Five things: There’s this now

1. So many departures

And so the great movement of NHL players to foreign leagues begins in earnest, just days after almost everyone on a two-way deal gets shipped to the AHL (sorry Tyler Seguin!).

Wondering where your beloved Flames are going to end up, and who they’re going to play with? This page from Dobber Hockey has all your answers. Elite Prospects, meanwhile, has a great page for keeping up with overseas scoring during the lockout as well.

As for the AHLers, the only actual full-time NHL players that will be in Abbotsford are Roman Horak and, if you wanna stretch the definition a bit, Sven Baertschi. Akim Aliu, Leland Irving, etc. will also be down there, but you already knew that.

Currently, there are only two Flames slated to play in Europe as well. The first is Roman Cervenka, who will play in Prague with the Czech league’s Slavia Praha. The only other NHL player currently on their roster is Vladimir Sobotka, who’s a very nice little player. Neither have played a game yet, though Slavia’s season is already two games old. The team is already 0-2 in those and has scored just two goals, so that kind of performance is something with which Cervenka won’t be unfamiliar when he comes to Calgary.

Jiri Hudler, meanwhile, is off to HC Lev in the KHL, and that’s also located in Prague, oddly enough. There will be an NHLer with him there as well: Jake Voracek. That’s a player from whom Hudler could learn a lot, because Voracek rules.

There will, likely, be more of these announcements as the lockout wears on, but just how many is tough to say. Let’s hope guys like, say, I don’t know, just to pick a name at random, Jarome Iginla don’t end up sitting out the lockout altogether. We all know how that ends up.

2. Enough with this playing through injuries stuff

"Playing Through It" is supposed to be one of the great things about hockey. Henrik Sedin once had part of his finger cut off during a game so he could get back out there. Lots of guys have taken a slapshot square in the teeth and returned later in the net. We love when they do that kind of thing. What warriors, what will to win, what a way to play this sport.

At what point, though, do we go "Wow this is really friggin’ stupid?" How about dumb Joe Colborne and the dumb Toronto Marlies, the dumb farm team for the dumb Maple Leafs? Sometime after Christmas, Colborne tore two ligaments in his wrist, and was told by team medical staff that technically he probably shouldn’t play through it but he wouldn’t be able to do any more damage. What he didn’t know at the time, or didn’t know later on because that same medical staff was pumping his wrist full of cortisone to make him physically capable of playing, is that he also had a broken wrist.

That latter fact was only when he went in for surgery. Over the summer. The fact is, Colborne played at least from January all the way to June (the Marlies lost in the Calder Cup Finals) with two torn wrist ligaments and broke his wrist at that time, and no one stopped him from playing. This despite his scoring just five goals in more than 40 games during that time. He had 13 before that.

And the thing is, because the Marlies went so deep into the playoffs, Colborne delayed his surgery, and his rehab schedule didn’t allow him to start getting his wrist back into shape until fairly late in the summer. He’s not sure he’ll be 100 percent for training camp. So to what end, then, did Colborne suffer through this injury and the accompanying treatments in the name of Playing Through It?

It was irresponsible of him to do so, sure, but also of his team’s medical staff for not properly assessing that he had broken his wrist, and for allowing him to get on the ice (because in the end, who’s signing their paychecks? Hint: the Maple Leafs), and of the team.

Shameful stuff from an organization that should know better by now. 

3. Somehow, no one’s raising a stink about this…

Here’s something that should hit close to home for Calgarians: a golf tournament controversy.

While several current Flyers, all of whom are technically without jobs right now, showed up to a golf tournament to benefit charity, hosted by Scott Hartnell, many of the team’s staff did not, presumably operating under orders from the National Hockey League.

As late as Sunday, Hartnell was under the impression that team vice president Bobby Clarke, coaches Peter Laviolette, Joe Mullen, Craig Berube, and Jeff Reese, and director of player personnel Ian Laperriere would be playing. But they were no-shows.

"They were all coming," Hartnell told the Courier Post. "I think they got a call from either Gary Bettman or Bill Daly, which is sad."

Negotiations and lockouts are one thing, but telling team employees who aren’t locked out that they can’t go to charity golf tournaments if they’re hosted by players is, you’ll forgive the language, a load of shit.

Now I know what you’re going to say, that I just said a few weeks ago that it didn’t matter if the Flames’ players ducked out on their charity golf tournament. The reason it’s different is this: The Flames players had somewhere to be. They were scheduled to be at NHLPA meetings. Now, the Flames’ golf tournament was scheduled months before the players’ meetings, but pressing matters ahead of a CBA disaster that could cost them millions should probably take precedence.

Meanwhile, Laviolette et al had nowhere to be. They probably sat at home all day during the golf tournament, maybe ran some errands. They certainly didn’t attend any meetings. This was very much a petty political move by the NHL, and it sucks.

As Lavy might say, "Bettman typical."

4. At least Calgary isn’t Edmonton (yet)

Just go ahead and read this gong show justification on the part of Darryl Katz for going to the Edmonton City Council and asking for more money. And look at how much Staples just fawns all over him for doing it. My favorite part is when Katz says, "We committed not to negotiate this deal in public."

Of course, once the Flames wanna move out of the Saddledome, it might end up being the same thing, but for now, it’s fun to point and laugh at the car wreck in Edmonton, and for once, it’s not on the ice.

5. Another plea

Look, I know if you regularly read this column or follow me on Twitter, you’re probably sick of this, but please, if you can donate anything to the youth writing and tutoring center at which I volunteer, 826 Boston, that would be very greatly appreciated. They even take Canadian money with all those funny animals on them.

The link to donate is right here, and yes, I’m going to be bringing this up every week until the end of the fundraiser. Hey, it’s not like we have any Flames news to talk about anyway. That’s life, dudes. Thanks for indulging me.

Recently by Ryan Lambert

    • Stockley

      Brodie and Bouma will both be there. Irving will not as Feaster fears losing him through waivers. Unlikely but a distinct possibility since a few teams out there looking for depth in goal might take a flyer on a former 1st rounder who isn’t a total wash. In fact Leland should just be entering his prime as far as goalies go and a change of scenery might help him out. It’s sink or swim time, I hope they give him every opportunity to succeed in Cowtown when the NHL resumes play in 2015.

      • Vintage Flame

        Didn’t they say there was going to be a waiver forgiveness during the lockout, Meaning that teams didn’t have to use waivers to send guys to the AHL to play during the lockout.

        So, would that be a waiver of waivers??

  • Vintage Flame

    Great piece on I now understand what the root problem is; simply to many bad markets in the U.S.

    You would think players would give over because they would be helping to keep the jobs those teams create.

    The bad markets should not be on life support from profitable Canadian teams and a handful of U.S. teams. Clearly the NHL would be better as a 26 – 24 team league. Bettman goes also or future disputes are inevitable. History tells us that.

  • Danger

    @ mcculb

    I see your point, but the players clearly disagree with you. They don’t want to give up salary or jobs, which is why they proposed a new revenue-sharing model during negotiations this summer. Can’t say that I blame them either, they gave up a lot last time and it didn’t get them the long-term peace it was supposed to.

    As far as bad markets and good markets, it pays to remember that markets have cycles, so today’s bad market may be tomorrow’s good market. In the 1990s, the Canadian teams (at least the ones not in Toronto or Montreal) were the ones losing money. Now with tarsands money and a strong loonie, they are profitable. The economy is really bad right now in a lot of places in the U.S., but some of those teams will be profitable (again) when it improves.

    Whether or not 30 is the ideal number of teams, you’re always going to have some teams who are raking it in and others who are scraping just to keep the lights on. But you can’t play hockey without an opponent, so it’s good business to ensure you have opponents to play against. Sometimes that’s going to mean “rich” teams subsidizing “poor” teams.