Flames News and Notes, February 8 2013

 

 

As the east coast is caught up in a snow storm and the Flames arrive in Vancouver for Saturday’s game, several news items dropped this afternoon.

BACKLUND OUT 4-6 WEEKS

The worst of all news is that centre Mikael Backlund will miss four-to-six weeks with a Grade 2 MCL sprain. Backlund was off to an excellent start in his contract year, having put up four points in eight games, as well as being one of the team’s best play-driving forwards.

Backlund missed half of last season with a hand and then a shoulder injury, and overall had horrible luck. That luck appears to have followed him, as despite his drive and new-found swagger, he’s hurt once again.

Four-to-six weeks, by the way, would have him returning to the line-up in late March or early April.

BEN STREET RECALLED

The Flames filled Backlund’s roster spot by recalling centre Ben Street from Abbotsford. Street doesn’t drive the play as much as Backlund, but he’s a strong two-way player. Street was good at camp and notable as the Heat’s most frequent shooter. For a team that’s played a pressure-driven style under Bob Hartley, Street fits like a glove.

In 44 games with Abbotsford, Street has 31 points and 168 shots on goal.

KIPRUSOFF ON IR, BABCHUK OFF IR

And another roster spot rolled over, as the Flames placed goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff on the injured reserve (retroactive to Tuesday, so he can be activated for Wednesday’s game with Dallas. The Flames also officially disclosed Kipper’s injury as a Grade 1 MCL sprain.

Kiprusoff’s IR stint is likely related to the clearance of defender Anton Babchuk, who came off the IR today. Babchuk had suffered a shoulder injury in the KHL but now returns to the line-up. Babchuk had 10 points in 32 games with the Flames last year

THE RUNDOWN

With the moves, here’s the new roster situaton:

There are two goaltenders are Leland Irving and Danny Taylor.

The eight defensemen are Anton Babchuk, Jay Bouwmeester, T.J. Brodie, Chris Butler, Mark Giordano, Cory Sarich, Derek Smith and Dennis Wideman.

The 12 healthy forwards are Steve Begin, Roman Cervenka, Blake Comeau, Curtis Glencross, Jiri Hudler, Jarome Iginla, Tim Jackman, Blair Jones, Matt Stajan, Lee Stempniak, Ben Street and Alex Tanguay.

Mike Cammalleri is day-to-day with a hip flexor and remains on the active roster. He isn’t probable for Saturday but should return as early as Monday.

On the injured reserve are Sven Baertschi, Mikael Backlund and Miikka Kiprusoff.

  • Had lunch at the Sporting House in NY NY today. Red Wings/Oilers is 1-1 and in intermission. A handful of guys in Oilers jerseys come in, notice I was wearing a Flames jersey, and chanted “Go Oilers Go!” for two minutes.

    The Oilers lost the game 2-1.

    FYI: Flames are currently +175 (a fairly heavy underdog) against the Canucks tonight at most Vegas sportsbooks.

  • RKD

    I heard that Cory Sarich was to be traded to the LA Kings but instead the Kings traded Loktionov for a fifth round pick which they then flipped to Florida for Keaton Ellerbry. Ellebery is supposed to be a younger version of Sarich.

    LA wanted a physical d-man and Darryl Sutter was the guy who originally signed Sarich so the connection was obvious. With the way the injuries are going, the Flames might need to keep all their defencemen.

    Maybe the Flames would have gotten Loktionov.

    That really sucks for Backlund, he was injured twice last season and now this. He was on a .5ppg pace which would have put him on pace for 24 points.

    Hopefully Ben Street can help out, but the goalies are going to have to step up the next week or so. They better not rush Kipper back, let him heal properly.

  • Cowtown 1989

    We need to lock Backlund and Cervenka down to longer deals RIGHT NOW. Backlund has turned a corner in his development and looks like a different player. At worst, he will be a valuable 3rd line center. He has been well coached at both ends of the ice. At best, he moves up to the 2nd line. In my opinion, when he returns, he has earned a chance between Hudler and Cervenka.
    As far as Cervenka goes, he has displayed a creativity not seen around here since a young Marc Savard was run out of town. Any word on when Ruslan Zainullin will be ready to come over. Haha.

    • MattyFranchise

      The western conference is so close right now, and likely will be for the foreseeable future, that the trade deadline is definitely when you need to be looking at moves.

      There is so much movement going on right now, 3 points separating last place and a play off spot…. if Calgary wins two games they’ll be in 5th place or something ridiculous like that.

      I’m not sure where I was going with this. I’m drunk.

      The western conference is extremely fluid. There, I think that does it.

  • Stockley

    good grief guys enough with the sell now mentality. No matter what happens we wait until the trade deadline unless someone slaps us in the face with a deal we can’t refuse. A fire sale at this point in the season would be absolutely moronic and not in any way shape or form honest to the players or fans. Saying this team is terrible because it’s only a small sample size is also just plain stupid. New coach, new players, new system means we aren’t going to KNOW anything for awhile. We have some serious skill on this team it just hasn’t been used properly in the past. I do realize kipper and iggy are getting old but if they want out trade them if not don’t but if they do then do it at the deadline for maximum return. So Don’t panic we are going to get in the playoffs or we won’t and we’ll have a nice draft either way we’re going to watch some fun hockey in between and see what some of our players can actually do in a half decent system.

    • T&A4Flames

      I don’t think anyone here is celebrating injuries. And I can’t say that I cheer for losses. But, I don’t yell and scream at the TV when they do this year.

      This year presents this team with an opportunity that they haven’t had in years. Feaster has done a good job of acquiring assets. Good enough that we can consider moving a couple, grab some decent draft picks and prospects and come back competitive next season. It’s all part of Feaster’s “intellectual honesty.”

      Hey, if the Flames show that they have the depth to keep pushing, great. I just don’t want to be languishing at 9th or 10th again.

      Shortened, stupid lockout shortened season + aging yet skilled/talented core with expiring contracts + solid upcoming draft + other solid vets (to keep) = OPPORTUNITY.

      Intellectual honesty should dictate that our assets are proeperly utilized when opportunity presents itself.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    You know, IF we lose 9 of the next 10 then I’m open to trading assets. And for sure, losing Mickis sucks. But it does seem like almost every team is dealing with significant injury issues. And it’s not like Backlund’s been the only engine driving the Flames. I’m guessing Cervenka’s going to pick up some of that slack at centre: not the same player as Backlund, but maybe-could-be a pretty effective centreman…And the biggest reason we’ve been exciting – we’ve got a wickedly mobile, skiled and open-minded top four D, and our entire top 6 can skate – is totally unaffected by injury (yet). And the biggest reason we’ve been in a position to win (coz our coach appears to know how to manage his players) isn’t going to to be affected by injury.

    And maybe you guys are right and we lose a lot more anyway. But UNTIL that happens, I’m still cheering for the Flames to win.

    • Franko J

      Has very little to do with his points and everything to do with his possession and corsi. That being said he would be a 40 point or so guy at the end of the year extrapolating his current production (stupid considering the small sample).

  • Parallex

    Backlund has David Moss disease. The second he gets on a roll, an injury isn’t far away. Moss did that for the better part of his career with the Flames.

    • Franko J

      Like Moss, when healthy Backlund can drive the play. I like the way he plays, but this season he had something to prove to the Flames management with this latest injury I don’t know what direction the Flames will go with him in the off season. Maybe another 700K deal? I feel for Backlund. I wanted to see what potential he could bring to the team this season, through 8 games IMO he was one of the better forwards.

    • Willi P

      It’s starting to appear that way. Looking at stats, including Europe, doesn’t seem he has ever been healthy for a whole season.

      Sven’s injury track record of late is also concerning.

    • Franko J

      this comment makes no sense. If the “trade value will be pretty low”, why bother moving Backlund at all? There is quite literally no reason to trade Backlund, especially if the trade value would be low.

      • Franko J

        To clarify my statement is that I’m frustrated that he can’t seem to shake the injury bug. When I heard he was out another 4-6 weeks, I felt bad for Backlund. With only a one year contract after this season, I was wondering what direction the team might take with him. Is he going to re-sign, or does he become trade bait? And at what value would he be in a trade? Would he be willing to sign another 700K contract?

        • Stockley

          Unless he asks for the world they absolutely have to retain Backlund. If only because it would be terrifying to think he considers to develop in another jersey and at the same time shakes the injury jinx. 40-50 point (that’s where I consider his potential when healthy) two-way centers don’t exactly grow on trees, especially not ones who are drafted and developed by our team.

          As for all the talk of a fire-sale at the trade deadline, do we really want the team to do that? At this point of their careers and at their respective ages I don’t think the Flames will get the best return on some of their older assets. 1st round picks are great but they’re far from a sure thing. As far as the captain goes I think he and Feaster need to have a heart-to-heart and decide what they both want. If they’re both concerned about their legacy in Calgary after a potential trade they need to just bite the bullet and go public. I don’t care if they have a press conference to say Iggy doesn’t want to go and will be a Flame for life, if they say the player would prefer to play for a cup elsewhere or even if they just flat out state the team has no interest in retaining his services. At this point most of the fanbase will understand no matter what the final decision is. It’s just a decision that has to be made so we can all have some closure and just let it go.

          Or at least let it go until Adam Proteau writes his monthly “Flames need to rebuild” column in a few weeks.

    • schevvy

      Why do you say that? He’s 23 years old and pretty much the team’s top natural centre. Yeah this injury sucks but he’s still a young guy at the most important position in hockey. Giving up on him now would be a complete waste, especially with the way he seems to be trending (Daymond Langkow style 2-way centre)

      • Franko J

        I like Backlund but you have to admit he is injury prone. The part that really is a downer is that he is a good center which Calgary needs, but what it comes down to can you depend on him playing a full season? I like his potential but with so many injuries isn’t his window of opportunity closing with this organization?

  • TheRealPoc

    Actually hilarious how this team has demonstrated through 8 games that they’re probably rather decent, and now people are happy about the injury trouble we’re running into because “it’s time for a rebuild.”

    The advanced metrics aren’t lying – Calgary’s played some really good hockey to start the season and there’s a reasonable chance we’re legit. So why are we happy about this year getting torpedoed by bad luck?

    And would the old n’ tired rebuild camp please give me some realistic returns on the assets we’d be moving? I love how this blowup is supposed to yield unicorns and rainbows but no one ever actually presents probable returns on a firesale.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      I wouldn’t put myself I the ‘blow it up camp’ as you call it, but I am in favour of the Flames properly managing their assets as a prudent business should. Holding on to sentimental feelings, and refusing to consider what is ultimately best for the business and all it’s stakeholders (owners, staff including players, sponsors and fans) is irresponsible.

    • TheRealPoc

      there are a pair of pretty attractive ufa’s in anaheim in getlaf and perry. shedding some cap space for next year in jettisoning cammy, and unloading kipper and iggy to contenders in return for picks and prospects might be a direction worth considering. this is where we get to play armchair gm pal. boston just freed up space trading tea party timmy. i bet ya igglatowski wouldn’t mind platooning with horton lucic and company. lets face it, this team is not as good as the metrics, small sample size. time to borrow dale tallons build a contender in 2 drafts book, and bombard the selection process. in case you haven’t noticed abbotsford isn’t ripe with fruit on the vine,

  • Okay, I generalized, there are some games that Backlund might play. Maybe he’ll come back earlier than estimated.

    Now is the time that Feaster and co. should be seriously considering giving an offer sheet to Ryan O’Reilly. I wonder if, beyond being cheap, the Avs know something that others do not re: O’Reilly’s foot injury.

  • schevvy

    The season is not lost. Yes, this is a big injury, but if the Flames are serious about the playoffs, they can overcome it. Backs may be back mid March, which gives him a decent amount of games. Kipper’s back Wednesday, so that’s not a huge issue. And of course, Babchuk’s back!! (insert sarcasm here)

    • schevvy

      almost 20 percent of the season is in the books schev,by next weekend approximately a quarter of the year has been burned up. now is the time to be realistic, grab the opportunity and begin a rebuild. lets face it iggy,cammy,tangs and kipper are on the downward slope, a couple more years and wideman,gio and jboo will be joining them. trade for some picks and prospects, build around backs,sven and the younger guys upfront. the d aint too bad with brodie playing very well. add in a couple of key ufa signing and in 2 years be legit.

  • I am sad about this, would have liked to see a semi-competative team play this year but its not looking good now. Sounds like the kids will get a chance and sven could get a bump to 2 or 3rd line duty upon his return.

    Well all in the blow it up camp might get their wish, not that i am against that..
    I was wishing (wouldnt get what i wanted) we would play till playoffs (in or out) then sell off iggy, kipper, cammy and grab up picks.

  • Parallex

    Well… not quite the whole season guesstimating his return game as Mar. 24 at home against St. Louis that would give him 19 more games with the club.

    Is there an ETA on Sven?

    And honestly I don’t buy that Backlunds breakthrough is anything so simple that will go away with “lost swagger”. He’s just more experienced now… he’s now a man amoungst men whereas before he was a boy. Once you have that I don’t think you lose it.

  • T&A4Flames

    I’ve said from the start, I want a CGY high draft pick and a few other 1st rnd picks via veteran trades.

    Re: Backlund, IMO the absolute worst thing for us would be if this injury gives him too much time to think and he loses his swagger. He was on a roll and I thought, at least, he was ready to become a solid 2nd line guy for us.

    This injury just brings my desires closer to reality. Honeslty, if all our vets can remain healthy until the deadline, and we can make trades, I’ll be happy.

  • Sucks for Backlund, he’s basically done for the season. With him and Kipper down and, holy crap on a stick, Babchuk coming back into the lineup, I think the Flames are done for the season.

    Next, Iginla will go down with some injury and we won’t be able to trade him for more than a pile of beans.

    Time for the Flames to figure out what adversity means. Oilers have learned that lesson all too well, and so have many other teams. It seems crazy that all these teams have been plagued by injury in this shortened season (and I do mean more than just EDM and CGY).