FN Weekend Open Thread – What We Lost In the Lock-out


Thinking about the current labour situation and the possibility of another lock-out, it got me reminiscing about the previous work stoppage and what it cost the Calgary Flames. This time, the price may be Iginla’s final season in Flames colors or even Kippers. It could mean the end of era, snuffed out by the venal interests of very rich men. 

The price was probably higher last time, though. Coming off of their improbabe Stanley Cup run, the 2004-05 Flames boasted a number of organizational pillars at the prime of their careers. Jarome would have been 27 years old, Kiprusoff 28 and Regehr 25.

At the time, it was galling to watch the team peak in the playoffs and then have to wait through an erased season to see them again. The concern was about the present frustration, but it was spiked with hope the new CBA would constrain profilgate spending and help the Flames retain some of their stars for a change. 

In retrospect, with the Flames currently battling mediocrity and the big boys in the twilight of their careers, it seems now the true tragedy was the loss of those precious, prime seasons. All of Calgary’s difference makers were in that sweet spot of their career arc in 2004-05. Now? None are. Which makes me wish all the more that we could have seen what a 27-year old Iginla coming off a dominant post-season run could have done. Not only because another deep foray into the playoffd may have been in order – but also because cheering for a dominant Jarome Iginla has been one othe greatest pleasures a long time fan of this team could ever enjoy. 

The Flames and the league certainly gained something out of the last dispute: a salary cap (which has arguable benefits and drawbacks) and a crackdown on the obstruction/hooking that was on the cusp or ruining the game. It’s too bad the Flames had to pay the price they did, but there at least seemed some recompense for their sacrifice. 

This time around, it’s only about dollars and details. Whatever the cost in playing time – be it a few weeks, a few months or the whole season again – it will be erased from the careers of Calgary’s stars, a cost perhaps higher in sentiment than in on-ice results at this point, but still significant to most fans. The compensation from the league will likely be entirely lacking in 2013, unfortunately.

It’s an open thread weekend post – so I wonder, how good do you think the Flames would have been in 2004-05 had the league gotten all their business done and not canceled the season that year? All fantasies welcome!

  • RexLibris

    I would argue that the Flames are so heavily leveraged in favour of the “today” that any delay puts them in an unfavourable position.

    They aren’t invested enough in the development of younger players for a delay to provide any net benefit to the franchise when weighed against the veteran assets of the team.

    This gets back to, in my mind, what you have argued earlier in the year Kent about the Flames having a gap in the prized 25 to 28 year old range when it comes to core talent.

  • supra steve

    I think a year off (of NHL play) would benefit Sven, Reinhart, Horak, etc. in that it would put them at the AHL level for a whole year with no pressure to be anywhere else. A team like Detroit seem to always have a player or two who appear ready for the show, but get that one last year (or 2) in the minors. Not rushing their prospects has worked out pretty well there I think. While Sven is widely considered NHL ready, if that extra year of development means he comes into the league more prepared, can only be a good thing for him and the organization in the long run.

    • RexLibris

      I agree. And while that would benefit those players, the franchise in general has invested in the present.

      If the Flames had a whole selection of blue-chip prospects who were perhaps a year or two away from the NHL, then despite what the NHL roster held, it would represent a larger “+” for the team as a whole. That isn’t the case for this organization as I see it. The benefits in a prolonged work stoppage for the Flames organization do not outweigh the consequences.

      • The Last Big Bear

        The benefits in a prolonged work stoppage for the Flames organization do not outweigh the consequences.That,s true,as this team has been built for the present,although i have a hard time believing that a team loaded with prospect,s, benefits with a work stoppage.It puts those prospect,s another year away from proving themselves in the league.IMO winning is the only way young prospect,s gain confidence and accel at the game.Young prospect,s who have not done that do not benefit from missing a year of NHL hockey

        Hope i did,nt misinterpit your ending statement.that the stoppage would hurt only certain teams .as it will surely affect all teams.

        • RexLibris

          Arguably the only teams that win during a lockout (specifically during) are the ones that stand to lose less money when they aren’t functioning than when they are.

          There are some prospects whom I would argue can benefit by some extra time. Those who are in the stages between junior and the NHL.

          A player who would return for another season of junior or who might benefit from some time in the AHL whereas, were the NHL operating, would likely be promoted to the parent club, can benefit from the extra time developing. They can win at those development stages as well.

          The 2003 draft is often held up as one of the best in recent memory. What needs to be considered is that many of those prospects that were taken also had the second season after being drafted to continue their development away from the NHL. I’m not saying the talent wasn’t there to begin with, but perhaps there is a connection.

          I’ve seen it mentioned in one of the other commentary threads that perhaps the NHL could take advantage of this year, if there is an extended work stoppage, to delay the draft to the age of 19. That might be something to discuss as this slowly drags on.

  • That was always the thing that bothered me the most about the last lockout. Iginla was in his prime and missed a whole season.

    It’s not too crazy to think that last year when he was chasing 500 he very well could have been chasing 600. Who’s to say he wouldn’t have scored 50 or more that year? If he was anywhere near as dominant as he was in the playoffs, it wasn’t out of the picture.

    Couple that with how during the lockout he didn’t play at all (save for the World Cup, where he was a force with Lemieux and Sakic), and maybe he wouldn’t have stumbled so much out of the gate in his first season after the lockout. Coulda been another 50.

    All speculation, mind you, but it could have happened. Same with Kipper. He never faltered at all coming out of the lockout, but again, considering goalies kinda hit their peak in their late 20’s, imagine the kind of season he could have provided. The Flames could have been back in the Finals again. You just never know.

  • I’ve read previously that Iginla chose not to play in Europe (or anywhere else for that matter) during the 04-05 lockout.

    Does anybody know why?

    My personal experience with the last lockout was terrible. First year of university, no hockey (right after the Cup run), and all the fans in Denver had faded away. It was an awful year of no hockey and hoping that the next season would be ‘the one’. It wasn’t.

    I do not hope for another lockout. The NHLPA and NHL have known for 6 years that there would be another re-negotiation of the CBA. They did nothing but slack until the very last possible minute. Both sides are to blame, both are greedy in their own ways.

    The Flames did not think this through when they were signing contracts. Losing Iginla for nothing and Kipper being a year older would signal that they really have no stars anymore. The kids would have more experience against other up and coming kids in the AHL, but there would really be no leaders besides Gio or GlenX. No superstars. Nothing. We’ll be worse than the Jets.

  • beloch

    The NHLPA is trying to get the Alberta Labor Relations Board to nix the lockouts in Calgary and Edmonton.


    What could this accomplish? Even if just a few teams can be legally locked out, can they really have a hockey season with just some of the teams playing? What will the players do? Draw salary for showing up and playing cards like auto workers in Flint, Michigan? Sure, it puts pressure on some of the owners since it gives them expenses without revenue, but is royally pissing them off the best way to come to an agreement that won’t explode in everybody’s face eventually?

    The fact that the NHLPA even thinks they have a case is pretty good evidence that the owners never took negotiations seriously either.

    One week from the lockout and these guys are still playing games. It does not look good.

        • Thanks KK.

          @ bflames13 – One of the articles recently talked about Iginla being rusty and faltering the season after the 04-05 lockout because he didn’t play during the lockout.

          My fear is that if there is a lockout, and Iginla doesn’t play anywhere during it, do we really want him back, one year older and 1.5 years removed from competitive hockey? If we lose him for nothing, Flames got boned.

  • RKD

    The lockout definitely robbed Iggy and Kipper another full season in their prime. I’m not sure the Flames would have won the Cup the year after but could have had another deep run in the playoffs.

    I think the Flames could have had a better regular season with Darryl back at helm.

    Iggy looked like a beast in that shift, he was the most dominant player out there. Iggy would have been closer to 600 goals and Kipper would have another 30-35+ wins.

    If the whole season is wiped out, it’s going rob guys like Crosby and Stamkos a year of their career.

    • SmellOfVictory

      If there was a full season lockout the Flames would be one of the teams with the best shot at a high draft pick (granted, “best shot” means ~6% instead of 2 or 4%, but nevertheless…)

    • joey joe joe jr shabadoo

      man, who are you trying to kid?

      the Flames won’t have a lottery pick. They’ll be drafting 12-14th overall again. anyone with two brain cells to they can rub together knows that.

  • The Last Big Bear

    I wrote a huge long post about the history of the Flames, and the context of what may have happened in 2004-2005 season.

    But I erased it all, because it comes down to one thing, one thing that the Flames lost in the lockout.

    – Another playoffs with Darryl Sutter behind the bench –

    We know what happened when Sutter was coach in Calgary, because the banners hanging from the roof of the dome tell us. And although they faltered in game 7 against Anaheim, the Flames looked every bit the better team that series. Not by much, mind you, but they had that fire, that spark that defined the team for the stretch in 2003-2004, the 2004 playoffs, and the 2005-2006 season.

    Sutter left the bench, and we never saw that spark again.

    The Flames had two cracks at the can with Darryl Sutter behind the helm. What the Flames lost, was a 3rd chance at glory with the coach who, in hindsight, seems to have been the spark that burned inside the Flames that drove them to be contenders.

      • Captain Ron

        Bar none the most fun my son and I ever had watching playoff hockey.

        My wife and daughter are avid fans to this day because of that 2004 run. Best thing that ever happened to watching TV in winter around my house 🙂

        Good times indeed. Got goosebumps watching that clip. Hard to believe it has been 8 years. Doubtful that we see another Iginla shift like that again.

  • The Last Big Bear

    One could almost question if Daryl would have kept the same roster intact the next year versus how many players he didnt resign & wound up signing after the lockout. That 04 run was a sacred experience I fear I will not experience again in my lifetime & I’m not that old. Personally, if we lose this year, all it means is when things come back, we will probably suck way worse than what we’ll do if we have hockey this year. This team actually might compete for the playoffs this year but after that, the road looks pretty baron. So I dont fear this lockout will cost us on anything any where near what the last one did. I actually rank what happened to us after the 04 run was similar to what happened to the Expos.

  • It all depends on the rule changes. If they had come regardless, the Flames still would’ve been hurt as they were built as a clutch and grab team.

    Had no rule changes occured they might’ve made hay again. And hopefully have kept some of the guys they ditched, like Gelinas (thanks for the 3 playoff series winners and maybe even a 4th, bye!).