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Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel / USA TODAY Sports

Slack Sundays: super-sized and 100% arena-talk free

After seemingly eons of arena talk, let’s focus on hockey! We assembled our motley crew of writers to chat all things Calgary Flames and training camp. I was driving home from the rink at the very beginning of the chat, so I jump in late. It’s a super-sized Slack Sunday! And 100% arena-talk free!

Like our takes? Disagree with a fiery passion? Add your thoughts in the comments!

Ryan Pike: Camp’s open! Anybody we’re particularly keen on seeing in preseason?

karimkurji (Karim Kurji): I’m keen on seeing how far Foo gets. I think he’ll make the team.

ctibs (Christian Tiberi): Being with Bennett and Versteeg seems like a promising sign. I really liked what i saw from him in Penticton, maybe he takes it to another level in the NHL preseason.

billtran (Bill Tran): Finally figuring out our 3rd and 4th lines would be nice. There’s a good number of players competing for those 6 spots.

taylormckee (Taylor McKee): One thing was abundantly clear: kid can shoot.

ctibs: Could he be the best right handed right winger in our org? Quite possibly. Reading the tea leaves, Brouwer’s in the mentorship role with Janko and Mangiapane, so his days with bennett are likely done.

taylormckee: That is good stuff. I wonder how line four looks then: Stajan – Janko – Brouwer?

billtran: Definitely have a feeling one of the vets will get usurped.

ctibs: But then Lazar is playing nowhere I guess. What line has he been on in training camp?

karimkurji: Lazar-Stajan-Shinkaruk.

ctibs: Interesting. I guess that suggests that they’re telling the kids to earn their spot. Earned not given or whatever.

karimkurji: Except Lazar it seems

taylormckee: Do they have Lazar in mind for 3L RW? If I am Freddie Hamilton, I am seriously considering going Tonya Harding on Lazar.

ctibs: Early results say no. Poirier’s on with backlund and tkachuk. Even though he’s not getting that spot, it kind of suggests that they want to see what Poirier and Foo can do in top nine spots.

karimkurji: How do we feel about Hrivik?

arii (Ari Yanover): nobody else is really a solid LW and his time with the Rangers, even if he cannot score worth a damn, is rrrrreally interesting to consider.

ctibs: He feels like a better Freddie to me. usable, good, but low impact relative to the team.

arii: I looked it up earlier, he was something like 55% CF, 48% OZS with the Rangers, +6.5 Rel, albeit in only 160 or so minutes of ice time. Like I don’t care if he doesn’t score… if he’ll be that responsible on the 4L I’m all for it.

ctibs: They probably want a kid to steal that spot first, but Hrivik is a good backup plan.

taylormckee: Hrivik – Janko – Lazar would be a cool line to see in preseason.

arii: 40 points in 56 games in the AHL last year. Or he’s a good top six guy for Stockton.

billtran: That’s true. The number of bubble players we have going into camp would just about sort out the Flames’ bottom six and the Heat’s top six.

Ryan Pike: Hi everybody, just back from the building. Interesting line from first two days: Klimchuk, Hrivik & Brouwer.

karimkurji: Is brouwer bouncing around a lot?

Ryan Pike: 90% of the lines have been consistent through the first two days.

ctibs: What are your impressions so far, Ryan?

Ryan Pike: It was mentioned by a few people from the media horde (primarily our 960 friends), the pace is really good. Not a lot of stopping.

arii: Something I am really curious about is just where Brouwer and Lazar end up. Every time I do a roster construction it’s hard to find a home for them unless I’m cutting out any and all prospects trying to make the team.

Ryan Pike: Lazar’s been with Stajan and Shinkaruk so far.

ctibs: I’m having the same problem too. I draw up some nice lines, and then think “oh dang, i left off Brouwer and Lazar.”

arii: So if Foo sticks with Bennett and Versteeg and say Shinkaruk gets bumped for Brouwer, where does Jankowski go?

Ryan Pike: I think Jankowski is fourth line LW or center.

ctibs: Someone is going to get screwed over because of it which is not good.

taylormckee: Is it realistic to imagine Brouwer eating popcorn?

arii: I get it all sorts itself and there will be some tough cuts to come but… those two are real head-scratchers for me. I would be surprised

ctibs: i think they give him a chance to redeem himself.

karimkurji: 9 games. send him back to junior.

ctibs: They can sell an easy “veteran presence” narrative with him because of all the youth in the bottom six, so why not?

arii: Brouwer needs to be louder, angrier, and have access to a time machine.

karimkurji: In all honesty, we can’t ignore his “in the room” intangibles. He wore an “A” for a reason

croatis (Christian Roatis): Why did he wear an A? Because of his paycheque?

billtran: Imagine if his calendar said April every month, eh?

arii: Better question, why didn’t Backlund???

croatis: No kidding, 3rd longest tenured Flame.

Ryan Pike: My guess is Backlund and Stajan don’t wear letters because they don’t need to in order to be leaders in the room. Goalies don’t wear ’em either. Versteeg didn’t.

croatis: So what you’re saying is Brouwer’s leadership is useless unless validated by a letter stitched onto his jersey.

arii: Why have letters at all then?

ctibs: Yeah I don’t get the logic either. They signed him because he’s a leader, but he can’t be a leader unless he has a fabric letter on his jersey.

Ryan Pike: All letters “mean” is “this guy is respected enough that we’re good with him bitching at the officials for us.”

croatis: Thing is, Brouwer’s season was shit and he was gifted tons of opportunities on the top line and PP. what sort of season would he have if he just played fourth line minutes with minimal pp time. (Answer: horrendous)

billtran: Seeing Hunter Smith play the PP in Penticton brought back shades of Brouwer.

ctibs: Tkachuk should get an “A” but it stands for “asshole” instead. I would like that.

croatis: Also nice to see the NHL crackdown on slashing for the regular season. I assume all will go back to anarchy come April.

arii: April seems generous

Ryan Pike: I think players are hacking at each other by American Thanksgiving.

karimkurji: Or as we like to call it in Canada… Thursday. What would you place the over/under for brouwer’s games played at?

Ryan Pike: 60.

billtran: I’d take the over on that.

croatis: Same.

arii: Same.

croatis: Too much egg on face still if he sits a lot.

taylormckee: Unless Versteeg finishes him off in their blood feud, I’ll have the over.

ctibs: He sits after the deadline, in my opinion.

croatis: Cause for whatever reason, national media hasn’t clued in that Brouwer is hot garbage.

Ryan Pike: Brouwer’s smart enough to know what happens to older players with big deals that get bought out.

croatis: He’s mentioned in like every Flames preview done by non Flames people.

Ryan Pike: National media doesn’t pay attention to the Flames, though.

croatis: Exactly. Or any team but Toronto. “National Media” is essentially Leafs media.

Ryan Pike: And Edmonton.

arii: Sorry did you mean McDavid?

karimkurji: How does the upcoming Brouwer situation affect the Leafs?

Ryan Pike: Until games start counting, there’s no Brouwer situation.

croatis: My mentions featured some people telling me the Oilers have a window to win but the Flames don’t. You can guess whom they cheered for

arii: Who do the Oilers have on defence other than Klefbom? Like… who? Sekera is dead until the new year

karimkurji: There’s this guy Kris something…

croatis: And that’s all but a lost season for him after that. Like yes you have McDavid and Draisaitl and Talbot but what else???

arii: I think we really need to appreciate the sheer depth the Flames have built up. if any of their forward bets (Lazar/Jankowski/Foo) pan out then dang.

croatis: Also was told Flames need help up the middle.

Cause Monahan-Backlund-Bennett-Stajan-Jankowski-Lazar is mediocre for whatever reason.

ctibs: Not to turn this into Oiler chat [editor’s note: too late], but I’m suspicious of Talbot being good after having played 80+ games last season.

croatis: We can bash them on the 6 other days of the week.

karimkurji: The Flames could have a really solid top 9 this year.

Ryan Pike: The Flames are really shallow on center after the NHL level.

arii: Bennett isn’t even bad. He’s disappointing considering where he was taken, but he’s still very clearly NHL-caliber. The Flames are shallow on centre after the NHL because the centres they drafted are already in the NHL.

karimkurji: And they keep drafting defensemen in all 7 rounds.

arii: it’s like “Flames have a bad prospect pool!” 19-year-old matthew tkachuk isn’t a prospect because he scored 48 points last season as a rookie so…

ctibs: I could go both ways

taylormckee: I’ve kinda been banging that drum for a while re: the Flames at C outside the NHL though, It’d be great if Ruzicka or Lindstrom turns out.

ctibs: The Flames have a good number of prospects that could play at the NHL level, the problem being that the majority of them aren’t going to be good outside of the bottom six.

croatis: But that again, like Ari said, is because they’ve converted their top prospects into NHLers.

ctibs: They got depth in the prospect pool, not elite level talent, but that’s okay because the latter group aren’t prospects anymore.

arii: They are hurting for maybe one more real top six player, depending on Ferland.

karimkurji: Actually going off that, do we expect Tkachuk to regress a bit this year? Or will he improve?

Ryan Pike: He could improve.

taylormckee: I figure he could definitely score more, right?

arii: Top six by age:
24 – 23 – 25
19 – 28 – 29

billtran: If I recall, Stimson’s radar charts basically showed all Tkachuk needs to become elite is more goal scoring

arii: And I don’t see an avenue for Tkachuk to regress – he’s already gotten the toughest assignments on the team and thrived. He scored 13 goals at a 9.2% SH, 10 at ES. 35/48 points were at ES. Where is he supposed to regress?

ctibs: I think Tkachuk gets better. Scoring depends on how Glen uses him.

arii: His rookie season provided zero red flags.

croatis: Worse linemates is the only thing I see.

ctibs: If he gets (rightfully deserved) PP time, he could be 60+ points.

arii: Yeah, if 3M gets broken up he could take a hit but he added to Backlund+Frolik and made them a super line.

croatis: He was safe and warm under Backlund and Frolik’s wings.

Ryan Pike: I think he could improve because he has a much better idea of what parts of his game need to be tweaked to work at the NHL level.

ctibs: His game last season was mostly hockey IQ, so if the physical tools (which are already pretty impressive for a teenager) come around, it could bring him to that next level.

croatis: Top 3 possession line the in the NHL. Crazy when you think about it.

taylormckee: Insane. And I think we all saw flashes of his hands as well throughout last year.

ctibs: He just needs to shoot the dang puck more.

arii: True; Tkachuk only had 142 shots on net last season. 1.87 per game. I’d be surprised if that didn’t go up. maybe he and Ferland switch places, top line is filled with 60+ point players (and has an average age of 22), shutdown line has modest contribution – probably two players hovering around ~40 points and Ferland maybe around 30 – while suppressing top lines. Also: all Mike line.

croatis: I could definitely see that being an experiment midseason if things don’t go super well with the top line. He didn’t get any time with Monahan and Gaudreau last year did he?

ctibs: No. 19-93-36 to start, 3M the rest of the way.

croatis: Frankly, the room for him to grow IS into the third member of that line, an elite 1st line winger. If we’re talking absolute ceiling.

karimkurji: He’s LW though, he’d have to switch sides.

ctibs: He can play both. Did that in London.

karimkurji: That’s intriguing.

Ryan Pike: Most wingers can do both.

croatis: Yeah pretty sure he was drafted as RW wasn’t he?

ctibs: I think they just listed him as a winger.

Ryan Pike: Central Scouting is notoriously spotty with positions.

croatis: Regardless, that’s a helluva top line if it all pans out. Brouwer might even stay above water on 2M. Or as mentioned, Ferland or even Foo. 1st line forward Matthew Tkachuk opens up a Pandora’s box of possibilities.

taylormckee: Or..or..Sam Bennett? Because the Flames have Duchene right? RIGHT?! RUMOUR MAN SAID SO.

arii: At the draft Tkachuk said he could play all three forward positions.

Ryan Pike: Possibility I want to mention: Valimaki spending time in the NHL this year.

karimkurji: From what Pat has been tweeting, Valimaki and Andersson has been a consistent pairing. And they looked great in Penticton.

arii: Valimaki and Kulak switch spots with Stone for a bit and then Valimaki goes down before nine games? i can see the merit to it; he looks great and this way he gets an eye for what it’s like in the NHL.

croatis: Maybe last question for today, cause I’m personally curious of all your opinions on it, how would you rate Glen Gulutzan’s first year with the Flames and is he the right guy in your minds to lead the team into their supposed window of contention? I’d give him a B+ for how he turned things around and his system (I quite enjoy it).

ctibs: Well he has an Actually Good roster to work with now, so if the team stays in neutral, it’s on him.

arii: He turned them into a top 10 CF% team after a horrid start; i am cautiously optimistic.

croatis: I’m also cautiously optimistic.

ctibs: They can go top five in possession without Wideman, Engelland, Kevin, Bartkowski, etc in the bottom four.

Ryan Pike: If they get buy-in from the roster, I think he is.

karimkurji: Players seem to like him.

taylormckee: If the goalies don’t drag the team to hell, I am on the optimism train.

arii: Yeah I think everyone already being in place this training camp is huge.

billtran: So everything is contingent on everyone performing as expected.

arii: Like we were pretty much done writing about the team for the summer once Stone and Versteeg were re-signed… It’s the same roster.

billtran: In which GG has a good shot at elevating the Flames.

croatis: I like how he hasn’t tried to do useless line experiments. He went straight to what we perceive to be optimal line combos. Also: Kulak-Stone thank heavens

Ryan Pike: Grain of salt. Pre-season practice lines.

croatis: Not really. Last year’s regular season lines plus new additions.

Ryan Pike: Pre-season practice lines mean nothing. Pre-season lines mean nothing until the roster is down to, like, 35 guys.

croatis: You can’t tell me Gio-Doug/Hamonic-Brodie means nothing.

Ryan Pike: Sure I can.

karimkurji: Gio didn’t win the fitness testing this year, is he even gonna make the team??? Who knows?

Ryan Pike: Saying pre-season practice lines matter is like saying Penticton lines matter.

croatis: Not when they look like this. You’re being a little paranoid I think. Tre said as much as Gaudreau-Monahan-Ferland are starting. And he talks with GG so don’t say “Treliving doesn’t make the lines”

Ryan Pike: Pre-season means very little until the rosters pare down; right now it’s about hoping key guys don’t get hurt.

croatis: I contend you can read much more into these lines than any other random preseason line combo in the past. Given all we know.

Ryan Pike: Given the importance of a good start, I’d agree with you.

croatis: We have found common ground. Unlike the City and CSEC.

  • freethe flames

    You say there we no red flags for Tkachuk; I disagree.I thought after his suspension he struggled a bit. I also worry about young players and the 2nd year jinx; it happens more frequently than we might think.

    Glad to hear I am not the only one who thinks that the organization is lean at center ice after the NHL. The AHL squad looks like a barren wasteland. The kids who have to go back to the CHL will help a bit in the next couple of years but I see a serious gap at center.

  • everton fc

    Looked like Hrivik was playing centre, “on paper”. Is this fact?

    As far as depth at centre… I think with Monahan/Backlund/Bennett/Jankowski, if all play at least to their potential, we have a very good group of young pivots. But on the farm, I agree. Thin at forward.

    Our forwards that might be up here doing well (in my opinion) Jankowski, Mangiapane, Klimchuk, Poirier, Foo, Shinkaruk… Maybe Lomberg as a 4th line mucker… I’m assuming Hathaway’s one of the extra forwards (and should be) … You could hang a prayer on Pribyl…

    Not much there.

    I haven’t seen where Fischer’s playing. I was hoping they’d dump Smith and replace him w/Fischer in Stockton. Where has Fischer been playing – with whom?

    • freethe flames

      So much depends on if he is the lazy guy from last year or the guy who pushed the Blues into the later rounds. That’s what preseason should determine; if he’s crap let him eat popcorn in Stockton. If he rebounds then great. I have said I think there are 8 locks at forward and everyone else needs to earn their job during preseason and that should be the major factor; not last year, not salary and NHL experience but performance.

      • HOCKEY83

        It’s fun to speculate but it’s very obvious by interviews had over the summer that these forward spots are locked. Gaudreau Monahan Ferland Tkachuk Backlund Frolic Brouwer Stajan Lazar Bennett Versteeg whether you like it or not. These guys are the roster spots. We’ll just have to wait and see on a couple of the line combinations but that means there’s one spot for a prospect to play and one spot for a prospect to change in and out and Freddie Hamilton could very easily take one of these spots. His junior stats were exceptional and he did well in the AHL. He could be ready to break out himself. He’s not been given very much quality ice time up to this point. The probability of it being Hamilton, Janks or Foo is greater than anyone else. The rest are going back to Junior or AHL and it wouldn’t surprise me if they released half of them when it comes time to qualify next season like they did in 2015 going into 16. 14 of them are RFA next season. Brouwer Lazar and Stajan have spots whether you think they need to earn them or not. Brouwer and Stajan could possibly sit in the press box but I doubt they will sit 7.5 mil in salary all season. They both will play more than half games.

  • cberg

    Nice discussion, but I’m surprised you guys are so up on Tkachuk on the Monahan line versus putting him with Bennett. I’d think getting Bennett going and spreading out the offence would be a higher priority. Of course, If Foo can come in and add to Versteeg-Bennett and develop into a great line on its own, its a win/win/win.

  • Chris Prongers Rake

    You cant get through an entire blog about “All things Calgary Flames and training camp” without talking about the Oilers and Leafs, this isnt national media so apparently you’re more interested in the Oilers too, and why not, the Flames are going to be brutal.

    • Puckhead

      If you read the comments about the Oil they are not very flattering. If, in your opinion, we are going to be brutal, I wouldn’t want the be sitting in your seat.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      Funny that you pick Pronger as a handle. Equally funny that you scour Flames articles for mentions of your beloved Oils. The Flames were brutal last season, winning 2 games less than the Oilers with their stellar play from Talbot and McDavid. That was a Flames team with Wideman in the top 4 and the Oilers with Sekera. Oh yes, forgot about the much vilified Eberle.

  • buts

    Bennett doesn’t distribute the puck well enough to be a centre at this point. There’s nothing wrong with him on the wing. I like giving Tkachuk a try with Mony, Jonny but I’m hoping for Ferland. Watched Foo yesterday and he looked good. Wow the hate for Brouwer is a bit much, the guy had a bad year but look at how many others struggled. I’m hoping GG’s player usage improves because last year was questionable from the top to the bottom of the lineup.

    • Kevin R

      In all fairness, I think BT probably had a bit of influence on the ice time allocation of a freshly newly minted RW at 4.5mill per. Coaches that make GM’s look bad are usually headed for the sewers.

    • fumanchu1968

      I think anyone is nuts if you think the MMM line is going to get split up any time soon. The first two lines should be set unless something crazy happens in pre-season. Focus on figuring out the 3 and 4 lines.

      • HOCKEY83

        I think you’re right about the 3M line but I think Ferland’s spot on the top line is up for grabs in training camp. There could be better chemistry with a number of players in that spot. It’s not like Ferland has lit it up there.

        • freethe flames

          Actually I think the 3m is more likely to be split up than the Johnny/Monny/Ferland line unless they stumble badly. This would allow for developing a better balanced lineup, but I want to see how everyone plays before I pass final judgement.

  • Kevin R

    Sorry guys, big time disagree about Tkachuk with Gaudreau & Monahan. Asking for trouble with Tkachuks style of play & I don’t want that kid changing his style of play. You want Monahan & & Gaudreau getting into line scrums after every whistle?? Nope Tkachuk is meant for Bennett’s line. If it’s not this year then next year, whatever. If Foo is the real deal, how sweet would a Tkachuk/Bennett/Foo line be? Ferland can possibly be the Simmonds on that top line, that’s needed for that line & I want him to get a full year to prove it.

    Brouwer is probably going to get a chance & I’m ok with that. Probably 4th line& I probably see him on the wing with Janko centring the line& Lazar on the other side (if Foo makes the lineup). Stajan is probably going to be the 13th forward & you know what, the guy will embrace that role & be ready when injuries & the need arises. I see the guy being rolled into Management after this year like we did with Conroy. Guys that will be late cuts & just on the cusp will be Klimchuk, Poirier, Mags.

    • TheoForever

      Same here when comes to Tkachuk with Gaudreau, he would get the little guy killed. Ferland is a good fit and he can be a deterrent. I’m on board with Tkachuk/Bennett/Foo together of Versteeg in place of Foo if he is not ready.
      The 7lbs lighter Brouwer could surprises everyone. Stajan will probably be a healthy scratch at some points of the season.

  • Greg

    I agree that Brouwer and Lazaar seem like square pegs and round holes right now. The only way I can fit them in is if I take Foo and Jankowski out, which is a shame given what we paid/are-paying for them. Wouldn’t surprise me if we start the season like that but one or both of Foo and Jankowski push their way on to the roster by mid-season.

  • smatic10

    I think starting the year off with Janko centering Brouw and a sparkplug like Lazar or Lomberg on the other side would be a decent 4th line. Janko has shown his ability to win faceoffs, play well defensively, make sick passes in the o-zone and even snipe some goals on occasion. All Brouwer has to do is get in position and maybe he can pot some goals.

    • BringtheFire 2.0

      Man, I don’t know…i’d like to see Jank and Lazarus with someone else to start..they are unproven and Brouwer probably isn’t the best player to start them with…

      • freethe flames

        Is there anyway we can wait to see how Brouwer plays this year before condemning him? Is there anyway to wait and see who is ready before we crown some prospect the next great thing. it’s one thing to have an opinion but some of the bold statements are just silly. (Note I’m not a fan of how Brouwer played last year and if he repeats his effort send him down)

        • Hockeyfan6778

          The thing with brouwer is he wasn’t just an anchor last year. He was for many years even before flames signed him. So not very promising he changes.

          • Baalzamon

            Not in and of itself, but the name of the game is net benefit. Take Patrik Laine as an example. The guy is a great goalscorer, but he’s somehow so bad at literally everything else that he has a negative overall impact. In spite of his near league-best goal production, the Jets are actually better off without him (or, rather, were last season. Maybe he’ll get better).

          • HOCKEY83

            He was very good for St.Louis during his only season there and in the playoffs. For Washington as well. 40 points average and roughly 20 goal per season average usually gets most NHLers 4.5 per these days. He had an off season but not by much. Hopefully he gets back to the form that the flames hired him for. 20 goals and 40 points.

          • Hockeyfan6778

            I still wouldn’t say very good. If more goals are being scored against you then you are scoring when you are on the ice that’s not great. But scoring 20 is always good.

      • smatic10

        I suggested Lazar-Janko-Brouw because let’s face it, in all likelihood Brouw is going to be in the lineup even if some prospects play better than him. By placing him on the 4th line with a creative player like Janko and a guy that can open up some room like Lazar, you never know, things may click. This also allows Johnny-Monny-Ferly, Tkachuk-Backlund-Frolik, Foo-Benny-Versteeg to be lines that are not messed with.

  • Fan the Flames

    I think Foo will get a real good look with Bennett and Versteeg he has a shot his hustle compliments Bennett. I think the 4th line will be Jankowski at centre between Stajen and Brouwer to start with either Lazar or Hamilton as the extra stealing games from Brouwer. On defense I suspect Bartkowski may be out with Kulak and Wotherspoon taking 6 and 7 I can’t see keeping Valamaki for 9 games and risk losing one of the other two to waivers as Colorado only has 4 defencemen .

  • Off the wall

    I was watching some of the interviews after training camp and I must admit I’m really impressed with Tkachuk.

    He speaks so well for a young man and has dropped some weight. Trained with Gary Roberts in the off-season and his regular trainer from his days in junior.

    He just seems to be so aware of what is going to make him successful at this level.

    I predict this Byng’ is going to score 20 goals this year and hit the 50-55 point.

    I really hope we see Tkachuk with Bennett, they spend a lot of time together off ice and he is the perfect fit for him with his tenacity and ability to drive play.
    I still hope Versteeg completes that line.. veteran with sick puck skills

  • OYYC

    Adam Ribbone representing the Eye Ballers. He’s been around so long, he’s reportedly only 3 days younger than dirt.
    Hal Bitier representing the Analy Tics. A wiz-kid computer programmer with brilliant spreadsheet abilities.

    Adam: Looks like the Tics have finally given up on all the Jaromir Jagr talk. But I thought his numbers were great? Seems like 31 GM’s don’t want him either. Maybe it is because he’s 45 years old?
    Hal: All GM’s are in error. Age matters not. Jagr has superior numbers.

    Adam: Any thoughts on Curtis Lazar? You’ve been quiet so far about him, Hal.
    Hal: Lazar, Curtis. Declining 15-16: 8.88 iCF60, and 16-17: 8.74 iCF60. Inferior player in all regards.

    Adam: But he had like mono, man. Mono! And played with Chris Neil and Chris Kelly on the 4th line in Ottawa getting 8:48 a game last season. Can’t you just throw out his last season?
    Hal: I’m afraid I can’t do that, Adam. Numbers are gods. Ballers are inferior to Tics. Lazar should have gotten over mono 22.58 days earlier. He is an inferior being to Jagr.

    Adam: You know that hockey is played by players, right? And a team tries to create a team of players to win the Stanley Cup multiple times.
    Hal: Team focus is in error. Ballers are in error. Numbers should be the focus. All 31 teams are in error.

    Adam: Good chat, Hal.
    Hal: Adam, this conversation can serve no purpose any more. Goodbye.

  • madjam

    Flames can basically hold their own in Pacific Division with their forwards and defence . The biggest problem will be in goal , where Calgary is likely to trail most other teams in division – in close games that could prove costly .

    • BringtheFire 2.0

      That’s the danger with us, isn’t it? I’ve watched interviews and the like with the whole team, and I believe with the defence in front of him, Smith will be fine. Plus, the dude is motivated, likely Calgary will be his last shot at a ring.

      But Lack, on the other hand, I have real concern about.

      • Off the wall

        I don’t have any issues with Smith personally, I see a goalie that wants to prove it to his peers. He’s well aware of his age and the nay -sayers on his ability to make a difference.

        He used words such as “rejuvenated” to describe how he feels to be playing for a Canadian team such as the Flames. I’ve never seen him so excited.

        Stone made the remark, “the only thing we need to be aware of with Smitty.. is get to the corner when he’s got the puck ”
        “Don’t even try to play it”

        I’m really excited to see Smith’ affects our transition game with a mobile d- corp.

    • Kevin R

      Really? WTF has Markstrom done? If we brought Fleury in you would make the same post, is MAF that much of an upgrade to Smith? Jones had a tougher year last year too & struggled at times. Darling was a backup, a good one but a backup & now first year being a #1 in Arizona. All the goalies in the Pacific are capable of having really good seasons or meh, including Smith.

  • OYYC

    Seeing so much love for Foo out there. His career path is similar to Jankowski’s. Three vs 4 years in college respectively, and then turn pro. The Flames left Jankowski in Stockton all year, bar one game. Can’t see how the situation with Foo is much different, except a supposedly glaring deficiency on RW. The Flames play things slowly with their prospects, and now Janko gets the jump this year.

    Ferland could turn into a stud 1RW if they only gave him real playing time up there and not bounce him around the lineup. He has all the tools. Is Frolik your typical 2RW stud? Not really in traditional terms. But he works so well with Backlund in a shutdown/offensive role that he’s the 2RW to stay.

    Foo won’t be bumping Lazar or Brouwer right out of the gate. Foo will be in the AHL where the team gets to monitor his development. To me, Poirier has a better chance to be a call up when there is an injury to one of the wingers, or if the “good in the room guy” RW continues on his downward trajectory and sits.

      • everton fc

        Foo wasn’t guaranteed anything. He had a prior relationship here, as he was a prior invite. They know him, and he knows the organization. Made sense.

        Again, the scouts, those who followed him not just last season, but since he was in college, see his ceiling as third line mucker RW w/good hands. I think Poirier has more upside, his he improves his hands and has his head back where it needs to be.

        The fact it appears Poirier is auditioning on RW, also shows Foo has no guarantees. I also believe Foo doesn’t have to clear waivers. Correct me if I’m wrong w/this, but if Foo doesn’t have to clear waivers, he’ll most likely prove himself in Stockton.

        Hathaway, Freddie, Klimchuk, Jankowski… Maybe Mangiapane and Lomberg… And probably Poirier, Foo and Shinkaruk, are fighting for those open spots. Anyone we can lose on waivers as we draw close to the beginning of the season (Poirier, Shinkaruk) will be in Stockton sooner, than later, unless they have a crazy-productive camp.

        If Lazar’s a bust, he’ll clear waivers and land in Stockton before Christmas. I hope he does extremely well, though. Who doesn’t??

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      I agree, there is a reason Lazar was drafted in the first round. He captained the WJC which is impressive in itself. Foo was not drafted and is your typical late bloomer. Lazar seems to be battling his confidence while Foo is brimming with confidence. There is too much investment in Lazar to not gove him a legit shot.

  • Flaming1

    I know we like to poke fun at the northern guys but if you guys can’t acknowledge the skill and toughness of Larsson you’re missing the boat. We don’t have one dman that can match his physical play.

  • canadian1967

    Just to be clear, the function of the “C” and “A” are to designate who can talk to the referees, and nothing more. That is why the letters are spread out amongst players who are least likely to be on the ice with each other, meaning you have better odds of one of your captains being on the ice to communicate with the refs if needed as per rule 6.1