FGD: NEW BEGINNINGS

Byron Bader
December 12 2013 01:29PM

 

 

- stick tap to @Notbaertschi for grabbing this beauty.

The Flames are two days removed from an emotional game against the Bruins on Tuesday, that saw the return of Jarome Iginla to the Saddledome for the first time since he was traded last Spring. After the emotions settled after a raucous ovation to start things off, the Bruins eventually got their game going in the 3rd period, beating the Flames 2-1.

Tonight, hoping to get back into the win column, the Flames (11-15-4) host the Brothers Staal and the Hurricanes (13-13-6).  The game is the first in the post-Jay Feaster era, after he was let go of the Flames GM role this morning.  Brian Burke has taken over as Interim GM for now.  While the impact won’t be felt tonight, player movements will certainly ramp up in the coming months.

As for the match up tonight, the Flames and Hurricanes play in different conferences and have only played each other a handful of times. As a result, the rivalry is essentially non-existent. However, one thing to watch tonight is to see how Elias Lindholm performs for the Hurricanes. At the 2013 draft, Lindholm and Sean Monahan were both considered high-calibre prospects that would go early in the draft. In fact, both prospects were estimated to go between 5th  and 7th overall in the first round of the draft.  The two prospects were so close in their skill sets that the Flames fans were not sure who they would rather the Flames choose come draft day. 

The Hurricanes made the decision easy for the Flames by choosing Lindholm in the 5 spot, leaving Monahan to the Flames at the 6 spot.  As of today, Monahan’s leading the votes for who got the better prospect with strong two-way play and 15 points in 24 games. Lindholm, although looking more comfortable lately, had a slow start with the Canes and hasn’t looked nearly as good.  He has registered only 7 points in 20 games.  Nevertheless, with Monahan out with an injury, many eyes will be on the Hurricane’s prospect tonight to see what the Flames might have missed out on.

THE LINE-UPS

As always, thanks to our dudes at dailyfaceoff.com for the combos.  Here we go...

  • Cammalleri –Stajan –Stempniak

  • Galiardi –Backlund – D. Jones

  • Baertschi Glencross – Colborne – Hudler

  • B. Jones – Byron – McGrattan
  • Smid –Giordano

  • Russell – Brodie

  • Butler – O’Brien
  • Ramo

TJ Galiardi is going to get back in the line-up after being out a couple weeks with back problems.  It looks like he’ll line up with Backs and D.Jones while Lance Bouma will come out of the line-up. Also there’s a chance that Glen-X is going to be back in the line-up tonight as well.  As a result, Blair Jones, Paul Byron or most probably Sven Baertschi (I hope not) will come out and the lines will be completely different.  As such, the above will be irrelevant. We will adjust as we get more news this afternoon.

That D, I don’t hate it. The Russell – Brodie pairing has looked good for the most part.  Gio and Smid as the shutdown duo ain’t too shabby.  Butler and O’Brien rounding out the bottom pairing isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen either.  Once Wideman returns we'll really have a nice looking group.

Ramo appears to be getting the start tonight. 

Note: Alrighty then.  Looks like Sven's heading to Abby.  So there's that. Gonna guess Glencross is back in.

THE OPPONENTS

  • Skinner – E. Staal – Ruutu

  • Gerbe – J. Staal – Lindholm

  • Tlusty – Nash – Dwyer Semin

  • Westgarth – Dwyer  – Malholtra – Dvorak
  • Faulk – Sekera

  • Murphy – Hainsey
  • Gleason – Harrison
  • Ward

The Hurricanes top six, even without the always talented and rarely engaged Semin, who’s out with an injury, looks pretty good. That being said, the Staal brothers don’t appear to be their usual selves this year, offensively speaking. Jordan Staal, who came to Carolina to play with big brother Eric a few years ago, is on pace for 33 points this year.  That would be his worst total since his sophomore year.  Conversely, Eric Staal, usually good for 70-80 points, is on pace for 62 points. That would be his worst total of his entire NHL career. 

Note: I spoke too soon.  Looks like Semin will be in the line-up tonight after missing 12 games.

Carolina’s D looks pretty mediocre. Faulk and Murphy are young with significant upside and Sekera brings some good things.  Other than that it’s pretty rough. The Flames, while not having quite the offensively gifted forwards as the Canes, certainly appear to have them beat on the backend. 

 

SUM IT UP

The Flames are looking to get back on the winning side of things and continue their decent run of late, having won three of their last five games. Based on Burke's comments this morning, to get in his good books, the Flames would be best served to not give up a late lead tonight. The teams are relatively equal. They stand only six points apart. 

The Hurricanes might have more offensive weapons but the Flames have a superior defense core so it should be an even match up. The Flames and the Hurricanes have not met too many times but in the past two games between the two teams, both very close games, there were 23 goals scored in total. Hopefully we’re in for a night of old school river hockey!

Fb039371a1a1b706383cb72243cb4446
Byron has a background in psychology, economics and business and is a business researcher/data analyst by day. His love for hockey is as deep as the ocean is wide. Tell him your questions and let him into your heart. Twitter: @Baderader; Email: byron.bader@gmail.com
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#1 Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea
December 12 2013, 01:38PM
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Is it just me or is Burke looking a little crazier than usual?

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#2 kittensandcookies
December 12 2013, 01:40PM
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Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea wrote:

Is it just me or is Burke looking a little crazier than usual?

WTF? Did he stay at the Drop-In Centre last night??

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#3 piscera.infada
December 12 2013, 01:47PM
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@kittensandcookies

He's trying to give Brent Burns a run for his money.

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#4 negrilcowboy
December 12 2013, 01:50PM
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burkie apparently just purchased a 2 bedroom cardboard box beneath the flyover, complete with 2 shopping cart garage, and a collection of 3 aces 2013 wines. brian starting to dial in the gerry busey look.

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#5 Spaceman Spiff
December 12 2013, 01:57PM
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Listen, from this Oiler-fan’s perspective … this is a bit of a scary move. We can all make fun of Burke and his bombastic, truculent style, but the guy’s won in this league and I think he knows how to build a team.

He made Vancouver a contender (his legacy is still there) and he won a Cup in Anaheim. The Leafs, although up-and-down a bit this year, turned a corner last year and it was largely with players he drafted or acquired. He drafted (and later traded for) Chris Pronger and pulled a bunch of complex strings to get the Sedin twins together. His career as a GM makes many others pale in comparison nowadays (which is probably a bit sad, but that’s not his fault). He’s not Cliff Fletcher, obviously, but he’s been pretty damn good at the job for a long time.

We all knew this was coming, of course – although who knew it would take this long? Feaster couldn’t bring himself to even utter the word “rebuild” until sometime last year and that’s obviously set the franchise back at least two years. The O’Reilly almost-signing was an almost-disaster of epic proportion. In the first round of the draft, he took a high school kid from a hockey country where high school hockey has ZERO upside (Canada). He dithered on Iginla for too long and got little in return. He got nothing for Kiprusoff, who probably could have helped two or three playoff teams last year.

And all of the above in the last 12 months!

No doubt, it will certainly be entertaining as Burkie squabbles with the Calgary media. But, from up here, you’ll hear no crowing from me. A spinoff of Burke’s Calgary takeover is that it further turns up the heat on Oilers management which hasn’t accomplished anything close to what Burke’s done in this league. As far as I’m concerned, MacT and the Oilers are now REALLY on the clock. I’m just hoping Burke doesn’t pick it up and hit them over the head with it.

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#6 clyde
December 12 2013, 02:07PM
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I thought Feaster did very poorly in way too many areas. Getting nothing at the deadline 2 years ago for guys like Jokinen when 1st rounders were being thrown around, jumping at a deal for Jbo way before the deadline when the Detroit package was better, the Iginla trade mix up, chasing ROR which could have had long term negative results and the Brad Richards chase to name a few.I had no faith in his ability to move the assets we have now for an acceptable haul when the trades this year will be so important. Hope Burke can do a good job in getting some assets.

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#7 the-wolf
December 12 2013, 02:07PM
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When is it going to dawn on BBB and some others out there that Calgary doesn't have a "penchant" for blowing late leads because of something they're doing......

The team is not very good (not surprising given it's year 1 of a rebuild) and when the competition, especially teams like Chicago and Boston, turn it on, the Flames are simply no match.

Here's hoping desperately that the new GM is Paul Fenton and not Nieuwy (though I'll always love him as a player and will take him as Ast. GM) or that French dude from the Leafs.

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#8 Lordmork
December 12 2013, 02:09PM
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Sven to the Heat. Didn't take long.

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#9 negrilcowboy
December 12 2013, 02:09PM
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sven sent down, wow burkie making statement imediately.

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#10 Lordmork
December 12 2013, 02:10PM
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Which isn't to say it's a bad move, because I think Hartley has destroyed Sven's confidence, but I also worry that it means Sven is going to be gone, and soon.

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#11 the forgotten man
December 12 2013, 02:10PM
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Baertschi to the 'Ford...if nothing else Burke works fast.

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#12 Bilman
December 12 2013, 02:12PM
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Just heard Baertschi got sent down. I'm not overly upset with this as I think his confidence is in the toilet, and Troy Ward is a good development coach.

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#13 They're $hittie
December 12 2013, 02:13PM
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Lordmork wrote:

Sven to the Heat. Didn't take long.

Well he is only on pace for 35 points. My early season projection of 38 i guess was a little high. Yet it got trashed for being considered to low.

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#14 AngryFlamesFan
December 12 2013, 02:18PM
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Soo ya if sven gets traded would anyone like to join me in an angry mob and force burke to quit? I'll supply pitchforks and torches!

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#15 Dave
December 12 2013, 02:24PM
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@AngryFlamesFan

Depends on the return of the trade.

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#16 aloudoun
December 12 2013, 02:25PM
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IF Sven gets traded we shall have to see the return... I dont think thats it. I think Backlund gets traded before Sven.

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#17 ChinookArch
December 12 2013, 02:34PM
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@Spaceman Spiff

Burke deserves very little credit for Anaheim's cup, and you should look no further than Brian Murray for 90% of the credit. He left Vancouver in shambles and again credit for righting the ship goes to some nice moves by Nonis and a very good coach that they mistakenly fired in Vigneault. As for Toronto, last years playoff appearance was temporary voodoo. The Leafs are a terribly overrated team that will not make the playoffs.

I didn't like Feaster much, but I HATE Brian Burke. I'm really mad now. Year 1 of a rebuild and now thanks to Burke 7 Years of rebuilding to go.

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#18 They're $hittie
December 12 2013, 02:35PM
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If sven gets traded for a second rounder burke will have maximized his assets.

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#19 Kent Wilson
December 12 2013, 02:53PM
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Baertschi was playing some pretty good hockey recently. He and Hudler could have had 3 points each versus Boston.

Im scared Burke's already decided Baertschi doesn't play "Burke" (now, "Flames") hockey.

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#20 TRAV
December 12 2013, 02:56PM
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AngryFlamesFan wrote:

Soo ya if sven gets traded would anyone like to join me in an angry mob and force burke to quit? I'll supply pitchforks and torches!

I hate absolute statements like this. If SVEN gets traded for an amazing return then pitchforks out is ridiculous. Seriously we are in a rebuild and all chips are on the table. Now if Sven gets traded for a bag of pucks (Orr) I'm with ya. I just never understand when people on here talk about, "if this guy ever gets traded I'm losing my mind". How bout we wait and evaluate the return... I actually think this was a mistake by Feaster. Glencross is the one untouchable on this team. Really why. If GM's call and ask about him then it's your job to listen, ask for the moon and hope you get it. To take a player off the table is absurd.

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#21 Graham
December 12 2013, 02:57PM
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Wonder if Burke will revisit Monahan to the World Juniors?

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#22 Graham
December 12 2013, 02:58PM
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Does this mean that Feaster is the best GM not in the NHL?

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#23 the-wolf
December 12 2013, 03:02PM
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Graham wrote:

Does this mean that Feaster is the best GM not in the NHL?

Har! I love it.........but, no.

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#24 negrilcowboy
December 12 2013, 03:03PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Baertschi was playing some pretty good hockey recently. He and Hudler could have had 3 points each versus Boston.

Im scared Burke's already decided Baertschi doesn't play "Burke" (now, "Flames") hockey.

agreed kent, wondering if burkoff deals backs and or bart to the leafs for jake gardner. jake is a favourite of the bombastic one, drafted him, traded for him in taranna.

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#25 TRAV
December 12 2013, 03:03PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Baertschi was playing some pretty good hockey recently. He and Hudler could have had 3 points each versus Boston.

Im scared Burke's already decided Baertschi doesn't play "Burke" (now, "Flames") hockey.

I have tons of respect for your opinion but not sure I agree on this one.

Ken Holland talked recently about the importance of developing players in the minors. (with a few exceptions) Based on his usage and play I think that sending Sven to the minors to develop and gain confidence makes sense. I would argue that Burke thinks that Sven is too important to have up here playing limited minutes and ruining his confidence/ development.

I also am leery of spending too much time worrying about things that may or may not happen.

Based on Hartley's usage/ Sven's play, if you were GM would you send him down?

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#26 ChinookArch
December 12 2013, 03:06PM
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Graham wrote:

Wonder if Burke will revisit Monahan to the World Juniors?

Who do you think made the decision to keep Monahan here in the first place? He is staying.

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#27 ?
December 12 2013, 03:16PM
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LOL at the people who thought Burke was just gonna come in, sit in the background, and let Feaster go about his business. This move was destined from the day negotiation talks with Burke started. The guy is power hungry/an alpha-male, depending on whether you like him or not, and he'll never be happy with being the second in command.

May the force be with the Flames, we will need it lol.

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#28 Parallex
December 12 2013, 03:23PM
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@TRAV

Yes, I would absolutely demote Hartley. ;)

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#29 ?
December 12 2013, 03:26PM
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TRAV wrote:

I have tons of respect for your opinion but not sure I agree on this one.

Ken Holland talked recently about the importance of developing players in the minors. (with a few exceptions) Based on his usage and play I think that sending Sven to the minors to develop and gain confidence makes sense. I would argue that Burke thinks that Sven is too important to have up here playing limited minutes and ruining his confidence/ development.

I also am leery of spending too much time worrying about things that may or may not happen.

Based on Hartley's usage/ Sven's play, if you were GM would you send him down?

I really hope that you are right, but I agree with Kent. I personally believe that Burke doesn't like SVEN one bit, and with the stuff he said about him at the start of the year, its easy to see that. Some people will chalk that up to him wanting "more" out of Sven, but I just see a guy who screams "PLAY WITH SOME @$%@$N TESTOSTERONE". He seems to have his mind pretty much made up about Sven, and I believe that a reason Feaster and Weisbrod are currently unemployed is that sometime recent, there was an internal discussion about trading Sven Baertschi, with Feaster and JW against it, and Burke pushing for it. Ownership sided with Burke

The one thing I am now VERY skeptical about is the Flames future drafting and their handling of the draft picks themselves, particularly in the next 2 years, as its now 100% clear who's running the asylum. The Flames are probably gonna finish bottom-5 both this season and in 2015, and if Burke trades those picks for #PHANEUF or some other established NHLer, I will probably lose it. Not to mention the fact that he might be more inclined to ignore smaller, more skilled players to focus on bigger, stronger players.

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#30 backburner
December 12 2013, 03:36PM
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I don't like sending Baertchi down to Abby either.. but Ward is a great coach, and it's not necessarily a bad thing, look what it did for Kadri..

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#31 MonsterPod
December 12 2013, 03:39PM
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Ahhh, this site is so wonderful. I've been wasting time on the NHL.com boards today being called all kinds of names by juveniles. It's so school yard and boring. Love the genuine discussions here.

My take? Feaster made us small and wimpy. I'm excited to watch BB turn this ship around.

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#32 TRAV
December 12 2013, 03:40PM
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? wrote:

I really hope that you are right, but I agree with Kent. I personally believe that Burke doesn't like SVEN one bit, and with the stuff he said about him at the start of the year, its easy to see that. Some people will chalk that up to him wanting "more" out of Sven, but I just see a guy who screams "PLAY WITH SOME @$%@$N TESTOSTERONE". He seems to have his mind pretty much made up about Sven, and I believe that a reason Feaster and Weisbrod are currently unemployed is that sometime recent, there was an internal discussion about trading Sven Baertschi, with Feaster and JW against it, and Burke pushing for it. Ownership sided with Burke

The one thing I am now VERY skeptical about is the Flames future drafting and their handling of the draft picks themselves, particularly in the next 2 years, as its now 100% clear who's running the asylum. The Flames are probably gonna finish bottom-5 both this season and in 2015, and if Burke trades those picks for #PHANEUF or some other established NHLer, I will probably lose it. Not to mention the fact that he might be more inclined to ignore smaller, more skilled players to focus on bigger, stronger players.

Respectfully, it just seems like too much speculation to me. I prefer to spend my energy on things that happen rather than things that may have happened or may happen in the future.

(Fully agree that speculating is a fun part of this site and being a fan though!)

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#33 Kevin R
December 12 2013, 03:51PM
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MonsterPod wrote:

Ahhh, this site is so wonderful. I've been wasting time on the NHL.com boards today being called all kinds of names by juveniles. It's so school yard and boring. Love the genuine discussions here.

My take? Feaster made us small and wimpy. I'm excited to watch BB turn this ship around.

Thumbs high Monster! The dastardly BB wants big, talented, skilled forwards to physically dominate hockey games. What a horrendous thing!!!! How on Earth can you be big, strong & talented? Anyone see Backlund take a run at Lucic & literally bounce off him. I don't think Lucic even realized he was hit. But who would want guys like Lucic on your team???

I have no problem with what Burke wants, getting what he wants, well that's a different matter.

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#34 ?
December 12 2013, 03:57PM
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@TRAV

Fair enough. We'll see how things shake out. Let's just hope this doesn't jeopardize the rebuild, cause I wanna watch some Flames playoff hockey! (seeing all those Iginla 04 clips has really depressed me lol)

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#35 Craig
December 12 2013, 04:03PM
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Burke is going to ruin this franchise.

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#36 Parallex
December 12 2013, 04:06PM
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@Kevin R

The problem is that of the three aspects you mentioned (Big, Strong, Talented) the most important one is talented and I wouldn't say with any degree of confidence that Burke would say the same and consequently if he had to choose between big or talented that he'd pick talented.

Size is nothing without the skill.

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#37 mk
December 12 2013, 04:07PM
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@Kevin R

The problem isn't that people don't want big, tough players - its that they don't want player evaluations to be based on size/toughness alone.

One way to look at it: results matter. I'd rather have a smaller player if the results show that they produce more offense and play better defense than a big player with potential and grit who does not.

Chicago's 2 Cups in 5 years didn't care about the size of their impact players, and nor do I (if the results are good).

Of course Parallex beats me to it...

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#38 Frank Miron
December 12 2013, 04:13PM
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Just heard here on local TV in Montreal that Joe Nieuwendyk is the no. candidate for the GM position...

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#39 Frank Miron
December 12 2013, 04:14PM
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# 1 candidate

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#40 TRAV
December 12 2013, 04:14PM
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Would love to see a recap of the work of Weisbrod and Hartley. An article on the good-the bad and the ugly.

Look at where the franchise is now after the Feaster years and where it should go under Burke. Even a move by move thumbs up or down.

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#41 MangoTanker
December 12 2013, 04:15PM
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Well said mk and Parallex

Fully agree. Size for the sake of size is worth nothing, just like speed for the sake of speed is nothing. It's only when those attributes help a player to become better at hockey that they're worth something.

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#42 ChinookArch
December 12 2013, 04:18PM
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@Frank Miron

The same Joe Nieuwendyk that traded James Neal for Goligoski. God help us.

Loved him as a player, but as a GM he was no good!

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#43 suba steve
December 12 2013, 04:22PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

The same Joe Nieuwendyk that traded James Neal for Goligoski. God help us.

Loved him as a player, but as a GM he was no good!

But as BB said, the situation in Calgary could work really well with an inexperienced GM as there would always be "Uncle Brian" there looking over his shoulder to ensure no crazy Gilmour for Leeman type deals go down.

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#44 Frank Miron
December 12 2013, 04:23PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

The same Joe Nieuwendyk that traded James Neal for Goligoski. God help us.

Loved him as a player, but as a GM he was no good!

Yeah ... supposedly the Dallas Stars granted the permission to speak to him...we'll see !

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#45 mattyc
December 12 2013, 04:24PM
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I agree with TRAV. I have a lot of time for Baertschi, but he has looked outmatched on a lot of the board battles and has only been consistently effective playing with Hudler (who can get him the puck lots). The flames don't have the horses to give Baertschi the kind of sheltered ice he needs right now, and he's not excelling up here, so he might as well get big minutes in Abbotsford and get lots of PP and PK time.

You could make the argument that he gets different treatment than Colborne (who admittedly has had troubles as well), but the reality is that the AHL is a possibility for Baertschi, but not for him, so he has to figure it out up here.

WRT size, I honestly don't believe that the "new GM" will be looking for more enforcer types. I don't mind if they're focusing on size if all else is equal, and given how replaceable and interchangeable bottom tier guys are.

To stir the pot even more, I'm not convinced playing McGratton a couple minutes a night is measurably worse than playing Byron those same minutes.

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#46 John
December 12 2013, 04:28PM
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Burke is a great GM, only need him to stay away from alcohol.

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#47 Fan #21
December 12 2013, 04:35PM
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Baertschi assigned to abbotsford and Burke's opinion in the news conference .... lets start gearing up for reliving the Sutter era!!

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#48 Dr. Philosophy
December 12 2013, 04:37PM
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This post could have just consisted of the question "How will the players respond to a paradigm shift?"

Earlier today singlehandedly made tonight relevant: tickets for tonight were 9 bucks on Stubhub a few days ago.

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#49 everton fc
December 12 2013, 04:42PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Baertschi was playing some pretty good hockey recently. He and Hudler could have had 3 points each versus Boston.

Im scared Burke's already decided Baertschi doesn't play "Burke" (now, "Flames") hockey.

Possibly obvious. But I honestly believe the best thing for Sven Baertschi is a dose of Troy G. Ward. Look what Ward's done for B. Jones.

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#50 everton fc
December 12 2013, 04:43PM
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@ fan "Baertschi assigned to abbotsford and Burke's opinion in the news conference .... lets start gearing up for reliving the Sutter era!!"

Valid perception.

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