Five things: It's all getting closer now

Ryan Lambert
June 06 2013 08:45AM

1. Ramo is locked up

It may have been just a formality at this point, and no they can't reveal terms until July 5, but I guess it's nice to have some level of confirmation that they got the Karri Ramo contract done in something resembling a timely fashion.

I'm not surprised by the multi-year term and I probably won't be surprised by whatever the money is (unless it's really low, I guess), but it really does look like they're going to run a battery of Joey MacDonald, Reto Berra and Ramo, which I think is very interesting.

Here you have a team which says its ambition is to make the playoffs. Here you have a team whose goaltending will be comprised of a career backup and two guys whose combined NHL experience is 48 games, all of them Ramo's. These are reportedly highly-regarded goaltenders, but you can't help but wonder exactly how much experience in SM-Liiga or the KHL helps them for the rigors of an 82-game NHL season. Does that mean MacDonald is the starter? If so, that's trouble for the Flames' chances, which probably leads to a front office cleanout.

Don't get me wrong: I'm all for this team being rather bad the next few years and stockpiling high picks, and I think a goalie rotation of that type is more likely than not to get it done, but you have to think the executives are actually trying to do what was asked of them and make the playoffs. Which leads one to believe they're high as hell on Ramo. I guess we'll see.

2. A thing I can totally see happening

Someone on Twitter the other day, I think it was Dave Lozo, asked idly which team would be most hilarious in their desire to offer a big ol' contract to Bryan Bickell after his insane, unsustainable goalscoring run in this postseason (I asked the same thing yesterday - ed.). All the usual answers followed, with the most obvious being Buffalo because of the Ville Leino situation and how giving Bickell big money would be more or less the same thing.

Meanwhile, all I could think was "The Calgary Flames." They want scoring. They want to get "tough to play against." Bickell, based on what he's done here in the playoffs, provides both. You know, ostensibly. He is a free agent at the end of this season and he reportedly wants more than the $2 million or so Chicago offered him to stay, and someone's certainly going to give it to him. I just have a sinking feeling that it will be Calgary.

Y'know, just because you're scoring a ton of goals on a line with Jonathan Toews doesn't mean you're going to actually play like you're worth more than $2 million a season, particularly if you're already 27 and have no history of doing that thing that you're going to be paid to do. The idea that he'll magically revert back into the 17-goal guy he was three years ago will probably be brought up a lot, backed up by his scoring nine in 48 this year (a contract year), but that is of course preposterous.

His underlying numbers are also completely underwhelming despite his nice goal line too.

I eagerly await the point at which he gets $3.5 or $4 million a year for way-too-long from somebody, and I really hope Jay Feaster isn't the guy to give it to him.

3. Time to get Brodie signed

Rpger Millions tweeted the other day that the Flames have yet to talk to Tj Brodie's agent about anew contract, which indicates that there's very little in the way of traction for him getting signed. Normally no big deal, sure, since he's a restricted free agent. But here's the issue: About the same time as I saw that, I also saw that Elliotte Friedman reported the Flyers would be hunting RFA defensemen.

Uh oh.

This is, one supposes, one of those things that is avoidable: The Flyers are desperate for defensive help and will, as we saw with Shea Weber last summer, go to extremes to pull it off. The reason I think Brodie might be a target for them in particular is that he's a) very good, and b) not exactly the world's best-known RFA defenseman. Consequently, while guys like Roman Josi might attract a bit more attention in the musings-about-this department, Brodie might be a better target, and perhaps one that comes a little bit cheaper in theory.

You'd think the Flames would be hard at work trying to get this sorted out as soon as humanly possible to avoid such a fiasco, but then you never know. The closer July 5 gets without it getting done, the more you have to worry about Philadelphia's designs on swooping in.

4. Some quick thoughts on grandfathered visors

This is a very common-sense thing, which is shocking because the NHL often avoids common sense like it does any association with Sean Avery. It's the best way to make sure everyone has to wear a visor in the future while simultaneously letting the idiots who want to skate around without them put themselves at greater risk. One of the arguments against the move I saw yesterday was that visors don't protect players from everything, and that's certainly true. But just because it's not a total failsafe against facial injuries doesn't mean it shouldn't be pursued.

In a lot of ways — and not to trivialize this too much — it's the same thing as the gun control debate in the United States. Advocates want more basic precautions put into place to prevent guns from getting into lunatics' hands, but those who oppose such measures typically say that it won't stop every gun from getting to every criminal, as though it's an all-or-nothing proposition.

The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of players in the league wear visors these days, and most have done so forever. I think it was something like four guys who have fewer than the requisite games-played to make such a decision actually don't wear visors, so this changes nothing for most players; all CHL players wear visors, all AHL players wear visors, all European players wear visors, all college players wear full cages. That the NHL took this long to get on board tells you everything you need to know about how slow the league moves.

Next up is hybrid icing, which is apparently bad because linesmen get it wrong sometimes. Just like regular icing.

5. I don't see how LA wins that series

People are acting like the Kings are right back in this series now that they've won one at home, but I gotta think they're still in tough to win three of the next four games. You can say it's as simple as winning one in Chicago and continuing their home dominance, but 13 of their 17 games in this postseason have been decided by one goal (or two with an empty netter, like Tuesday).

Do you really wanna get into that kind of narrow slugfest with a team like the Blackhawks? Imagine what happens if Kane or Toews shake out the cobwebs. The Kings are fininshed.

Around the Nation

Jason Gregor has an in-depth interview with Darnell Nurse up at OilersNation. Many believe Nurse will be the second defender taken at the upcoming draft behind Seth Jones and could even sneak inside the top-7 picks. Here's a tase:

JG: How did you approach that question period with the NHL teams? Was it nerve-wracking?

DN: I think that you just have to be genuine. That’s the biggest thing. Obviously you’re in this position for a reason, and you can’t change who you are or give people answers that you think that they want to hear. For me, that was the biggest thing; just go in there and show them who I am as a person. By doing that it made the interview process a lot easier. With that being said, after 22 meetings there is a point where you get sick of talking about yourself for sure.

Check out the rest here.

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!
#101 TheBurnward
June 12 2013, 07:03AM
Trash it!

I'm down with some Bickell. Dude can flat out play hockey. Stupid hockey hipsters.

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