FGD: Winging It With Kipper

Ryan Pike
April 17 2013 12:22PM

We're down to the nitty-gritty, folks, as the Flames (16-22-4) can mathematically be eliminated from the post-season (and get a little closer to a high draft pick) with a loss tonight against the Detroit Red Wings (20-15-7).

Tonight's game starts at 7:30 on TSN and your radio friends at Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

The kids will continue to be the item of interest down the stretch, but the top story tonight may be Flames netminder Miikka Kiprusoff. Suiting up for the 574th time as a Calgary Flame, he may be playing one of his last contests in the Scotiabank Saddledome. Flames coach Bob Hartley noted after practice that Kiprusoff will play tonight and Friday, as well.

THE LINE-UP

Besides Kiprusoff making his first start in awhile, the other big story is the return of Matt Stajan to the Flames line-up. Before his upper-body injury, Stajan was one of Calgary's best, most consistent players. He'll replace Roman Cervenka in the line-up which, all due respect to the Czech player, is probably an upgrade.

Here's how the lines look according to Pat Steinberg:

  • Baertschi - Stajan - Stempniak
  • Glencross - Backlund - Hudler
  • Cammalleri - Horak - Hanowski
  • Begin - Reinhart - Jackman

  • Brodie - Wideman
  • Giordano - Sarich
  • Butler - Carson

  • Kiprusoff

Wunderkind Ben Hanowski has cut his hair, so please remember that he's wearing #58 for your hockey heroes. He joins a few good group of young players with ridiculously high numbers: Sven Baertschi (#47), Roman Horak (#51) and Max “Power” Reinhart (#59) are the others. 

THE OPPOSITION

The Red Wings are a pretty good hockey team and have been for awhile. However, they're in a fight for their playoff lives lately and may actually miss the playoffs for the first time since 1989-90.

However, the Wings have been helping out their own cause lately, going 2-1-2 in their last five and finding ways to get points any which way they can. They most recently blanked the Nashville Predators 3-0 on Sunday night, so they're rested.

Here's how their lines may look:

  • Zetterberg - Datsyuk - Abdelkader
  • Franzen - Filippula - Cleary
  • Nyquist - Andersson - Brunner
  • Miller - Emmerton - Tootoo

  • Kronwall - Ericsson
  • DeKeyser - Kindl
  • White - Smith

  • Howard

The Wings have some strong top-six players. The Flames beat them handily during their last visit to the 'Dome, but that was primarily due to some terrifying defensive zone play and some awful goaltending from Jonas Gustavsson, who won't play tonight.

Detroit's in desperation mode, needing a win to give them breathing room – they're tied with Columbus (at 47 points) with a game in hand, with Dallas just two points back.

SUM IT UP

The Flames are playing for next year. The Wings are playing for the playoffs. The Flames are in audition mode. The Wings are in desperation mode.

On the other hand, the Saddledome will be filled to the brim with emotion, as the fans prepare to possibly say goodbye to #34. If that emotion spills over to the Flames players, this could be quite the hockey game.

 

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Now in his third full season covering the Calgary Flames and the NHL, Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's trying to keep his head up, his stick on the ice and is giving it 110% every shift. You can also find his work at The Hockey Writers, the Wrestling Observer and Tough Talk MMA.
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#1 seve927
April 17 2013, 02:10PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I "props'd" this comment. Yes, people actually use that sometimes.

In the spirit of the brotherly new environment surrounding flamesnation I propped you for propping beloch.

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#2 beloch
April 17 2013, 12:48PM
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I gotta give this one to the Wings unless Kipper breaks out of the secret forest lawn CSIS detention facility he's been held in all year, impales the shape-shifting alien who has been inhabiting his jersey, and shuts out Detroit.

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#3 Kurt
April 17 2013, 12:32PM
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Stepniak is on the 1st and 4th lines? Wow this team just keeps getting better.

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#4 mattyc
April 17 2013, 12:48PM
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@Kurt

it tricked me into thinking we had more depth than we do ("wow, stempniak is on the 4th line!")

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#5 Kent Wilson
April 17 2013, 01:52PM
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@Sanintarious

A one year suggests it starts next season...or else his newly minted contract will end in a week or two when the Flames season ends.

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#6 beloch
April 17 2013, 01:52PM
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mk wrote:

Too bad the newly-signed Berra won't come over and experience some "growing pains" to the end season (i.e. loses).

Then he can become an excellent goalie for the next few seasons after that initial hiccup. :D

Of all the goalie prospects in the Flames system, Berra has the least promising stat sheet. He's 26 and has posted MacBackup-like numbers in the Swiss-A league for several years now. I'd honestly like to know what Feaster&Co. see in this guy.

I agree that it'd be nice to see him in net for the rest of this season though.

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#7 Kent Wilson
April 17 2013, 01:52PM
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beloch wrote:

I gotta give this one to the Wings unless Kipper breaks out of the secret forest lawn CSIS detention facility he's been held in all year, impales the shape-shifting alien who has been inhabiting his jersey, and shuts out Detroit.

I "props'd" this comment. Yes, people actually use that sometimes.

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#8 Kurt
April 17 2013, 01:57PM
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Q wrote:

Bring in the losses boys! We want a high pick. No conflict for me anymore. Come June all the losses will have been forgotten when we have a nice prospect coming to cowtown!

This game is MUST LOSE. The Coilers are giving us a run for a money. They are WAY better than us at getting lottery draft picks. If they somehow win the lottery or get a higher pick than us I'll be terribly disappointed.

#mustLoseGame

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#9 Double Dion
April 17 2013, 02:01PM
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@Q

True. How the crap has Carolina been so bad? I guess my take on J. Staal being the most overrated player in the league is true. New overrated player is Paul Stastny.

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#10 Q
April 17 2013, 02:08PM
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@Double Dion

Yeah, Sutter was a sweet trade for staal. Carolina is a huge disappointment! Can't believe they signed semin for 35 over 5 yrs. we can't have them finish under us!

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#11 kittensandcookies
April 17 2013, 05:02PM
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W wrote:

Anyone catch just how much of an idiot Lowe looked like in his apology?! Putting mactavish in is as close to the smell of Sutter nepotism as it gets. He didn't like being called out by the reporter who asked him why they were going back to the person who started the mess! Lowe should have been fired!

Dude, he has FIVE cups. And ten girls.

Wait what?

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#12 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 08:05PM
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Kurt wrote:

This game is MUST LOSE. The Coilers are giving us a run for a money. They are WAY better than us at getting lottery draft picks. If they somehow win the lottery or get a higher pick than us I'll be terribly disappointed.

#mustLoseGame

Don't forget, when it comes time to tank, this group is a highly trained collection of flawless professionals.

I mean they managed to soil the sheets against the Abbotsford Flames, then orchestrated a magnificent faceplant last night allowing a goal in the first 2 minutes of each period. Dubnyk even had to kick one in off his heel.

The Flames are good, but I don't think they are in the same league as the Oilers are when it comes to twisting the knife on a bloated corpse of a season.

;-)

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#13 ChinookArch
April 17 2013, 08:21PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Interesting. I haven't watched any Pens games this year, but probably will catch some during the post-season. I'm intrigued to see that storyline play out over the course of the playoffs.

I know emotions in Calgary are mixed: cheer Iginla on for a Cup, or hope the Pens tank and heighten the value of the pick?

Put me down for both the Pens and Blues out in Round #1. Iginla can win his cup next year.

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#14 schevvy
April 17 2013, 09:40PM
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Flames aren't very good at this tanking business. They don't have elite tanking skills like the Oilers.

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#15 the forgotten man
April 17 2013, 01:01PM
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Kipper is now dead to me...take your ball back to Finland in May please.

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#16 Scary Gary
April 17 2013, 01:02PM
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beloch wrote:

I gotta give this one to the Wings unless Kipper breaks out of the secret forest lawn CSIS detention facility he's been held in all year, impales the shape-shifting alien who has been inhabiting his jersey, and shuts out Detroit.

Maybe Howard will stand on his head with his shiny new contract.

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#17 mk
April 17 2013, 01:12PM
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Too bad the newly-signed Berra won't come over and experience some "growing pains" to the end season (i.e. loses).

Then he can become an excellent goalie for the next few seasons after that initial hiccup. :D

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#18 Sanintarious
April 17 2013, 01:17PM
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@mk

Not a for sure thing....Pat Steinberg just reporting on twitter that the Flames have signed him to his ELC (1 year 1.33M-With bonuses built in).

Not sure if this kicks in this year, or next year....but if it does kick in this year, we could very well see him in the final 4 games.

EDIT- Just re-read yours and see you mentioned "newly signed". My bad!!

Did they say he won't come till next year??

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#19 Avalain
April 17 2013, 01:18PM
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So conflicted! On one side Calgary desperately needs to lose this game or risk losing out on a top 5 pick. On the other side, a spiteful part of me wants Detroit to miss out on the playoffs as a result of some defensive mistakes that wouldn't have happened if they had come up with a nice package for Bouw.

Oh well. Better off seeing a game like the one against Min where we put up a good fight and still lose in regulation.

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#20 Q
April 17 2013, 01:53PM
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Bring in the losses boys! We want a high pick. No conflict for me anymore. Come June all the losses will have been forgotten when we have a nice prospect coming to cowtown!

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#21 Double Dion
April 17 2013, 01:56PM
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beloch wrote:

Of all the goalie prospects in the Flames system, Berra has the least promising stat sheet. He's 26 and has posted MacBackup-like numbers in the Swiss-A league for several years now. I'd honestly like to know what Feaster&Co. see in this guy.

I agree that it'd be nice to see him in net for the rest of this season though.

I agree. Then again, I haven't seen him play in 6 years so take it with a grain of salt.

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#22 Q
April 17 2013, 01:58PM
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@the forgotten man

Agreed! It was fun while it lasted but I let go of the past when he hinted he might not fulfill his contract next yr and when he said he wouldn't go if traded! Not very professional! What if the flames just said," to hell with you, we're not payin you?" Same diff no? Pisses me off !

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#23 Q
April 17 2013, 01:59PM
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@Kurt

Well said! Carolina has completely tanked now too. No more mid range picks! Top 3 or bust!

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#24 Double Dion
April 17 2013, 02:00PM
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the forgotten man wrote:

Kipper is now dead to me...take your ball back to Finland in May please.

Agreed. I also think Kipper has been overrated for about four years now. The time to trade him was this past offseason when we had some leverage and he had an actual good year. Spilled milk and all that though. We missed the boat. At least we traded JBo at the right time. Missed the boat on Stempniak though.

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#25 Scary Gary
April 17 2013, 02:05PM
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Are we putting Kipper in to tank? MacBackup's goaltending has been way too average. Bring on Berra!

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#26 Q
April 17 2013, 02:10PM
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So is agastino still back in college next yr then?

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#27 Q
April 17 2013, 02:12PM
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Was it just me or does Hanowski look a bit chubby for a hockey player?

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#28 beloch
April 17 2013, 02:25PM
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seve927 wrote:

In the spirit of the brotherly new environment surrounding flamesnation I propped you for propping beloch.

+1. Hey, might as well close the loop before it gets out of hand!

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#29 Double Dion
April 17 2013, 02:50PM
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Q wrote:

Was it just me or does Hanowski look a bit chubby for a hockey player?

He does look a bit chubby. Of course, so does Geno Malkin and he's pretty good. His skating needs to improve and he did look winded. Could be a product of Calgary's elevation too. I know when we'd go to lower points in minor hockey I'd have crazy good cardio because I was used to Calgary. It's why olympians tend to train here and in Canmore.

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#30 Baalzamon
April 17 2013, 02:52PM
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Double Dion wrote:

True. How the crap has Carolina been so bad? I guess my take on J. Staal being the most overrated player in the league is true. New overrated player is Paul Stastny.

IMO, it's solely because Cam Ward has been injured all season long, and they've been going with... uh... whoever else they've got. For the past 4 months.

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#31 FireOnIce
April 17 2013, 08:05PM
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You're doing it wrong Stempniak.

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#32 schevvy
April 17 2013, 08:13PM
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@RexLibris

Honestly, if the kids play well and pull out a win, I won't be mad. Don't have it in me to be mad with a win. Plus, I want CBJ in the playoffs over DET.

That being said, it was kinda sorta reverse psychology. Loss is not a bad thing.

But I tell ya Rex, if the Flames finish ahead of the Oilers....hahahaha. Oh god that would be funny. And then Flames win the lottery of course.

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#33 Kent Wilson
April 17 2013, 08:13PM
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Sven has started to look a lot more comfortable in the NHL recently. I thought he deserved to be demoted last time, but so far in the second call-up he looks like he belongs.

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#34 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 08:17PM
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@schevvy

I'd like to see the Blue Jackets in the playoffs, but now that Howson is safely ensconced in the Oilers management I'm not sure I want anyone there giving him any credit (and therefore leeway) for personnel decisions.

MacTavish I kind of trust. Howson, barely at all.

Flames finish ahead of the Oilers would be pretty funny. Obviously the laughs would be in the 403 at season's end, and perhaps in the 780 at the draft (barring lottery alterations).

Either way, it'd make for one heck of a story.

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#35 Monaertchi
April 17 2013, 08:18PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

He can't sign until the end of the month.

So we can bring him in for the playoffs!

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#36 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 08:18PM
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schevvy wrote:

Iggy :(

Sorry to bring it up. Go have a sad and come back when you feel better.

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#37 Kent Wilson
April 17 2013, 08:21PM
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Flames actually won the chances 7-6 in the first.

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#38 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 08:21PM
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I see the Oilers signed Yale forward Andrew Miller. Yay, a consolation prize. One out of four isn't bad.

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#39 Monaertchi
April 17 2013, 08:21PM
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@RexLibris

After lengthy consideration, I do not care if Iggy wins the cup. 4 and out for a higher pick!

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#40 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 08:25PM
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@schevvy

I know Feaster likely wouldn't do it because he'd rather the proverbial bird in the hand than two in the bush, but there could be an opportunity to trade down from that Penguins pick for two 2nds.

The Oilers would probably take that trade to pick either Fucale, Comrie or Jarry.

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#41 schevvy
April 17 2013, 08:25PM
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Still can't believe Flames got Kipper for a 2nd. Unreal trade

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#42 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 08:26PM
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@mk

Probably right. Although a 25th might have slightly more trade value to a motivated GM.

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#43 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 08:27PM
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schevvy wrote:

Still can't believe Flames got Kipper for a 2nd. Unreal trade

The Capitals traded Robert Lang to the Wings for a 1st round pick that became Mike Green. Think they'd like a do-over there?

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#44 Kent Wilson
April 17 2013, 08:32PM
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@schevvy

Before he went bonkers, Darryl pulled off some robberies:

- Kipper for a 2nd

- Langkow for Saprykin and Gauthier

- Huselius for Montador

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#45 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 08:33PM
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Had a look at the Rookies Scoring race, Yakupov and Conacher shooting at a 17.2% and 16.1% pace. Both with just over 60 shots thus far.

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#46 schevvy
April 17 2013, 08:33PM
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@Kent Wilson

What was the 1st Cammy trade like? I vaguely remember it as a steal.

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#47 RexLibris
April 17 2013, 08:35PM
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@Kent Wilson

Sutter was a pretty good horse trader. The last few years it seemed like he was mortgaging more and more of the future (picks and young players) to capitalize on the present. Perhaps most infamously in the Phaneuf deal, in my opinion. It was like he cashed in that one chip to address a whole bunch of organizational issues that had cropped up due to negligence or poor amateur scouting.

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#48 ChinookArch
April 17 2013, 08:35PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Before he went bonkers, Darryl pulled off some robberies:

- Kipper for a 2nd

- Langkow for Saprykin and Gauthier

- Huselius for Montador

Yup, he hit the Panick button and now all we have to show is Matt Stajan.

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#49 schevvy
April 17 2013, 08:37PM
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More so than the Phaneuf trade, I though the Jokinen (CHUD!) trade to NYR showed he had gone bonkers.

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#50 Kent Wilson
April 17 2013, 08:37PM
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@schevvy

A first rounder for Cammalleri (17th overall or something). He traded Tanguay in the same draft for MTL's first rounder which was further down.

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