FGD: Blue Travelers Return Home

Ryan Pike
March 24 2013 02:34PM

The Calgary Flames return home to the friendly confines of the Scotiabank Saddledome to host the St. Louis Blues tonight. Game time is 6pm on Fan 960 and Sportsnet West.

The Flames are in must-win territory, having lost six of their last eight games, assuming they have any shot at the playoffs at all. Oddly enough, though, they've won six in a row at home and gone winless in nine on the road. The home wins have mostly come against good teams, and that home cooking will need to continue if they're to have any hope of a playoff berth or a respectable finish down the stretch.

A loss will put the Flames four games below .500, a position they haven't been since November 2011 (for a single game).

THE LINE-UP

The coaching staff has shuffled the deck a bit prior to tonight's game. Via Roger Millions' Twitter (@rogmillions), here are probable line combinations for the Flames.

  • Tanguay – Cammalleri – Comeau
  • Glencross – Stajan – Stempniak
  • Hudler – Backlund – Iginla
  • McGrattan – Begin – Jackman

  • Brodie – Bouwmeester
  • Giordano – Wideman
  • Butler – Sarich

  • Kiprusoff

Kiprusoff's starting his fourth in a row, despite losing three straight and posting a .866 save percentage – easily the lowest of the NHL's regular starting goalies. But it's a must-win game, so he'll get starts in these situations until the team is officially out of it. Cervenka and Smith take a seat tonight, while Backlund makes his way back in. He'll skate with Iginla and Hudler on the third line.

Note that the excellent second line has been kept together, as has the fourth line, which has been quietly effective for the Flames. Curtis Glencross has scored a point in five straight games (and seven of his last eight), and has scored 11 of his 13 goals this season on home ice.

THE OPPOSITION

The Blues are doing well. They're ninth-best in the NHL with a 17-11-2 record, mostly due to the fact they have given up the fewest shots against in the entire league. The Blues beat Edmonton 3-0 last night in the Hockey Night in Canada late game, so are on the second night of a B2B (like so many of the Flames home opponents this year).

Here are their probable line combinations, based on how they lined up last night.

  • Backes – Steen – Stewart
  • McDonald – Berglund – Oshie
  • Tarasenko – Sobotka – Perron
  • Schwartz – Nichol – Porter

  • Jackman – Pietrangelo
  • Russell – Polak
  • Redden – Shattenkirk

  • Halak

I'm guessing that Halak gets another start after winning last night, but they may throw Jake Allen back in. The Blues are carrying three goalies right now and Allen has the most wins and best save percentage, beating both Halak and Brian Elliott.

The Blues depth is readily apparent, with a strong top six, a couple good rookies in Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko, and a very strong defensive group. Chris Stewart has been in and out of Ken Hitchcock's doghouse since the former Dallas bench boss arrived, but the big winger is nevertheless one of the hottest scorers in the league right now having managed six goals in his last five games. Stewart is a guy who can run hot and cold and is generally a libility when the puck isn't going in the net, but a handful for the defense when things are going his way. Stewart is also currently skating with David Backes - the Blues best all around player - so the Flames will have to be aware of him tonight.

SUM IT UP

The Flames have been losing of late, it's true, but their great home streak is keeping them afloat. A loss tonight drops them to four games below .500 with 18 games to go. Suddenly, a losing stretch would threaten to become a free-fall.

They cannot afford to let that happen and still have a hope at a post-season berth. If they lose, expect some major changes. Actually even if they win, expect some major changes.

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Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's covered the Flames and the NHL since 2010. His work can also be found at The Hockey Writers and The Wrestling Observer.
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#1 FireOnIce
March 24 2013, 02:36PM
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According to Darren Dreger's Twitter:

‏@DarrenDreger: Source say the Pens and Stars have a trade in place for Brendan Morrow. However, he has yet to waive no trade clause.

If that happens, I expect the Penguins' desire for Iginla greatly decreases. Doubt we trade with them if the Morrow trade happens. Penguins will get their veteran winger presence without having to pay out the a$$ for it.

Not winnin' for MacKinnon. Droolin' for Drouin. Whatever.

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#2 FireOnIce
March 24 2013, 02:40PM
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Dregs says one of the players is Joe Morrow (going to DAL from PIT). No bueno for the Flames. If this PIT/DAL trade goes down, more egg in the face of Feaster and definitely time to fire him. He's obviously asking too much if this is the case, or just sitting around on his hands doing nothing.

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#3 Cowtown 1989
March 24 2013, 02:58PM
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C'mon Feasty. Times a wastin'. You are down to three suitors for Iggy. Don't blow this.

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#4 GoIggy
March 24 2013, 03:13PM
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If B. Morrow is worth J. Morrow ++, wouldn't Iggy be worth more? especially to a BOS?

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#5 Brent G.
March 24 2013, 03:14PM
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Even though Iggy gave a 4 team list I bet they could still sniff around other contenders. Iggy is stupid to not consider St Louis or Anaheim contenders as well. Both are likely not long term places he wants to be or resign with (stl isn't a nice place and Anaheim is going to be too tight to offer up a good enough contract) but they could both win the cup this year. Even Carolina with Iggy in there playing with Jordan Staal would raise their stock.

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#6 backburner
March 24 2013, 03:23PM
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Not much to say about tonight's game with all this trade talk going on..

I think whatever Dallas gets for Morrow, Calgary could add a little..

It's looking like its down to Boston and LA, I really don't see the Blackhawks in the mix..

Hamilton!!

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#7 FireOnIce
March 24 2013, 03:24PM
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Dunno why Brenden Morrow WOULDN'T want to be traded to Pittsburgh, besides family. Go from a non-contending team to a lock for the playoffs with a very good chance of winning the Cup? Seems like a no-brainer to me.

If Joe Morrow (an 'untouchable) + more is good for Morrow, Golggy is right, what is Iginla's trade value? It would surely have to be higher.

Via Bob McKenzie's Twitter:

"FWIW, Western Conference coaches I talked to about Brenden Morrow say he has gas left in the tank to be effective top 9 F, 14-15 mins/night ... And if Morrow waives NTC, they believe he'll be re-invigorated playing on true contender in PIT and Pens could use his physical play/edge."

Sounds exactly like Iginla.

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#8 backburner
March 24 2013, 03:32PM
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Boston is in the mix for Morrow also, so hold onto your seats, nothing's done yet, this could get interesting...

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#9 FireOnIce
March 24 2013, 03:42PM
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@backburner

Feaster better get his ass in gear. If he waits too much longer, both of these teams will have found someone and there will be no trades for Iginla. Only acrimony and an apathetic fanbase.

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#10 mattyc
March 24 2013, 03:46PM
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All you need to know about Craig Button's hockey expertise:

(from his twitter account)

"@CraigJButton: Here is all you need to know about Brenden Morrow. He has a winner's mentality and plays to win."

Craig... you forgot to mention he plays the whole 60 minutes!

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#11 A
March 24 2013, 04:09PM
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Are you kidding me? A first rounder for morrow?! Is Pitt serious? Iggy is a ton better and if he's on a team like the bruins he's way better! He's goin to Boston for sure the b's have to pull the trigger. Iggys value just went up!

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#12 FireOnIce
March 24 2013, 04:18PM
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@Real_ESPNLeBrun: Pitt gets B. Morrow and a 3rd-round pick 2013 in exchange Dallas gets prospects Joe Morrow and a 5th-round pick 2013"

So... Iggy to the Bruins?

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#13 FireOnIce
March 24 2013, 04:53PM
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Like it or not, this appears to be the market value for players like this. I would say, at this point, this Morrow trade is a pretty good indicator of what Iginla will fetch.

A top-end prospect and a low pick, in exchange for Iginla and a mid-level pick. Seems like the Flames are asking for one too many pieces (the inclusion of a roster player).

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#14 Kevin R
March 24 2013, 05:15PM
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FireOnIce wrote:

Like it or not, this appears to be the market value for players like this. I would say, at this point, this Morrow trade is a pretty good indicator of what Iginla will fetch.

A top-end prospect and a low pick, in exchange for Iginla and a mid-level pick. Seems like the Flames are asking for one too many pieces (the inclusion of a roster player).

Morrow doesnt even come close to comparing to Iggy, dont know how you can equate these 2. Morrow is a poor mans Iggy. Pitt have way too many contracts to deal with in the year ahead to even consider taking on another one in Iggy. Anyone who gives what Flames are wanting will have every intention of signing him beyond this year. People who think Iggy is just going to come back & resign here are puffing the magic grass. I think it's more like Pitt found out what was on the table & what they would have to beat to acquire Iggy & opted for plan B before Dallas moved Morrow to someone else.

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#15 RexLibris
March 24 2013, 05:27PM
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There is another option at play here.

Perhaps Pittsburgh, or specifically Shero, decided that they would offer a modest price for a good playoff performer and leave Boston, Chicago and others to outbid each other for Iginla. Let them exhaust resources in a whale hunt while the Penguins get a roster player to help them today.

That trade is a very nicely balanced move. The Penguins move an asset that is a way's away from playing and a depth pick in exchange for immediate concerns and a higher-round depth pick. They also move a prospect from a position of overall organizational depth.

The Stars get to bring in a promising young player and send away a pick for a round in which they had a surplus (two 3rd round picks this year after the Fistric trade).

I hope MacTavish wrote this all down for Tambellini. This is how teams make moves to address needs.

Does this trade mean that negotiations for Iginla will have to involve the Flames adding a pick to offset the brevity of Iginla's contract?

If Feaster could somehow wrap up a prospect or two and clear a few contracts in a trade of Iginla that would be a very beneficial long-term. The contract space could free them up to pursue college free-agents like Dan DeKeyser, and so on.

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#17 RKD
March 24 2013, 05:38PM
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Ryan Pike wrote:

Very interesting atmosphere around the building this afternoon.

There's going to be an uneasiness around this team until bodies start moving. Before the list was submitted, the Flames had already decided to move Iggy but both sides were trying to keep it quiet. Good luck in today's age of social media.

Iggy may not be the only one dealt before April 3rd, I want the Flames to have big powerful forwards like LA and St. Louis not small guys like Edmonton who coast.

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#18 ChinookArch
March 24 2013, 05:53PM
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@RexLibris

Rex, if anything the Morrow trade to Pens, put's added pressure on Boston to get something substantive done (hopefully with Iginla in mind). Pittsburgh was already better up front, compared to Boston, and Morrow makes them better.

If the Bruins believe they have to go through Pittsburg to get to the final, they'll want to improve on the current roster.

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#19 ChinookArch
March 24 2013, 05:56PM
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My money is on LA as a destination for Iginla. It's a perfect fit, the kings get more depth scoring and Iginla plays on a defensive juggernaut.

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#20 Kent Wilson
March 24 2013, 05:58PM
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@ChinookArch

I don't know if LA has the assets to land him.

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#21 ChinookArch
March 24 2013, 06:15PM
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@Kent Wilson

I was thinking the same thing, but they have one of the youngest rosters in the league and may be able to put together an offer that is seductive, even in the absence of a 2013 #1 pick. LAK has 5 active Centers and a bunch of RFA's.

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#22 Kent Wilson
March 24 2013, 06:22PM
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McGrattan scratched. That's somewhat surprising.

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#23 schevvy
March 24 2013, 06:24PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

McGrattan scratched. That's somewhat surprising.

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE GRIT?!?!

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#24 FireOnIce
March 24 2013, 06:26PM
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@Kent Wilson

Additional piece to a trade for Olli Jokinen?

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#25 RKD
March 24 2013, 06:26PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

My money is on LA as a destination for Iginla. It's a perfect fit, the kings get more depth scoring and Iginla plays on a defensive juggernaut.

I was hearing LA is also interested in Reg as Buffalo was looking to dump salary, but with Sabres winning and only two points out they may not deal him.

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#26 Brent G.
March 24 2013, 06:29PM
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Could this be the last game we see Iggy play as a Flame?

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#27 SmellOfVictory
March 24 2013, 06:29PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I don't know if LA has the assets to land him.

If they wanted, they do. They'd just end up with very little in the way of prospects afterward.

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#28 Clay
March 24 2013, 06:30PM
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Alright Jarome, I have my tissues

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#29 Clay
March 24 2013, 06:30PM
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Just so everyone knows, they are man tears that smell of meat and the tailpipe of a 66 Chevelle

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#30 FireOnIce
March 24 2013, 06:31PM
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@Kevin R

I'm not equating them in terms of performance, moreso positioning (as a winger), and in terms of age and "likability". At this point in the season, Iginla has produced poorly and I do not expect the return to be based off simply that.

I also equated them based off "years left" or "circumstances required to survive"; ie, 3 or 4 years left, as long as they stick on a 3rd or 4th line and play 14 minutes a night.

Similar stat lines? Not really. But Morrow has played 400+ games fewer than Iginla, so I don't expect their numbers to coincide. He's 2 years younger as well. Note - their stat lines are similar this season.

The main point is that the asking price on Iginla is probably a bit high. I expect the return to be more in line with a top prospect and a high pick, or a top prospect + 4th liner + 5-7th rounder.

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#31 Kent Wilson
March 24 2013, 06:32PM
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@RKD

Reggie is pretty bad at this point in his career. Can't skate or turn. BUF might improve by dealing him and LA should probably stay away.

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#32 Kent Wilson
March 24 2013, 06:33PM
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Clay wrote:

Just so everyone knows, they are man tears that smell of meat and the tailpipe of a 66 Chevelle

THEY DAMN WELL BETTER.

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#33 RexLibris
March 24 2013, 06:43PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

Rex, if anything the Morrow trade to Pens, put's added pressure on Boston to get something substantive done (hopefully with Iginla in mind). Pittsburgh was already better up front, compared to Boston, and Morrow makes them better.

If the Bruins believe they have to go through Pittsburg to get to the final, they'll want to improve on the current roster.

That is sort of my point. It puts Boston in a position of either standing pat or "overpaying" for Iginla, thereby depleting their other resources against which the Penguins might need to play.

Good feint and dodge move by Shero, I think.

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#34 RexLibris
March 24 2013, 06:46PM
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Clay wrote:

Just so everyone knows, they are man tears that smell of meat and the tailpipe of a 66 Chevelle

I originally read that as a "'66 Chevette" and was going to comment.

Then again, is that meat that is cooked on the tailpipe of a Chevelle? That'd be something to see.

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#35 RexLibris
March 24 2013, 06:48PM
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Clue for tonight's game: maybe don't try the dump-and-chase game.

Jonathan Willis had a good article about it here: http://oilersnation.com/2013/3/24/a-remarkable-game-for-dump-and-chase

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#36 Clay
March 24 2013, 06:50PM
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RexLibris wrote:

I originally read that as a "'66 Chevette" and was going to comment.

Then again, is that meat that is cooked on the tailpipe of a Chevelle? That'd be something to see.

How else do you cook meat? Amateur Hour

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#37 Colin.S
March 24 2013, 06:52PM
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It's a good thing we've healthy scratched that kid multiple times.......

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#38 Kent Wilson
March 24 2013, 06:54PM
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Nice shot by Cervenka.

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#39 RKD
March 24 2013, 07:03PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Reggie is pretty bad at this point in his career. Can't skate or turn. BUF might improve by dealing him and LA should probably stay away.

True, but LA may have to do something with the injuries to Mitchell and Greene.

Flames are winning at home again, this Jekyll/Hyde team is comical.

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#40 Kent Wilson
March 24 2013, 07:07PM
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@RKD

They're playing slightly better, but are still being outchanced about 5 or 6 to 2 by my eye so far. Justin is counting chances so he'll confirm.

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#41 Blitz
March 24 2013, 07:13PM
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I suspect this is the last game we will see Iginla donning the Flaming C.

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#42 Vintage Flame
March 24 2013, 07:21PM
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It would make sense if this was Iggy's last game as a Flame. It is Fan appreciation night, so you don't want to make a deal like this in front of them...

... Though if they were to have made the announcement at the start of the game, they would have gotten a standing ovation from the Dome.

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#43 Clay
March 24 2013, 07:26PM
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Vintage Flame wrote:

It would make sense if this was Iggy's last game as a Flame. It is Fan appreciation night, so you don't want to make a deal like this in front of them...

... Though if they were to have made the announcement at the start of the game, they would have gotten a standing ovation from the Dome.

A chance the deal is already made

3rd star Iginla 2nd star Iginla 1st star Iginla

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#44 Kent Wilson
March 24 2013, 07:27PM
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Ehh, I think it'll take a few more days to trade Iginla.

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#45 schevvy
March 24 2013, 07:32PM
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I doubt a trade has already been made, I mean Darryl's not here anymore...

Related: remember when they had the Jokinen trade all ready to go but they didn't trade him right away because the Flames wanted him in the lineup for their game? Those were the days.

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#46 Mack
March 24 2013, 07:36PM
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People need to stop comparing Morrow to Iginla for trade value.. Since when is Morrow even in the same class as Iginla? Iggy has double the points and Goals of Morrow and is every bit as tough, if not tougher

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#47 Kent Wilson
March 24 2013, 07:38PM
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Backs again doesn't look close to 100%. I know he wants to stay in the line-up and not be seen as soft, but he's not helping the cause too much right now.

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#48 Vintage Flame
March 24 2013, 07:40PM
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@Clay

If Iggy gets a star and he does the extended circle skate, then you know it's basically done.

It will be like when Trevor Linden saluted the fans, even though he hadn't officially retired yet..

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#49 Danglesnipecelly
March 24 2013, 07:41PM
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How about Iggy to the Bruins for Spooner, Caron and a 1st. Too much?

I hope Feaster moves off his requirement (allegedly) of a roster player as part of the return...

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#50 schevvy
March 24 2013, 07:43PM
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The Blues seem to have the puck on a string.

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