Five things: Break is over!

Ryan Lambert
February 27 2014 09:10AM

five5

1. The best laugh you're going to have all week

I really don't know what about this Calgary Sun story is funnier: The headline, the first sentence, or the premise.

Headline: “Calgary Flames still haven't ruled out making playoffs.”

First sentence: “The mountain is steep, but not necessarily insurmountable.”

Premise: “Come on down to the Saddledome because we're only neck deep in this quicksand!”

The idea that the Flames could make the playoffs at this point is of course ludicrous. Of the 24 games they have remaining, Sports Club Stats they would mathematically be eliminated from contention upon suffering their sixth regulation loss; that is, they can give away no more than 12 points of the 48 still available to them. That's a .750 winning percentage the rest of the way, obviously, and it's up not inconsiderably from the team's .440 winning percentage over the first 58 games of the season. Based on that figure, the average number of games the Flames have needed to lose 12 points in the standings is a little less than 14 games, or slightly more than half of those remaining.

That expectation of winning at least 18 of the remaining games further fails to take into account injuries (of which the Flames have several right now) or the inevitable sell-off of the team's few decent players for futures.

Another bit of comedy from the Sun: “If the Flames do fall out of contention and become sellers on the market before the March 5 trade deadline...” If indeed. I will never understand how reporters let coaches get away with stuff like this.

2. Injuries still plentiful

So Karri Ramo is still out, which actually may not be that much of a bad thing, given what we know about the play he's turned in so far this season. So too is Brian McGrattan (potentially, for tonight's game at least) and that likewise would not be a terrible thing overall.

The most meaningful of these injuries, though, remains the one that's keeping Curtis Glencross on the sidelines, and much of the chatter indicates that while he's making progress — skating in a no-contact jersey, and that's it — he's still a ways away. His absence is not going to help the Flames in any appreciable way, but that the same time, perhaps the team's most exciting two call-ups of the season...

3. That means

The Flames have officially recalled — and will presumably use — both Joni Ortio and Markus Granlund over the next little while, and in doing so give fans an eyeful of two of the team's most promising prospects.

Ortio of course has spent most of the season preventing the entire AHL from scoring, which is something to which one cannot be accustomed from Flames goaltenders having seen them over the last three or four years. While the average viewer might be reticent to proclaim him the next coming of mid-2000s Miikka Kiprusoff for obvious reasons (chief among them his never having gotten a second in the NHL), he's spent the last two seasons being pretty damn solid or even great, and if he can produce at anything resembling an average goaltending line in the NHL for the Flames they should be falling all over themselves for joy; let's not forget, this season's team save percentage of .900 is actually nine points higher than it was in 48 last year.

Then there's Granlund, who's on 44 points in 50 games for Abbotsford in what is his first taste of North American hockey for any prolonged period of time. That's good for 13th in the AHL behind a lot of guys who have gotten more games than him (and a few that haven't, like Ryan Strome, who has 49 in 37!), and he's also just 20 years old. This is the Flames' most exciting and promising forward prospect in terms of those actually playing professional hockey right now — with apologies to Ben Hanowski — and to see him get a shot already, regardless of the reason for it, is good for all involved.

4. Stop it, Brian

The Flames now say that they're actively trying to work on an extension for Mike Cammalleri while also leaving open the possibility of a trade. The logic behind extending him escapes me fully.

It's unclear exactly how much his leadership means to the youngest guys on the team, but if this is a team with designs on rebuilding comprehensively (Crater for Connor, etc.), then keeping around a guy like Cammalleri, who's a very serviceable top-six forward and certainly makes pretty much any team he could play on better, is counterintuitive for two reasons.

First, trading him necessarily nets the team assets — prospects, picks, or both — that help to build for the future in some way. Second, keeping him makes the team better which is what they don't or should not want to do to begin with. Maybe it's in pursuit of the cap floor, I don't know.

There's also this: If the team intends to keep him it's because they don't have designs on bottoming out, which is a perfectly understandable tactic from a pride perspective (but not so much from one of realism). But at that point, the question becomes one of how many guys from a team that sucks, and has sucked for years, do you really want to keep around at the end of the day? By my count the Flames have nine veterans under contract for next year who have missed the playoffs with this team at least this season and last. That doesn't include Cammalleri, Lee Stempniak, or Chris Butler. Re-signing any one of those guys bumps you to 10, which is half your game-day roster. What's the point in keeping them all around?

5. The MacDermid retirement

So there was some initial confusion as to why the Flames' somewhat-newly-acquired enforcer Lane MacDermid refused to report when recalled after the Olympic break. Turns out it's because he filed retirement papers and doesn't want to play hockey any more. To echo the comments of Justin Bourne yesterday morning, I think it's very admirable to see a guy at 24 years old, and with several games of NHL experience under his belt, to say, “Thanks but no thanks” to a game which has historically asked a little too much of him for his liking.

Really great to see that kind of thing in a sport in which you often see guys hang around too long because the money is good. Especially when they do what MacDermid did for a living: Suffer head injuries. Get out while you can. Good going.

686dfac3780611cb7acad6ce5166c6c1
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!
Avatar
#1 beloch
February 27 2014, 09:50AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Props
43
props

1. The Sun probably could have chosen a more responsible title, but hey, it's a freakin' trashy rag. However, what do you expect from Hartley? "Hey guys, we're 6 games from being mathematically eliminated, so let's all give up and start working on our drives!". No. His job is to work the players hard even if it's futile. It's a matter of maintaining the hard working culture that's kept the team out of last place this season.

3. Ortio isn't just from the same country as Kipper, he went to the same town and the same coach to study goal-tending. Their training system emphasizes the long-term ceiling of goalies over short-term sv%. i.e. Emphasis on long-term mastery of rebound control, glove-work, skating, and staying on your feet rather than dropping into butterfly the moment somebody in the audience sneezes. This suggests that, like Kipper, Ortio may be a late bloomer. If so, we shouldn't give up on him even if he doesn't perform particularly well in the NHL this season. On the other hand, if he does perform well... At the very least, we should expect Ortio to let fewer rebounds float right back into the scoring chance area than Berra does.

Granlund, on the other hand, is likely to struggle, but I really liked how his brother played in the Olympics and he does have similar numbers to his brother in the AHL...

4. First, Cammalleri hasn't been great since returning from concussion. Teams looking for a playoff rental don't want a guy who might not be great until next season. The market may have gone soft on him so signing him to a one-year extension could improve the return from trading him. Of course, Burke is also well known for being a bit sly about what he says and what he does. Speaking about re-signing him may well be a trade negotiation tactic.

Second, you really should read the blog you submit to more often. Bottoming out for picks, as the Oilers have done so effectively for years now, is widely regarded as unwise. If you trade all the veterans away you risk developing an entitled, losing culture. Having veterans on your team isn't just about having a cheery dressing room. Pro hockey is all about subtle details and experienced players pass on a lot to rookies. If you leave rookies to develop without mentors you run the risk of getting the perennial crapfest they have up in Edmonton. First overall picks are great, but not worth running your org into the ground for.

5. I really wonder how much the Stars knew about MacDermid's intentions to retire when they traded him to Calgary. Burke should probably be asking for his 6th rounder back, and the league might well back him up.

Avatar
#2 Primo
February 27 2014, 09:53AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
12
props

I totally understand professional sports is all about winning! Playing for draft position rather than the wins sends your players and fan base the wrong message and you run the risk of engraving a losing culture such as what you have in Edmonton.

Unfortunately what I see evolving here is a strong run that will see the Flames advancing to about 20th in the standings and losing out on any one of the top 5 picks this year that this rebidding franchise is in dire need of.

I look to Burke to ensure regardless of where we finish that his activity in the next week and also at the draft table will ensure we are able to fill the cupboards with high end drafts and/or prospects regardless of where we finish!

Avatar
#3 mattyc
February 27 2014, 10:24AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
19
props

1. It's the Calgary Sun. They literally have a centrefold girl in it.

4. Re: Cammalleri. I feel like this conversation has been had ad nauseum. No NHL team is going to actively try to make themselves worse with the hopes that they can get a top draft pick. Not only does no one actively try to lose, but it won't even guarantee losing, because there is so much 'luck' involved in actually being 30th (and then winning the lottery). Chances are you actually blow trying to blow it.

There's plenty of reasons to question resigning Cammalleri vs. trading him, but actively trying to get worse isn't one of them.

Avatar
#4 MESA1994@GMAIL.COM
February 27 2014, 11:22AM
Trash it!
28
trashes
Props
5
props
Primo wrote:

I totally understand professional sports is all about winning! Playing for draft position rather than the wins sends your players and fan base the wrong message and you run the risk of engraving a losing culture such as what you have in Edmonton.

Unfortunately what I see evolving here is a strong run that will see the Flames advancing to about 20th in the standings and losing out on any one of the top 5 picks this year that this rebidding franchise is in dire need of.

I look to Burke to ensure regardless of where we finish that his activity in the next week and also at the draft table will ensure we are able to fill the cupboards with high end drafts and/or prospects regardless of where we finish!

losing culture in edmonton? i love flame fans.we will cheer for u in edmonton when the flames make the playoff this year.

Avatar
#5 the-wolf
February 27 2014, 11:45AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
12
props

I agree with the author that Calgray has enough vets still on board to make re-signing your best trade asset during a rebuild pointless. I too wonder if it's a negotiation tactic.

And yes, you can't tank on purpose or can all your vets or became the Oilers, but it is still a rebuild. Cammi needs to go.

And while there is an argument that a 1 year deal may make him more desirable to trade next season, the reverse could also be true. His numbers get worse, he gets another inury, etc.

Also, why would Cammi want to re-sign for 1 year? If that happens he has the worst agent ever. Unlikely he gets less than 3 wherever he signs.

Avatar
#6 McRib
February 27 2014, 11:52AM
Trash it!
10
trashes
Props
29
props

@MESA1994@GMAIL.COM

"losing culture in edmonton?" That is about the most honest statement in all of Hockey at this moment. If you don't think there is a loosing culture you are in serious denial. A lot of people around the NHL predicted Edmonton to make the playoffs this year with your roster (although I didn't you still have an AHL defense). It actually makes me mad that you may very well pick before us... Let someone else have a Top. 3 pick for once.

You turned Jordan Eberle one of the best big game World Junior players in history into a guy that collects a 6 million dollar paycheck and shows up every third night. Lets not even talk about turning Justin Schultz who was +29 in three years at the University of Wisconsin into a -30 player who now lets players walkout front for goals left, right and centre. I know someone who watched Schultz regularly at UW and they said defensive play was never a concern then it is now, but don't worry you will give him $6 Million Per even though he hasn't even come close to earning it to "lock him down" Or RNH, or Taylor Hall. These guys used to be all effort in Junior, until they showed up to Edmonton. Taylor Hall won two Memorial Cups the hardest trophy to win in sports watching him these days you would never know that the main reason he went ahead of Tyler Seguin is "leadership" qualities. Tyler Seguin drinks/sleeps with a different women every night and does maserati burnouts out of team parking lots after functions and he still has more effort at this level on the ice.

Avatar
#7 Nighteyes
February 27 2014, 12:21PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
24
props

"So Karri Ramo is still out, which actually may not be that much of a bad thing, given what we know about the play he's turned in so far this season." Uh, what are you talking about dude..have you watched any of the games he's played in? A large portion of the games we've won is because he was in net. Totally disagree with that statement.

Avatar
#8 If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin
February 27 2014, 12:47PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Props
10
props

@McRib

"Tyler Seguin drinks/sleeps with a different women every night and does maserati burnouts out of team parking lots after functions and he still has more effort at this level on the ice. "

The guy's a hero in my books! What the hell does womanizing have to do with compete level on the ice?

Avatar
#9 TheoForever
February 27 2014, 12:57PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
12
props
If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin wrote:

"Tyler Seguin drinks/sleeps with a different women every night and does maserati burnouts out of team parking lots after functions and he still has more effort at this level on the ice. "

The guy's a hero in my books! What the hell does womanizing have to do with compete level on the ice?

It can tire you out. :)

Avatar
#10 BitGeek
February 27 2014, 01:07PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Props
18
props

"Second, keeping him makes the team better which is what they don't or should not want to do to begin with." - Ryan Lambert

lol. Thanks for that little nugget Ryan. Sometimes I think you don't even read over what you have written for us.

Dean Lombardi: "Ok Brian, how much for Cammalleri?"

Brian Burke: "Give me two of your worst players and you can have him, lord knows we don't want our team to get any better. What's the point of that? "

Dean Lombardi: "Holy Sh!t Brian, now that I think about it, no manager in their right mind would want to make their team better. Thanks for talking me down off the ledge. You keep him."

hahahahaa *wipes tears from my eyes*

Avatar
#11 Lordmork
February 27 2014, 01:53PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
5
props

The oft-overlooked side of tanking for draft position is that apparently, at some point, you want to get better. Who knew?

Avatar
#12 SeanCharles
February 27 2014, 01:55PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
2
props

I've noticed alot of playoff teams don't overly want to trade for rentals this year. It's possibly related to the huge increase in capspace everyone will recieve so re-signing guys who fit in might be costly.

On the other hand if you trade for a guy with term on his contract you don't have to worry about re-signing him.

A guy like Stempniak, Butler and maybe even Berra might be attractive free agents because the cost to aquire them won't be too steep and re-signing them won't be expensive either so dangling them at the deadline is a foregone conclusion.

In Cammy's case he is a high end offensive player who, if he performs in a playoff run, can demand a more significant contract. This is all fine and dandy considering the cap is going up but he could still walk away at seasons end.

Considering all of this you have to think a player like Hudler has much more value come deadline day than Cammy. Hudler has term left on a reasonalbe deal and, arguably, contributes just as much offense..

I would rather trade Cammy and keep Hudler but re-signing Cammy and trading Hudler could net us more come deadline day.

Asset management is the key and considering there are only 2 maybe 3 players that Burke wouldn't trade at all on this roster you have to consider all avenues..

..which includes re-signing Cammy

Avatar
#13 mesa1994@GMAIL.COM
February 27 2014, 02:29PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Props
3
props
McRib wrote:

"losing culture in edmonton?" That is about the most honest statement in all of Hockey at this moment. If you don't think there is a loosing culture you are in serious denial. A lot of people around the NHL predicted Edmonton to make the playoffs this year with your roster (although I didn't you still have an AHL defense). It actually makes me mad that you may very well pick before us... Let someone else have a Top. 3 pick for once.

You turned Jordan Eberle one of the best big game World Junior players in history into a guy that collects a 6 million dollar paycheck and shows up every third night. Lets not even talk about turning Justin Schultz who was +29 in three years at the University of Wisconsin into a -30 player who now lets players walkout front for goals left, right and centre. I know someone who watched Schultz regularly at UW and they said defensive play was never a concern then it is now, but don't worry you will give him $6 Million Per even though he hasn't even come close to earning it to "lock him down" Or RNH, or Taylor Hall. These guys used to be all effort in Junior, until they showed up to Edmonton. Taylor Hall won two Memorial Cups the hardest trophy to win in sports watching him these days you would never know that the main reason he went ahead of Tyler Seguin is "leadership" qualities. Tyler Seguin drinks/sleeps with a different women every night and does maserati burnouts out of team parking lots after functions and he still has more effort at this level on the ice.

yes i agree about edmonton losing culture in edmonton but flames fans talk like you guys are the best of the best the last 7 years.both teams have nothing to brag about.

Avatar
#14 If Only HIs Name Was Olli Postandin
February 27 2014, 02:43PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
1
props
TheoForever wrote:

It can tire you out. :)

Lol! I guess if you're in the drivers seat the whole time:)

Avatar
#15 BurningSensation
February 27 2014, 04:20PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
5
props
mesa1994@GMAIL.COM wrote:

yes i agree about edmonton losing culture in edmonton but flames fans talk like you guys are the best of the best the last 7 years.both teams have nothing to brag about.

Being better than the galaxy of suck that is Edmonton is ALWAYS worth bragging about.

Avatar
#16 Baalzamon
February 27 2014, 04:25PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props

@mesa1994@GMAIL.COM

flames fans talk like you guys are the best of the best the last 7 years.

we do? since when?

Avatar
#17 beloch
February 27 2014, 04:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
6
props
mesa1994@GMAIL.COM wrote:

yes i agree about edmonton losing culture in edmonton but flames fans talk like you guys are the best of the best the last 7 years.both teams have nothing to brag about.

Sutter definitely made a mistake by not starting the rebuild sooner. However, at this stage the Flames are supposed to be bad. The blue line would have just one legitimate top-4 defender if Brodie hadn't taken a big step forward and most of the Flames offensive talent are rookies who need at least a couple years before they'll make a big impact. The goalies are both euro-projects to boot. If the intent was to compete this year the team would have signed some UFA's, but instead the owners are bankrolling a new arena (instead of blackmailing city hall for the dough).

With all that in mind, the Flames are ahead of a team that was close to the cap at the start of the year, stacked with 1st overall picks entering their prime, and one of mainstream sports media's favorites for making the playoffs. There's no way the season should have played out the way it has.

I'm a Flames fan first, but I was born in Edmonton and cheer for the Oilers whenever they're not playing against Calgary. However, the current team is nothing short of a disgrace. They're built wrong, coached wrong, and their players are either career AHL'ers or overpaid prima donna's who all seem to think their only job is to score and that defense is the responsibility of other players. I'm all for going scorched-earth in Rexall at this point.

That being said, the Flames are still closer to picking #1 overall than they are to making the playoffs. The first crop of rookies from the Feaster era will have a chance to make an impact next season. It probably won't be a huge one because they're all a long ways from peak. However, at least there's hope that a couple of these kids will step up and give fans some hope. The thing that gives me the most hope is that there are a *lot* of quality prospects in the Flames system now, not just a few. If Burke remains committed to stockpiling talent, the Flames might start generating quality NHL talent yearly, instead of once or twice in a decade. That's a huge step in the right direction.

That sums it up for me I think. Neither team is good, but for Calgary there is hope.

Avatar
#18 Lynda
February 28 2014, 07:19PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
0
props

I had a huge bust up with my partner and he left me, i was so frustrated and i email Dr. Stanley and he said he could help, I must admit, I was very, very skeptical as didn't really believe he would be back after all he said, but it was just a few days when he phoned and asked to come over to talk, we talked and talked and the silly misunderstanding was all forgiven and we are back together now for good, all thanks to drstanleyspelltemple@hotmail.com, I would highly recommend his services, they do really, really work. Lynda.

Comments are closed for this article.