The Weekly Ignition: January 27 2014



The Olympic Winter Games in Russia are approaching, with just two weeks of NHL play separating us from world-class hockey. It’s at a weird time of day, but it’s still the Olympics. The Calgary Flames continue to trudge through the first year of their re-build, and actually had a pretty sold week.


The Flames opened their week with a loss, dropping a 3-2 decision on the road to the San Jose Sharks on Monday night. Karri Ramo was in net for the loss, while Jiri Hudler and Princeton graduate Kevin Westgarth scored goals. All-in-all, despite the result, the club didn’t play badly. [Post-Game]

On Wednesday, the Flames returned home and hosted the Phoenix Coyotes. The Flames finally snapped their home losing string. Karri Ramo was once again between the pipes, while Sean Monahan, Lance Bouma and Matt Stajan scored. [Post-Game]

On Friday night, the Flames finished their week with a thrilling 5-4 shootout win over Nashville. Four goals by former Flame Eric Nystrom staked the Preds to a 4-2 lead (and chased starter Karri Ramo after three of them), but Reto Berra was strong in relief and the Flames PP was huge in the comeback. David Jones (with a pair), Mark Giordano and Mikael Backlund scored, while Sean Monahan had the deciding goal in the shootout. [Post-Game]


Dan Kinvig of the Abbotsford News profiled three young Flames prospects that are sharing a house in the Lower Mainland.

Randy Sportak investigates Boring Sean Monahan. The Twitter account.

A nice profile from the AHL website on Flames prospect Joni Ortio.

Our own Byron Bader took a look at where Sean Monahan’s goal-scoring places him among recent rookies.

Brian Burke explains the thought process behind demoting Shane O’Brien and bringing up Chris Breen.


The Flames are still in 28th overall and enter the week 6 points back of Florida and 5 points ahead of Edmonton (albeit with two games in hand on the Oilers). For the time being, they’re drafting 3rd pre-lottery. But a week with two wins against teams with playoff notions in their heads has to be a huge confidence booster.

Down in Abbotsford, the Heat sit with a 26-14-3-1 record, solidly in 4th place in the Western Conference by about 12 points above the 9th place team. They had two tough one-goal overtime losses this weekend against the hated Utica Comets, losing 1-0 and 4-3. Max Reinhart and Markus Granlund each had a goal and an assist in the second game. Up in Anchorage, the Alaska Aces split a pair of games with the Colorado Eagles.

Many kids had good weeks. Morgan Klimchuk had five points. Emile Poirier, Johnny Gaudreau and Kenny Aogstino each had four points. Bill Arnold had three points. One guy that didn’t have a great week was Jon Gillies. He split his two starts but gave up nine goals. He’s gone 2-3-1 with a 3.21 goals against average and a .886 save percentage since the World Juniors.


The Flames have six games remaining until the Olympics. Three home games this week and then three road games to close things out. They host Chicago on Tuesday, San Jose on Thursday and Minnesota on Saturday. And then the next home date is February 27.

The Abbotsford Heat has a pair of home dates, welcoming the Hamilton Bulldogs on Friday and Saturday. The Alaska Aces host the Idaho Steelheads on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

On Friday night, the folks at Sportsnet are presenting an opportunity to check out two of Calgary’s more interesting prospects: the Drummondville Voltigeurs (with Ryan Culkin) face the Gatineau Olympiques (and Emile Poirier). Game-time is 5pm MT and it’s on the full Sportsnet network.

  • RexLibris

    Any thoughts on whether Burke moves Cammalleri before the Olympic roster freeze so that he can acclimate to his new city/team before the season re-starts?

    • supra steve

      What I heard today is that clubs may not want to add such players till the break is over, so they don’t need to pay them/add their $ to the cap for 2 weeks of inactivity.

    • TDM

      I think, having heard Burke on the fan this afternoon, that they will definitely be looking to move Cammy. As someone who could be fairly classified as a skeptic when feaster was shown the door by the PHO (I’m not a feaster apologist btw) I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by his comments on the radio this afternoon.his comments were measured, and understanding of the fans wanting to know what was going on with the club. In other words, this was the most “on his game” I think I’ve heard since he took the job here. If I’m taking him at his word, which is really all I can do, I’m a little more optimistic about the gm search and how Burke views this rebuild in a general sense.

      • piscera.infada

        I heard it too. I’m wondering how many times he has to say “I don’t want to be the GM, I want to hire someone for player-personnel” before Biggie comes through the mirror and shoots him.

        But really. Is there a point where we start to believe him about it?

        I really did feel reassured with that interview. He really does seem to understand that while he can be impatient, he shouldn’t start short-cutting the rebuild. I was oddly impressed.

        • TDM

          It was a bit weird nodding my head in the car to what he was saying because I never really cared for his past behaviour, ie the truculence, and tempest in a teapot stuff. Maybe he really is being genuine, and this role allows him to be more of the smart, Harvard lawyer type rather than the belligerent, short fused, ego maniac. Though admittedly, it was radio, so I couldn’t see if his daughter had convinced him to get a haircut yet

  • mattyc

    @suba steve, @RexLibris, @piscera.infada

    Will also be tough to trade the guy when he hasn’t played in a couple weeks. Especially with the stigma/uncertainty of how bad the concussion is etc. I’m sure if teams are going to part with anything meaningful, they’ll want to wait and see him come back healthy.

  • Rockmorton65

    Utica has 15 wins all season yet they’re 6-0 against the Heat. WTF… While we’re talking about the Heat any word on whether or not Sven is still alive? 4 points in 15 games and -7. He’s one point behind Kane La-freaking Franchise!

    As excited as I am with Granlund, I’m equally disappointed with Sven this season. Anyone know who he’s playing with?

    • mk

      No kidding, its been a disappointing season for him. I’m surprised, but not too shocked – lots of talented kids either need time to develop or just never make the step to the NHL. It’s well within the realm of possibility this is what’s happening.

      Either way, I’m still a believer of a line of Sven-Svean-Svam (Bennett) in the future. 😀

      • EugeneV

        I REALLY think it’s time to stop with the Svean garbage.
        As shite as Sven has been it looks even stupider than it is.

        Look how well Backlund responded to the tough love from the coaching staff.

        I see Baertschi as trade bait for somebody elses “busted” prospect in the very near future, ala “Nino Niederreiter”.

        Too late for that one though as the Wild were smart enough to grab him.

    • seve927

      I was wondering about this move as well. It doesn’t really make sense for the Heat to roll with 3 tenders… Might one of Ortio/Macdonald be injured? I find it hard to believe that Ortio would be demoted to the Aces, but maybe Macdonald will be? Or is a trade involving one of our goaltenders approaching? Ideas anyone?

  • EugeneV

    In fairness, Flames fans need to give Burke an opportunity to prove his abilities as a GM/President of Hockey Ops. Take away his bombastic personality and arrogance and judge him on his hockey decisions only. Once the trade deadline has passed, a new GM is selected and the 2014 draft concludes, an opinion can be reached. Until then, it’s presumptuous at best.

  • beloch

    Anyone else worried that Sven’s development’s ruined forever? I understand he’s still young and there’s time…but I was watching his WHL highlights and the quick call-ups he had in 2011 with the flames, and his offensive swagger has slowly deteriorated since then.

    Strength does matter in this league, not size, but strength. Smaller skilled guys like him always go through a transition period where they need to develop solid lower body strength in order to hold on to the puck and create time/space for oneself to make plays (i.e. hudler). Maybe he needs to really put time and effort into his off season regimen and cater to his lower body strength? I’ve always beleived it would be a huge help.

    I’m just concerned by…I don’t know how else to put it…that “it” factor? He just doesn’t have that swagger he used to have. Now, it’d be one thing if he was focusing on his defensive game to the point where you could justify his lack of offensive brilliance and lack of production, but he isn’t/wasn’t doing that either. Usually a WHL star, picked in the middle of the first round, would show some offensive swagger every now and then. I mean, he has in the past with the flames, but it’s been very rare since the lockout.

    Who knows. Maybe it’s core strength. Maybe it’s him needing to grow up and stop pouting about being sent down. I might be overreacting, but I seriously think we’ve stunted his growth. He might be a good player in the NHL, but perhaps not what he could have become if the organization did things a little differently.


    • EugeneV

      I refuse to believe Sven is actually 4 points in 15 games bad, even if the organization did “ruin” him. He did better than that in the ahl last year and the nhl this year.

      Ultimately it’s too early and 15 games is too small a sample size to be worried about this yet.

  • EugeneV

    I also think, with this rebuild and so many of our prospects doing well, including some of the high draft picks we’ll be getting the next couple of years, that if Sven doesn’t start producing, he’ll be quickly forgotten. Burke never drafted him, and has no attachment to him. If he feels that he doesn’t fit into the organization’s future plans due to the other prospects who fit Burke’s vision, Sven could easily be traded and I would not be surprised if he succeeded elsewhere.

  • EugeneV

    My thoughts and comments :

    First “Sven” :he will need to show signs of producing soon or he may spend his future hockey back in Europe. Really has not done much in the last two years – at Prospect camp, pre season or pro games both in the AHL and NHL

    Second : Perhaps a playoff team needs a proven backup goalie — Joey Mac can be traded from the AHL direct to an NHL team without waviers. Same may happen for SOB.

    Third “BB” is smart and is a no nonsense GM.I am glad to here he is looking at all options with the UFA’s . As BB said if they want too much based on their performance ( numbers ) then he will look at a trade . Thats what I heard today.

    Just a added question to all you wise hockey people – Can someone be put on waivers after the trade dead line? Im thinking no. Please advise

  • beloch

    First of all, Baertschi was doing pretty good for a 21 year-old player when he was sent down. He was on track for a 34 point season. Only Hudler, Cammalleri, and Giordano are currently on pace to produce more. Offense isn’t everything though, which is probably why he was sent down. The biggest impression I had of his play (that I can recall) was that he had some great shifts where he was really responsible all over the ice and some shifts where he wasn’t. Consistency is something that may come with time. Still, Baertschi has a goal-scorer’s touch and I’d still bet good money he will be a top-6 player eventually.

    Sometimes I wonder if Flames players read the papers or this blog. Imagine the mind-#$%@ Baerstchi would have gotten from reading all the pre-season Svenmania only to struggle out of the gate and then be sent down! That’s a heckuva lot of pressure followed by a pretty huge pratfall. Mental problems are a real possibility. He might also be having difficulty adjusting to life away from home, life with a lot of fame and money, etc. However, there are other things that could be going wrong for Baertschi this season. He might even have been injured. There are plenty of minor injuries that you can play (poorly) through but which really require a few months off to heal properly. Some NHL players seem to be blessed with super-human durability while others struggle to stay healthy.

    Whatever is going on with Baertschi, patience and perseverance is key for him. He is only 21 after all. A lot of great players bounce in and out of the league several times before sticking. As fans, we should probably have a little patience ourselves. There’s still plenty of time for Baertschi to find his NHL legs.

    If you really want to spend some time fretting over prospects on the verge of failure, the Flames do have other options. Take Chris Breen for example. This guy is big, 24 years old, and he has played just 5 NHL games. Burke stated that he’s called Breen up because the team really needs to evaluate him. What he left unsaid is that Breen is a pending RFA and could very well be cut loose in the summer if he doesn’t impress before then. All he really needs to do in order to stick with the NHL club for a while is be an immediate upgrade on SOB. If he can’t do even that…

  • EugeneV

    Straight from TSN via the Calgary Herald:

    Going unclaimed does not bode well for his future in Calgary, but acting Flames general manager Brian Burke hopes to do right by O’Brien before the deadline.

    “We thought someone might grab him because he’s a good player,” Burke told the Calgary Herald. “Obviously the extra year of his contract is the killer, so now we’ll see if we can structure a trade and we’ll see if there’s a team that would take him if we aren’t part of the obligations…that will be the first order of the day.”

  • Rockmorton65

    Wasn’t sure where to put this, but I noticed that Tanguay scored his 4th of the season tonight. I got curious and looked up the stats.

    D. Jones has 8 goals and 15 points
    Tanguay has 4 goals and 11 points

    I’ve heard people say that because of the waiving of SOB, we “officially lost that trade”. I disagree. If you consider Sarich/SOB a wash (I do), this deal looks like a minor win for the Flames. At least, I hope we can stop talking about how badly we lost that trade.