Welcome to the Game Day Fire Drill, for this, Calgary’s 57th game of the season on Feb. 3, 2010.
It’s Ales Kotalik Night at the Saddledome and you know what that means: a loss to what would be the runaway worst team in the league if the city of Edmonton didn’t exist (wishful thinking, I know).
Because of space restrictions and issues directly relating to my ability to not blow my brains out, I don’t want to get too deep into why the Kotalik/Higgins trade is Darryl Sutter’s worst transaction as general manager of the Calgary Flames but… actually yeah I will, at least in Cliff’s Notes format.
We are all aware that Olli Jokinen underperformed during his time in Calgary and certainly cost the team too much (at least in terms of the draft pick, plus Matt Lombardi has as many points as Jokinen did in Calgary in three fewer games for considerably less money) but I don’t begrudge Sutter that move. He was rolling the dice on a guy that was punching well below his weight for a terrible Phoenix team and who was only two years removed from a 91-point season. And yes, the draft pick is going to end up higher than any of us thought possible last season, but hindsight’s 20/20 and Sutter was trying to get that much-talked-about No. 1 Center For Jarome Iginla. No fault in trying I suppose.
But this trade is just insane. It traded a generally worthless player with an expensive but expiring contract and a fourth-line guy for whom the Flames had no real need for two players who bring literally nothing to the table. Ales Kotalik has 22 points in 45 games prior to the trade and had been scratched in eight of the Rangers’ nine previous games. I’ll say that again: he had been a healthy scratch in eight of nine games for the New York Rangers. And Chris Higgins had two good seasons ever, and both of those were before he got hurt last year and he’s not been the same player since. And did I mention that Ales Kotalik, who is awful, is signed at $3.3 million for the next TWO SEASONS?
I can’t see how any rational human makes this trade. "Hey Slats know that crap player that can’t get a game for you that’s signed to a really bad contract? Yeah we want him, and we’ll take one other guy that sucks too while you’re at it. Why are you laughing?"
Anyway, the Hurricanes. I wouldn’t be shocked if this was like a three-goal loss.
The Calgary Flames (27-21-8 for 62 points. Ninth in the West, third in the Northwest) and the Carolina Hurricanes (19-29-7 for 45 points. Last in the East, last in the Southeast).
7 p.m. Mountain time and 9 p.m. Eastern time. All other time zones should dream out loud.
Pengrowth Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta.
Calgary is 13-13-3 at home this year, but that’s probably the media’s fault. The Hurricanes are 6-17-4 on the road, which is the worst road record in the league.
What (to hate about the Hurricanes)
Eric Staal — One of the most irritating players in the NHL as far as I’m concerned. I don’t know if he’s a bad guy or anything but he just piles up goals and points against awful teams and we’re all supposed to act like he’s unbelievable. He is also the dude with the fourth-highest cap hit in the league behind Ovie, Sid and Geno. I bring that up a lot but I mean I just can’t believe it.
Paul Maurice — Crap coach.
Their fans — You’ve never seen such an entitled group of reactionary crybabies. Not even Oilers fans are as irritating as Hurricanes fans, who would really prefer that you stop bringing up that they play in the American South and are a crap market. Then when they go games they wear jerseys with the sleeves cut off and bring signs that say "Redneck hockey." I don’t get it either.
Because you wanna welcome the new guys, again. Enjoy the game and say goodbye to your sanity in the comments section.