After last night’s NHLer-filled roster, the Flames are back to icing a rag-tag group of enough guys on one-way deals to fill out the league-mandated minimum roster spots, and that means a whole lot of kids.
That, in turn, should mean almost nothing to Flames fans at this point. Look at the names of the guys playing tonight that have literally no chance of being with the big club this time next week: Armstrong, Cunning, Jackman, Kronwall, Meyer, Nemisz, Pelech, Rheault and Irving all strike you as guys who are just in this for the hell of it at this point. The roster also includes luminaries like Cory Sarich and Adam Pardy and Ales Kotalik and Raitis Ivanans who won’t or at least probably shouldn’t be in the lineup every night come this season.
But there are some positives to take from last night’s showdown with a senior Phoenix Coyotes squad, including the continued and ultimately doomed case TJ Brodie is making for inclusion on the final roster. A goal a game is a hell of a nice pace, and it seems that, with his inclusion on tonight’s roster, the organization is giving him every chance to steal a roster spot from someone whose name rhymes with a certain Mr. S. Staios. No that’s too obvious: Mr. Steve S.
If everything works out for the kid and he starts the year in Calgary — an idea to which Flames fans seem increasingly married despite the myriad of reasons it’s a terrible, awful, no-good, very bad one — then that’s great for him (at present) and good for the team (possibly). But he’ll need another emphatic performance or three before then.
And looking at the roster the Flames sent out to Saskatoon tonight, it leaves one wondering what ever happened to Rene Bourque. If I’m not wrong, he hasn’t gotten into a preseason game in a while here and has been held out of practice for the better part of this week with nary a word uttered about it, so that may be a bit troubling.
But then, who can argue with results? Calgary keeps winning, thanks in large part to the top-class performances by the oddly productive line of Kotalik-Moss-Glencross. Now sure, it’s preseason, so who really cares that Kotalik has four points from two games? I get that argument — since Jon Sim used to be good for a preseason Hart Trophy every year — but he’s running all this talk about confidence and a good mental attitude that he previously didn’t have, so maybe this all continues forever. With a gun to my head, I’d settle for a point a game outta the guy in the regular season. I would be fine with that, I guess.
Another guy who’s way overproducing? Niklas Hagman, who in four preseason games has the same stat line as Kotalik at 2-2-4. No idea who he’s grouped with tonight and, as with Kotalik, no belief whatever he’ll be able to keep it up, but I guess we can enjoy it while it lasts.
And finally, a sad note: last year’s preseason tilt with the Islanders featured Dion Phaneuf memorably lighting Kyle Okposo up with an awesome, clean hit in open ice. But thanks to injuries in Okposo’s case, and intolerable douchebaggery in Phaneuf’s, neither will be participating in a rematch. Unfortunate.