With the excitement of looming training camps and the promise of NHL hockey just around the bend, these days are the ramp up to a mini silly season where we over-speculate on everything and tend to blow minor things out of proportion. It’s the time of year where we can let these minor errors in judgment go, and, unless the team did something completely cra-
With #Flame vets Douglas Murray is back on PTO. All skating this am except Paul Byron . FYI Dougie Hamilton skating with Ladislav Smid
— Roger Millions (@RogMillions) September 14, 2015
Okay this is completely unacceptable.
Okay, let’s first discuss the part of ol Rog’s tweet that is REALLY offensive if you’re a Calgary Flames fan.
DOUGIE HAMILTON IS PLAYING ON A PAIRING WITH LADISLAV SMID?
Two pressing matters are on display here:
a) Ladislav Smid is healthy (which is great for him, obviously) and they intend to play him, and
b) Dougie Hamilton was the marquee acquisition of the 2015 offseason, and when you have the shiniest new toy, you want to make sure you use it properly. It’s like…if you were a peasant in a medieval town, would you want your Prince Charming to ride in on a stallion or on a donkey?
Granted, the Flames’ two other stallions already run together and their other defensive pairing possibilities are more like riding on the back of capabaras, but make no mistake, Ladi Smid is a donkey, and not a particularly good one.
Of course, it’s entirely possible and super very likely that when the season starts, Dougie is going to be skating alongside probably either Kris Russell or Dennis Wideman (I cannot BELIEVE this team didn’t re-sign David Schlemko), but let’s not try experimenting with combinations when they are assuredly going to be awful.
OH YEAH, AND
DOUGLAS FREAKING MURRAY? I THOUGHT WE WERE DONE WITH THIS SHIT.
Murray has played 518 games in the show over ten seasons, last appearing with the Habs two years ago, and was widely terrible. Nicknamed “Crankshaft” for some reason, Murray’s best season came in 2009 when he amassed 17 points in 79 games, and is well known for doing a bang up impression of Tanooki Mario turning into a statue. Opposing forwards think its amazing.
Douglas Murray does not pass the eye test and his possession numbers are [redacted].
I know prevailing wisdom on PTOs is that it’s no risk and if the player does not have a role on the team (and let’s get this out of the way right now, Doug Murray will not have a home on this team), can we just admit that the prospect of Murray wearing a Flames jersey is goddamn terrifying?
It’s 2015 and Douglas Murray has no redeeming value as a player (unless you think he can get his patented keg taps installed at the Saddledome). The Flames most certainly need depth at the position (the PTO offered to Ryan Wilson makes a lot more sense in this regard), but depth means a whole lot more than a warm body (and at press time, there is no reported substantial warmth stored anywhere in Murray’s giant, slow, ambling body).
Douglas Murray is this year’s Nolan Yonkman. He’s there, inexplicably, and won’t make the team (you really, really hope), but with each passing day he’s lacing them up at camp, you’re going to find you have more grey hairs on your head than you did the day before.
I just don’t understand the motivation here. I’m all for creating competition at camp, and a guy like Ryan Wilson definitely does create some in reference to the bottom pairing, but if you’re trying to rekindle some kind of fire in Murray, well, I hope you brought some gas.
Update: If Murray is there to create competition, this is the kind of production you have to live up to:
Everything IS okay
The Flames added Dougie Hamilton, Mikael Frolik, and crushed it in the NHL draft, and generally seem poised to improve upon their breakout season from last year (unless you believe in regression, which, uh, you should). Brad Treliving had an amazing summer and it seems like not even Bob Hartley can ruin it.
Moves like what we see today serve to remind that nobody is perfect and for some reason we’re still prone to the idea that big bodies are more important than skill (but at least we’re not paying actual money to do it anymore). In the end, this is a misguided attempt to create competition in camp and to try to experiment with player combinations, and while these specific ones WILL NOT WORK, this is the time of year where you try it.
(Speaking of PTOs, if you’re giving them out, give one to Sean Bergenheim, because that would be real value. Added bonus: he’s not Sergei Kostitsyn)
The Flames are going to be okay. Dougie Hamilton will not skate next to Ladi Smid. Douglas Murray will not wear a Flaming C in a regular season game. And if he does, well, there’s going to be new expansion teams arriving soon we can all become fans of.