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
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.