You see that ref’s face? That ref’s face is my face. That ref’s face might very well be your face, too. That ref’s face is quite possibly the face of every single Flames fan in existence.
That ref’s face is the face one has when one’s team gives up a third round pick in order to acquire a Brandon Bollig. One inexplicably signed to a three-year deal with a $1.25 million cap hit. You know what? The amount of money doesn’t really matter. Three years, though? Three? We still have two more after this? What? Why??
Because the massive problem with that? On top of every other massive problem? There’s no way he can last those three years. There are wingers in the Flames’ system that will push Bollig out by then. There are wingers in the system that should have already pushed him out. There… there have been wingers that should have pushed him out at the start of the year. There are so many of them, you guys. There are just so many.
What if he somehow stays for all three years?
That ref’s face, guys. All our faces.
As you may recall, last game, the Calgary Flames played the St. Louis Blues. They were massively outplayed and ultimately lost 4-1, although for some reason, the score was pretty close most of the game. Probably the two most frustrating things about it: Jonas Hiller’s apparently necessary comically weak early goal against, and Brandon Bollig.
More specifically, Brandon Bollig’s inane, not to mention dangerous, hit on Barret Jackman that got him ejected after not even three minutes of ice time and gave a vastly superior opponent already with a 1-0 lead a three minute powerplay with which to work.
Yes, Backlund goofed on the penalty kill. Ice is slippery, man. But the Blues should never have been on the powerplay to begin with. And they wouldn’t have been, had Michael Ferland not inexplicably been scratched for Bollig.
Remember the bliss when he was scratched for three games straight? Remember watching Ferland, Stajan, and Shore go about their business and think, “Wow, this fourth line is killing it! Why can’t it always be killing it? Oh right.” And then that “oh right” came back last game and did nothing good and everything bad.
Kind of like how he’s been the whole season. His one goal came in the midst of a clearcut 5-2 victory. Only one of his four assists was a primary one. He averages 8:35 a game, and during those eight and a half minutes, is more of a hindrance than otherwise, what with a -3.35% CF rel (the only guys he’s better than are two bottom pairing defencemen, a rookie forced to play over his head all season long, and Lance Bouma, who plays in much more difficult circumstances). I guess he does have seven fights this season, which, neat! The Flames have won twice in those games. Guess he didn’t fight hard enough or however the narrative for that’s supposed to go the other five times.
But in a season full of “why are you here”s and “how were you traded for a third round pick”s and “no, seriously, what is your contribution”s, the last game was a whole other level. Hence, I am writing this post. Here is a (possibly incomplete) list of players who would be of greater use to the Flames right now over Brandon Bollig:
Bollig is 6’2, 223 lbs, and known for his physicality. Ferland is 6’2, 215 lbs, and known for his physicality. He’s also five years younger, and a far better scorer. He’s pretty much already well on the way towards replacing Bollig, having taken his spot in the lineup the past few games before the most recent. There’s really no need to continue beating around the bush on this. If Bollig is an NHLer, Ferland is a better one, full stop.
I do not care how injured or banged up or whatever it is he may be, I would gladly take a broken Byron over a healthy Bollig any day. Byron occasionally scores and quietly makes his teammates better, all the while putting up good possession numbers himself while starting from a position of disadvantage. He’s the new-look fourth liner: a positive possession player who can be bumped up the lineup with ease.
Again, I do not care how injured or banged up or whatever it is he may be, a broken Jooris is better than a healthy Bollig. Jooris has been a pleasant surprise this season, scoring goals and being one of the Flames’ best possession drivers, albeit in sheltered circumstances. He’s a 24-year-old rookie who only shows promise, not… whatever it is Bollig does.
Don’t even try to deny this. I will fight you.
Remember Wolf? He’s 6’3, 215 lbs. Pretty big guy, three years younger. He’s needed some time to adjust to the North American league and up his conditioning, but we’re talking about a paltry role that doesn’t even offer 10 minutes a night. Also, he can do something Bollig has never been able to lay claim to: score at the AHL level (and this is not a high bar I’m asking for, here).
Poirier is a super fast, promising scorer who likely has a future as a top six forward with some physicality to his game. He wasn’t quite NHL ready just yet, but I’d still trust him to do more good on the Flames right now than I would Bollig. Who knows, playing with a guy like Stajan, he might even be able to put up some more points. Instead of, what’s it… not.
What’s up with the oldest Reinhart, anyway? He got four games with the Flames earlier in the year, but not much time to go with them. He’s one of Adirondack’s better scorers, which is more than we can say about Bollig in pretty much any year of his career at any level recorded ever.
Speaking of high-scoring Adirondack guys, were you aware Agostino is fourth in scoring? And that’s including Drew Shore, who is never going back. In his eight NHL games last season, he scored a goal and an assist, which is a greater rate than Bollig has managed.
I am including Hanowski in this mostly because of Iginla trade solidarity. There is, however, the fact that even though Hanowski’s skating really is not up to par, he has pretty decent vision on the ice, and I’d trust him a hell of a lot more out there than I would Bollig. There’s a good chance of him getting caught flat footed, but at least he’d probably be in the right place to help avoid it becoming a total disaster.
How about going with 11 forwards and seven defencemen if it means no Bollig and yes Wotherspoon? It’s not like we’re relying on Bollig for offence. … Or defence. Or… wait, what are we relying on him for, exactly? Anyway, the team’s defence might just improve in general by mere virtue of Wotherspoon’s presence. If it’s a useless forward who has to come out of the lineup to make it happen, so be it. It’s better than some of the alternatives. Alternatives that we have witnessed all season. Because Bollig is a cockroach who will never
If Corey Potter can play in the NHL this season before Tyler Wotherspoon, he can make this list, too. Also, he’s a defenceman who has scored 13 more points in the NHL than Bollig in 60 fewer games played. Potter. I don’t even know what to say to that.
Once upon a time, Setoguchi was an NHLer. That time appears to be past us. Thing is, though, he actually was such a thing once, whereas Bollig…
This could actually happen, though? This season?? Tonight??? Bennett is going to be good enough to replace just about anybody, but that’s more in the future. Right now, we’re talking about a kid who spent several months on the down low because of shoulder surgery, and has only played about a month’s worth of hockey against junior players. I would take that over Bollig any day of the week. Hell, I’d take Bennett’s busted shoulder over Bollig any time.
Please let this nightmare end.