Monday, October 02, 2006



**Sad to see Steve Konowalchuk forced to retire due to heart problems (the medical kind). Of his many accomplishments, what I think I'll remember most is his late insurance goal in the Avalanche of Suck game, aka the "junior-league player mentality" game. (This is not to be confused with the previous week's Oil v. Avs game, aka the Crowd Magic game, aka the "I am numb... tragic... comical" game).

**The Flames signed Andrew Ference to a 3-year contract extension. Pending the dollar figure of course, I'm happy to hear it. Ference is the Girl With A Curl of the Flames: when he is good, he is top-pair quality, and when he is bad, he is truly horrendous. This will be just his 4th full season in the NHL; I suspect he's roughly hit his physical peak, but that there is plenty more room for improvement. Slightly fewer penalties, slightly more reliability please. Bonus note: he becomes the first player the Flames have under contract for the 2009/10 season.

**Brent Krahn got sent to the minors to be, for now, the clear-cut #1 for Omaha. I understand the explanations; what I'm still waiting for -- the beat reporters might be helpful here -- is some kind of assessment of whether he or McLennan was the better goaltender in training camp & preseason. Anyone?

My ideal split of the goaltending workload between Kipper/Backup is 60/20 (er, 61/21). Not only does this provide for suitable rest for Kipper, it normalizes the use of the backup. I'm gonna do the frightening here and put myself inside the mind of a hockey player (!!). I think if a guy gets thrown out there every 4th game, I get used to him and approach the game the same way, whereas if it's every 8th or 9th game, it's more of an Oh Sh!t I hope he performs back there type of thing. This would be of obvious benefit if Kipper comes down with a 2- or 3-week injury*.

Jamie McLennan's upside is well-established, and not suitable for such a role (the split between he and Luongo in Florida last year was 73/9, as was that between Kipper and Sauve/Boucher). Krahn's upside has not been established, and he may be suitable for that role. Just what the hell are we waiting for?

**Pleased as hell to see that Mark Giordano made the team (or rather more importantly, that he deserved to). Giordano led the AHL affiliate (pardon the unfamiliar jargon, Oilfans) in scoring last season, despite that fact that he played 7 games with Calgary and that he's a defenseman. More pop is good. And best of all, even with Warrener injured, the Flames can dress a defense corps without requiring the services of Cale Hulse or Brad Ference.

(*Writer is congenitally incapable of contemplating more gruesome scenarios, even though he acknowledges their existence.)


Errr... McLennan?

Yeah, that dude! Thanks James...

I think it's safe to say Robbie Schremp is kicking Taylor Pyatt's ass in the Myspace Puckbunny 2006 North American Invitational.

Sponsored by Trojans.

if Giordano led the team in points and he's a defenceman...and played 7 games for the Flames....what's that say for your forward prospects?
Go Oil!

Nice job on a shoutout to Konowalchuk, who was a seriously underrated player. It's too bad he had to bow out now, as he really started last season with a bang.

From what I've seen and heard, Krahn's looking fantastic and is essentially #2 on the depth chart. He will start a load of games in Omaha initially and then there is a good chance that he will get a few games in mid-season or beyond in the bigs. The understanding is that if Kipper goes down, Krahn is the clear-cut man to take over.

I'd like to double up on the shout-out for the Konowalchuk tribute. He was a class act and well-respected, at least by this humble fan.

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