Amidst the on-going Iginla melodrama, Nick Kypreos reported last night that Miikka Kiprusoff has told Flames management he won’t report to any other team if he’s traded at the deadline. Kipper’s NTC ran out last summer, but with only one season remaining on his current deal (at $1.5 million in real dollars) Kiprusoff can now play the "I’ll just retire if you force me to do anything " card.
Personally, I didn’t think the time was right for dealing Kipper anyways. Although there’s a non-trivial chance he might take his ball and go home in the summer anyways, the truth is his value has never been lower on the trade market. Kipper’s numbers are league and career worst this year, he’s almost 37 years old and probably the only residual value he has for a team going into the playoffs is his reputation as a great goalie.
To be clear, I don’t think Kipper is *this bad* in reality, but recent results always count for a lot when you’re trying to move somebody. The age thing is just an added layer of risk for a trade partner, to say nothing of another year with a $5.83M cap hit if he chooses to play.
Meaning the return for Kipper right now is likely to be nominal anyways. Pragmatically it would serve the team to try to leverage one of their key pieces from th last decade before he walks into the sunset, of course, but then the club should have tried shopping him a few years ago. For now, Kipper holds all the cards – the final year of his deal in trivial in real dollars relative to his career earnings and he’s willing to stick a knife in his final season if circumstances don’t suit him.
I’m not sure if I can blame Kiprusoff for this maneuver. On one hand, he’s a pro athlete who is compensated millions of dollars and being traded is one of the risks of the job. On the other hand, his priorities at 37 years old have clearly shifted towards other things in life (read: family), so he’s using what leverage he has left to ensure those priorities are served.
It’s possible Kipper returns for his last year and then accepts a trade at the next deadline (or declines a trade for a second time), but if anyone pushed me, I’d bet on him retiring to Finland in the summer.
Flames Have No Heart!
This is a comment lament in Flamesland these days. Actually, if you tour around other team’s messageboards, it’s common with pretty much every losing team’s fanbase.
Calgary has been legitimately bad recently, to be sure. Very good teams like Chicago and St. Louis have drastically outplayed them. Even Nashville and Phoenix have proven to be overbearing in the last few weeks. It’s galling and frustrating and there’s a chance the players have indeed accepted the inevitable in the dressing room and are simply playing out the string.
That said, I almost always reject this line of thinking: specifically that if the team cared more (or had more leadership, will to win, etc) they’d be meaningfully better. First, because we can’t possibly know what the true motivations or passion level is of the players in the dressing room. Secondly, because this is a common psychological bias called the error of attribution, which causes people to assume failure in others is due to personal faults rather than situational or circumstantial issues. Thirdly, because if caring a lot predicted success, it would negate the importance of skill (which is clearly doesn’t).
Finally, and perhaps most importantly in my view, psychologizing losses and and making it about some kind of character failure (be it acute or chronic) means you stop looking for answers. Let’s put it another way: mistakes can be as vital as successes in that they contain information about how to do things right, assuming one can tease apart cause and effect. The problem with thinking that "the Flames could be better if they wanted to be" is that it stops the player and team evaluation process in its tracks. Calgary is good – would be good – if the players wanted to be.
Which is fine, I guess, if it’s true and the roster has a congenital case of not giving a crap. I would argue, however, that the collected players just aren’t good enough to contend in the league as assembled and that fans and management are better served trying to understand where things have gone wrong.
– Prospect buff and Bruins writer Kirk Luedeke argues that the Bruins should acquire the Iginla.
– New sponsor WebSim Hockey offered us 12 free subscriptions for Nations Readers. When he revealed that on Monday, they promptly received almost 40 emails looking to claim them. Instead of turning people away, they simply handed out free subscriptions to everyone. Nice!
– Apparently former Flames head coach Mike Keenan was on TV today and said that Kipper and the team "had an understanding" that he would retire for the final season of his contract when it was signed way back when. Matt Fenwick noted this in response on twitter today:
If there was a mutual understanding between Flames & Kipper re: 13/14, that is clear cap circumvention. Tell us more, Coach Keenan.
— Matt Fenwick (@FenwickMatt) March 27, 2013
Meaning, of course, the league could conceivably punish the organization if Kipper actually retires this off-season, assuming they believe Keenan and would be motivated to pursue the issue. Ugh.
– Finally, as noted in the FGD post from yesterday, FN will be at Tilted Kilt on Monday, April 1 to watch the Flames take on the Edmonton Oilers. Of course, if Iginla is still on the team at that point, it could be his final game in Flames colors.
So come out, maybe win a free jersey or a free beer, and hope Iginla can help Calgary beat Edmonton one last time.