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 Burnward
March 07 2014, 09:52PM
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This is my favourite season in at least five years.

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#2 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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#3 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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#4 Captain Spaulding
March 07 2014, 10:02PM
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That was awesome. Screw the tank. Hope to end it for Van tomorrow.

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#5 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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#6 Travis
March 07 2014, 10:07PM
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I'm so damn proud of this team. T

he heart, the battle, the young players buying into a winning system. Even the confidence, putting the grandlund line out there with a minute to go. Gaudreau, Poirier, Klimchuck, Baertschi, and another high draft pick this year - and with this competitive work ethic?... Something tells me we'll be a team to be reckoned with very,very soon.

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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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#8 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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#9 TRAV
March 07 2014, 10:23PM
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Monahan likely to score twenty. I wonder if there are still guys that are outraged that he wastnt sent down. If I remember correctly lambert was leading that charge. For my money he is part of what has made this year fun to watch.

Which of the flames small young forwards won't find a home here. Grandlund, Sven, Byron, Johnny G, Stajan, Cammy Reinhart, all smaller skilled guys and Burke has made it cleared will get bigger. Shame that ferland's good start was derailed. My bet is he is well regarded.

Fun game to watch. A glimpse into the future.

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#10 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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#11 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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#12 Martin Gomez
March 07 2014, 08:30PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

I'm beginning to wonder if we maybe haven't underestimated Granlund's ceiling. He's looked miles better than I expected.

My thoughts exactly! Kid has mad skill!

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#13 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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#14 Travis
March 07 2014, 08:58PM
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Is it just me? Or is Stempniak a really useful player to have during the rebuild? He's small in stature but plays like he's 6'2, 200 lbs. His cycle game is fantastic for his size, and his shot is really underrated. I'm not happy he got traded at all...

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#15 beloch
March 07 2014, 09:50PM
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Colborne's crease-presence is worlds apart from what it was at the beginning of the season. The islanders just couldn't get him outta there, and eventually his monster reach came in handy!

And... Monahan! Damn. I'm starting to have trouble picturing the Flames without Monahan. I have a feeling this might last for... a decade or so.

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#16 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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#17 MontanaMan
March 07 2014, 09:10PM
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Travis wrote:

Is it just me? Or is Stempniak a really useful player to have during the rebuild? He's small in stature but plays like he's 6'2, 200 lbs. His cycle game is fantastic for his size, and his shot is really underrated. I'm not happy he got traded at all...

Yes, it's just you. I think Stempniak is a dime a dozen and a role that could be filled by an AHLer. And just when you thought Backlund was on his way, he lays an egg tonight. Brutal.

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#18 Kmp
March 07 2014, 09:48PM
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What a move by Monahan.

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#19 Kmp
March 07 2014, 09:52PM
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beloch wrote:

Colborne's crease-presence is worlds apart from what it was at the beginning of the season. The islanders just couldn't get him outta there, and eventually his monster reach came in handy!

And... Monahan! Damn. I'm starting to have trouble picturing the Flames without Monahan. I have a feeling this might last for... a decade or so.

Colborne looks great on wing.

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#20 exsanguinator
March 07 2014, 09:55PM
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I don't know what goal was prettier: Monahan's goal or Colborne's 2nd.

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#21 beloch
March 07 2014, 10:13PM
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Aussie Flame wrote:

The Maple Leafs will receive a fourth-round pick from the Flames; however, that pick will become a third-rounder if Colborne scores 10 goals or 35 points in the 2013-14 regular season and Calgary qualifies for the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

So do we pay a 3rd if colborne hits 10, or if he hits 10 AND we make playoffs?

He's looking dangerous out there. Wing seems to have taken some load off his shoulders and let him focus on improving offence

"conditional round pick (third round if Colborne scores 10 goals or 35 points during 2013–14 season and if Flames qualify for 2014 playoffs, else fourth round)"

That's as close as I could find to official wording of the Colborne trade condition. If it had said "or if" instead of "and if", then I think the Flames would be out a third if Colborne gets 3 more goals. However, "and if" means he'd need 3 more goals and the Flames would have to make the playoffs, which is almost a mathematical impossibility at this point (The Flames would have a 50/50 chance of making the playoffs if they lost just 1 game in regulation over the remainder of the season according to sportsclubstats).

Regardless, even a 3rd round pick is starting to look like a steal for this kid. He did not belong in the NHL at the start of this season. The only reason he wasn't sent down to Abby was because he'd have had to clear waivers. As a 24 year old, the window on his prospect status had nearly closed. Trading for Colborne was definitely a gamble on Burke's part. He had a great set of tools but just never put them all together as a center. As a winger he's finally looking like a NHL'er. Really, the way he loitered in the Islanders crease this game was just awesome. If he keeps playing like this he's going to score a lot of dirty goals. He's also great at using his size and reach to protect the puck along the boards. I really like this kid as a winger.

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#22 RKD
March 07 2014, 10:16PM
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In the words of Inspector Gadget, wowsers! What a comeback, great job boys! Three goals in the span of 4:12 is very impressive.

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#23 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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#24 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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#25 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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#26 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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#29 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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#30 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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#31 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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#32 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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#33 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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#34 Robin B
March 07 2014, 08:28PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

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.

The Flames have too much talent on the ice to be compared to an AHL team!!!

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#35 Travis
March 07 2014, 09:30PM
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MontanaMan wrote:

Yes, it's just you. I think Stempniak is a dime a dozen and a role that could be filled by an AHLer. And just when you thought Backlund was on his way, he lays an egg tonight. Brutal.

Yeah, but it's a classic case of being the oilers. No one in the AHL has the so called "old-man" strength that stempniak possesses. Having useful veterans during a transition period will keep the progression as opposed to an infini-build. I guess I'd like to have seen him traded in the future until someone from the AHL proves they're capable.

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#36 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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#38 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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#39 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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#40 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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#41 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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#42 David S
March 07 2014, 08:25PM
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Oratio is looking very solid in goal tonight! Reminds me of a young Kipprusoff!

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#43 Jeff Lebowski
March 07 2014, 09:28PM
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David S wrote:

Oratio is looking very solid in goal tonight! Reminds me of a young Kipprusoff!

Ortio is very close but not yet quite ready imo.

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#44 T&A4Flames
March 07 2014, 09:52PM
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Anybody thinking that this troll hacking everyone's names us that 'Nucks troll Todd?! Hate that guy!

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#45 prendrefeu
March 07 2014, 09:57PM
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I'm occassionally glancing at the stream (yes, I have to stream the game... in Los Angeles) and some reason I keep hoping to see a #14 jersey hovering out there on the ice.

#sigh

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#46 Aussie Flame
March 07 2014, 11:34PM
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beloch wrote:

"conditional round pick (third round if Colborne scores 10 goals or 35 points during 2013–14 season and if Flames qualify for 2014 playoffs, else fourth round)"

That's as close as I could find to official wording of the Colborne trade condition. If it had said "or if" instead of "and if", then I think the Flames would be out a third if Colborne gets 3 more goals. However, "and if" means he'd need 3 more goals and the Flames would have to make the playoffs, which is almost a mathematical impossibility at this point (The Flames would have a 50/50 chance of making the playoffs if they lost just 1 game in regulation over the remainder of the season according to sportsclubstats).

Regardless, even a 3rd round pick is starting to look like a steal for this kid. He did not belong in the NHL at the start of this season. The only reason he wasn't sent down to Abby was because he'd have had to clear waivers. As a 24 year old, the window on his prospect status had nearly closed. Trading for Colborne was definitely a gamble on Burke's part. He had a great set of tools but just never put them all together as a center. As a winger he's finally looking like a NHL'er. Really, the way he loitered in the Islanders crease this game was just awesome. If he keeps playing like this he's going to score a lot of dirty goals. He's also great at using his size and reach to protect the puck along the boards. I really like this kid as a winger.

I agree with your reading.

Now, while it was most likely a Burke influenced decision. flying Jay Feaster was still at the helm when this went down, so credit goes to him I think.

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#48 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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#49 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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#50 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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