September 09 2009 07:02AM
It's no secret that I'm personally not a fan of the "enforcer" in the modern NHL. As such, I consider the one-way contract handed out to Brian McGrattan to be Sutter's lone misstep this off-season. Here, I'll look at the various ways McGrattan's presence may (or may not) effect the Flames -
There are a number of somewhat mythological explanations behind the heavyweight in hockey: most center around "nuclear deterrent", or "policeman" - a guy who can "answer the bell" as it were. The just-in-case clause, the gun under the pillow. In earlier years, stars were protected by goons. Heck Gretzky actually skated with Semenko on his line sometimes. That doesn't happen as frequently anymore and is a difficult effect to track anyhow: how does one prove a negative? By which I mean, how does one prove the level of agitation a star receives with an enforcer on his team is less than when he plays without one? The cause and effect chain is intuitive and assumed, but, from memory and observation (ie; from watching Eric Godard) it's doesn't seem to be real. Not today.
September 08 2009 07:46PM
They call it prospects camp and they call it rookie camp, neither of which is completely accurate.
Prospect has that element of speculation, of potential, of possibility, as in "He sure as heck isn't an NHLer now but we believe that with time and some physical maturity, he'll become one."
Mikael Backlund, a physically immature young forward who's still trying get the hang of hockey and life one ocean and then most of a continent away from his homeland, is a prospect.
September 05 2009 01:46PM
The first few steps towards the new season are being taken this weekend by the Calgary Flames prospects. There are a lot of new faces in camp this year and more than one thing to watch heading into the main camp and pre-season...
September 04 2009 02:12PM
Obviously the turmoil within the Players Association is going to cause a lot of trouble down the road. A lot. A real damn lot. And while it's understandable that most hockey fans are sitting at their computers reading the latest developments with a growing sense of dread that the current CBA will run out and the players will go on strike and effectively kill the league at best, and the sport at worst.
At least we're getting a hell of a show before the league goes all Manhattan Project.
September 03 2009 01:01PM
In the wake of the firing of Paul Kelly by the NHLPA executive board, Michael Russo of the Star Tribune interviewed the player representative for the Minnesota Wild to find out why. While Nick Schultz wasn’t overly forthcoming about the reasons for Kelly’s dismissal, he did identify the issue which will likely be the key battleground between the owners and the players when the current CBA expires.