FGD: Swimming with the Sharks

Ryan Pike
January 20 2014 02:10PM


(courtesy Vegnews.com)

Fresh off their fisticuffs in Vancouver on Saturday, the Calgary Flames (16-26-7) head down the west coast to face another test in the form of a division rival. The San Jose Sharks (31-12-6) are fifth overall in the NHL, a stark contrast to Calgary's 28th placement in the overall standings.

It's the third meeting of the 2013-14 season between the Flames and the Sharks. The two previous meetings – one each in Calgary and San Jose – were both losses for Calgary. One was a one-sided 6-3 drubbing in the Bay Area (fuelled by the Sharks crazy-good PP scoring three goals), the other was a 3-2 overtime loss in Calgary a month later.

Which Flames team will show up? The October team that got spanked or the November team that grinded out a point? Find out tonight! The puck drops at 8:30pm MT on Sportsnet West, y'all.

THE LINE-UP

After the shenanigans on Saturday, the Flames actually played fairly well, keeping the Canucks to the outside and largely negating their deep top six. They lost because they took too many penalties (and because the Canucks didn't play “their game” until the third). The Sharks are a much deeper team than the Canucks, but the same general approach could be useful.

The Flames didn't do line rushes at this morning's practice in San Jose, so it's guessing games for lines. What we do know is that David Jones and Kris Russell are returning to the line-up from the injured reserve, which pushes T.J. Galiardi and Shane O'Brien to the press box. Ben Street is the other remaining healthy extra body. Mike Cammalleri and Curtis Glencross remain on the IR.

Hudler – Backlund – Stempniak
D.Jones – Stajan - Bouma
Colborne – Monahan – Byron
Westgarth – B.Jones – McGrattan

Brodie – Giordano
Wideman - Smid
Butler – Russell

Ramo
Berra

Ramo starts for the fourth time in the last five games. Calgary's offense continues to be primarily Jiri Hudler-based (he's got 18 more points than the next-closest player, and has more assists than any other player has points), with occasional flashes from Mikael Backlund and a rotating cast of characters.

THE OPPOSITION

The Sharks have been bit by the injury bug much worse than the Flames of late. They enter tonight's game without Raffi Torres, Scott Hannan, Adam Burish, Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl. Despite all of this, they're still a pretty good hockey club. While the Flames were battling the Canucks on Saturday, the Sharks were involved in a track meet with the Tampa Bay Lightning – Joe Pavelski had a hat trick.

Lines, via DailyFaceoff:

Pavelski – Thornton – Burns
Nieto – Marleau – Wingels
Kearns – Desjardins – Kennedy
Sheppard – McCarthy – Hayes/Brown

Irwin – Boyle
Vlasic – Demers
Stuart – Braun

Niemi
Stalock

The Sharks have won three in a row, four of their last five and five of their last seven. In 2014, they're 6-2-0. Conversely, the Flames are 2-6-1 this year. The Sharks have a much more balanced attack than Calgary – Thornton, Pavelski and Marleau drive things, but other guys have gotten hot from time-to-time to balance things out.

Calgary's defense will definitely have their hands full tonight.

SUM IT UP

On Saturday, the Calgary Flames showed that, despite recent disappointments, they still have some fight left in them. They're going to need to be at their best tonight against one of the NHL's best hockey clubs. They showed they can stand toe-to-toe with them back in November. But in San Jose's barn, they'll need to set the tone early and, like they did against Vancouver, somehow suck the Sharks into playing their style of game.

Otherwise, it could be a very long night for the visitors.

51a8cdc527ce12d222fdc583f3cf4368
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 kittensandcookies
January 20 2014, 04:08PM
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Matty Franchise re-signed for four years. Puke.

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#2 Parallex
January 20 2014, 04:27PM
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kittensandcookies wrote:

Matty Franchise re-signed for four years. Puke.

Ladies and Gentleman... I give you Brian Burke!

AKA The Darryl Sutter brother by another mother.

How the frak do they reason that Stajan won't be completely redundant by year two? He's going to be (once again) the most expensive fourth line center in the NHL before the end of 2016.

Burke makes such crappy signings. Guess he just wasn't comfortable without a terrible contract to his name and figured he best overpay a guy that wasn't even a free agent yet to more money then he's worth and a longer term then is wise.

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#3 kittensandcookies
January 20 2014, 04:54PM
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Funkyjaman wrote:

How is this a bad signing? A Guy that can move up and down the rotation during the rebuild, giving young guys an opportunity to develop in different roles. No NTC/ NMC attached from what I see. If someone comes in and challenges him then he can be moved. The cap hit is comparable to others of the same ilk across the NHL is it not? How many quality centermen are jumping at the bit to join a rebuild? Why do people care about term and cap, especially right now? The flames will be lucky to hit the floor next season as it is. This team Needs some vets and he's a solid dude from all accounts. I like it, worse things to be "puking" about. Melodramatic much?

Melodramatic? Pfft.

Do you want to watch Stajan for the next four years? Also, he's 30.

Why does everybody think these contracts are so easily moveable?

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#4 Flames15
January 20 2014, 06:01PM
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Gio, Cammy to TOR for Kadri, Reimer and 1st round pick. A rumour a friend of mine heard on TSN. What do you guys think?

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#5 HongKongHockeyFan
January 20 2014, 06:56PM
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I'm "Absolutely Stunned" by the Matt Stajan signing!

Why bother to sign him at all or now especially. I highly doubt he he would received more than 1.5 million in free agency for 1 year. I take that back I suspect he wouldn't have gotten more than 1.0 million. I guess Burke is truly committed to the rebuild if he is willing to have Stajan take up 1 of the 4 center spots. Absolutely nuts in my view.

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#6 SeanCharles
January 20 2014, 06:22PM
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I'm sorry everyone but 4years is too long for Stajan.

Should have been 2-3years long.

What happens to the other whipping boy UFA: Butler?

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#7 the forgotten man
January 20 2014, 06:42PM
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Why not trade Stajan at deadline and let him resign in Calgary if being here was so important or how about only 2-3 years if he wants to stay here. Like a ten goal forward is not readily available during FA season. A 4 year anchor taking up space that should be used by our youth.

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#8 Walter White
January 20 2014, 06:54PM
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Tony wrote:

Torts suspended for 15 days (6 games) without pay.

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=441725

15 days? That's a long time for no man-love with his gunslinger Bieksa!!! Or do they allow for conjugal visits?

What a poozie that Bieksa is btw; so he steps up to take the faceoff so that the new guy does not have to fight Westgarth (solid move) but then sees how big Westgarth is and he refuses to fight him and finds someone smaller to fight....the new guy ends up fighting anyway.

Gun slinger??? More like" ball gravy slinger"

WW

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#9 coachedpotatoe
January 20 2014, 04:02PM
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Chad wrote:

Wish that we could see a legit 4th line of NHL players for once. We have the pieces for it but need to play not one but two fighter for some reason.

Galiardi - B. Jones - Bouma

Play 4 lines like we did at the start of the season when we played the most exciting hockey this team has played in decade. Heaven forbid that would mean being less truculent.

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#10 RexLibris
January 20 2014, 06:14PM
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@Flames15

That would be a win for the Flames. They could re-sign Reimer and select twice in the top fifteen, perhaps ten in this year's draft.

Let's wait and see happens.

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#11 Clyde
January 20 2014, 05:05PM
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Funkyjaman wrote:

How is this a bad signing? A Guy that can move up and down the rotation during the rebuild, giving young guys an opportunity to develop in different roles. No NTC/ NMC attached from what I see. If someone comes in and challenges him then he can be moved. The cap hit is comparable to others of the same ilk across the NHL is it not? How many quality centermen are jumping at the bit to join a rebuild? Why do people care about term and cap, especially right now? The flames will be lucky to hit the floor next season as it is. This team Needs some vets and he's a solid dude from all accounts. I like it, worse things to be "puking" about. Melodramatic much?

It's not a bad signing at all. Guy shows leadership , is versatile and works hard. Plus he wants to be here. Some people just love to complain. Hope he has a decent corsi and can drive possession or some guys could really get upset though.

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#12 coachedpotatoe
January 20 2014, 05:20PM
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Primo wrote:

Sportnest TV and 960.

Thanks. The amount per year is not the issue for me although I don't like the length.

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#13 Burnward
January 20 2014, 10:52PM
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I still remain intrigued by Berra.

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#14 mk
January 20 2014, 07:26PM
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HongKongHockeyFan wrote:

I'm "Absolutely Stunned" by the Matt Stajan signing!

Why bother to sign him at all or now especially. I highly doubt he he would received more than 1.5 million in free agency for 1 year. I take that back I suspect he wouldn't have gotten more than 1.0 million. I guess Burke is truly committed to the rebuild if he is willing to have Stajan take up 1 of the 4 center spots. Absolutely nuts in my view.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the difference between the burn-it-to-the-ground Oilers rebuild, and the at-least-look-like-we're-trying rebuild we'll have. Or at least start before Burke gut-punches it for a young sniper.

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#15 prendrefeu
January 20 2014, 10:11PM
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I'm not sure if I want the Flames to win anymore. Anyone else have these mixed feelings?

If we win - great for morale! If we lose - puts us further into the lottery*

*Still no guarantee that we'll get a top lottery pick. Increases our chances though.ˇˇˇ

ˇˇˇIt's still a lottery after that: first rounders can be a total bust at the NHL level, just like a 166th pick can be one of the best players in NHL history and a walk-on can become captain.

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#16 mattyc
January 20 2014, 06:33PM
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@Clyde will like this:

Matt Stajan's PDO : 93.7 (Flames PDO: 97.5)

3 straight years of positive relCorsi.

Plus he's a truculent goal-scoring machine.

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#17 Primo
January 20 2014, 07:15PM
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HongKongHockeyFan wrote:

I'm "Absolutely Stunned" by the Matt Stajan signing!

Why bother to sign him at all or now especially. I highly doubt he he would received more than 1.5 million in free agency for 1 year. I take that back I suspect he wouldn't have gotten more than 1.0 million. I guess Burke is truly committed to the rebuild if he is willing to have Stajan take up 1 of the 4 center spots. Absolutely nuts in my view.

I'm "Absolutely Stunned" by your comments.

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#18 Schmenkley
January 20 2014, 09:53PM
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Westgarth and Big Ern seeing lots of ice....showcased for a trade?

:)

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#19 coachedpotatoe
January 20 2014, 04:44PM
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Where has the Stajan signing been confirmed? Not exactly what the flames sites says or my limited search on NHL.

If it's confirmed he allows a veteran presence although I would have preferered an upgrade via the UFA market. The fact that he got through all the hate form fans during the first contact and the crap from Sutter he has demonstrated character and leadership. 4 years though is too long and the other issue is if there is any trade movement clauses. Another question is how does this fit Burkes idea of needing to bigger as Stajan is only average or a bit below average. Interesting days ahead.

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#20 coachedpotatoe
January 20 2014, 04:47PM
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Coach do more research, TSN. Why can't the flames update before TSN?

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#21 RKD
January 20 2014, 04:49PM
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TSN confirms Matt Stajan 4 years $12.5 million. A lot people may think it is too high but the cap is going up and is projected to reach 80-90 million. Also, Stajan wants to be in Calgary. Personally, I don't think Burke will let one of his Toronto guys go. We will have guys like Stajan, Colborne and more Burkie guys down the road. Stajan is not the offensive guy he used to be but you need depth at the center position and a penalty killer. Stajan eats minutes and you need veteran guys, look at the Oilers. They are in year four of their rebuild and still behind the Flames who are in year one of their rebuild.

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#22 Funkyjaman
January 20 2014, 04:50PM
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How is this a bad signing? A Guy that can move up and down the rotation during the rebuild, giving young guys an opportunity to develop in different roles. No NTC/ NMC attached from what I see. If someone comes in and challenges him then he can be moved. The cap hit is comparable to others of the same ilk across the NHL is it not? How many quality centermen are jumping at the bit to join a rebuild? Why do people care about term and cap, especially right now? The flames will be lucky to hit the floor next season as it is. This team Needs some vets and he's a solid dude from all accounts. I like it, worse things to be "puking" about. Melodramatic much?

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#23 prendrefeu
January 20 2014, 06:24PM
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Tortoise suspended for .... wait for it.... wait for it....

15 days.




Or 6 games. But who's counting, really?

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#24 Lordmork
January 20 2014, 06:49PM
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I'm a big fan of resigning Stajan. If at some point he's eclipsed by younger, better players, then that's great, the Flames can deal with it then. But I doubt very highly the Flames could find an upgrade in the UFA market for a better price/term, and right now I don't believe any of the prospects in the organization are capable of handling his minutes. And frankly, I think the Flames could do a lot worse than being led by Gio, Stajan and Backlund.

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#25 Nighteyes
January 20 2014, 06:49PM
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"I am perplexed by this fine. I stand behind Bob Hartley completely in this regard, and remain confident that he acted properly in every aspect of this game."

Brian Burke's statement on the Hartley fine hahah..truculence!

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#26 Baalzamon
January 20 2014, 09:16PM
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Westgarth has scored at least one goals four times in his career.

Watch out, Mike Bossy.

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#27 Parallex
January 20 2014, 10:10PM
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@EugeneV

No. Without getting into the specifics PDO essentially measures luck in the form of shooting percentage plus save percentage. Having a PDO of 95 is bad luck (PDO 100 is neutral). Stajan's 5 on 5 relCorsi is +3.2. A good number (slightly above average) that looks better when you account for his hard zone starts... not 4 years and 12.5M good mind you but he's a positive player (for now).

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#28 prendrefeu
January 20 2014, 10:26PM
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ffffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuu

Byron now on the Injured list.

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#29 Jeff In Lethbridge
January 20 2014, 02:28PM
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I suppose it's too much to ask that Hartley start the Mcgratton/Wesgarth line at puck drop of puck tonight?

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#30 Chad
January 20 2014, 02:41PM
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Wish that we could see a legit 4th line of NHL players for once. We have the pieces for it but need to play not one but two fighter for some reason.

Galiardi - B. Jones - Bouma

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#31 Cfan in Vic
January 20 2014, 03:18PM
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Chad wrote:

Wish that we could see a legit 4th line of NHL players for once. We have the pieces for it but need to play not one but two fighter for some reason.

Galiardi - B. Jones - Bouma

I would also love to see that 4th line. Sit the goon squad for once. Has Big Ern EVER dressed as much as he has this season?

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#32 Burnward
January 20 2014, 04:56PM
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Well, it's a sign to me that Burke is going to stay the course and rebuild slowly.

Should make many around here happy!

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#33 ?
January 20 2014, 05:12PM
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4 years seems to be a bit too long, but I assume Stajan wants some family stability.

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#34 Tony
January 20 2014, 05:44PM
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Torts suspended for 15 days (6 games) without pay.

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=441725

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#35 Baalzamon
January 20 2014, 06:53PM
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Flames15 wrote:

Gio, Cammy to TOR for Kadri, Reimer and 1st round pick. A rumour a friend of mine heard on TSN. What do you guys think?

Maple Leafs don't have the cap space. Not even close.

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#36 Primo
January 20 2014, 07:35PM
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Nighteyes wrote:

"I am perplexed by this fine. I stand behind Bob Hartley completely in this regard, and remain confident that he acted properly in every aspect of this game."

Brian Burke's statement on the Hartley fine hahah..truculence!

If i'm not mistaken team officials are not allowed to comment on league rulings unless they are of an acceptance nature. I believe Burkie could be in big trouble for this comment and we haven't seen the end of this!

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#37 Clyde
January 20 2014, 08:45PM
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mattyc wrote:

@Clyde will like this:

Matt Stajan's PDO : 93.7 (Flames PDO: 97.5)

3 straight years of positive relCorsi.

Plus he's a truculent goal-scoring machine.

Lol Well done

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#38 Beerzebub
January 20 2014, 09:04PM
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Oh, Karri. That probably wraps it up..

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#39 Tony
January 20 2014, 09:05PM
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Goon line! Puck bouncing crazy today.

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#40 mattyc
January 20 2014, 10:19PM
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EugeneV wrote:

So that means Stajan is slightly below the team average? Does it account for strength of competiton faced?

Like I've stated previously, I want to understand the "new" stats.

It doesn't account for competition.

Stajan has a corsi% this year of 47.8%, meaning 47.8% of the shot attempts when Stajan is on the ice are against the opposing net. In a vacuum, that's not great, but when you consider the Flames are a pretty junk team (the Flames' team corsi% is 44.5%), it doesn't seem that bad. Stajan's corsi% is 3.3% better than the team average (relCorsi%).

For competition you can measure against the corsi of the players Stajan plays against (called Corsi QualComp). There's still a lot of debate about how to measure the quality of competition. Some use corsi, some use time on ice...

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#41 Parallex
January 20 2014, 10:34PM
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mattyc wrote:

I'd also be willing to bet the flames never get to 100 PDO this year. The goaltending is so far below acceptable, they'll never get the 92% or whatever they need to get to 100. In that way, it won't be luck so much as it will be anomalously bad goaltending.

Not if they keep giving starts to Berra they won't... Ramo is nothing to write home about but Berra (and Joey Mac in his few starts) really drag team goaltending down. I'm almost surprised Ortio hasn't gotten a turn yet.

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#42 Baalzamon
January 20 2014, 11:51PM
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@EugeneV

On a more depressing front, the 1998 draft:

6th overall, Rico Fata

171st overall, Pavel Datsyuk

yeesh. Better hope scouting is better nowadays.

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#43 prendrefeu
January 20 2014, 02:31PM
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I'm calling Vegas now to see if there are any lines on that happening, Jeff.

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#44 SeanCharles
January 20 2014, 02:40PM
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Stoaked to see Gio, Brodie, Russell, Wideman and Smid all play in the same game.

I wonder who Burke will retain out of this group?

Gio, Russell and Brodie are my fav's!

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#45 MichaelD
January 20 2014, 04:42PM
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@kittensandcookies

Where is this coming from?

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#46 Primo
January 20 2014, 04:47PM
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coachedpotatoe wrote:

Where has the Stajan signing been confirmed? Not exactly what the flames sites says or my limited search on NHL.

If it's confirmed he allows a veteran presence although I would have preferered an upgrade via the UFA market. The fact that he got through all the hate form fans during the first contact and the crap from Sutter he has demonstrated character and leadership. 4 years though is too long and the other issue is if there is any trade movement clauses. Another question is how does this fit Burkes idea of needing to bigger as Stajan is only average or a bit below average. Interesting days ahead.

ITS OFFICIAL. 4 YEARS $12.1M.

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#47 Primo
January 20 2014, 04:49PM
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@coachedpotatoe

Sportnest TV and 960.

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#48 John
January 20 2014, 05:12PM
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Burke's signing of Stajan to 4 yr extension, tells me 2 things: Burke believes in veteran leadership for the rebuild and that the rebuild isn't going to be short. I'll wait until the trade deadline to see what kind of value we are getting for Cammie and Wideman etc.

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#49 Kent Wilson
January 20 2014, 05:13PM
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I hope Hartley moves Russell up with Wideman at some point. Dennis seems to do a lot better when he has a mobile partner.

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#50 Funkyjaman
January 20 2014, 06:06PM
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kittensandcookies wrote:

Melodramatic? Pfft.

Do you want to watch Stajan for the next four years? Also, he's 30.

Why does everybody think these contracts are so easily moveable?

I think if you read my post you should be able to determine how I feel about Matty Franchise. But In case you just simply scanned it, I don't see how it's a problem contract, one that couldn't be moved later if need be. It's a fair contract.

The 30 remark is silly, why is being 30 now a days a bad thing. The guy has the most NHL games played on the team and you need that for a young team. It's called experience.

If you are solely focused on individuals during this rebuild, repeat, rebuild, then you are going to miss the bigger picture...the team. He is a player that is good for the team, right now, during this rebuild. Do you honestly think that any of the young guys in Abby are ready for full time NHL duty without some kind of veteran leadership to help them through it? If you think we can get someone else to sign here and replace stajan who would you suggest? And again what would be the point, why replace a youngish NHL centre that knows the team now with someone from outside the organization. Why displace that leadership? I see no downside to this signing, this team needs players that want to be here. It's going to be rough road for a few season, if we are lucky, and it's cool that Matt Stajan wants to be here for it.

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