December 17 2014 12:00PM
Ladislav Smid is painfully slow on his skates. He wasn't always, but he has been the last couple of seasons. Every stride he takes on the ice looks painful. It seems like, every game, there's at least one hit that he barely manages to get up from. When he does get up, he often limps to the bench as though he were a hundred years old. He grimaces. He bleeds. We can only watch, sharing his pain. Ladislav Smid should not be a NHL player, but he is, seemingly by force of will alone. One gets the sense that Smid would gladly trade a kidney (or other vital organ) for a win, and that's even before the playoffs start! Is such primal will, even when accompanied by a total lack of competence, worth $3.5M a season? Craig MacTavish answered that the season before last. His answer was, "No.". Meanwhile, Taylor Hall is making $6M per season and, rumour has it, he's being shopped around for a king's ransom. Should the Flames be interested?
December 16 2014 10:57PM
The downward slide in the standings continues for the Calgary Flames, as they dropped a 5-2 decision to the New York Rangers tonight.
The Flames now have a record of 17-14-2 after 33 games. They're back in action on Friday night when they host the Dallas Stars in another crucial Western Conference game.
December 16 2014 12:49PM
The Flames return home after a disastrous - in the standings - road trip tonight as they host the New York Rangers for their 33rd game of the 2014-15 season.
Calgary (17-13-2) has lost five in a row, including all four games of their recent road swing. Despite that, the mood was somewhat upbeat at the rink yesterday. Why? The team recognizes that they've largely been playing well and it's been circumstances and some untimely gaffes on their part that has triggered this slide. The key to victory, for the home side, is paying attention to the little things in the game - especially consistency in defensive coverage.
New York (14-10-4) are headed in the opposite direction, having won three straight - including whuppin' the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night in Vancouver. They're hoping to keep their momentum going as they recover from a slow start that's put them a bit behind in the NHL's Metropolitan Division.
Puck drop is at 7pm and you can catch it on Sportsnet Flames and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.
December 16 2014 09:43AM
It's been a pendulum season for the Flames. At first, the club enjoyed some of the league's best goaltending. When that cooled off, they start winning with the league's best even strength shooting percentage. After a couple months of exceeding everyone's expectations, they've finally run head first into a five game losing streak, despite the fact the team has been playing fundamentally better hockey in December.
Which is why I feel like this is a good time to talk about luck a bit more in depth.
December 15 2014 08:35AM
I know this all came down last week and MAYBE it's too late to talk about it, but by now you've all probably caught wind of Brian Burke, noted blatherer, mention in an interview that GM Brad Treliving has the autonomy to spend to the cap this season should he see fit.
But I'm a trend follower, and a late adopter (I didn't sign up for twitter until 2011, buddy), so guess what, we're talking about it.
Now, of course it goes without saying that it's entirely possible (and frankly, probable) that the Flames don't end up employing this course of action, whether they're authorized to or not. And that's a good thing, because the sheer logistics that go into spending that much money in one season is too overwhelming to try and grasp.
Which is why, naturally, I'm attempting to do it. Most people don't know this, but I'm an expert hobby capologist, and I've taken it upon myself to explore all the options available to the Flames.
I mean...they didn't ask me to. But I've been obsessed with the idea of just who (or what) the Flames would have to do to max out their ample cap flexibility, and I believe I've come away with a few tenable scenarios that perhaps the Flames should consider if they feel they are within shouting distance of a playoff spot. And while the Flames could trade for 2.36 Sidney Crosbys and stay cap compliant (Spoiler alert: this is not one of the options I explored, at least not until human cloning becomes far more reliable), I will attempt to address team needs and fix the current glaring holes in the lineup in order to create a more complete, competitive playoff hockey team.