Five Things: Back to Reality


1. Will the real Calgary Flames please stand up?

Only a bad shootout win over the worst team in the league separates Calgary from being 0-3-2 in their last five, all of which were against teams either at or below the 7th place spot at the time of puck drop. In short, it hasn’t been a good week.

The unquestionable low point came six days ago when the Flames went out and got beat pretty good on Long Island by an absolutely horrible Islanders side and somehow they’ve lost three since, conceding a whopping 15 goals in four games. That Washington game was not a good effort at all, and that’s the tuneup for the Bruins?

This is bad. This is real bad.

It’s not just that the team has been maddeningly consistent in its ability to play up or down to the level of its competition pretty much all season, it’s that you can so easily predict what will go right or wrong in any given game that it takes the fun out of it. No secondary scoring? Bad D-zone turnovers? You can see it coming a mile away.

They’ve proven they can beat the good teams and play entertaining hockey doing it. So why is every middle-of-the-pack-or-worse team some boring drudgery that even the foremost Flames apologistas (and there are many) would have to admit has no aesthetic quality?

If the team loses, fine. If it wins, great. At least make it a good, entertaining game. At least show up, y’know?

2. Jarome at 499

Even as the Flames have stumbled and bumbled against some pretty garbage teams, at least we’ve had the fun of tracking Jarome Iginla’s run to 500 goals.

Quite the little run he’s been on even if the Flames are dropping games to bad teams left and right (though to be fair, the Caps are something like 7-3-1 in their last 11 or whatever).

I said it on Twitter over the weekend, but I really and truly hope his 500th is one of those patented Iginla leg pump wristers from the wing that goes in at about a million miles an hour and makes the goalie just go "What the heck was that?" and sigh deeply and shovel the puck out of their net while Jarome laughs and laughs and laughs and every child in the world smiles at the same time.

That is the kind of goal I hope.

The good news is that I’m going to the game in Boston tomorrow night and if Iginla scores his 500th then I’m going to actually cry in real life. This is my solemn promise to you, the reader.

3. Speaking of the Bruins

Tomorrow is my bi-annual trek to watch the Flames get humiliated by the Bruins. It’s one I’ve come to cherish.

The first time I ever took myself to a Flames game at the Fleet Center/TD Garden, it was early in 2004 and Jamie McLennan was in net. A guy bet me $100 and took the Bruins -2. Calgary went on to win 5-0. Iginla had a pair. I laughed the whole time.

The other games have not gone so well.

The most recent was a 5-0 loss two seasons ago, when the Flames were all but out of a playoff spot and playing for pride (and because they were contractually obligated to do so). It was also a game that Craig Conroy likely had surgically removed from his brain. He was in the box for Boston’s first and second goal, the result of what I recall as being two lazy-ass hooking and holding calls, respectively. The fourth goal was a Patrice Bergeron centering feed that went in off his body. Not Connie’s proudest game as a Flame.

The only other Flames game I have attended in person was early in the 2006 season, which the Flames lost just 3-2 but were never really in it because Boston scored 18 seconds in. This game was most momentous, though, because it was the one in which Stephane Yelle crashed into the boards, broke his leg, and missed nearly two months.

So this one obviously has a lot to live up to.

4. Where have you gone Jay Bouwmeester?

I think I must have been one of the last holdouts.

For a very, very long time, I was one of the few people who would actually sit there and say to you with a straight face, "Well of course the Bouwmeester contract isn’t great, but it’s not as awful as everyone makes it out to be." And I just can’t do it any more.

Even if I want to be super-nice and leave aside the minus-5 he put up in Nashville (which, yikes!), he’s been downright horrible the last stretch of games at minus-8 on the road trip, and it’s really starting to look like the scoring is never ever coming back. He has just eight goals in 205 games with the Flames, after scoring 42 in his last three seasons with Florida.

And now he’s just getting beat along the boards on simple plays by guys who are on the tail end of long shifts, losing pucks I can’t even imagine he would have lost a month ago. Not sure what you can even do with him at this point but someone needs to screw his head on straight. He’s been a liability for a while now, and it’s upsetting for me to see.

5. I don’t know about you

…But wouldn’t it be nice to see Leland Irving start a game or three here. Not saying all these losses should or even can be hung on Kipper but I thought Irving was dynamite in losing in overtime to Ottawa. He faced 49 shots and still picked up a point.

The team honestly didn’t show up a even a little bit in front of him — they attacked just fine — and he had the best game of his very brief NHL career.

So why not run the kid out a little more? Clearly the team isn’t being kept in games because of Kiprusoff and he’s not playing well enough that he shouldn’t be splitting time. Irving has at least earned a second look. Maybe he’ll go against Boston… then give up five to the best team on the planet and promptly be stapled to the bench for a month.

(Do you guys want the Iginla pony picture for this one, by the way?)


  • Graham

    1. Will the real Calgary Flames please stand up?

    I think we are seeing the real Flames, a middling, unbalanced squad with no first line, and with Gio out, no legit top pair d men.

    We have spent years switching in and out assorted forwards / d men, with pretty consistant results. If you scored and competed for previous teams, by the time you have played with the Flames for 2 – 3 months, both of these attributes seem to fall off the cliff. We have also switched in multiple coaches, so I have to think the problems are deep within the culture of the Flames organization.

    I knew Bouw was struggling to score, but 8 goals in 205 games…

    • ville de champignons

      “…so I have to think the problems are deep within the culture of the Flames organization.”

      Totally agree, though we may disagree on the source. Couldn’t possibly be with the captain/leader/face of the franchise though. Heresy. Nostalgia before reality and all.

      • I’ve been thinking a lot about the team in general, and the word culture keeps popping up. I think the Flames are a team with a culture of mediocrity surrounding them. It hasn’t just been in the past 5-6 years. Lets face it, look at the 20 year history of the Flames since 1990, how many playoff series wins have we had in a 20 year period? 3, and that was one playoff year, which, while a terrific and memorable experience, was(no pun intended) lightning in a bottle. So really we’ve only had playoff success one year out of 20, half have been 1st round eliminations, or no playoffs at all. I like hearing people talk about the culture around the franchise, because I think that a top down fundamental shift will have to happen. I also think, Jay Feaster can be absolved from the discussion at this point, but I do think that he is fighting an incredible uphill battle to get a team which can reach a top 4 Western Conference standing

  • ville de champignons

    Well, I have been another guilty one of saying yeah JBO is way over paid, but if he had a contract like Gio, he would be untouchable. Expectation versus $$$ is the problem in the eyes of perception. When Gio went down, you have to admit, he stepped up & I thought he was playing some of his best hockey as a Flame & he was logging over 30 minutes a game. I think the problem is the guy is getting burnt out. There has been no success to get that additional adrenalin push & he’s getting burnt badly in every which way. I can remember before the start of the season, Pat or Ken had suggested JBO’s minutes need to go down from what he was logging last year. Right now they are much higher & Butter simply has no choice. Is he gonna play Babchuk & Sarich 25 minutes a game? & I dont think Hannan is healthy enough to log the extra minutes. I knew going in, this D is thin & heaven help us if we got injuries to either JBO or Gio. I know we may be out of things but Feaster needs to get some help here & the only one that wont cost us anything is someone find out which bar McCabe is drinking at & see if he’s laced any skates in the last 2 months & sign him to a 1 year deal. At least his legs are fresh & by the time he gets injured Gio will be ready to return.

  • ville de champignons

    1. Stand up? They know better than that. You stand up and next thing you know somebody is holding you accountable. Soon you’ll have to memorize a different set of platitudes for your post-game interviews. Way too much effort required.

    2. Jarome, just score 500 already and maybe the other guys will stop trying to feed you (and exclusively you) the puck all the time.

    3. Leave Connie alone.

    4. J-Bo? Lazy SOB. Too much money. Too little pride. Zero class. For fun, assign him to the press box for the rest of the season. And make sure he is interviewed after every game.

    5. Irving. Yes to this kid. Potential core player. Whatever you do, just don’t ruin him.

    6. Bitter? Naw. Just dialled 1-800-REALITY like you did.

  • ville de champignons

    1) Same team for the last serval seasons. Why are people still surprised? The only surprise is why managemetn doesn’t do something to change it. But Kent kind of answered that one in a previous column. Also, they only beat good teams when the good teams play like #$%$@#^#!&!!!

    2) Probably waiting for the fan adulation of scoring at home.

    3) Don’t see a win happening, but who knows? See “1).”

    4) Answers my dilemna of whether or not the Flames should keep him because he’s only 1 of 2 legit top 4 D. If Philly can’t pry away Suter or Weber and Calgary can dump that contract I think it’s a must.

    5) Agree, give Irving a 3 game stretch.

  • BobB

    Lambert, what criteria do you use to evaluate goalies?

    One hundred shot sample size? Mythology? Jokes and fictional narrative? Because you think it is must be true?

    Do you not see value in considering sample sizes of 4000-8000 shots against?

    You’ve gone from claiming that Byrzgalov isn’t serious, and eluding to that being part of his problems this year. Actually, that he is “officially mentally weak” What is that bullshit?

    Now, you’re suggesting that Leland Irving should be splitting duties with Miikka Kiprusoff based on the strength of three games?

    If you can prove that a sense of humour actually impedes a goalies ability (as if Bryz became a “funny guy”..err mentally weak… only on arriving in Philly) then maybe you’ll have something.

    Until then, I think Kiprusoff and Bryzgalov have earned the right to play a few dozen more games and crack a few jokes.

    • Tangentially related, what have you seen out of Irving since his call-up RD? I admit beyond very broad strokes I’m not very good at qualitatively judging a goalie’s skills so it would be interesting to hear what you have thought of him so far.

      • RexLibris

        You aren’t alone. Nobody is very good, in my opinion, of really judging a goalie’s skills (outside of whatever scouts the Predators are employing). It is, perhaps more than any other position in sport, the realm of mystics and crystal balls. Is it any wonder that with all the advancements in statistical categories and analysis that we’re still talking save % and GAA when it comes to goalies? They are so freaking weird not even the most empirical science can make a dent in their shadowy art.

      • BobB

        Prove “GVT” using another methodology. I don’t trust the accounting if the conclusion is

        “Kiprusoff has not been good”

        or we have different definitions of “good”.

        Otherwise, I can go dig up some crazy accounting method (like the goalies world ranking) and say.. Ahh… but he IS good, this says so.

        @ Kent

        Irving has been very solid and that’s excellent for the Flames. He looks quick, he looks consistent. His tracking is better, but it has to be better still. It’d be nice to see him play a little bigger on his knees like Halak (since they’re both small(er)) and kept his shoulders higher. It’d also be nice to see him have more intention in his movements (more certainty) instead of just passively reacting.

        The big question is where does Karl go when he gets back? If it’s up to me, Irving stays and Karl goes. It’s early to say who’s better (Irving vs Karl) but Irving at least is showing something, we’re still waiting on Karlsson to show up.

        • RexLibris

          threshold goaltending is a 915 evsv. kipper’s is 924. based on the amount of shots thus far, that’s a 6 goal difference. 6 goals is a win. so, in my opinion, being on pace for two wins over what a high-level ahl goalie would give the flames is not good. those are the straight numbers, and I’m not sure how else you would have me prove that.

          • BobB

            Threshold goaltending is .915? Ok I’ll trust you. You might want to know:

            Cam Ward averages .915evsv% over 8100 shots against. MA Fleury is .917 over 8300 shots. Craig Anderson is .911 over 5600 shots. So any goalie could do those? Cam Ward is a high-level AHL goalie? Fleury is BARELY above AHL. Why is Craig Anderson even in the NHL? Those are pretty big sample sizes too, so you can be confident that Anderson isn’t an NHL goalie. (right?)

            Show me your square is square. If you tell a carpenter your square tells you his table isn’t square. He’s going to say “prove to me your square is square”

            So, if you believe threshold goaltending is .915 (fair enough), what’s Elite goaltending? And the number of saves doesn’t mean anything?

            In fact, tell me what the following ranges would be to you:

            and Awful…. oh, and Unsustainable

            and then tell me what value the number of saves (like goals) has in your analysis.

            Remember you said “Kiprusoff is NOT good” You’ve said it dozens of times. That’s what GVT tells you.

          • RexLibris


            those are the accepted rates. notice it includes the nhl averages too.

            as for your examples, cam ward has had 2 sub-925 evsv% seasons. those were the first two seasons of his career-at age 22 and 23. I think he is a good goalie and 30 games this season isn’t enough to change my opinion yet. fleury’s evsv% is 920 over his career, which has provided 6 extra wins for the pens. that’s largely mediocre over 8 or so seasons. craig anderson was a career back-up until his “amazing” year with the avalanche, and since then his only full season was 917.

            number of saves means something if the save percentages are fluctuating because of them. but if a goaltender is letting in the same percentage of shots in when he makes 100 saves as when he makes 500 it really doesn’t matter how many pucks he’s saving because there’s no surplus value in terms of wins-a goalie that lets in 5 goals in 5 games over 150 shots is the same that lets in 1 in one game over 30 shots. he’s not giving his team any less or any more of a chance to win.

            unsustainable is 940+. elite is 931-939. good is 925-930. average is from 915-924. poor would be 905-914. awful is sub-905.

            at any given time there are maximum 30 starters in the nhl. 5-10 will be elite & good, 5-10 will be poor & awful and the rest of them will fall in the 915-924 range.

            the funny thing with numbers is that they’re right more often then not. lastly: the average evsv% in the nhl this year is .919.

            kiprusoff is 4 goals better then the average nhl goalie.

          • BobB

            Not sure how Elite is .931-.939?

            Tim Thomas is the only active goalie who has a .931 sv% over 8000evsa. There are only 7 active goalies with a evsv% over .925 with over 5000 evsa! (8 if you include Rinne .929 with 4883evsa)

            and you only consider those goalies “good”, not even Elite! (Which ignores the truth of large sample size numbers). Your definition is based on small sample sizes.

            Furthermore, saves matter. More than rate, because saves are what prevent goals. Rate matters to GM’s, agents or numbers nerds because then we can make a list of who’s best. Even then, saves also matter because they increase sample size giving you more confidence in the rate itself. 5 in 150 is fairly meaningless as a sv% rate. But 10,000 ev sa is pretty good sample size

            Miikka has made more saves than any other goalie in the league since the lockout. Full stop. If that said “scored more goals” would you ignore it? No.

            His Evsv% over 10805 evsa is .925% Good even by your own criteria. Funny you said he’s “not good”. That’s Elite (.925+) by mine, since there are only 7. and the last three years he’s .923 same as Backstrom (.925/.923), two of the seven I mentioned earlier.

            Lastly, Thomas may be .931 (8129), Luongo .930 (11280), and Vokoun .929 (10776), but compared to their backups in the same time 2nd goalies have been .921 (5096) behind Thomas, .918 (2977) behind Lou, .922 (4154) behind Vokoun.

            So Thomas has saved 85 more goals at his rate than his backups in Boston. Impressive?

            The Flames? .903 (2360) Not even close to Kipper’s .925 (10805). He’s saved 237 more goals vs his backups (39.5 wins)! Luo is the next closest to Kipper at 138. 99 less!

            This is one way to illustrate “team strength”

            Bryzgalov? .924 (7761) his backups? .9…2…4!
            Sample size shouldn’t be ignored, but the Bryz, has saved 0 goals more than the rate of his backups 1743evsa since 07/08 (when Bryz was a number 1.)

            Make yourself a spreadsheet, cause the funny thing with numbers is they are right more often then not, and large sample size matters.

          • RexLibris

            you’re putting way too much value on early seasons, dude. my definitions are based on recent history, not two horrible seasons at the beginning of a guy’s career.

            I wasn’t arguing about sample size. a greater sample size is nice, but not in the way I read your argument in your first post.

            I wouldn’t completely ignore goals, as they are a random and rare event. but I would ignore a statement like “most saves since the lockout” because it doesn’t tell me anything about how he’s performing right now.

            I don’t ever think I said he wasn’t good in his vezina campaign or 09-10.

            also, I find it humorous that you harp on sample size and then take small sample sizes and apply them to reinforce your point.

            it’s obvious we won’t agree on this, but I will tell you I’m not the only flames blogger who thinks kipper’s pretty much done.

          • CA Flames Fan

            “you’re putting way too much value on early seasons, dude. my definitions are based on recent history, not two horrible seasons at the beginning of a guy’s career.”

            Not true I value them equally, I don’t weight them or mathematically manipulate them. 1. sv% trends down for almost every goalie. A guy can have a .941 through one or two seasons and will inevitably rest around .920 after ten.
            2. recent history supports that Kipper is playing at .924 (this year) .001 off his starter’s numbers of .925. His last three years are .923. I can have confidence in those rates.

            Niklas Backstrom .925 since lockout (s.l.), .923 last 3, .935 this year.
            Ilya Bryzgalov .924 s.l., .926 last 3, .905 this year
            Ryan Miller .923 s.l., .923 last 3, .903 this year.
            Carey Price .922 s.l., .921 last 3, .915 this year.

            Those are four guys I have ranked behind Kipper (and Backstrom and Kipper are really fairly equal, they flip-flop). That considers all sample sizes. Remember Backstrom started the year at .953? Any bets on approximately where he lands?

            “I wasn’t arguing about sample size. a greater sample size is nice, but not in the way I read your argument in your first post.”

            My first post I said “Do you not see value in considering sample sizes of 4000-8000 shots against?”

            I wouldn’t completely ignore goals, …because [that statement] doesn’t tell me anything about how he’s performing right now.

            No, it doesn’t, but you go from there. I can tell you Kipper has made 726 saves this season, fourth most in the league. His rate is .924, second best amongst those four (Rinne, Price and Ward). Then you go back to large sample sizes to confirm against and increase your analysis… he’s pretty much right on his mark (.925)

            I don’t ever think I said he wasn’t good in his vezina campaign or 09-10.

            Save rates change, always in flux. Like shooting percent. That’s why we want the largest sample size possible. Even Hasek has four conseq. seasons of .923, .924, .925, .912. Hasek was good right?

            I never hear: wow, that’s odd/low or odd/high. In fact, you conclude by saying “I’m not the only flames blogger who thinks kipper’s pretty much done.” “I find it humorous that you harp on sample size and then take small sample sizes and apply them to reinforce your point.”

            When do I do that? I track every goalie worth a shake over the last 8 years. I spreadsheet their numbers, and rank them. Pretty simple. I track their back-ups to the largest sample possible. I observe all the sv% data, so I can have confidence in my statements.

            It’s obvious we won’t agree on this, but I will tell you I’m not the only flames blogger who thinks kipper’s pretty much done.

            Yes, we won’t agree because you and others won’t do the work to back up your claims. You don’t have the numbers. You see Kipper’s #’s and you see yearly leaders at unsustainable rates (like Anderson @ .953% and fall in love with the guy!)

            You and others highlight when Kipper has .916evsv% small sample, and ignore when Price is .915% small sample… or Miller is .903, or Bryz is .905.

            You and others refuse to acknowledge that playing for Bos, Van, Phx or Fla might have inflating effects on sv% vs Cgy, NYI, Ott, Clb and don’t look at back-up rates.

            I never advocate Kipper is the best, or he’s superman, or he’s remarkably consistent, or he isn’t getting old. But he is a very good goalie. He has been for a very long time. He is again good this season and the numbers back that up.

            The one thing I don’t get is why there is such a strong refusal to read factual numbers available to everyone on and accept that Kiprusoff is a very good goalie (likely elite). Calgary isn’t being sympathetic playing a washed up old sieve. He’ll soon be traded or retire and people will say ” He was no good” or “He had one, maybe two, good seasons” cause they read people who write without looking up the numbers.

          • Section205

            He is above average this year, and was in 09-10, and was in earlier years. Back to this year…Your straight numbers appear to be tinted with bias, which can work both ways.

            By your count he is 4 goals above an average goalie (924 vs 919?), so how many goals between 924 and 931 (which is elite by your standard)?

            I would say he has been somewhere between elite and average… which is… Good.

            Lastly, I think that the better AHL level goaltenders achieve way better numbers than we might expect. Irving for example has great numbers, but can anyone say, with a straight face, that he is ready to replace Kiprusoff?. Goaltending is improving overall.

            If you are suggesting that only 2 or 3 goalies are worth a $5.83M/yr long term cap hit anymore, then I can agree with that. With benefit of hindsight I would wish Kippers contract to be 4.85M.

          • RexLibris

            he’s been trending downwards this year, too. started at 935 and has dropped 11 points thus far. we’ll see where he is at the end of the season.

            6 goals more, or one win. whereas kipper’s on pace for about 1.5 wins, a 931 would be almost 4.

            goaltending is improving, for sure. not by that significant of an amount, though. I personally don’t think irving is ready and I’d never suggest that.

            the whole goaltending market is inefficient.

          • CA Flames Fan

            My only argument to your last statement is that when we resigned Kipper to that 5.83 mill cap hit contract, DS looked like a genius & if I’m not correct he went on to win a Vezina. Good value. You may wish the Cap hit to be 4.83mill but in reality, the cap hit may suck but the actual salary Kipper will be getting in his last 2 years will be phenominal value & part of the reason why his value to another team is so much higher than what the mathematicians are spewing here. This business just isnt black & white & fit in math equations. The math just gives a little more meat to subjective decision making. Otherwise I totally agree with the rest of your post.

          • RexLibris

            I think if you were targeting a team from which you might get the best return and some serious interest in, you’d be looking at a team in a similar situation to where Florida is: a small market team looking to get to the salary floor but with aspirations of success and a stable full of recently drafted top prospects due to year’s of being a doormat.

            Sadly, Florida is the only team that fits that bill this year and while there is always a chance that a trade could be had this year(Kiprusoff for Clemmensen, Gudbranson, Dadonov and a 1st round pick) I doubt that any team will take on a lengthy contract at the deadline with the CBA set to expire and the financial terms of the new one undetermined. If the salary floor is lowered or disappears, which I suspect might happen, then it also reduces the tradeability of contracts like Kirpusoff and others that have diminishing payout relative to cap hit.

            Sorry if that seems off-topic. I just thought it relevant with the discussion about Kirpusoff’s value-per-dollar amount in these last few years of his contract.

          • RexLibris

            Great points actually. Everyone seems to be forgetting the CBA is expiring this summer & there are some pretty serious issues on the table that are jeopardizing the integredy of the Cap system, ie, these amortized contracts & front loaded signing bonuses. In Kippers case, even if the cap min. floor is removed, then the remaining $$$ left on Kippers last 2 years is still equally important as teams like Florida, Winnipeg, Phoenix, Tampa, Columbus, Nashville & Im sure I missed a few others wouldnt mind spending less than the cap hit. I think Tampa would be a huge partner in the Kipper sweepstakes. Worth a Connolly & a 1st rounder? Maybe? who knows. Thats up to Stevie Y to decide.
            This CBA is why Ive been advocating the situation with Iggy. I’m tired of being the cold bottom line approach to our hero, face of the franchise player. Fine, I’ll stop advocating trading him but man, lets face reality, they may say we arent rebuilding this year but by next & the year after that, we will be. Does he want to be here for another rebuild or not? If not the time to move him is this year at the trade deadline(best value). If he wants to stay great, lets get a front end bonus loaded new contract extension now for a cap hit less than 5.0mill before the CBA shuts this down.

          • RexLibris

            Because the CBA is expiring I don’t expect to see long term contracts moved (in Calgary’s case Bourque, Iginla and Kiprusoff are examples, in Edmonton Horcoff is an example) at the deadline as no GM wants to be stuck with an albatross when the negiotations settle.

            I don’t think Kiprusoff is worth Connolly and a 1st. Sorry, but I believe Yzerman has positioned Connolly to gradually take over some of what Lecavalier and St. Louis have been to the team. Carter Ashton and a 1st, maybe. But that’d be a pretty good return in itself.

            The problem with the current cap-floor system is that the profitability of the Canadian teams is what is killing the American market teams. All the talk about moving a franchise to the Toronto area is moot until they solve the floor calculations because no U.S. GM is going to want yet another team pushing the salary floor up to the $70-$80 million range. It would kill Columbus, Dallas, Nashville, Florida (both of them) and Anaheim. If they can reconfigure the method of determining the salary floor then there will be no problem putting another team in Ontario, because the revenue sharing will help everyone. The players would also benefit because the cap would then likely rise close to $100 million within a few years.

            The Flames are going to rebuild, and it will probably be done the hard way starting next year. But I could go on about that for another entire post.

          • RexLibris

            Yes & that’s why I argue so much that you are wrong & that we lose in January, to ensure that you are wrong.:-)
            The only thing is, yes contracts will be impossible to move like Horcoff, Stajan, Luongo, Lecalvier, Kovalchuk, Erhoff, Leino to name a few. Florida have a boat load of bad 4-5 year contracts. I’m blown away they are doing so well this year, but next year, the novelty wears off & these players may not be any where near performing the way they are this year. But if a player is a big enough piece to win a Cup this year, I think Iggy’s & Kippers contracts will not be that hard to move. February will be a very interesting month my Oiler friend.

    • RexLibris

      I think what he is saying is that, as goalies go, Bryzgalov makes most of them look sane and that he’s tracking more than a little off the bell curve of crazy.

      I would argue that Irving ought to see a few more games. Otherwise, by year’s end, regardless of whether the Flames make the playoffs of not, the same refrain will be heard yet again: Kiprusoff was exhausted and the Flames needed to rest him by finding a devent backup. I think the Flames coaching staff, and by extension fans, have become so used to relying on a certain level of goaltending (varying from good to miraculous) that they have forgotten how to win without it. I also believe that this is what feeds into the common criticisms from external media every fall about the Flames lacking scoring depth because it appears to most as though the team feels that they can just let the goalie (and Iginla) win them the game for them. I think it also has repercussions with the fans’ persistence that this team is closer to contending than most critics believe because in the past few years teams with modest to good goaltending have done quite well in the playoffs and it would stand to reason that any team with goaltending at the level that Kiprusoff has provided in the past would almost be assured of a berth in the final.

      Sorry, that’s kind of a long rant about dressing a backup goalie. Anyway, with 39 games to go, why not give Irving 8 or 10? What’s the worst that could happen, the team finishes 9th or 10th? If so, blaming that on the backup (callup) goalie is just avoiding much deeper issues.

  • everton fc

    Might as well throw my opinion into the fray:

    1. To me, JBo’s interviews show he is not engaged. He seems to have a careless (“care less”?) mood about him, no sense of urgency… I think you move him, even if you only get back a 2nd/3rd round pick. He’s an albatross.

    2. No matter who you sign – Weber (damaged goods?), Suter… Parise… Whomever… It will nto change this team as long as the President, GM, and yes, perhaps the coaching staff remain intact. I leave Brent and company as the “latter” for a reason. But the “system” may be the problem here.

    3. To me, Irving looks calm and collected in every game he’s been in. I say you give him more starts… And perhaps shop Kipper.

    But what do I know, hey?!

  • RexLibris

    Can I vote for a picture of Iginla riding a snow-sabretooth tiger while holding a massive sword, all airbrushed and cool, like they used to have on the side of those vans in the mall parking lot that your parents told you stay away from.

  • ville de champignons

    Just watched the Yakupov post-game interview on SN. In terms of entertainment it was right up there with Ollie and just short of Niemenen. Plus, the guy can skate and pass and shoot. A novel concept. Looks like a hockey player to me.

    Give WAS whatever they want (except Irving, but including eating some of the Bouwmeester contract) for CLB’s first. I do not want to see Nail skating with the likes of Hopkins, Hall and Eberley. Ever.

    So to answer your question Bob, Yes and No.

    • RexLibris

      Washington has Colorado’s first. Which isn’t looking as catastrophic as it once did.

      Don’t worry. Unless Anaheim and Columbus both really turn it on or the Oilers win the lottery, Nail will be skating somewhere else in the Western Conference (or whatever they call it next year).

      Yakupov would make a nice RW replacement for Hemsky, but I don’t see it happening. More likely the Oilers have to decide between Matt Dumba, Griffin Reinhart, maybe Alex Galchenyuk or Filip Forsberg, or the other D-men like Jacob Trouba, Nick Ebert, Morgan Rielly and so on.

      As for getting Columbus’ or Anaheim’s 1st rounders in a trade, I think that they are both locked in to keep those selections this year. Howson has probably been told not to move any first rounders this year and Anaheim is so shallow in depth that they’ll likely be adding picks before moving them.

      It’s a terrible year to be in an early rebuild though as with the CBA expiring players with one year remaining on contract would be almost impossible to move (Getzlaf and Perry, for example).

  • Franko J

    My Five things:

    1. Trade for the future. Feaster should move the few assests that they do have for a blue chip prospect. With the upcoming draft deep in quality dmen and centers it would be a good start to change the culture and core.

    2. Draft for speed, skill, size?, and grit {greasy player}.

    3. Develop, develop, develop. Utilize the AHL team.

    4. Coaching. Like drafting and developing, good coaches are hard to find.
    Although Sutter is trying and his coaching record with this team is okay at best, I think it is time for Calgary to change the coaching after the season. Darryl Sutter { not GM} aside, as coach did a good job with this core. If the core is going to change shouldn’t the coaching mentality of this team change as well?

    5. Take what Detroit does and do it better. They have the best model in the league. Let Feaster take care of the hockey side and leave KK and ownership to the business side. Give Feaster any assists necessary to bring forth an exciting and entertaining brand of hockey back to the ice. Win or lose, as a fan I just want to see a competitive team which can provide hope and inspiration.

  • This team is in full-on crapshoot mode. Bourque is a selfish, useless player. JBo is sliding downhill quickly. No one outside of GlenX/Pumpkinhead/Iggy can score.

    And now they’ve sent down Carson and Nemisz and called up freakin’ IVANANS. You know things are bad when you send down prospects and pliable NHL players in favor of a goon. As if Bourque didn’t goon it up enough.

  • Franko J

    @ TravisSengaus

    Feaster and company do have an uphill battle when it comes to this team. For a long time, maybe since Fletcher left the organization, the GM position has been lacking vision and purpose. I think when Feaster took the position with Tampa Bay it was in far worst shape than Calgary is now. At least for now there are plenty of passionate Flames fans. If you look closely, Feaster has assembled a pretty good management team around him. Hey at the very least he does have an assistant who knows hockey. Feaster will win this battle as long as the President and Ownership group of this team tend to the business side of the franchise much like it did with Sutter. Leave the hockey decisions to the hockey personnel. Unlike Sutter and his one man “gunslinger” approach, Feaster has a posse of smart hockey minds with a wealth of knowledge, now only if he can translate his idea and plans to the team on the ice.

  • everton fc

    We called up Ivanans? Why?? Perhaps to demote him again and hope someone snags him off the waiver-wire? Highly unlikely.

    The move makes no sense… Or am I lost??

    I mentioned in a prior post on an earlier thread Byron is listed on the Flames site as 5’7″ 153 lbs. If this is accurate…. Why would we sign him? Size and speed is the way to go. Makes no sense…

    One of our most valuable assets is Kipper. Regardless of what we all think, he could be moved for a first round pick.

    You want grit? Ferland will give us some grit. But I still like Dumba. How do we poach Dumba??

    And with this summer’s draft so deep… I’d move JBo and his salary (if at all possible) for a 2nd round pick. I’d dump him. Perhaps the Flyers would bite? And moving Bourque for a 2nd… I’d do that now. Immediately. If at all possible.

    Like I’ve said many times before, “on paper”, we have an expansion team lineup. Particularly on defence, and this before the injuries. The fact Brent has kept them at or near .500 says something. I’m just not sure it says enough to keep Brent behind the bench.

    We need a fresh start. From the President down through the GM and coaching staff. My opinion, of course. Flawed, and worth nothing but space here.

    Again, I ask: How do we get Matt Dumba??!! I’d target the hometown kid now. Trouble is… we have nothing to offer anyone to poach a first round pick, outside Kipper and Iginla. My gut says a different coach, different “system”, some young players and some grit give Iginla 30 goals-seasons until he’s 38.

    We are soft on “d”. And have no real grit up front, outside Jackman and Iggy, when he’s mad. (And I’ll add Kostopoulos, who I actually like)

    Not a good scenario. The time for changes is now, me thinks…

    • the forgotten man

      Is the ivanans callup for real??????
      If so, then the 2011-2012 flames have officially jumped the shark!

      The culture of this organization is flawed…in business it means a new b.o.d. And CEO for starters…since the owners are the the de facto b.o.d., then a new CEO is paramount…hasta la vista Ksquared.

      Any CEO worth his salt would bring in his own management team that he both trusts and whom share his vision…back to the sizzler buffet line for feaster and the farm for butter. Blow up the scouting department…Nothing more needs to be said there.

      Many pooh pooh the blowup the lineup approach, so let’s blow up the admin. and management instead and let them implement a 3-5 year plan to legitimately challenge for a Stanley cup…not one of Ksquared or Fatsters bullsh?t obliviations they announce on cue every September at the flames central annual circle j@rk.

  • Section205

    @ TravisSengaus – agree completely. I think since the Risebrough as GM/Gilmour trade debacle fiasco that ownership has increasingly mettled in hockey ops with disastrous results. To me, once past the 1st since ’89 is the only stat worth knowing about the team and more than ample proof that a massive shift in culture and management and hockey philosophy is needed. Team refuses to learn from its mistakes for whatever reasons.

    The ’89 team was built through drafting with an emphasis on skill. Many of those scouts were driven out and the Flames’ development system has been a joke since the mid 90’s.

    For example, Horak should be developing his offensive game in the minors this season. He’s in over his head, but he’s Jays’ guy from the Erixxon trade and so is here for PR. He’s on th epath to permanent 3rd/4th liner. Ditto Backlund, who should be playing top 6 minutes this season and should’ve been in the aHL last year.

    We won’t let guys develop at their own pace in a development league, but we won’t live with their mistakes at the NHL level either. Instead we bury them in the bottom 6 and then wonder why 3-5 years down the road that’s all they became.

    Kobasew, Lombardi, Boyd, Saprykin – it’s a disgrace. And that’s not to say all those guys would be 40 goal scorers now if developed properly or to absolve all blame on the players themselves, but Backlund and Horak are 2 of the best offensively skilled prospects to come along for Calgary in a quite a while and I just can’t see how anyone can justify their current development path when that same path has been so dismal in the past with other players. I hope both guys emerge regardless, but I have increasing doubts. For all that is rational, demote Horak an dplay the snot out of Backlund for the rest of the season, please. In fact, I wouldn’t mind seeing Backlund go down for a 10 game ‘conditioning stint’ just to get his legs back under him and to regain some confidence.

    The team has to get back to building through the draft and proper development. Every elite team has the following in common:

    1) about half their roster is drafted
    2) their superstars are drafted
    3) when thay appeared in the finals they all had 3 or 4 superstars in their 20’s who were also all drafted.

    There are no shortcuts and this team will find that out in a serious way in another season or two.

  • CA Flames Fan

    As always great comments from the FN base. My comments here are a repeat of what has been said before on many previous postings.

    One of the fundemental core issues I sense is the intent of ownership….what is it REALLY? The Flames owners are business folks FIRST and maybe hockey fans second. Hate him or love him, Darryl Katz is an Oilers fan as much as he is the owner. The Oilers have taken steps to improve. They are a young team with considerable upside. The Flames are on the other side of this.

    Maybe it would take a meaningful drop in attendence, ticket sales, beer sales, merch sales, the whole lot, before the owners exert their influence to sustainable make the team better. If the product on the ice is great the fans will come. However the Saddledome is still filled with the memories of 2004.

    Considering Ken is still Pres, how long it took to get Dutter out, my real concern is the true engagement level of ownership to see the team succeed.

  • CA Flames Fan

    I’ve seen the numbers on Kipper worked btoh ways, for and against him. It all gets somewhat confusing. But as far as just watching him with the proverbial naked eye goes, I would agree that Kipper has been an elite goalie since coming to Calgary, the odd off-season included.