It’s only three days until the collective bargaining agreement expires! Nevertheless, there are a lot of things to discuss in short-order! Waiver news, Euro seasons beginning and a (as of right now irrelevant) TV schedule!
Several sources reported earlier this week that while the NHL and NHLPA are looking at a lock-out, they actually agreed on something. Renaud Lavoie of RDS reported that the two sides have agreed on a special waiver period that will allow players on two-way contracts to go through waivers and be assigned to the American Hockey League prior to the lockout. The Nations own Jason Gregor has further details here.
While the NHL and NHLPA haven’t officially confirmed this – and probably won’t until all the details are finalized – there have been a few questions about who’ll be impacted on the Flames.
In short: five guys. Ben Walter, Krys Kolanos, Paul Byron, Joe Piskula and Leland Irving are [a] all on two-way contracts and [b] subject to waivers. Everyone else who is on a two-way contract (T.J. Brodie, Sven Baertschi, Max Reinhart and Lance Bouma, among others) does not need to clear waivers.
It’s unclear if Roman Cervenka will be assigned to Abbotsford in the event of a lockout given his age, compensation and KHL experience, although his contract status would make him technically eligible.
EVERY SINGLE FLAMES GAME IS ON TV
In the shadow of all the CBA hubbub, our pals at Sportsnet rather quietly announced their television schedule. The sultry vocal stylings of Rob Kerr and Charlie Simmer will call 58 games this season between Sportsnet West and Sportsnet Flames, with another game appearing on Sportsnet West-Edmonton. Yes, that’s a game against the Edmonton Oilers.
The Flames will also appear a lucky 13 times on Hockey Night in Canada and 10 times on TSN.
This is all, of course, dependent on there actually being a hockey season.
Ramo and Ortio off to a good start
Avangard Omsk has a win, an overtime win and a shootout loss so far. Karri Ramo has a 1.91 goals against average, a .931 save percentage and played every minute of every game for Omsk so far. The club is back in action on Thursday against Salavat Yulaev and on Saturday against Neftekhimsk.
Meanwhile, HIFK Helsinki prepares to open their regular season with a pair of games on Thursday against Jokerit and Friday against Espoo. HIFK was not especially good in the season opening tournament, posting a 1-4-2 record (they have an October game left, but are way, way out of contention for the playoff round). Granted, the European Trophy tournament is made up of 32 of the best clubs in Europe, so don’t take this as an indictment of HIFK’s overall value. They have just underperformed at this juncture.
Nevertheless, Joni Ortio has had a pretty good start. He put up a 2.71 goals against average, .927 save percentage and was arguably HIFK’s best player. Markus Granlund scored 2 goals and 4 points in 4 games, but was a scratch for the latter part of the tournament, presumably to keep him fresh for the regular season or to allow him to complete his military obligations*.
*(HIFK’s website is both in Finnish and rather vague about reasons for players missing games.)
NBC SPORTS NETWORK SHOWS COLLEGE GAMES
For those seeking a college hockey fix, the NBC Sports Network (formerly known as Versus) announced a 24-game broadcast schedule this week. Wonderfully, their schedule includes appearances by the lion’s share of the Flames college players, except for Providence College’s Jon Gilles and Mark “The Big” Jankowski.
Boston College appears at least twice, on November 30 and December 1 against Boston University. NBC Sports Network will also carry several Hockey East playoff games in March, including the semis and finals on March 22 and 23, so there could be another two or three chances to see Johnny Gaudreau and Bill Arnold.
John Ramage’s Wisconsin Badgers team also has two scheduled games: November 30 against Denver and March 1 against Nebraska-Omaha. And Nicholas Larson’s Notre Dame team also appears twice: October 12 against Maine and December 7, when they face fellow Flame prospect Matthew Deblouw and the Michigan State Spartans.
Now all you have to do is find a friend with a satellite dish, as NBC Sports Network isn’t offered by Calgary-area cable providers. It’s also likely that NBC will live-stream several of these schedule games entirely legally on their website, as they did last season.