it is the players. Iggy can't be moved if he doesn't want to be, and forcing him to move will be public relations suicide. Unless Ward can convince ownership that what he will do will earn them playoff WINS, I emphasize wins, because just making the playoffs won't make enough to sway Ownerships minds. Ward has to convince ownership that his way of doing things will lead to team success and playoff success which would offset Iggy's star power and drawing power in Calgary.

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#24 Kent Wilson
May 16 2012, 11:58AM
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@RexLibris

And Tampa Bay.

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#25 Ryan Pike
May 16 2012, 11:58AM
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I hope the Flames don't move Mikael Backlund for something stupid, like the rights to Ruslan Zainullin or something.

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#26 Jeff
May 16 2012, 12:02PM
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On shot blocking. If you like lots of goals and know defense you can always watch the NLL playoffs.

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#27 loudogYYC
May 16 2012, 12:16PM
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@Ryan Pike

hahahaha. God damn Craig Button.

Lost the player and still fired the coach 2 months later. Let's hope this situation isn't repeated with our new coach and affable but stubborn captain.

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#28 Captain Ron
May 17 2012, 01:04AM
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@seancharles

No your not the only one. Some of the Iggy bashing does have merit, and some does not. I have just learned to roll with it but it does get tiring after a while reading a variation of the same thing over and over again. Makes you want to yell WE GET IT ALREADY!!!. Some people hate Iggy, blame him for everything and can't wait to see him gone.

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#29 Luc
May 17 2012, 09:38AM
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Captain Ron wrote:

@seancharles

No your not the only one. Some of the Iggy bashing does have merit, and some does not. I have just learned to roll with it but it does get tiring after a while reading a variation of the same thing over and over again. Makes you want to yell WE GET IT ALREADY!!!. Some people hate Iggy, blame him for everything and can't wait to see him gone.

I don't know if it's so much Iginla leadership or skills on the ice or perceived " lack of buy in" that have people pisses off. It's the fact that because he has built himself into this icon in Calgary, he is essentially holding the team hostage. Truthfully the team could use his value and iconic name to bring back at least 1 real good peice to re energize this teams viewpoint. But seeing as he is the captain and he is the master of his own fate, we the fans and the org itself has to play by his rules. Which blows. Loyalty can be a weakness to

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#30 Colin.S
May 17 2012, 09:42AM
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"it disappoints me and pisses me off to see what other 'fans' are continually saying about arguably the best, and most classy flame player to ever don the jersey. Seriously everyone/anyone respond cause its the same old cr@p when I read your comments, am I really the only one sick and tired of these baseless claims?......."

You're mad that we can talk honestly about a flames player rather than look through rose coloured glasses. Playfair is still taking shots at Iggy years later, Keenan's made several comments that are pretty easy to connect the dots and when Sutter says he would love to coach a younger team in Calgary, guess who the oldest player is on the team thats not Kipper? Maybe if one guy had one bad thing to say, but all three? 1 coincidence, 2 chance, 3 starts a pattern.

We all love Iggy and everyone here would love to see Iggy win a cup in Calgary, but it's never going to happen if it's a constant struggle between who's team this is. You only have to look at this years western conference finals to see what good coaching can do for you and when the entire team buys into the coaches plans.

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#31 RexLibris
May 17 2012, 10:02AM
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"It's the fact that because he has built himself into this icon in Calgary, he is essentially holding the team hostage."

I don't live in Calgary. That means that I'm not privy to that space of civic culture Iginla occupies. It also means that I have an outsider's perspective. Take this for what it's worth:

I don't believe that Iginla has himself built this reputation. Fans buy the jerseys, companies offer him sponsorship deals, media sells his storylines, and the team merchandises using his image.

If there is anger or resentment about the long shadow cast over the Flames organization by this one player then, for better or worse, everybody who participates in the relationship has some culpability.

Some sports figures, in some cities, can become bigger than the team. Sometimes this can become a healthy nostalgia, other times it can hold a group back. The latter seems to occur in places where the player is elevated in spite of a lack of winning the way LeBron James was in Cleveland or Mats Sundin in Toronto.

From where I sit Calgary Flames fans are facing a crisis in their support. The traditional heroes are fading, the team is suffering, and division amongst the fan base is beginning to swell. I don't envy fans this experience, but I can very honestly say, from experience, that in the end this can be better for the long-term health of the fan base and organization.

Sorry if this sounds like a sermon, I just wanted to try and offer up an objective outsider's view.

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#32 suba steve
May 17 2012, 10:33AM
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I'll offer my "objective" insiders view on Iggy. Has been a pleasure to have him on the team. He gave us something to cheer for when we had nothing else to cheer for. He was then a LARGE part of the 2004 cup run. Since then he has continued to put up his points, but the team has really had not a lot of success. My belief is that his leadership qualities have been way overblown. Proof? I have no more proof that Iggy is not a great leader then SeanCharles has that he is a great leader, unless you consider the team's performance history as proof--and I do. No playoff rounds won since 2004, no playoffs for the past 3 years. The team continues to search for the right coach for this team, might be time to seek the right players for your coach.

I have no hatred for Iggy, but as I have stated here previously: He is not (at this stage) going to lift this team to a championship. He is a depreciating asset of the Flames organization, but he still has substantial value as a tradeable asset. Since we are probably looking at least 5 years into the future to build up good young assets to rebuild a "winner", his final years will be wasted here. Move him while his value can still do the Flames some good. That is how I look at it. No sentimentality, it is just business...and I would cheer loudly with the rest of you if Iggy won a cup elsewhere.

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#33 marty
May 17 2012, 11:22AM
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they could be looking to move backlund but i hope not, could it be they are waiting to see what shakes out of the cba before they signed mid level/role players. i hope backlund does become more than a mid level player but if he ends up like a hanzal or player similar that is a good defensive centre with some scoring up side flame fans should not consider him a bust just because he is a first rounder.

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#34 RexLibris
May 17 2012, 12:13PM
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@steve

A good post.

"and I would cheer loudly with the rest of you if Iggy won a cup elsewhere" ... except Edmonton/Vancouver. ;-)

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#35 Kevin R
May 17 2012, 12:16PM
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@ seancharles: I am probably a big advocate of a minny blow up where I consider the trading of kipper & Iggy as Flames version & about as close to what I see this Management & Ownership ever coming to a blow up. I dont get into the in house politics that obviously happens with every hockey club & most private corporations. From what I hear, it sounds like there is some basis to some of Iggy's critics but there is also conjecture and narrow minded innuendo. For me, I have both Kipper & Iggy jersey's. I love both players & am proud both players have been Flames for as long as they have, they have given us a lot to cheer about over the years. But hey! I wear my jersey's to games & support this team thru being a Season Ticket Holder, & I want a winning team. If they made the same salary I make, maybe a little loyalty should be extended over wanting to win. But these guys are going to have life styles most of us can only dream of. So now, the debate really should be what value & potential pieces can they bring back from another team via trade scenarios to can help our City of Calgary hockey franchise become a contender to try & winning a Stanley Cup again. Surely, even yourself must admit that the prospect of us winning a cup is no where near the radar anymore.

I know when we talk about trade scenarios, it can get a little cold & people sound like horse traders instead of discussing the employment & relocation of human beings and their families. Like Donnie Darko, its a cruel cruel world.

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#36 Bean-counting cowboy
May 17 2012, 01:15PM
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@ SeanCharles

I am in full favour of trading Iginla & have openly criticized him on this forum.

Before I explain further I'll have you know that I did not grow up a hockey fan. My dad never watched hockey - it was basketball and football. In 2002 I got together with friends to watch the gold medal game between Canada vs. the US. As I watched the game & watched Iginla take over with that amazing performance, I was converted to being a hockey fan that day - even moreso, I was an Iggy fan.

I actually stopped watching basketball altogether - I started watching the Flames - to see Iginla. Then when the Flames went on the run, it cemented me as a devout fan who has very closely followed the Flames ever since.

When I first came on this forum I was skeptical of some of the negative Iggy comments I was hearing. This guy made me a fan of not only the Flames, but hockey! Then I happened to run into a Sutter brother at a convenience store one day and talked to him for more than half an hour. I didn't like what I heard, but having followed the team closer since, those comments combined with comments by former coaches & even player comments & rumoured locker-room rifts (plus Iggy's play on the ice) have led me to the opinion I hold now.

I don't know what kind of hard evidence you are looking for. I doubt TSN is going to have an article with the headline "Iggy maybe not so great a leader - will not buy into coaches system".

But all I want to see is the Flames hoist the cup & I don't believe it will happen as long as he is on the team.

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#37 RexLibris
May 17 2012, 02:56PM
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@the-wolf

That's a pretty verbose post there. Might want to tighten it up a little.

signed - the pot

;-)

@bean-counting cowboy

I'm not going to agree or disagree about your assessment of Iginla, but I will say that if this is even a moderately shared opinion amongst Flames fans then what might the opinion, or worse observed analysis, be of pro scouts and GMs around the league of Iginla's overall hockey abilities be?

For a $7 million cap hit, even if only for six weeks after the deadline, I have to ask if a GM might want more of a complete player for their roster and the oft-mentioned return in a trade.

Maybe those who still feel that Iginla is one of the best RWs in the entire league are right and that he needs only a better team to become the clinching talent that wins a city a championship.

We may find out this February what the real market value for this player really is.

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#38 Rickymac
May 17 2012, 03:10PM
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@the-wolf: Ditto, I totally agree with everything you said. Man are we 2 of the smartest guys ever!!

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#39 Bean-counting cowboy
May 17 2012, 03:31PM
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@ Rex

I often wonder the same thing. As time wears on I'm concerned less & less about the return. By all means Feaster, maximize the return but the return will be the return. We can speculate, but for me - I just want to move on from this phase in Flames history.

My current opinion of Jarome is not meant to diminish the good things he has done for the City & the team. Would the team have survived those tough years without him? - I'm not sure it would have.

I still cheer & pump my fist every time he puts the puck in the net. I will always be his fan. I would love to see him raise the cup. I just know it won't happen in Calgary, thus the sooner we move him, the more we likely get in return & the sooner we can start preparing for our next run at Lord Stanley's mug.

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#40 RexLibris
May 17 2012, 04:43PM
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@ BCB

Which raises the question: if the return for Iginla was a late 1st round pick and a middling prospect (something akin to Ferland) would you rather see him traded or would it be less of an insult to have him walk as a free agent on his b'day?

The best thing for the team is obviously to trade him. But the fans may have more anger at the organization if the return isn't what they had expected.

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#41 Colin.S
May 17 2012, 06:14PM
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@RexLibris

Any return is better than watching him walk.

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#42 First Name Unidentified
May 17 2012, 06:52PM
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@the-wolf

One of the best posts I've read on this forum!

I wonder what kind of hard evidence guys like sean charles are looking for. Are we waiting for a team mate to call the media over (a la Avery in the "sloppy seconds episode) and start bashing Iginla? Or we are waiting for the Management to come out and say "we think Iginla is the problem in the locker room but can't do anything about it because the owners might can our @sses out of here"?

What kind of evidence? Isn't it pretty obvious to those who actually follow the Flames very closely? Can we even compare Iginla's leadership to that of someone like Toews?

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#43 SeanCharles
May 17 2012, 10:58PM
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First Name Unidentified wrote:

One of the best posts I've read on this forum!

I wonder what kind of hard evidence guys like sean charles are looking for. Are we waiting for a team mate to call the media over (a la Avery in the "sloppy seconds episode) and start bashing Iginla? Or we are waiting for the Management to come out and say "we think Iginla is the problem in the locker room but can't do anything about it because the owners might can our @sses out of here"?

What kind of evidence? Isn't it pretty obvious to those who actually follow the Flames very closely? Can we even compare Iginla's leadership to that of someone like Toews?

I follow the flames more than u think my friend, borderline obsessively... So that's out the window. My point is there are still no facts to back these claims just speculation. How much better off would this franchise be if we traded Phanuef and Aulie for younger assets or to fill a need, this team has been built in a flawed fashion for too many years. Building around a winger and a goalie and a lot of expensive dmen is not a recipe for success. Most of the best teams in recent history has had more than one offensive star on the team. Iggy has been playing here for years playing the boring defensive system that has resulted in one good playoff run in a decade, and he has done it with the only closest thing to a star on the team being cammy, and that was one of the flames best years and iggy and cammys best years, if 3 of our top 6 dmen had not got hurt maybe we woulda done something, but well never kno. Sutter realized his mistake in investing too much in his back end and traded Phaneuf for depth, instead of young cheap talent or more importantly a top centerman. Mismanagement has plagued this teams for years not Jarome Iginla.

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#44 First Name Unidentified
May 18 2012, 12:07AM
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@SeanCharles

Fair enough, mismanagement has been an issue with the Flames.

But if you read the-wolf's post again, he has addressed almost every issue that needs to be addressed regarding Iginla. And those are not a result of mismanagement.

If a leader of a team prides himself in having career year in scoring whereas the team is 24th (or so) in team defense and barely manages to squeak into the playoffs because another team lost and then gets punted in 6 games in the first round, then yes, that is a great leader. It's just that I don't want that leader to lead my team.

I don't want a guy who doesn't listen to the coaches, plays when he feels like, floats the rest of the way set an example to the youngsters. Bad culture, and this, I blame on Iginla - which ultimately results in the team being mismanaged because everyone is appeasing this guy. If you follow the Flames that closely I'm surprised you haven't noticed all these things.

Take it for what it's worth, it's just my opinion and I'm entitled to one.

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#45 the-wolf
May 18 2012, 10:04AM
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@seancharles - I can totally agree with that. Mismanagement is, by far, the #1 problem for the Flames. It's not Iginla's fault that the team couldn't find and/or develop better players for him to play with. And up until game 6 of 2007 I was a huge fan. To me, and again, just my opinion, but he's a changed man/player from what he was pre-lockout.

However, I also blame ownership and mismanagement for allowing Iginla to gain such free reign and sense of self-entitlement. They gave him too much and failed to snap him back into place at an early stage. Ego took over.

@Rex - fortunately, in this league, there's always and I do mean ALWAYS, a GM who thinks his side of the grass is greener.

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#46 the-wolf
May 18 2012, 10:07AM
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sorry, that should say game 7 of 2006.

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#47 Kevin R
May 18 2012, 10:47AM
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@wolf: Totally agree. It gets tiresome arguing about what the return will be for players like Iginla & Kipper. Trade deadlines usually fertize & green up those pastures even more. So I would say Kipper should be the focus this draft. Accomplishes the following:

-It signifies the beginning of the major shift(rebuild) of the organization & sends that message to Jerome.

-It will hopefully get us a badly needed 1st rounder & top prospect to throw into a youth mix in the near future & give Leiland the message to train hard this summer, his number has been called

-It will allow Iggy to decide on whether he wants to embrace the mentor role & spark his legs playing with the likes of Baerschte & Cervesa & raise his game in many different ways consistently.

-It could also let him decide he wants a cup now & wants to move to a contender at the trade deadline & allow Feaster to try and max out the return for him, possibly even start a bidding war.

Got my invite today for the King session, I think it may be interesting to attend this one.

Last question, is everyone else having trouble with the reply to a post that you click on it & nothing happens, you have to manually type in who you are responding to?

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#48 the-wolf
May 18 2012, 11:04AM
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I wonder if there’s any coach that can coach Iginla? They have to resolve the issues with him before hiring anyone. Either trade him or if they’re not going to do that, then sit him down and say “look, this is our guy. He’s not going anywhere so we expect you to either get in line and lead by example or move on.”

You know, what they should’ve done about 5 or 6 years ago.

It’s almost as though they need to sign the next coach for 5 years. Make a statement as to who is in charge by giving him a long term contract. Besides, the team could use that kind of stability anyways.

GJ had a great article in the Herald about Mike Sullivan. Great candidate.

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#49 suba steve
May 18 2012, 12:03PM
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@KevinR

I have same problem in using "Reply", just doesn't work anymore. Ongoing for at least a few weeks. Also deletes option of including a quote from previous post.

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#50 First Name Unidentified
May 18 2012, 01:30PM
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@ the-wolf

"I wonder if there’s any coach that can coach Iginla?"

I'm sure once he is out of Calgary he'll clean up his act. The new team won't be his so he will have to be compliant. However, in Calgary, he is definitely uncoachable.

I just don't see the management interested in trading him, he will just walk on Jul 1st, 2013.

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