Five Things: The dog days

Ryan Lambert
August 09 2012 11:09AM

1. Flames lose inconsequential defenseman, still have several lying about

This is what qualifies as news in early August except when a prospect maybe or maybe not punches someone out in front of a bar.

To bastardize a quote from "Love Story:" What can you say about Clay Wilson? His jump to the KHL is more or less of no consequence except that it voids his current contract, which was a one-way deal to ensure he got paid his full $525,000 when he's still bussing it in Abbotsford.

That is good insofar as it gets the Flames one contract under 50 since he was removed from the team's reserve list, and ok sure. A little more flexibility isn't really a bad thing.

But there are still eight defensemen on NHL contracts, and doesn't that seem like a problem? At this point, you have to figure the team goes with Jay Bouwmeester, Dennis Wideman, Mark Giordano, and Chris Butler as the everyday top four. And in all honesty, all joking aside, I don't think that's a terrible top four. I mean, look, it's not, like, great or anything. But it's pretty alright. It's probably enough. But defense was never the problem for this team anyway. Okay, I'm getting off topic.

So that's your top four, right there. And then what? Cory Sarich, Anton Babchuk, Derek Smith, and TJ Brodie are all going to be in competition for two spots with only Brodie on a two-way deal. But Brodie stays because Brodie is good, and that's five spots accounted for.

Maybe Feaster has a trick up his sleeve to con someone into taking Babchuk's contract off his hands. That would be no small miracle, of course. But even if that happens, it seems as though the team is hell-bent on keeping Sarich in the mix since they just gave him that two-year contract for the most ineffable reasons imaginable. Something, as they say, has got to give.

Right now there are three guys playing for one spot and only one (the worst one) seems the likely candidate to take it. Well, there ya go.

2. A shocking realization

With respect to the above, maybe you could tell that I wrote the beginning part like "Boy how are they gonna figure this out!?!?!?" and then slowly light dawned on Marblehead, to use a Bostonian expression no one around here uses any more. The more I thought about it from their perspective, the better sense it made. At least, y'know, relatively.

The Flames have a very definitive plan for dealing with an easily avoidable situation of having too many defensemen under NHL contracts (the best way to avoid it was not re-sign Cory Sarich for two years at $2 million per!), and it probably involves doing a bad thing. Of course.

I know I'm supposed to, like, not be this hard on the team based on the comments I've seen in recent weeks but at the same time it's just too much to handle sometimes. The team steered away from the skid by signing Sarich and now has limited cap room because there are EIGHT defensemen on NHL deals. I don't know, it seemed like a pretty simple issue: Don't re-up the guy who's old and slow and not good. I complained about that contract right after it was signed, and now I'm thinking about it again and it still doesn't make any sense. Also, I forgot about the no-movement clause. Oh hell.

Know how bad that deal is? EVERYONE in the comments agreed with me on it. That never happens.

3. Something I've been wondering about

So this week it was announced that the Markham Arena would take another step forward with building applications being submitted. If approved, the rink is intended to be completed by 2015, the same year as the new Quebec arena.

Obviously there are a few teams down here in the U.S. that are struggling, chief among them being the Islanders, Devils and of course Coyotes. Apart from your exhausting and frankly embarrassing THIS IS OUR GAME stance on all matters related to relocation (no one is saying a team in Moose Jaw wouldn't draw better than the Coyotes do in Glendale, or probably ever has), do Canadian fans in general think another team in the Greater Toronto area would be welcomed nationwide?

Not that it would ever happen.

No one, from my understanding, cares for the Maple Leafs. They're generally pretty well despised, right? So would you think second GTA team, assuming it was relocated and not a terrible-idea expansion team, is more, less or equally despicable in comparison with the Leafs? Or would you simply not care about them, the way everyone does with the Sens? I'm honestly just curious.

4. Gaudreau at evaluation camp

You probably haven't heard a lot about this up in your neck of the woods, but USA Hockey is having a junior evaluation camp this week, and of course Johnny Gaudreau is an invitee. However, these scrimmages, and games against other nations, cost money to view online and I don't think I'm quite so desperate to watch hockey as all that.

So instead of commenting on the talk I've heard, I instead reached out to my fellow American patriot Chris Peters of the United States of Hockey blog. Chris is a buddy and pretty much the blogosphere authority on all things USA Hockey, and has seen many of these games. So how has Gaudreau done? Well, it's not the rosiest picture:

John Gaudreau's been kind of up and down in camp. Having been paired with Alex Galchenyuk, it seems clear that the USA Hockey folks envision that highly skilled duo to produce and be possible linemates for the WJC. They've done OK in camp, but not nearly as well as expected. I think Galchenyuk is still shaking off the rust from his lack of games last year and still is a step slow from his knee injury.

So this is all Galchenyuk's fault!!!! Well then, let's get him.

For the latter half of Wednesday's game, Gaudreau looked like you would expect him to. He's a really creative little forward that can beat guys with his hands or his smarts. He really has a lot of confidence with the puck on his stick and has good enough speed to get away from checks. After the way he closed out his freshman season at Boston College, I was expecting him to put up a bunch of points in camp, but it just hasn't happened yet.

So not great, but not bad either. Peters closes by once again noting what he calls Gaudreau's "special talent," and confirms that there's basically no way he doesn't make the team in December. So that's all good stuff.

5. And finally...

Though I feel this has gotten progressively less bitchy as it's worn on, here's Iggy just to be safe...

 

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!
Avatar
#51 FireOnIce
August 09 2012, 04:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

I don't get all of the hype around Voracek. He wasn't exactly lights out when he played for freakin' Columbus, so why would the Flames want him?

If JBo went to Philly, I'd be asking for Couturier. That probably won't happen.

Flames will tank and then draft Nathan McKinnon. Feaster will claim he was a genius and once fired, will use "I drafted Stamkos and McKinnon, I'm a genius!" to hopefully replace Steve Tambellini.

Avatar
#52 Baalzamon
August 09 2012, 04:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@the-wolf

"Matt Read or Voracek might be better possibilities. More likely Voracek since I think his upside is more limited."

Really? Read is 3 years older than Voracek and just played his 1st season.

why not both? ;)

Avatar
#53 the-wolf
August 09 2012, 04:49PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Baalzamon wrote:

"Matt Read or Voracek might be better possibilities. More likely Voracek since I think his upside is more limited."

Really? Read is 3 years older than Voracek and just played his 1st season.

why not both? ;)

I know Read is older, but he was still a rookie an dput up 24 goals. Plus, even though not big, he seems to have that 'moxie' that Philly likes. Not that he's overly physical, he actually takes care to avoid the penalty box(a good thing IMO), but he understands the game and plays well in all 3 zones. "He gets it," to use a Pierre McGuire-ism (please forgive me).

Voracek, on the other hand, is such a phenomenal physical talent, but in 3 full seasons he has never gone past 18 goals and seemed to disappoint in Philly.

I just see Read as a guy who will quickly become a fan favorite and Voracek as a guy the fans will view as an underachiever.

This almost all intuitive as an argument, but I feel Philly would ditch Voracek before Read.

Avatar
#54 Baalzamon
August 09 2012, 04:55PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@the-wolf

"This almost all intuitive as an argument, but I feel Philly would ditch Voracek before Read."

you're probably right about that. However, they did just sign Voracek to an extension... but that didn't mean anything with Carter, did it?

Read is an excellent player, don't get me wrong. Great defensive forward. You can never have too many of those (and the Flames need some).

Avatar
#55 the-wolf
August 09 2012, 05:09PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@Baalzamon

That said, getting both of them would be nice, but that's just not going to happen. Not for just JBo. Too bad Philly gave Ilya that stupidly long contract.

Avatar
#56 Reidja
August 09 2012, 07:03PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@RexLibris

I can't help but think that your sarcasm is cutting down my sarcasm. Two sarcastic guys walk into a bar. On says to the other "I know the answer to your problem: 1 + 1 = 3". The other guy says "and I know the answer to yours: 2 - 1 = 3". Where is the bar located?

Are we drafting better? Yes. Is our team better? No. Feaster holding on until the Flames cease to suck? Unlikely.

Avatar
#57 RexLibris
August 09 2012, 10:47PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@Reidja

This reminds me of my favourite pirate joke: a pirate walks into a bar and heads straight up to the bartender. The bartender looks him up and down and leans over to say "excuse me, you know you've got a steering wheel sticking out of your fly?". The pirate just looks at him and says "Arrr, an' it's driving me nuts". *ba-dum-ching* thank you folks, you've been a wonderful audience. I'll be here all week. Try the veal.

Drafting looks better, I emphasize that point. Wait until the eggs have hatched. It'll take a while. Is the team better? Remains to be seen. This team has more chance of fluctuation than previous ones, I'd say. Previous rosters were going to vary within a narrower margin but with limited upside. This roster could click and climb as high as 6th in the West. Or it could, and is perhaps more likely, to not click and sink to 12th in the West, just ahead of the Blue Jackets, Ducks and Oilers. Feaster will hold on until his incarnation of the Flames falls on its face (nearly all teams eventually do, so this isn't a specific condemnation of him) at which time it will be prudent to remove him and pursue a "new direction". Likely one that has been staring them in the face for a season or two.

And darn it, where the heck is that bar located?

Avatar
#58 RexLibris
August 09 2012, 10:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
the-wolf wrote:

That said, getting both of them would be nice, but that's just not going to happen. Not for just JBo. Too bad Philly gave Ilya that stupidly long contract.

*puts on Groucho Marx glasses and teasingly wags cigar* So how about Kiprusoff for Bryzgalov?

Avatar
#59 Reidja
August 10 2012, 08:40AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@RexLibris

Red Deer.

A season or two is extreamly generous... I'll take the position that Feaster won't last because he makes terrible decisions but I appriciate your charitable point of view.

Question: So, how long can most teams be good until they fall on thier face as you say? I would like to know how long the good times will last when they finally come via the natural order of the universe.

Comments are closed for this article.