Flames Weekend Guide, March 1 2013



Playoff season is inching closer for most of the players in the Flames organization. That means it’s an exciting time and there’s jockeying for spots going on.

Playoffs in the KHL are already underway. NCAA tournaments begin in a couple weeks and playoffs throughout the Canadian Hockey League kick off around that time, as well.


The Flames are off until Sunday, when they face the Vancouver Canucks. The Flames sit just under .500 at 7-8-4 while the Canucks are 10-5-4 and are, to be blunt, a more complete team than Calgary. The Canucks host the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, then fly to Calgary to play the Flames on Sunday.



The Heat sit in a playoff spot, just barely, and every team behind them has games in hand. They host the Houston Aeros on Friday and Saturday. The farm team of the Minnesota Wild, Houston is a mere three points ahead of Abbotsford.

The Utah Grizzlies host the Idaho Steelheads on Friday and Saturday. Despite being a sub-.500 team, the Grizzlies are likely headed to the ECHL’s playoffs, as eight of the Western Conference’s nine teams make the post-season. The ECHL has a weird playoff system and the Grizzlies just lost Mitch Wahl, their top scorer.


A bunch of teams have already clinched playoff spots.

Portland and Edmonton are easily two of the best teams in the WHL and will likely both be the top seeds in their respective conferences. They both also play the Everett Silvertips this weekend. Laurent Brossoit remains one of the best goalies in the Dub, and Tyler Wotherspoon has had a very good year.

The Saskatoon Blades have been extremely good since Michael Ferland arrived at the trade deadline. They’ve won 16 straight as of this writing, and clinched a playoff berth with a shootout thriller in Calgary against the Hitmen. They’ll play Brandon and Moose Jaw this weekend, and are trying to catch the Hitmen and clinch home ice advantage in the second round.

The Quebec Remparts have clinched a spot over in the QMJHL, but they’ll be in-tough in the playoffs and Ryan Culkin will have to be clutch. The Remparts host Drummondville and Moncton this weekend and they’ll try to firm up a strong seed.

The Red Deer Rebels haven’t clinched a playoff spot yet. They’re fifth in the WHL’s Eastern Conference and can creep into home-ice advantage with a few wins here and there. They play Kootenay and Swift Current this weekend. Flames prospect Turner Elson is their captain.

Swift Current (and Coda Gordon) are seventh in the WHL’s Eastern Conference and haven’t clinched yet, but are in a good spot. As long as they don’t lose a lot, they’ll stick around. They visit the Hitmen on Friday and Red Deer on Saturday, so they have their work cut out for them a bit.

The Vancouver Giants will not make the playoffs. They are 13 points out of a spot and Brett Kulak may be their best player. They play three games in three nights – against Lethbridge, Kamloops and Everett – and are merely playing for the joy of playing at this point.

Patrick Sieloff has an injured groin and probably won’t play at all this weekend for Windsor. There’s a chance that the Spitfires will shut him down for the season, as their playoff prospects aren’t all that hot and Sieloff’s long-term health is a concern for everyone involved.


Boston College and Providence College are part of a four-way tie for top spot in Hockey East. Johnny Gaudreau has cooled off for BC, but Bill Arnold has been strong lately and Jon Gillies is one of the best goaltenders in college hockey lately. They’ll play each other on Friday and Saturday with top spot in the conference on the line.

John Ramage and the Wisconsin Badgers are tied for sixth-place in the WCHA. They play Nebraska-Omaha on Friday and Saturday and could creep up a bit in the playoff seedings. Ramage has been pretty clutch offensively for the Badgers lately.

Notre Dame is in third place in the CCHA. They’re on their way to the playoffs, because everyone makes the playoffs in their conference. Nick Larson, a Flames 2008 draft pick, has been a player Notre Dame. He’s unlikely to be signed, and will play Bowling Green this weekend.

Michigan State is in last place in the CCHA and will make the playoffs because everyone does. They’ll play Western Michigan and will probably just try not to get anybody injured before the playoffs. Freshman Matt Deblouw has been good this year for the Sparatans.


With their first-round playoff series tied at two games apiece, Avangard Omsk plays Sibir Chelyabinsk in Game 5 on Friday and Game 6 on Saturday. Karri Ramo has been alternately excellent (in wins) and not amazing (in losses).

In the second-last weekend of the season, HIFK Helsinki plays once – on Saturday against Lukko. HIFK is firmly in one of the wild-card playoff spots in SM-Liiga. Markus Granlund and Joni Ortio have both played well of late for HIFK.

  • Chris Fairfield

    What the heck has happened to the Heat, they had one of the best records in the AHL to start out the year if I recall correctly, I haven’t been following as much latley, but WOW, to be just hanging on to a playoff spot, thats not good.

  • Chris Fairfield

    Took domebeers advice and emailed kking@calgaryflames.com

    Mr. King

    I appreciate the Flames releasing a statement regarding O’Reilly. However, refusing to comment further is a slight to us fans. We expect OUR team to be held accountable for how they spend OUR money. This isn’t good enough. It is a black eye on the franchise and its fan base. You have embarrassed us and yourself, and proceeding without recourse isn’t acceptable.


    • Chris Fairfield

      With the no reply, I wouldn’t expect anything less from Mr. King. If they had the team’s best interest at heart and genuinely did not know the full CBA rules regarding RFA’s then it would be a little easier to accept, but, for them to make an even further mess and then not release “any further comment” is the proverbial punch in the face. I beleive that Feaster is a lawyer by trade and he is in a position of having to know all rules and legalities inside and out before approaching King or Edwards for approval before pulling the trigger on any deal. It’s frustrating as hell to know that all letters, emails, twitter or blog posts fall upon deaf ears and are at the mercy of these individuals.

  • Chris Fairfield

    What,s your take on Ramage ,Ryan? He,s been off the radar or maybe that,s just my preception.Will the Flames sign him? Will they be able? Hope we don,t lose him,because if he,s anything like his old man,the pro game is where he,ll shine.

    • SmellOfVictory

      I’m no Ryan, but my understanding is that they’re going to sign him to an ELC; however he’s not expected to have much upside beyond the 3rd pairing (maybe 2nd, if we’re lucky). Most bloodlines don’t work as nicely as the Hulls.

  • Franko J

    While it is nice to keeps tabs on the current stable of prospects, I am most curious to see who the Flames are scouting or targeting for the upcoming draft. Unless the parent team goes on a torrid win streak, this team will probably have their lowest pick in a decade if not franchise history. Hopefully they can recoup another first or second round pick via a trade.

    • Franko J

      I agree totally, and thoughts of last years draft swept over me. Of all the franchises that could have afforded to take a massive swing for the fences and take Jankowski early…..well obviously, we aren’t that franchise, but did it anyway.

      So I hope they stay a little straighter focused this time around. If we get a top 5, we better damn well ace it.

    • Stockley

      Does it matter? The way these clowns are running things we won’t choose until the 4th round. They will trade our 1st and 3rd to the Jets for Jokinen or something equally stupid. Watching these Flames it’s more than obvious they’re just one washed up player away from another cup run, right?

  • Franko J

    @ Meat

    I find even outside of the top 5 picks, there are some decent enough prospects Calgary could pick in later rounds. Lately teams who haven chosen within the first 5 or 6 picks past history has proven that player has started the next season in the NHL. Choosing first round picks has never gone well for the Flames, I think it is crucial and imperative that the team chose wisely. Like you said they need to “ace it”.

  • Chris Fairfield

    Statement released by Jay Feaster

    “Prior to tendering the offer sheet for Ryan O’Reilly we, as a hockey operations department, examined whether there were any impediments to our successfully securing the services of the player including, but not limited to, his having played in the KHL after the start of the current NHL season.

    Our interpretation of the Article 13 transition rules governing restricted free agents (“RFA”), and the applicability of Article 13.23 under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement to such RFA’s was, and continues to be, different than the NHL’s current interpretation as articulated to us this morning. Moreover, throughout our discussions, the player’s representative shared our interpretation and position with respect to the non-applicability of Article 13.23.

    While we were prepared to advance our position with the NHL, in light of Colorado’s having matched the offer sheet it is now an academic point. As such, we will have no further comment on the matter, the player, or the offer sheet process.”

    Jay Feaster

    General Manager

    • Stockley

      Given how psuedo-Mafia Don Gary Bettman runs things I wouldn’t be shocked if he slapped a gag order on both sides before this mess escalates any further. The NHL doesn’t like anyone under their umbrella of employment to have an opinion after all, certainly not if said opinion differs from his own.

  • Chris Fairfield

    As per Mark Spector

    SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames weren’t the only ones unaware of O’Reilly’s two KHL games, as apparently neither O’Reilly’s agent, the Avalanche or even the league was aware of it at the time. Flames GM Jay Feaster is downplaying this because the Avalanche matched the offer, but it was a near-fatal blunder on his part, and is being cited by his critics as a prime example why the Flames need a change in management.

    • Stockley

      MacDonald would be my guess. They don’t seem inclined to give Taylor a realistic shot to see if he’s ‘got it’ or not. Hartley isn’t proving to have much patience for rookies and unknown quantities. He just keeps throwing Begin and Comeau over the boards while the talented Sven and Roman look on helplessly.

      • Chris Fairfield

        After that 5th goal that MacDonald let in against colorado, he looked tired, confused, bewildered and overwhelmed. From the 1 game that Taylor played against phoenix, it seemed that Hartley immediately lost any confidence that he may have had, which is influencing his decision to overplay MacDonald. It is the proverbial backup goalie graveyard. As has been mentioned in previous blogs, Comeau and Begin have a definite “in”, regardless of how careless they play. All of these winnable games that they have let slip away because of lazy backchecks, poor defensive zone coverage and zero heart. If Hartley is going to continue to waste talent by benching Cervenka and Baertschi, let them and the fans know now.

        • Stockley

          If Cervenka is just going to watch, let him go back to Europe. Send Baertschi to Abbotsford and let him get his confidence back before Hartley crushes his spirit any further.

          Speaking of…where in the hell did Mark Giordano go? The real one I mean. This doppleganger we’re stuck with this season can’t be the real deal. Maybe he should let us go back to the incorrect pronunciation of his name?

          Never thought the day would come when Hudler and Bo are my favorite Flames. Everyone else varies from wildly inconsistent to outright pathetic.

          • Chris Fairfield

            I can’t say that I argue with you Stockley. Don’t waste their time or the fans money. Gio has been invisible for the most part and it seems as if he has bought what some of the veterans are selling. The Giordano from last year(s) was physical, defensive coverage was solid, and was in the top 5 in blocked shots, which actually shows a commitment to helping your team to try and win. After he took that penalty for delay of game in the minnesota game, the look on his face said it all, lost. Hudler has been steady and J-Bo has been given the proverbial “green light” under Hartley’s system, which is probably why he has already beaten his season high for goals.

          • Chris Fairfield

            Neither do I. I would like to believe that something different may happen over the next day or so, but, it is the definition of insanity “Repeating the same process over and over and expecting different results.” Comeau definitely has some kind of “in” over Hartley.

          • Stockley

            Flames have been retreading the same old process since ’04. That was a miracle run in a very different league. I thought they were heading in the right direction. They signed skill players, they started drafting skill players, they brought in a coach who was preaching a skill game. I was starting to believe that maybe they finally ‘got it’.

            I think I’m more angry with myself for buying into the hype and smoke/mirrors than I am with the team and management for fooling me. Nothing has really changed.

  • Chris Fairfield

    Avs dont match, jackets pick up ROR the avs get what turns out to be the flames pick and that is seth jones first overall. feasters legacy. think heads need to roll.

    • Stockley

      More heads than just Feaster’s. Scares me that if (and I think it’s a big if given how these tools run things) this bunch is still in charge at the draft they might go off the board with a top 3 pick and leave whoever is left of the Jones/Mackinnon/Drouin trifecta and draft some project forward. They are so much smarter than all of us after all. What do we know? We only in essence pay their salaries via ticket sales, merch sales, etc.

      I can’t speak for all Flames fans, but I’ve seen ample evidence that a large portion of the fan base is a few steps beyond irritated at the (lack of) direction of the team right now.

      • Chris Fairfield

        This goes to the very top, Feaster is just a puppet. If we are lucky enough to grab Jones/MacKinnon or Drouin, if no changes occur with the Flames brass, then whomever of these picks gets chosen would eventually get eaten by the cancer that seems to be enveloping this organization.

        • Stockley

          I think I’d rather be a Leaf fan at the moment. The three ring circus atmosphere seems to be leaving that franchise. Of all the things to try and emulate for the Flames why do the brass feel they need to be a laughing stock? In slightly more than 24 hours they bring in a dancing bear goon, have a pathetic melt down on the ice versus a division rival they needed to beat, lost out on a bid for a center they coveted, find out they almost lost more than a player in the process…and then they refuse to own up to any of it and act as if all is right in the world. Even if they had succeeded on the offer sheet and eventually Mr. O’Reilly did wear a Flames jersey, is the addition of him and McGrattan going to turn this sorry bunch into contenders? The Flames veterans look like they’re just going through the motions again. Early this season I was liking the change of direction. They were playing exciting hockey, you couldn’t fault them for lack of effort at least. Every week since they’ve looked more and more like a team crushed under the weight of one or more Sutters in charge.

          This team is more than a couple players away from being a serious threat. I’m not drinking anymore of management’s Kool-Aid. I don’t care if it’s mixed by Edwards, King, Feaster or anyone else. The team is a damn mess, more change is needed. If the problems really do start at the top maybe it’s time I consider a new team before this one starts giving me ulcers because I’m pretty sure Murray Edwards isn’t going anywhere.

  • Chris Fairfield

    O’Reilly’s agent Pat Morris told TSN Radio 1050 that he was not aware of the waivers scenario. “I would not put any team in that kind of position,” he said. “There were other teams that were speaking about offer sheets for a long time on Ryan O’Reilly and consulting with people at the league level on structure and format.

    “We still haven’t seen the CBA, the agreement is in place but I don’t think the document is complete for anyone’s eyes to read so that issue is the first I’ve heard of that. At the same time, one would have believed that Calgary doing what they did would have gotten the player if Colorado had made a decision not to match.”

    Morris added that he never got any indication from the Flames that they were aware of this provision in the CBA. “It wasn’t discussed between the parties,” he said.

    Two of Feaster’s GM colleagues joined TSN Radio 1050’s The Drive with Dave Naylor and weighed in on the O’Reilly situation.

    Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland stressed that it’s tricky to negotiate the new CBA without teams having all the details down on paper to study.

    “Obviously, right now it’s a different time because there’s a CBA in place,” Holland told TSN. “We haven’t really got the book. We’ve got the memorandum of understanding, but you’d like to get the book, the CBA and read through it.”

    Still, though, he believed Feaster and the Flames properly braced themselves for the offer-sheet.

    “When you’re thinking of doing things, you always call the league and double-check and make sure that your interpretation is the correct interpretation. We all do the same thing and I’m sure Calgary did all their due diligence.”

  • I was at the Hitmen/Broncos game last night. Good stuff, got hammed, jeered at Swift Current most of the night. Coda Gordon had a good goal and an assist for the night (Swift Current won 3-1 over Calgary). Hitmen just couldn’t hit any of the multiple open nets and couldn’t score on 2 5-on-3s.

    • Stockley

      How much honest upside do you think Coda has? Does he have a shot at taking the next step if his skating improves? I don’t have much luck finding worthwhile WHL highlights.

    • seve927

      Good goal? A weak wrister from the top of the circle? He is the weakest prospect (in junior anyway) in a not very strong pool in my opinion. Invisible all night, didn’t win any battles. He did not have an assist.

      • Stockley

        Given where he was drafted I’m not expecting a future all-star/hall of famer. Late picks are supposed to be projects.

        A lot of Flame prospects are having decent seasons in their respective leagues. Have to agree that I don’t think many of them have high-end potential. There might be a few future NHLers sprinkled throughout the system, a lot of them likely won’t get beyond wherever the hell Calgary’s AHL team lands.

        • seve927

          Agreed, not high expectations. But I like our other low round picks much better. Ferland, Deblouw, Brossoit all 5th or lower. Gordon looks terrible to me. Ferland the other night was ok and has really been a boon for Saskatoon it would seem.

          • Stockley

            I have high hopes for Ferland. He’s a very, very tough player. If he develops into a Brandon Prust I’ll be ecstatic. I can’t believe this team gave Prust away TWICE. That’s the sort of bottom line forward we need. Not Begin, Comeau, Jackman, etc.

            Oh wait. Baertschi and Cervenka are bottom line forwards in Hartley-land. What was I thinking?

  • Chris Fairfield

    The post game interview from colorado with Iginla that I saw, it seems as if he is expecting the hammer to fall soon and I am afraid that it will start with him, before the other dominoes start to fall.

    • Stockley

      They need to have an honest conversation with Iginla, sooner rather than later. Let him know one way or the other what the direction of the franchise is. If they want to keep him, give him an offer and say he has a week to accept before they start shopping him. Sign him or trade him. The last thing this franchise needs right now is the added distraction of “Will he stay or will he go?” hanging over them.

      Personally I’d ship out pretty much everyone over age 25 and call up half of the Heat. Abby is screwed lately anyhow. Let the rest of the season be an audition for their futures. The Flames aren’t getting it done with their expensive/veteran roster, I don’t see where a younger and fresher approach can be much worse.

    • Stockley

      I like how Bouwmeester has played this season, he looks more like the player we thought was being signed several years ago. Hudler has been relatively consistent despite revolving door linemates. Wideman is what he is; a right-hand shot with a cannon shot. If we need a PP specialist better him than Babchuk. Despite their best efforts to keep him down, Cervenka is scoring enough to be a 40ish points forward in a full season.

      I’m not sure any of the other veterans are worth keeping at this point. Have they shown enough? I live in Colorado so I don’t get as many highlights as I would like and watching local telecasts are infuriating because the play-by-play guys are clueless.

  • Chris Fairfield

    There is a part of me that agrees with some here who say “wake me when its over” regarding the mess we’re in. The problem is, it will never get to be over with this, as Feaster calls it, “Hockey Operations Department” that is currently in place.

    We have an opportunity, and it is our last one, to move our aging superstar. With the cap dropping so much next season, there maybe has never been a time when a contending team would be as receptive to an expiring contract as now. There will be teams out there who believe they are only one Iginla away from winning it all. I’m sure they would rather a cup than a small collection of their prospects/picks.

    As far as Kipper goes, he too must be moved. I don’t believe the comment earlier about him only fetching a late seventh round pick. We need to monitor other contending teams goalie situations. I’m sure, if Price was to go down to injury, or Quick in LA, Rask in Boston, etc, that those teams would realize Kipper is one available goalie that could step right in and lead them.

    By the way, what is Kenneth King’s e-mail? I don’t think he has been listening to me on this site. I would love to drop him a little note.

    Be strong, Flames fans.

    • Stockley

      I kept my head down and kept the faith during the lean years without playoffs, watching the team become an in-league AHL franchise; developing players, selling them off when their contracts were up. I’ve mostly kept my mouth shut since ’04 when the same formula was tried over and over with middling or no success.

      It’s getting too damn difficult to keep the faith, keep silent and just believe that brighter days are around the corner. This team has been too mismanaged for far too long. I don’t wake up every day hoping a good move has been made, I wake up with the dreaded feeling of “What are they going to screw up next?”

  • Stockley

    What will be the backlash towards Jay buffet feaster from the other gms over this ROR fiasco? The grandstanding of the Flames announcing the offer sheet when the team was to face the AVS in Denver the same night and the AVS beginning hooped with a terrible offer cant be good.

  • Chris Fairfield

    Travis Yost mentioned the possibility of collusion on twitter-hinting that maybe Sherman and Feaster worked together so that Sherman could get O’Reilly back and point out to his ownership that his hands were tied and he had no choice but to match the OS.

  • Ron MacLean shall give everyone perspective on how to cope with Feaster and the flames blunder. He is for all intents and purposes a flames apologist and Im sure will have valuable insight into how to “properly” view the gaff.

    Get your puke pails ready!!

    • Stockley

      I believe you are correct in your Mclean veiw, however i cant waait to hear Cheery come unglued. Feaster broke the code and screwed his pals over. Don will be on fire. Flames fast becoming the laughing stock.

      • Gotta disagree with everyone saying other GM’s are going to punish the Flames. Christ, the team that should have been black balled were the Flyers when they offer sheeted Webber & really tried to put it to the Nashville Ownership. They still had people talking to them on trades & in fact they did make one. Look at Oilers, they offer sheeted Buffalo & Anaheim & teams still trade with the Oilers. These guys will do whatever, with whoever if they think they can improve their team. If anything, the optics of this just make us the laughing stock & I doubt Flames ownership cant be too happy when other Owners start giving them the digs as some of these Board of Governers meetings. These guys dont like losing & they dont like looking like idiots. Looks good on you Edwards, maybe this should teach you to let hockey people run & make hockey decisions instead of puppets carrying out your egotistical whims.

  • As a self confessed hockey nut, I focus on some obscure things about individual players.

    Bill Arnold is one player that I am looking forward to seeing in camp. When? Well, likely the spring of 2014 after he completes his senior season. As I recall, he was the only Flames draft to be actually present at the venue when his name was called. The obligatory interview reflected a young man who was genuine in his humility at being selected. His improvement as a player each and every season since being picked is encouraging. He has been acknowledged as being a leader by BC. His offensive ability, while not in the same spectacular category as his talented team mate Mr. Gaudreau, is solid. He is defensively responsible. Leadership with defensive ability and an offensive touch. Something this organization should and will covet.

    The other thing I see in future is Jon Gillies also playing NCAA for his complete four year eligibility. No need to rush a goaltender into the pro ranks.

    As for Brossoit, I would hope that the team provides him better mentorship than they have two first round goaltending selections Brent Krahn and Leland Irving. Have seen this kid in person and think he has great talent and, more importantly, work ethic, smarts and mental toughness (witness his comebacks from crappy performances).

    The prospect cupboard may not be overflowing, but there are a few gems in there. Looking forward to seeing them blossom.