Five things: Something to smile about



1. He did it!

There hasn’t been a lot to be happy about this year as a Flames fan, unless you count Olli Jokinen’s 1,000th game (and you shouldn’t). But Jarome Iginla’s milestone goal is certainly one of them.

It didn’t look like vintage Iginla and it certainly wasn’t pretty, but the old hockey adage goes, you don’t ask how, you ask how many. And for Iginla, the answer is 500. And the fact that he did the majority of it in the Dead Puck Era with almost no major help at any point in his career? It’s beyond impressive. And it’s an event made more meaningful because he’s one of the few players in NHL history to score all 500 with one team. It used to happen a lot back in the old days, of course, before there was a thing like free agency that kept guys coming and going out of cities for a year here, two there, maybe five somewhere else if you’re lucky. 

It speaks to the love affair between Iginla and the city of Calgary. He could do no wrong in its eyes, and it’s the most beautiful place in the world to him. He’s given everything to the Flames and their fans, tears and joy, memories to last forever, stories to tell their grandkids about the time they saw Jarome Iginla live and in person. And they’ve repaid him in full, not just with money but with their limitless adoration.

So here’s to you, Jarome Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Elvis Junior Iginla, the great Flame of all time. We really can’t say enough good things about you. Thanks for 500 reasons Flames fans will sing your song forever.

2. On that 9-0 loss

You have to understand that I went to this game knowing it wasn’t going to be pretty, but I don’t think anyone on earth could have expected a nine-goal game for Boston (the Flames shutout was, perhaps, easier to predict).

The fact of the matter is that this was a phenomenally bad game against a phenomenally good team worsened considerably by phenomenally terrible luck. I don’t care how bad you are and how good your oppoent is, you don’t score none to your opponent’s nine without being remarkably unlucky.

As it happens, I joked with my friend, a Bruins fan, just before puck drop that the game would be out of reach 1:20 into the game. The Bruins made me look like a fool, though, as it took them just 1:14 to score the goal that stood up as the eventual game-winner. After that, I just laughed as Boston’s second goal caromed in off Olli Jokinen from the top of the circles, and shielded my eyes for each after that.

My friend, again, a Bruins fan, joked during the second intermission that the game could not officially end until Dan Paille scored. He did it, shorthanded, 8:43 later.

The only highlight, and one that led to many laughs in the bar as we watched Sweden beat Russia in the World Juniors gold medal game, was TJ Brodie playing more minutes than anyone, even minutes-eaters like Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, and being both even in plus-minus and a plus-4 corsi.

Hockey really is a funny old game.

3. …And the following trade

The day after a 9-0 loss, people understandably want blood.

Someone has to pay for us having to sit through this (and me paying $35 for the honor of having done so), right? Sure, every one of the players was made to endure reporters’ questions after the game but heads have to roll.

And so the sacrificial lamb was… Brendan Mikkelson? Not the shakeup people wanted, certainly, but instead, the minorest of minor transactions that actually allowed the Flames to come out on top. But people were understandably nonplussed.

Elliotte Friedman’s wonderful 30 Thoughts column mentioned that GMs generally don’t like to deal immediately after big wins or losses because of the emotion involved; you’d be more likely to give everyone the axe after a loss like that. But another reason occurred to me as well: How is Jay Feaster supposed to call, I dunno, Dale Tallon for example, and say, "Hey you know this guy who just did crap-all in a 9-0 loss? What’ll you give me for him?" with a straight face AND not get taken to the cleaners?

I’m not in favor of keeping anyone at all on the roster, but last Friday wasn’t the day to be wheelin’ and dealin’.

4. A thing I read that made me cry

"Are the Flames buyers?"

I just about choked on my lunch.

"As long as the Flames remain in playoff contention, Feaster won’t be a trade deadline seller," not-just-some-bozo-with-a-rumors-blog Lyle Richardson wrote in the Hockey freaking News of all publications. "If anything, he could become a buyer provided he’s able to find a deal that would boost Calgary’s playoff fortunes."

This is terrible, terrible news. It would be one thing to stand pat. The Flames have had a ton of guys, some of whom are key contributors, missing for long stretches, and have, I think I read, had lost more man-games to injury than any team in the Western Conference and were, prior to last night’s game, "just" five points out of the playoffs (ignore the "thatmeanstheyre12th" behind the curtain). The desire to keep the roster and hope you can sneak in is understandable enough, maddening though it would be.

But to actually sell prospects and picks, of any kind, for help? That would be grounds for open revolt.

5. Gio back this week?

Read in the Herald on Monday that the Flames expect Mark Giordano back by the end of the week at the latest, which would obviously be huge. 

The Flames D has been calamitous with him out of the lineup, and he’s been out since Nov. 29. They’ve conceded 62 goals (SIXTY-TWO!) in 19 games without Giordano, not counting last night, and the sooner he’s back, the better everyone should feel.

Having Chris Butler off the top pairing would almost be worth it, in and of itself.

  • xis10ce

    Lets hope some of these other starters are back soon like Tanguay and Moss. I couldn’t agree with you more that buying at the deadline would be the worst possible situation. At least if we get our “stars” back in the line up, should we continue to loose (or middle for that matter) we will not be a buyer come Late Feb.

  • xis10ce

    #4 – I wouldn’t put that much stock into what you read on The Hockey News. I’ve seen A LOT of crap on that website. Really up and down, flavour of the week type material.

    #5 – Are you talking about Gio taking Butlers spot along side Jbo? I don’t see that happening. Butler – Jbo have been together all year.

    • I agree it’s unlikely although perhaps things will have changed with the emergence of Smith and Brodie.

      Bouwmeester – Gio
      Butler – Brodie/Smith
      Sarich – Hannan/Babchuk

      Although, that arrangement leaves the third pairing slug slow.

  • Vintage Flame

    I’m not sure I’d like to see Calgary throw all their eggs in one basket by putting Gio with Jbo, but who knows, it may work.

    I’d like to see how Gio looks with Brodie myself. Once everyone is healthy, I think the top 4 should look like some combination of..

    Bouwmeester – Smith / Brodie
    Giordano – Brodie / Smith

  • NateBaldwin

    While I enjoy Spectors site very much I have noticed that his stock rebuttal of trade rumors is a “the team is playing well so why would they?” type comment. Infact, I’ve notcied lots of MSM types stating similar.

    Is it just me or was it not the rule of thumb at one time to trade from a position of strength? It was certainly something Cliff Fletcher always talked about. Now, apparently, teams are supposed to only make trades when they’re on losing streaks?

    What happened?

  • RexLibris

    “Are the Flames buyers” was something I had read the other day also and posted in the comments here. I was curious to see fans’ reactions to reading it from a respectable publication.

    If Feaster is a buyer come February then I would expect FlamesNation to make a tidy sum from all the hits and traffic that will come this way. It might be worth it for Kent or Vintage to just have an article that says “WTF” and let the comments below make up the content.

    Having said all that (tongue-in-cheek, of course) one has to at least admit that there is a possibility of that happening. I see here and on the Flames broadcasts (biased, yes, but still…) that the playoffs are referred to as “possible but unlikely” and if you can admit that much then you have to accept the possibility that Feaster could make another Modin-like trade this year with one of his remaining (1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th or two 7th round) picks. Perhaps now is the time to scout the landscape for former Feaster-era Lightning players with expiring contracts. Now that I think about it, how about Khabibulin for Karlsson and a 3rd? Come on, if you liked our Staios you’ll LOVE our Khabibulin! (kidding).

    Seriously though, if the Flames were close or in the playoff picture at the deadline how would fans feel if Feaster did a trade for Lecavalier that involved a goalie, picks and a prospect? I’m not trying to start a rumour or stir up dissent, just curious about what reaction there might be to such a really bold move.

    • RKD

      I wouldn’t be happy with any trades the Flames made for established players that involved giving up picks/prospects/young players, and I would absolutely hate a trade for Lecavalier.

      • xis10ce

        Agree. Maybe a trade like Bourque & Babchuk for Cammaleri would intrigue me & see if Cammi(Montreal have him listed as centre but I dont know his numbers), Iggy & Tangs could create some offense together. I would only look at that if we were close to the playoffs. I sure as heck cant see us being buyers at the trade deadline.

      • RexLibris

        I thought so, but I just wanted to bring it up and see what the feeling would be. Personally I doubt that Lecavalier would waive his NTC to go to Calgary at this point (no offense, but he’s established in Tampa Bay and obviously has a friendship with St. Louis) but Feaster strikes me as being the kind of manager that would view a trade of that nature as being a step forward.

          • RexLibris

            It’s out already. I checked, and the Calgary Public Library doesn’t have it. The Edmonton Public does, but that’s not much help to you. Here’s a link on Amazon:

            There is one scene in it where the “Toronto Guy” (the one with the eye-patch) is in Calgary asking why people there dislike “Canada’s Greatest City” and,…well…I won’t go any further. It’s an hilarious scene, but it might ruffle some 403 feathers.

            Hey, if you guys could just lose to the Ducks and give them a couple more points (do it in OT, then everyone is a “winner”) then the Oilers could get that much closer to Yakupov or Grigorenko. Thanks. (sarcasm implied)

  • RexLibris

    You guys might find this amusing, the Oilers blue line for the Devils tonight has a total salary of $7.39 million, or nearly $300K less than Jay Bouwmeester and Scott Hannan put together.

    I’m going to this game tonight and after watching how well the Devils created scoring chances last night I can only shudder at what could happen against our depleted blue line and forward corps tonight.

    Think positive. Maybe the Octane will be dancing in my section.

  • RKD

    Once Gio comes back things will get a little tricky. The Flames will go to Gio-JayBo as the top pairing like Nashville uses with Suter and Weber.

    The other option is they could split Gio and Jay-Bo on separate pairings, but I don’t see that happening.

    Smith won’t be back for a little bit. It would be better to keep Sarich with Brodie, they work well together and the last pairing will have Butler and Babchuk. Once Smith comes back then it becomes a real mess, do they keep scratching d-men?

  • Dr. Nick

    I would prefer we keep Wilson playing rather than have Babshmuck patrolling our blueline. If we are looking to have an offensive presence on our 5/6 pairing, at least have a D-man with some common sense, and while Wilson has only played a couple of games, I have more faith in him than Babchuk.

  • everton fc

    A team that needs help on the power play and can use a #6 defenceman might bite on Babchuk.

    I, too, like Sarich w/Brodie.

    Doesn’t any team want Bourque?!

  • Captain Ron

    Hey Lambert its nice to see that your taking some happy pills the last couple of weeks. This is so much more readable. I thought your take on the 9-0 spanking we got in Beantown was about what it should have been. Hope you didn’t have your Flames jersey on at that one.