STOKING THE FIRE – September 26




(Vintage Flame debuts a new, weekly link column which takes a look at interesting material across Flameland, from blog posts to MSM articles)

As the Flames approach the half way point of the pre-season, many fans are asking many questions about the team’s performance or what the team will look like. But the question that is on the forefront of everyone’s mind is "how is the Captain?" Jarome Iginla has not been on the ice since leaving early only 20 minutes into the team’s first training camp practice. Should we be worried?

Arik James, over at M&G discusses whether the Flames or their fans should be worried about the lack of participation from Iginla in the pre-season. No one is really too sure what to make of the Captain’s absence. the team and Iginla maintain that it is nothing to be concerned about, and it makes sense if you really think about it. The pre-season is to evaluate the rookies and get the veterans in game shape. Iggy has never had to worry about being in shape, and he doesn’t exactly require evaluation. I have to think that this is all just precautionary measures, but as Arik talks about, there are some other factors to consider.

With the Flames moving out two veterans and major leaders for the club in Daymond Langkow and Robyn Regehr, questions have been asked whether the loss of leadership will fall onto the shoulders of Iginla, once he comes back. As if the Captain doesn’t have enough burdens to carry, some on the team are going to have to step up in place of the departed. Eyes for the obvious look to Mark Giordano to fill one of these slots and seeing him with the ‘A’ on his jersey in the Canucks game seemed quite fitting. However, as Scott Cruickshank writes, the Flames might be able to look to a not-so-obvious choice as a leader, especially for the young kids coming into camp. Mikael Backlund faces a year that could be a turning point in his career. Increased ice time, tougher competition and a possibility, if not probability, of play on the top line with Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla (once he comes back).

Speaking of new blood coming into the mix… A couple of new Flames have been warranting conversation as to having a legitimate shot of making the big club, despite very restricted space on the roster. Paul Byron looked very impressive in his debut against the Canucks. Granted he was playing against a very pedestrian Vancouver line up, and was playing with Tanguay, but looked very poised and comfortable in his role. Byron has impressive speed and if his play continues, it will make it very difficult for the Flames to send him down to Abbotsford.

The other rookie making an impression is Jordan Henry. The Flames blueline seems all but complete, but there has been lingering questions as to who will be the 7th defenseman. We have already seen John Negrin demoted to Abbotsford, and so far, Breen, Brodie and Mikkelson have fallen short as the incumbent front runners. Although it is a slim possibility that Henry sticks with the Flames, he most likely will continue to get closer looks and might just earn some playing time in the first couple weeks of the regular season. With Cory Sarich still not in game shape, there is more leeway with Henry to see if he can show consistency, if not even more improvement in his play.

Moving up the depth chart on defense, it appears that Calgary is still looking at the proper pairings to go into the season with. The pairing of Giordano and Hannan remains a strong likliehood, and so the combination of Bouwmeester and Butler warranted another look. Coming over in the Regehr trade, all eyes are on Butler, to see if he is going to be able to contribute to this team in what was viewed as a huge gamble made by Feaster. In the same article, Cruickshank also makes mention of the play of Sven Baertschi. Looking very impressive in camp so far, many think the young Swiss born rookie,might just make this team. Feaster has said it will be player performance that dictates who plays on this team, and not contracts. There are definitely some rookies making a case that will put those words of Feaster’s to the test.

In regards to Baertschi, his play and excitement are definitely fun to watch and I made no secret about how thrilled I was to someday see him on the Flames roster. But are some fans maybe putting the cart before the horse with this kid, suggesting that he should make the team this year? I had the pleasure the other day of meeting the gentleman that runs the blog site  The Book of Loob. I caught wind of his blog on twitter, ’cause well, it’s Hakan Loob!! Any reference to the original #12, is going to warrant a look… and inevitable praise.

Anyways, if you haven’t heard of it or checked him out. He actually wrote an interesting piece about Baertschi and how Flames fans that are desperate about who will be the new savior of this team should maybe put away the anointing oils and celebratory robes for awhile. Make sure to swing by. Oh, and in case I didn’t say it before… Hakan Loob was, and always will be, freaking awsome!

As a final note, for all you hockey pool junkies.. PAY ATTENTION. The fine people over at Puckaholics are offering a special discount to Nation readers. If you would like to take part in their pool, then there is a different process to follow.

DO NOT register for the pool directly on the site, by following the link. You WILL NOT receive the discount. Instead please send an email to the ADMIN at and indicate you are a Nations reader. they will register your team and then invoice you through paypal with the appropriate discount applied. The Puckaholics pool includes some impressive przies, includiing an iPad2 for the winner, so if you think you have the chops it’s worth th entry fee.


  • Super_Gio

    “Feaster has said it will be player performance that dictates who plays on this team, and not contracts”

    Ok, well if that’s the case I hope he is true to his words and Stajan gets demoted. Both Byron and Baertschi have performed better.

    • Vintage Flame

      Well and that seems to be the question of the day right? Is he all talk or does he have action behind his words.

      I agree with you saying Byron and Baertschi have played better.. but Sven should not be on this team this year. I think it would be a mistake to rush him in too soon.

      • Super_Gio

        Totally agree Sven is not ready…I think were all getting a bit too excited about him, but I mean why not right? It’s nice to see the flames have a pretty decent prospect on their hands

        • Vintage Flame

          It is really nice to get excited about a prospect. Baertschi is definitely fun, and a relief to watch.

          Did you read the article from Book of Loob on him? I found it entertaining to say the least!

  • Super_Gio

    In order for this team to make the playoffs they can not afford to have any injuries.A couple of long term injuries and their toast. Iggy already has slow starts no matter how much in shape you say he is.They have nobody to call up if this happens. There is a significant gap between prospect and players that are ready to make the jump.Also regehr and langkow,both team leaders,who i kept hearing how great these guys are.Many a times I’ve heard wait till langkow comes back ,he’s the only guy who can center Iggy.And Baertschiis is a few years away ,he’s to soft needs to mature, to weak.This team will miss playoffs. They are old no stars. Will take about five years before this team might compete.

    • Vintage Flame

      “Also regehr and langkow,both team leaders,who i kept hearing how great these guys are.Many a times I’ve heard wait till langkow comes back ,he’s the only guy who can center Iggy.”

      You keep hearing? Have you never seen them play, or don’t know anything about them?

      I don’t agree that Langks was the only one to center Iggy… At all. In fact I think the only two guys I would like to see do it are either Backlund or Moss.

      • ChinookArchYYC

        If the current crop of prospects continue to progress, we may have a few players make the jump to the big team next season. I can’t believe Stajen will be demoted to the AHL this season, so his roster spot will not be available. I see the Flames trying to do the impossible – and trade him. I do believe their is room for Henry to start the season here though.

        • Vintage Flame

          Yeah, Rome wasn’t built in a day right?

          It’s going to take time to build the farm, but they are on the right track.

          No I can’t see Feaster sending Stajan down to the farm either. As far as being traded.. who knows. One of the commenters had suggested Stajan to Phoenix for Turris. I can’t say I would be opposed to that. Even if Turris didn’t sign here, at least Matt would be gone.

          I think Henry has a legit shot to make the team. We’ll see how he does in the last 2 pre-season games and if he gets any time in the reg season.

          Bob Mackenzie is reporting Flames have put Mikkelson on waivers. Definitely adds to Henry’s chances…

  • By now it’s pretty apparent that Feaster says and what actually happens in regards to who makes the team are different things.

    I was encouraged to see Horak make the cut today though. If there’s any truth to this hackneyed rumour that ANYONE can make the team, this is a good example, because his play has warranted his extra time in camp so far.