2014 Garbage Bag Day Live-Blog

It’s all over but the cryin’, folks.

Intrepid boy reporter (and FlamesNation managing editor) Ryan Pike is down at ‘Dome all day for what’s become a closing ritual in the NHL season: garbage bag day. So keep track of who’s had their exit meetings and medicals, and what they say as they shuffle away for a summertime of self-improvement, strategy and golf.

10:32am: Hi everybody! Been here since 9:30. So far we’ve been visited by Kris Russell, Lance Bouma, Bryce van Brabant and Mikael Backlund. Biggest scoop is that Backlund will be suiting up for the Swedish entry at next month’s World Championship (as long as his hand is 100% recovered).

10:41am: As expected, the Flames have assigned blueliners Chris Breen and Chad BIllins to the Abbotsford Heat, and Mark Cundari to the Chicago Wolves. They may meet in the first round of the playoffs.

10:58am: 10.7% chance the Flames draft 1st overall via winning the lottery, 58% chance they draft 4th, 31.3% chance somebody behind them wins the lottery and they pick 5th.

11:05am: Chris Butler, one of the best quotes on the team, just came through. He felt he had a good year and that the team’s the most fun one he’s ever played on.

He is NOT running the Boring Sean Monahan Twitter, though.

11:19am: We’re getting guys rapid-fire here: Karri Ramo, Curtis Glencross and Matt Stajan just came through. We’re reportedly getting Brian Burke and Bob Hartley at some point today, as well.

1:03pm: Whew. Obviously a bit of a delay, folks. We got hit rapid-fire with player after player.

Of note: Sean Monahan will play for the Canadian team at the World Championship, but Mark Giordano will not.

The college kids are all hitting the books (and the gym) this summer with an eye towards challenging for a spot in camp. None of the pending free agents could say anything definitive about their status – probably because most of them indicated that Flames management needs to evaluate things over the next few weeks. Based on the conversations, I’d imagine Colborne and Bouma are definitely back. With Cammalleri’s status uncertain, that probably puts Paul Byron’s in flux as well.

And now some tweets.

‘Tis lunch-time now, and we’re waiting on Brian Burke.

This is definitely the most upbeat 27th-place team in the league. Lots of discussion about positives, but also discussion about needing to be better next season (work-wise and talent-wise) and not letting the work slides if/when more talent arrives. These guys definitely are aware of why they are where they are, that’s for sure.

3:55pm: Burke’s presser has come and gone. Some newsworthy morsels there:

  • Bob Hartley will coach the Flames next season
  • He would also like Troy Ward back in Abbotsford
  • The season’s a failure because of no playoffs, but the young players progressed (and the expectations will go up for them next year)
  • Karri Ramo’s the #1. He’ll look at getting a back-up, as he wants Joni Ortio to play a lot next year.
  • Had a lot of praise for Sean Monahan, and a lot of criticisms for John Tortorella.

Also, headed to the World Championships: Sean Monahan (Canada), Mikael Backlund (Sweden), Jiri Hudler (Czech Republic) and….Johnny Gaudreau (USA).

That’s all she wrote from here. We’ll have a TON of stuff coming up later this week.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    Torts calling another coach’s tactics bush league is the funniest, most perplexing thing in the world.

    That clown has serious mental issues. He has to make himself feel the victim or defender of something that does not exist.

    In his brain, I think, is a constant game of good guy vs bad guy and he has to play it out in real life. Everything he does is adversarial and he thinks there is some justification for his idiocy.

    Mind games.

    Too many coaches think motivating players comes down to mind games. Hartley on the other hand, seems to believe that teaching players how to improve their abilities or roles within a team are motivating to players.

    That’s why, imo, he plays tough guys a lot of minutes. They are improving some aspect of their games (within the system) and Hartley rewards them for their improvement. If you improve you’ll be able to help the team. If you help the team, you get to play more. Hence 4th line guys play 10+ minutes a game sometimes.

    Idiot Torterlla never thinks once about ‘teaching’ so when he sees big tough guys starting again, it must be about him. How Hartley is doing something to him.

    What a complete tool Torts is.

    He’s a guy who seems like he got punched in the face a lot growing up (from infancy unfortunately).

    JG and BA on the puck the whole night! Got in there and made things (or tried to) make things happen all game. Both will get better too!

    Things are right on track.

    • BurningSensation

      Totally agree.

      Hartley is DEEP into Tortorella’s kitchen, banging around pots and pans, drinking milk from the carton and putting it back in the fridge.

      I have to say, it’s beautiful.

      • mattyc

        I love when Torts is fuming over something and Hartley has a bit of a smirk or bemused expression on his face.

        Also, I used to find him (Torts) mildly amusing when he was on the east coast and I only saw the odd outburst, but now that he is in our neck of the woods I can’t take him. He always has this aggrieved/ pained expression on his face that really make me dislike him.

      • beloch

        Torts is probably done with the Canucks and possibly the NHL, at least for a couple years. This season has been a brown stain on his resume. Hartley might not get a chance to use Torts’ lack of composure to the Flames advantage again.

        • BurningSensation

          For sure part of my joy is that it is guys like Torts and Lowe that Hartley (and Burke) makes lose their crap.

          But what I am REALLY enjoying is that it is our guys driving THEM crazy rather than the reverse.

          And that is just the coaching and management staffs. Right now Oiler fans are…brittle, at best.

          I have a dream scenario where the Oilers are having to pick between Draisatl and Bennett, and we get whoever they don’t choose.

          And whoever the Oilers take is the wrong guy, while Calgary’s pick transitions immediately into a star. They take Bennett he turns into Gagner 2.0, they take Draisatl he becomes Jason Allison. We take Bennett its Doug Gilmour 2.0, we get Draisatl and he’s a German Peter Stastny.

          We’d be able to smell the suicides from Lethbridge.

  • redricardo

    As a Flames fan, I’m praying the Canucks don’t fire Tortorella. Watching his antics help them crash and burn was one if the highlights of this season. Please, give us Flames fans another year of him with the Canucks.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    I was re reading Monahan’s mock draft descriptions. A lot of mention is made of his passing/playmaking abilities.

    Monahan impressed me with his finish, especially in tight, his ability to wait the goalie out and clinically beat goalies clean (no squeakers, no shots at the body that find holes but bury puck in corners or off the post etc.) So on one hand, the people who say his SH% will come back to earth need to understand that given where he seems to shoot from, I don’t see much change there. He’s not a shooter per se (firing pucks from everywhere) he shoots from high percentage areas by controlling the game and not forcing things (instead do the smart, high percentage play – sometimes it means eat the puck instead of throw it blindly somewhere).

    I didn’t really see passing wizardry. However, I think this is the result of keeping it simple. Monahan was incredibly disciplined. In many aspects.

    I think the growth in his game will come from his comfort to take more offensive risks and often that’s seen in high risk passes to spring a guy.

    I thought Baertschi would be the guy, but it looks more like JG who will make Monahan’s game grow in this way. Explosive guys who force team mates to pass them the puck by moving their feet. Not to mention JG’s ability to skate and create in small spaces – exactly the kind of space that exists in the scoring chance area – Where Monny already eats – .

    Case in point: JG set up BA early and Arnold missed the net. Monahan buries it from that spot.

    I think we all dream of this. Much too early but as I’ve said before: I see the makings of a powerhouse!!!

    I’m so excited for what lays ahead.

  • Michael

    ’11:05am: Chris Butler, one of the best quotes on the team, just came through. He felt he had a good year and that the team’s the most fun one he’s ever played on’

    I’m sure that Butlers comment will go down well with management. The club had a dismal season and finished in the bottom five, but at leasr the players had fun….

    • Jeff Lebowski

      Totally agree. Last night they were thrashed by the Canuckleheads and after the game there were way too many smiles! These guys missed the playoffs they should be crying in there towels!

      Burke I believe has addressed this today with the team!

    • Avalain

      Was this meant to be sarcastic? Because in reality the comment only helps management. They already know that it’s a rebuilding year (or 2 or 3) and comments like Butler’s only help to entice any free agents that they may be interested in.

      Remember, there are several reasons why a particular free agent will go to one city or another. Could be because they want a chance at the cup. Could be money. But it can also be that they are interested in working for a good organization that takes care of their players. They could be coming from a locker room where things were a mess and want to avoid situations like that again.

        • MattyFranchise

          I think that a UFA would look more at the incredibly large gap between quality of management teams in both cities. That gap is large enough that one place in the standings isn’t really going to matter.

          Position in standings aside, the Flames are up 10 points on the Oilers and their goal differential is half of what Edmonton’s is. Simply put, at this point the Flames are a better team than the Oilers and I think that helps quite a bit in making up a UFA’s mind.

      • MichaelD

        Absolutely agree, great sign that it’s fun to play here. You never know maybe Cammi decides to stay cause he simply loves being in the room.

        I thought it was really great to see the players and Hartley smiling and having fun in their exit interviews. Yeah it’s a losing season which they acknowledged, but much better to see then some of the other Canadian teams exit interviews.

        By the way, Top three moments of the year for me in no order;
        1. Fight night in Vancouver (or really just giving Vancouver the final shove over the cliff),
        2. 8-1 verus Oilers
        3. Seeing the future

        And I haven’t had a chance to thank all of FlamesNation for their great work, really enjoyed the whole season and looking forward to the summer.

  • mattyc

    @TSNJFranklin: Brian Burke surpasses Butler for the quote of the day: “Shut your mouth and leave my coach alone” he was referring to Tortorella of course

    (we were all thinking it…)

  • mattyc

    Burke today confirmed Hartley and his staff will return next year and will leave it up to the new GM if he wants to extend him. Having a lame duck coach in the final year of his contract is not healthy IMO.

    I like Hartley and his ability to push the right buttons with both the rookies and the veterans. Oh..almost forgot how good he is at alsi pushing Tortoralla’s buttons!

    • BitGeek

      Has anyone checked to see if it’s the same tie he wears in all his pressers?

      I think he only owns the one tie, and it’s kept on the back of his office door that he drapes over his shoulders to at least appear like he’s trying…

  • redricardo

    I am not a Brian Burke supporter. I don’t think Feaster deserved to get fired, and I don’t like Burke’s fascination with big truculent players, compared to good ones.

    However, 2 incidents have recently forced me to consider changing my mind.

    The first was today’s press conference. Lots of good points I agreed with, sticking up for his coach, and bashing Tortorella is always gravy. When he said “Days and weeks go by that I don’t wonder what John Tortella thinks” I almost crashed my car. Beautiful.

    The second was a conversation I had with one of the Flames scouts a month or two ago. We were talking, I asked what he did for work, and when he told me I showed interest in his process, beyond the obvious “he skates fast” and “he hits hard”. I mentioned I was trying to educate myself on some advanced stats, and he nodded knowledgeably. I told him that I wasn’t sure how big it was in his line of work, and he said that I would be surprised.

    Then I said something to the effect of “Yeah, but with you scouting for the Flames, you probably don’t get to apply it much. After all, your boss only cares how big and truculent someone is!”

    He looked at me, and said “Have you ever noticed that every time there’s one of those conferences, Brian Burke is there. Yeah, outwardly he’s shooting down the concept, but he’s always present, soaking it up”. Then he gave me a wry smile. “Maybe this is one of those occasions where you should pay more attention to what Burke does, than what he says”

    I gotta say… I’m coming around on the Burke camp. Circumstances have me starting to believe.

    • mattyc

      yeah I agree. I’ve got to believe that a GM has nothing to gain by publicly endorsing them. There’s also no reason for a GM to truthfully denounce them. Why would you bother going to all the effort to have big colourful quotes about how dumb you think they are?

    • BitGeek

      I wonder how much of what Burke says is designed to create perceived value in assets that he knows he will need to get rid of later, and downplay value in other assets so that they don’t necessarily attract the attention of other suitors.

      Misdirection? Smoke and Mirrors?

      I think the draft will be very revealing as to what train of thought he carries.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      Thanks for sharing this. I’ve been thinking about Burke’s bombastic personality and his on camera demeanour for a while now. Two seasons ago he outwardly dismissed advanced stats as providing no significant outcomes. The funny thing is that by 2012 he had attended his forth annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics conference. I don’t know whether he’s attended the last 2 years, but I bet he did.

  • In other news, the Heat will be absolutely loaded next season. Burke says Ortio is staying in Abbotsford; can’t say I disagree with that sentiment (at least, not in principle and not to start to season).

    Add to that a (hopefully) full season of Pat Sieloff, Tyler Wotherspoon, Brett Kulak and Ryan Culkin (maybe even Eric Roy, though not likely) in their frist pro seasons, maybe Billins and/or Cundari returning. Poirier, Gaudreau, Arnold, Agostino coming in on the forward corps, Granlund and Knight returning; maybe Reinhart too, though I think he sticks with Calgary next season. A full season of Ferland?


    • RonR

      Only thing is it appears the Heat won’t be in Abbotsford. Apparently a news conference is going to be held tomorrow where the City is breaking their contract with the Heat. There is talk of them moving to Glen Falls NY, which is the current home of the Adirondack Phantoms of Flyer affiliation.
      For what its worth, if I had any say in it, they should move to Saskatoon to the Credit Union Place which is a beautiful 14,000 arena. And as we all know, Saskatchewan people really support teams when they are the show.

  • prendrefeu

    Saskatoon would be great. How about Madison (Wisconsin) Heat?

    Personally, I would love to see Portland pick up an AHL team. That city has an absolutely amazing passion for their sport teams.

    BTW, there are only two non-US teams in the AHL. If Abbotsford can’t take the heat, it may be down to one.

  • seve927

    The Heat move to New Yprk is purely political. Soon as they move out of Abby trust me the Canuckleheads will move there team out of Utica into Abbotsford. Gillies tried last year to work out a deal with Ken King and he didn’t bite. I’m guessing the Aquilini family is behind this somehow…..

  • seve927

    There have been rumours that the Heat are leaving Abbotsford literally every year since their inception. Every. Single. Year. I’ll believe it when I see it.

    • MichaelD

      Contract has been terminated by the city… It was on the local Vancouver news this evening. Five years left on the deal so there will have to be a pay out. The city of Abbotsford is losing a ton of money due to the sweetheart deal they had to sign to get an anchor tenant in the AESC. Tax payers have had enough… The make whole provision is killing them.

      Brutal trying to be an AHL fan the way they move around their teams so much.

      On the bright side they’ll be much closer to home for guys like Gillies, Janko, Arnold, Agostino, Hanowski etc if they move to NY.

      Also as mentioned less travel means more practice time.

  • Bring Back Brathwaite

    only thing i didn’t like was that burke seemed pretty adamant on some pretty hefty FA signing this summer. I would rather see this team go into next year almost exactly the way it is, maybe with a replacement for cammie. Veterans taking ice time while letting this huge cavalry of kids earn roster spots would be a way better season spent then floating around 10th with Dany Heatly.

  • Victoria Flames Fan

    Does anyone know what Torterella imagines Hartley was doing disrespectfully when Sedin was down and out.?

    I agree with posters. I totally hope that the Canucks don’t fire him. He’s great entertainment and he sucks as a coach (pedagogically).

  • Bob Cobb

    Calgary is Bush League, always will be Bush League, Hartley should learn how to speak English, and French for that matter. Calgary likes to play physical, they are the dirtiest team in the NHL, and Burke should talk to Conan and Trump for hairstyle ideas and forget about Tortorella, who wasn’t wrong by the way. Hartley’s a douche!