Five things: You can’t always get what you want

1. A load of hooey

Saw this unreadable tripe from Mark Spector about how the Flames are lovable because they’re losing “the right way.” I’m sorry, but there’s not a “right way” to lose in the NHL.

You either win or you lose and there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Are the Sharks, let’s say, winning more or less admirably than the Ducks? Or is it equally admirable? Or I guess more to the point, what about the Oilers? Is the way they’re losing — by playing like boneheads the second they cross their own blue line because they’re on the fourth coach in five years and wouldn’t know a defensive system if its agent demanded a trade — better or worse than Calgary’s “We try real hard” attitude? Anyone watching the game with San Jose who walked away thinking, “I feel good about how that went,” is an idiot.

Bob Hartley doesn’t have an easy job in shepherding along the boat full of kids on his roster while also trying to make every game close, and Jay Feaster makes it harder by acquiring Ladislav Smid in exchange for two “meh” players with an average age of 21. That’s not to say Hartley doesn’t make it harder on himself to put out an aesthetically pleasing product, for instance by giving Brian McGrattan ice time instead of literally anyone else on the roster. (Though I guess morons like fights, and they’re a big market.) But there’s nothing admirable about getting in the way of your own rebuild because the players are “owed” anything in the way of competitive help.

There’s a quote from Matt Stajan way down in that story about how the Flames feel like their record should be better than it is. It’s antithetical nonsense. This team sucks, and it’s supposed to suck. Hanging on for dear life and getting into overtime isn’t validation of anything except that sometimes hockey is stupid and doesn’t make sense for an hour or two.

2. More hooey

And here’s Randy Sportak saying that even the thing Spector is talking about — how inherently admirable it is to watch the Flames lose nobly — is a bridge too far. Instead, “Wins would be nice.” This about a team that withstood 75.4 percent of all shot attempts at even strength just hours earlier.

Buddy, you are in the wrong business if that’s what you’re hoping for. Did Sportak just wake up from a coma? Does he think Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff and Jay Bouwmeester are hurt?

This is a team getting outshot badly every single night; the Flames’ corsi-for was, after last night’s debacle, at a robust 45.8, good for 27th in the league. Things are only likely to get worse, especially if, as Sportak suggests, the Tampa Bay Lightning come calling about Mike Cammalleri’s availability.

I’d be happy for Cammalleri if that happened, though. Can’t imagine it’s easy to go out there, get slaughtered like that, and then have to answer questions about how he’s taking it all. “Poorly,” is what I imagine he’d like to scream but can’t. To be fair, he never signed up for this. He signed elsewhere, and was traded back because things didn’t work out. They’re not working out now either. He deserves a shot somewhere else.

3. The goings-on in Buffalo

So the Sabres now officially have an overtly meddlesome owner who is trying to dictate the direction of the team. Last season it seemed like he made Darcy Regier fire Lindy Ruff (about two years too late) and yesterday he fired Darcy Regier himself (about three years too late) along with Ron Rolston (about two years too early).

Make no mistake, this was a gigantic move, but not because of the reasons most would probably think. Rolston getting fired is a silly bit of business, because he’s only guilty of not turning a gaaaaaaaaaaarbage team into a winner. No one could have. But what’s important here is that Terry Pegula is getting more involved in his club’s day-to-day operations, which is a bad idea.

Flames fans know all too well that when ownership is dictating how a team should be run, you get results like Calgary and Buffalo. The reason the Flames are so bad now, and have missed the playoffs for four straight years, is that Murray Edwards and the other owners have been screaming that this team needs to be a contender until it was painfully obvious that it hadn’t been one for years, if, indeed, it ever was to begin with. (I would argue that in 2005-06 they were certainly good enough to compete for a Cup.)

This isn’t a fun road the Sabres are about to travel down. Pretty sure you’ll be hearing pronouncements about “Going for it” in two years.

4. Your weekly Johnny Gaudreau update

Okay so I know you’re probably all getting sick of hearing about this kid every week — I’m writing about him everywhere at this point — but things are getting out of control with him. He had seven points in two games this weekend, nearly all of the “gorgeous” variety. That’s obviously very, very good. What’s more impressive, though, is that he put up those seven points despite not playing a lot of time in the final 50 minutes of the second game.

That’s because his Boston College Eagles played 0-4 Army, and the gap in quality between these two NCAA clubs is probably about the same as the gap in quality between the coming Canadian Olympic team and the Canadian World Junior team. In the sense that they are all Division 1 college athletes, they’re on a similar level, but BC is just far and away more talented in every regard than Army; a fourth-line player on the Eagles would be a first-line player on the Black Knights, basically.

Gaudreau had four points in the game, but three of them came in the first 12 minutes or so alone. The rest of the time, BC coach Jerry York reached way back into his bench, and the goals still came fast and furious. Final score was 11-0 to the Eagles, but if Gaudreau had gotten regular shifts that score would have probably pushed 25.

Here he is figuring into the first three of BC’s five-goal performance against archrival Boston University. Watch the pass on the play on the third goal (at 50 seconds) and explain to me how he gets everyone in the arena to bite on it.

5. You earned it this week

  • acg5151

    1) Right way to lose vs. wrong way – would you rather lose the Edmonton way, or would you rather the Flames at least be in the game and then lose?

    2) Lots of people like watching a fight every now and again. They aren’t morons for it and you’re not superior to them just because you personally don’t like fights.

    3) Smid is a competent stay at home d-man who has been played over his head on the first pair. If given 15 minutes a night on the bottom pair he can be a solid option, and was acquired on the cheap. He also can’t just ditch the rebuild since he is signed for the next three years. It was a good move.

  • please cancel acct

    You hockey experts are wrong about the value of players like Brian Mcgratton and Tim Jackman. They are not there to entertain the fans, they are an insurance policy for the young players. Without them eating up 5 minutes of playing time per game, young talents like Monahan would be on the IR list. Look at the Oilers injury history with their young stars.

    • please cancel acct

      What a load of hooey this statement is. Exactly how does Mcg butt stapled to the bench deter someone from hitting another player. This logic would make some sense if McG played on the same line.

      • please cancel acct

        It is not necessary to play on the same line. In one recent game one of the flames was on the receiving end of a cheap shot, Mccgratton was out on the next shift. He did not fight but there were a few conversations with the opposition, no more cheap shots. I have no idea what was said but wouldn’t be surprised that the opposition wasn’t informed as to which one of their players would be leaving the game if there was a repeat. Look at the Leafs, where do you think players like Khadri and Kessel acquired their courage. Maybe because they feel safe out there.