March 18 2015 09:09AM
Great minds, guys.
TJ Brodie and Duncan Keith comparisons aren't necessarily anything new - we're talking about two defencemen known for their elite skating ability and two-way play, and now that Brodie is becoming known league-wide, it's all the more appropriate to discuss - but here, at Flames Nation, you get two in two days!
Without talking it over with anyone, I kind of spontaneously started writing a piece on how Brodie is following Keith's trajectory back on Monday. Tuesday comes, and Byron's wonderful piece comparing this year's Flames to the 2007-08 Blackhawks is unveiled, complete with the very same "TJ Brodie is the Flames' Duncan Keith" thought. Now it's Wednesday, and you get to read a more in-depth take on that.
There are more obvious comparisons out there, of course; most notably, the whole Sean Monahan-Jonathan Toews Johnny Gaudreau-Patrick Kane thing. But the Keith one is crucial because while of course the high picks of Toews and Kane helped the Blackhawks franchise massively, they already had the workings of a top defence pairing in place beforehand. And as the Edmonton Oilers have shown us, high forward picks with no defence in place doesn't exactly get you anywhere.
Brodie has been the Flames' Keith: an absolutely crucial part of the rebuild.
March 17 2015 11:58PM
Tonight's game was the latest installment of the Calgary Flames playing against a much better team. I don't think it's mean or unfair to describe the St. Louis Blues as a superior hockey club.
The Blues slightly out-played the Flames through two periods tonight, then really out-played them in the third period. The Flames lost 4-0.
There are 12 games remaining this season.
March 17 2015 02:30PM
We're now into the very last section of the schedule, as tonight is the 70th game of the 2014-15 Calgary Flames season.
And improbably, and impressively, the Calgary Flames are within spitting distance of not only being in a playoff spot, but clinching one. Per Pat Steinberg of Sportsnet 960 The Fan, Calgary's magic number (on the Winnipeg Jets) to clinch a spot is 13 (Flames wins or Jets losses needed to clinch). With 13 games remaining on the docket, they make their own destiny. Seven wins is probably enough to get in.
Tonight's opponent is the powerhouse St. Louis Blues, a complete team that rolls lines and is generally quite good. They fancy themselves Stanley Cup contenders, but you've gotta wonder how big their window will be. Calgary? Well, they hope a window for contention is still ahead of them, and they'd be content if you told them they're merely going to make the playoffs this season.
Puck drop is at 7pm MT and the game is on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.
Musings on the alternate universe in which the Flames do not acquire Brandon Bollig or Deryk Engelland
March 17 2015 01:00PM
One thing we can all pretty much agree on when it comes to Brandon Bollig and Deryk Engelland: they are not what anyone would consider a high end player. Or a player necessary with which to win. Both may have been part of Cup contending teams, but that's probably more the fault of, like, Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby than their own efforts.
And there's nothing wrong with that. There is, however, something wrong when you somehow confuse a bad player on a good team for a good player.
And then do things like give a cap-strapped team an asset to take him off their hands at your own expense. Or sign them to a deal virtually every hockey fan and insider alike in existence paused before saying, "... That can't be right?" Those parts are particularly not good.
It was not a particularly great start to Brad Treliving's general managing career. The good news is neither move really hurts the Flames long term. The even better news is that Treliving hasn't done anything like it since July 1, 2014.
The bad news is the Flames are still stuck with both players for another two seasons. The Flames' team cap hit is so low they shouldn't interfere with the really important stuff, like re-signing Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau, but... they're still there, you know?
All this leads me to think about what might be different for the Flames had they not acquired Bollig and Engelland. A futile exercise, sure; after all, what's done is done and both players are on the team, for
better or worse. But it can be fun to think about.
March 17 2015 11:08AM
The Providence College Friars lost to New Hampshire on Sunday, which ended their quest for a Hockey East conference championship. For now, their status for the NCAA's annual national championship tournament is up in the air, as they're one of several contenders for "at-large" bids, and their chances are contingent on which teams win which conferences.
Which brings us to Calgary Flames 2012 third round draft pick Jon Gillies.