FGD: NIEUWY & THE BOTTOM FIVE

Byron Bader
March 07 2014 01:08PM

Islanders

-via Michael Cummo Photography

Tonight, the Calgary Flames (24-31-7) host the New York Islanders (24-32-9) at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The game is an important one in the reverse standings.  If the Flames win in regulation, they leap frog the Islanders into 25th overall (no good).  If the Flames lose in regulation and Florida beats the Sabres , the Flames end up tied for the 28th spot overall (excellent).  The night will no doubt be special as former Flame great, Joe Nieuwendyk, will be honored in the Flames 'Forever a Flame' program.  Puck drops at 7 pm MT (or whenever the ceremony ends).


JOE NIEUWENDYK

Joe

-via hockeymedia

Nieuwendyk, one of my favorites since I could walk, was a significant contributor to the Calgary Flames for the better part of eight years.  Joe was drafted in the 2nd round (27th overall) in the 1985 draft by the Flames after putting up 45 points in 29 games his first year at Cornell University.  He would play two more years at Cornell, putting up significant points in his time there, while playing a few games with the Flames in the 1986-97 season as well.  His official rookie campaign was the 1987-88 season.  Joe scored 51 goals, 41 assists and 92 points (all club rookie records).  At the time, Joe became only the second rookie in NHL history to score at least 50 goals in a season.  Mike Boss was the first with 53 in 1977-78. Nieuwendyk went on to win the Calder Memorial Trophy for the league's best rookie in 1987-88. 

Joe scored another 51 goals in his second year, to go along with 82 points and was a significant piece of the 1989 Cup Winning team.  Joe continued on with the Flames for five and a half years.  In total, he amassed 610 points (1.07 ppg) with the Flames.  

Joe entered the 1995-96 season very unhappy with his contract status.  After refusing a three-year, $6 million dollar offer from the Flames, he was traded.  Ironically, Nieuwendyk was traded for the young up and coming Jarome Iginla who would go on to be, not so arguably, the greatest player in Flames franchise history.  A fair trade if ever there was.

Tonight, contract issues that persisted 18 years ago will be put to rest and Joe Niewendyk's #25 will be honored.  Although it's not being retired, it's assumed unless you've got an NHLE over 70 coming into the league, you better not think of touching that #25 these days ... that's Joe's.


TONIGHT'S MATCH-UP

The Flames have been playing pretty decent of late.  They are 8-4-0 in their last 12.  Last time out, the Flames dominated the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday (trade deadline day).  The Islanders, well, they're in a way.  John Tavares, the heart and soul and 50% of the talent, went down at the Olympics and he's out for the rest of the season.  Thomas Vanek, unwilling to re-sign with Islanders, was traded to Montreal at the deadline.  The Islanders are 3-6-1 in their last ten.  Last night, the Islanders gave up a late two-goal lead to the Oilers, one of only four teams worst than them, and went on to lose in OT.  A trainwreck of a season for the Islanders to say the least.  


THE LINE-UPS

Via the always awesome www.dailyfaceoffs.com

  • Cammalleri - Backlund - Bouma
  • Galiardi - Monahan - Colborne
  • Byron - Granlund - Reinhart
  • Hanowski - Knight - McGrattan
  • Giordano - Brodie
  • Smid - Wotherspoon
  • Russell - Butler

  • Ortio


Those are some different looking lines from even a week ago.  Hudler and Wideman both went down with injuries on Wednesday against the Flames.  Stajan appears to still be out with personal reasons (hopefully positive personal reasons there) and the Flames had a couple bodies go down earlier in the week.  As a result, the line-up features half of the Abbottsford Heat's line-up.

Granlund will center Reinhart and Byron today.  I really like the looks of that line.  Granlund, who has looked very good since being called up three games ago, has some chemistry with Reinhart and when you add in Byron's speed and tenacity they could be surprisingly dangerous.

Corban Knight has been touted as a very reliable guy in his own end which, from what I saw on Wednesday, he seemed to be just that.  As well, he was absolutely superb on draws in his first game out (61%).  He'll need to win a lot of draws tonight to keep that 4th line above water but I really liked what I saw from him in his first game.  I'd say he's the third or fourth center on this club come Fall.

Wotherspoon will get his first taste of the NHL tonight.  By all accounts, he earned the call-up with some pretty reliable play in his own end down at the farm. If you don't notice him unless consciously looking for him that's probably a good thing.

Ortio, who was great on Wednesday, should be in the pipes again tonight.


THE OPPONENTS

  • Grabner - Nielsen - Okposo
  • Bailey - Nelson - Clutterbuck
  • Lee - Strome - McDonald
  • Martin - Cizikas - Halmo

  • de Haan - Hamonic
  • Hickey - Visnovsky
  • Strait - Donovan

  • Nabokov

Take out Moulson/Vanek and Tavares and that is not a great line-up.  Yikes!


SUM IT UP

Tonight is the second and final match-up between these two teams this year.  The Nieuwendyk celebration will certainly give some importance to the game as the celebration will be a memorable one. The only importance of the actual game however is how it affects the 2014 draft, three months from now.  With the amount of kids the Flames have up, this could go either way.  The Flames have been on a hot role of late so I'll give them the edge.  Win or lose, it's all gravy when you're nowhere near playoff contention and instead vying for draft position. 

Share some thoughts and memories about Nieuwendyk in the comments if you got 'um.


Fb039371a1a1b706383cb72243cb4446
Byron has a background in psychology, economics and business and is a business researcher/data analyst by day. His love for hockey is as deep as the ocean is wide. Tell him your questions and let him into your heart. Twitter: @Baderader; Email: byron.bader@gmail.com
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#1 Brent Wittmeier
March 07 2014, 01:18PM
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"At the time, Joe became only the second player in NHL history to score at least 50 goals in a season, eclipsing Mike Bossy's record of 50."

Um, no. Second ROOKIE. And Bossy's record was 53.

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#2 SmellOfVictory
March 07 2014, 01:26PM
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Prediction: Flames lose, because this is a game they should win, on paper.

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#4 beloch
March 07 2014, 01:40PM
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I desperately want the Flames to shred what little remains of the Canuck's playoff hopes tomorrow night, so I should be able to take a loss tonight pretty philosophically.

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#5 Kent Wilson
March 07 2014, 02:07PM
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The Islanders first line is still decent, but she drops off after that. Heck, if you take out the top 4 or 5 players from both teams, it's essentially two AHL clubs battling tonight.

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#7 Baalzamon
March 07 2014, 02:24PM
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A strange thing about that #25, but the Flames historically haven't been at all reluctant to hand it out to new players. David Moss and Steve Begin both wore 25.

#14 on the other hand...

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#9 Baalzamon
March 07 2014, 02:52PM
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@Byron Bader

Mike Commodore wore #2. There were a few others too (as listed here

Turns out I forgot Darren McCarty and a few others with #25. But #14 has been suspiciously absent from the organization since Fleury; to the point of giving other numbers to blokes like Stajan.

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#11 Lordmork
March 07 2014, 03:49PM
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From a drafting point of view, the Flames should probably lose tonight, which means they'll probably win. That's ok. We've got some rookies who are hungry to win. Let's see what they can do before a few vets come back into the lineup. There's still time for the Flames to fall back a few places, and I guess there's always the lottery!

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#12 MontanaMan
March 07 2014, 04:30PM
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Opening Ceremony: "Ladies and gentlemen we are here to honor one of the great Calgary Flames, your next GM, Joe Nieuwendyk." Tell me Burke wouldn't pull that off.

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#14 coachedpotatoe
March 07 2014, 04:46PM
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Looking at the lineup tonight I am quite excited about seeing the kids one more time. It will be interesting to see Spoon with Smid.

Next years Flames lineup will look like this many nights next year except with Glenx instead of Cammi. Add Johny G, Sven and Poirier to the mix and there is some real potential for exciting hockey. I expect that Burke will pursue some bigger bodies to help supplement the size issue, I just hope they can skate with the kids.

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#15 ChinookArch
March 07 2014, 05:00PM
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Strength down the middle. That is what the late 80's Flames had an abundance of, and Joe Nieuwendyk was the most talented and valuable Center on the team.

I remember Nieuwendyk very well, and what I find exciting is that Sean Monahan has the same nose for the net and an uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time, just like 'Joe Who'.

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#16 RKD
March 07 2014, 05:11PM
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Nieuwendyk is the last true #1 center the Flames had. Forever a Flame is kinda silly, there are some guys who should have their jerseys retire and I think Joe is one of them.

As long as Garth Snow is the Isle GM, they'll continue their one step forward two step backwards progress.

Will be cool to see Wotherspoon makes his NHL debut.

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#17 coachedpotatoe
March 07 2014, 05:21PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

Strength down the middle. That is what the late 80's Flames had an abundance of, and Joe Nieuwendyk was the most talented and valuable Center on the team.

I remember Nieuwendyk very well, and what I find exciting is that Sean Monahan has the same nose for the net and an uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time, just like 'Joe Who'.

If Monahan can become as good as Joe was we will be in good shape. Maybe Knight can be the next Otto and maybe one of the other guys can become Killer and one like Pepper.(2/3 of these guys would be quite good) That team was loaded down the middle and could roll 4 lines and play two all star defenders and two other sold pairings. That is what I would like to see this rebuild try and be.

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#18 mattyc
March 07 2014, 05:25PM
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Wow... those lineups. I'm a big Bouma backer, but man, he has no business anywhere near the 1st line.

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#19 beloche
March 07 2014, 06:01PM
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Nieuwendyk was a DAFODIL! I would rather see McGrattan's jersey in the rafters than 25!!!

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#20 Biekssesarchie
March 07 2014, 06:02PM
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mattyc wrote:

Wow... those lineups. I'm a big Bouma backer, but man, he has no business anywhere near the 1st line.

Bouma is a FAKE tuff guy!!!

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#21 Primo
March 07 2014, 06:06PM
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For those that are wondering here are all the Flames that have worn # 25 in their history. This stuff is on nhl.com.... fyi

Eric Vail, Willi Plett, Greg Meredith, Bruce Eakin, Yves Courteau, Mike Bullard, Joe Nieuwendyk, Dave Roche, Sergei Krivokrasov, Niklas Andersson, Igor Kravchuk, Martin Sonnenberg, Darren McCarty, David Moss, Steve Begin

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#22 Primo
March 07 2014, 06:10PM
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Biekssesarchie wrote:

Bouma is a FAKE tuff guy!!!

I beg to differ....playing Bouma on the first line tonight is smart coaching by Hartley...it's called rewarding performance. Bouma has been working off his butt consistently all year. Huge heart and soul guy. Doing this will not affect the Flames playoff positioning so go for it!!!

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#23 Mack Kassian
March 07 2014, 06:13PM
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Primo wrote:

I beg to differ....playing Bouma on the first line tonight is smart coaching by Hartley...it's called rewarding performance. Bouma has been working off his butt consistently all year. Huge heart and soul guy. Doing this will not affect the Flames playoff positioning so go for it!!!

Bieksa will kick his pretend ass tomorrow night!!!

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#24 primo
March 07 2014, 06:21PM
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beloch wrote:

I desperately want the Flames to shred what little remains of the Canuck's playoff hopes tomorrow night, so I should be able to take a loss tonight pretty philosophically.

beloch is a troll! Ignore his posts! He's so stupid he don't even know he is stupid!

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#25 Burnward
March 07 2014, 06:25PM
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Hahahaha! The Canucks idiots are already out. Going to be fun watching that smug, sad sack of a delusional fan base deal with what is to come.

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#26 Primo
March 07 2014, 06:29PM
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Hey everyone for the record I did not post #24 above. I'll let Ryan check the email address that belongs to it!

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#27 Jason
March 07 2014, 06:44PM
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So off topic but maybe someone could answer this for me. First off I don't know alot about hockey other than it's fun to watch while having a beer. I like Burke he entertains me. Why is he a hockey guy as opposed to the former GM Peter Griffin who isn't a hockey guy. Seems to me they are both lawyers. Whats the deal?

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#28 Schmenkley
March 07 2014, 06:46PM
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@Primo

No worries, I think any regular FN readers recognize the stench of desperation that precedes Canuck trolls wherever they go, hanging on to their delusions of "elite".....

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#29 Jason
March 07 2014, 06:48PM
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One more thing. All this talk of tanking is friggin ridiculous. How does becoming the absolute worst at something make you any closer to getting better. Just means there is a longer ladder to climb. I hope they win out.

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#30 Burnward
March 07 2014, 06:49PM
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@Jason

Quick answer...experience and track record.

Give them a Wiki look.

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#31 beloch
March 07 2014, 07:04PM
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Primo wrote:

Hey everyone for the record I did not post #24 above. I'll let Ryan check the email address that belongs to it!

Display names are case sensitive on this site. Primo != primo. Whoever designed this site's authentication system made some unusual choices.

Request for Mr. Pike: How about a "report post" button so we can help weed out the trolls? The trash button is more for people we merely disagree with. Trashing trolls just gives the little attention wh*#$es what they love most! A "report post" button would reduce trolling even if the reports are routed to /dev/null. It gives people something to click on instead of "trash" when trolls piss them off.


P.S. Am I a bad person for feeling oddly gratified to be specifically targeted by 'nucks trolls?

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#32 Burnward
March 07 2014, 07:11PM
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Can you imagine how good Vernon would have been if he was normal sized?!?!

I forget how small he is every time. Crazy.

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#33 Burnward
March 07 2014, 07:14PM
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Fingers crossed this is going to be Monahan in 25 years.

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#34 MontanaMan
March 07 2014, 07:20PM
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Burnward wrote:

Fingers crossed this is going to be Monahan in 25 years.

Joe's a class guy - likely the reason he turned down Burke's offer.

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#35 Burnward
March 07 2014, 07:22PM
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Poor Joe. The rest of these guys on stage are bumbling idiots tonight.

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#36 Uncle Bob
March 07 2014, 07:25PM
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This guy talks to much blah blah blah who cares

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#37 Burnward
March 07 2014, 07:28PM
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Screw GM. Joe for Prime Minister!!!

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#38 Primo Troll Beloche Baertschi Fartley Chubbie
March 07 2014, 07:29PM
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MontanaMan wrote:

Joe's a class guy - likely the reason he turned down Burke's offer.

Joe is class!!! Hope he is the new GM!

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#39 Burnward
March 07 2014, 07:30PM
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I like the banner. The shot of him as a young man in his prime will live on forever.

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#40 BurningSensation
March 07 2014, 07:31PM
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It just makes too much sense for Joe Who to be the guy. Until someone else is hired, I'm going to stick by my prediction it'll be Nieuwy.

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#41 Brent G.
March 07 2014, 07:35PM
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MontanaMan wrote:

Joe's a class guy - likely the reason he turned down Burke's offer.

How do you mean? How is his class related to not taking the offer? I think it would have been cool

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#42 beloch
March 07 2014, 07:39PM
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Great play by Ortio and Granlund, and Byron appears from out of nowhere yet again!

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#43 MontanaMan
March 07 2014, 07:41PM
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Brent G. wrote:

How do you mean? How is his class related to not taking the offer? I think it would have been cool

Joe has class. Too much class for Burke. And far too classy to be undermined by Burke and King.

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#44 Tim Hunter
March 07 2014, 07:47PM
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beloch wrote:

Display names are case sensitive on this site. Primo != primo. Whoever designed this site's authentication system made some unusual choices.

Request for Mr. Pike: How about a "report post" button so we can help weed out the trolls? The trash button is more for people we merely disagree with. Trashing trolls just gives the little attention wh*#$es what they love most! A "report post" button would reduce trolling even if the reports are routed to /dev/null. It gives people something to click on instead of "trash" when trolls piss them off.


P.S. Am I a bad person for feeling oddly gratified to be specifically targeted by 'nucks trolls?

Go Flames!

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#45 Joe Ottp
March 07 2014, 07:48PM
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Tim Hunter wrote:

Go Flames!

Quit bellyaching belch- free speech baby!

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#46 prima
March 07 2014, 07:50PM
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beloch wrote:

Great play by Ortio and Granlund, and Byron appears from out of nowhere yet again!

You such a great Flame fan baby!!!

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#47 Brent G,
March 07 2014, 07:52PM
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prima wrote:

You such a great Flame fan baby!!!

Quit whining beloch- everybody is enTITled to their opinion!!! Purple Cush !!!

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#48 BurningSensation
March 07 2014, 07:52PM
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I'm beginning to wonder if we maybe haven't underestimated Granlund's ceiling. He's looked miles better than I expected.

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#49 RKD
March 07 2014, 08:01PM
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Woot Woot, Granlund has his second NHL goal. Nice work kid!

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#50 the real beloche
March 07 2014, 08:03PM
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McGrattan looks terrible tonight- a give away machine! Please don't play him 10 min Hartley! He can't keep up with the play! Send him to the ECHL and bring up Trevor Gillies!

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