Friday, January 11, 2008


Flames Game Night

Why can't Alex Tanguay get any respect? Seriously, why? Bruce Dowbiggin doesn't like him for his own subjective reasons, but yesterday's column, "Sundin a Flame?", is nevertheless horse-pucky.
It's clear that unless first-liners Jarome Iginla and sidekick Kristian Huselius provide prodigious offence, the Flames simply will not score enough to win the Stanley Cup.

First of all, the Flames are 2nd in the WC in scoring and 3rd in 5v5 scoring. Secondly, in the 2004 playoffs, Iginla, Conroy, & Gelinas were +13, +12, and +10 respectively. Lombardi and Saprykin were next best among forwards at +1. That big line had 27 goals; the rest of the forwards had 30. The search for consistent secondary scoring is one that is almost always destined to fail, and it's somewhat of a nebulous, self-rebutting concept to boot (any secondary scorer who starts producing more gets labelled a primary scorer soon enough). And does anyone remember the 2006 Olympics?
There is an object lesson to be learned from Canada's consecutive 2-0 losses. When your NHL team has trouble scoring over a short stretch [in this case, one freakin' game against the Coyotes], there is always a temptation to attribute it to lack of secondary scoring, or If We Just Had One More Decent Playmaking Centre This Wouldn't Happen. If you resist this temptation next time it happens, then you have learned the lesson.

Thirdly, if the idea is nevertheless to improve your scoring, shouldn't any deal actually hold the promise of doing so? Back to Dowbiggin:
But [for Sundin] Calgary could offer a selection of Alex Tanguay (he's still just 27), Lombardi, Adam Pardy, Matt Keatley and first- or second-round picks to Toronto. It's still a steep price, but with a shot at the Cup in this CBA climate, you have to roll the dice.

Forget Pardy, Keetley, and the picks: is there any reason to think Sundin could replace the contributions of both Tanguay and Lombardi, let alone exceed them? How many points can you expect Sundin to score? I'm not trying to be obtuse here at all. How do you fill in the blank: This trade would be a Win, in the short-term, offensive context only, if Sundin averaged ___ points per game as a Flame. Or, if the Flames averaged ___ goals per game after his arrival.

But of course the context can't just be offensive: Tanguay and Lombardi are the Flames' top 2 penalty-killers at the moment, and good two-way forwards. And Bruce is throwing in a couple of decent prospects and picks as well.
Plus you have to get Tanguay's whopper contract off the books (the Leafs can afford it) to afford Dion Phaneuf and Huselius and others due for contracts.

Fourthly, why is it that the 27-year-old Tanguay's long, productive record is always shrugged off with, "yeah, but he played with Sakic, Hedjuk, Iginla...", but the 28-year-old Huselius, who has never in his career been particularly effective at EV until the past ~20 games with Iginla, is suddenly an indispensable part of the Flames' future? There's been little or no difference between Iginla's production with Huselius and with Tanguay. If Tanguay's $5.25M/yrcontract is a whopper, what does Dowbiggin expect Huselius to sign for?

It says here that any makeable deal involving Tanguay would make the Flames worse in the short, rolling-the-dice term, not better. The only way trading him would be remotely defensible is to clear '08/09 cap room for Phaneuf's new deal, and I stress remotely. Huselius is a very good player, especially on the power play, but the Flames can't afford his next contract.

The Islanders are in town tonight (7PM MT, RSN West), and it's even money that the Flames win with a significant contribution from someone besides #12 & #20. I'll take Calgary 3 (Iginla, Eriksson, Nolan) Islanders 2 (Satan x2) in a game that's not as close as the score indicates. Go Flames.


(Satan x2)

I once dated a girl like that.

*spits coffee*

We'd get Lombardi AND Tanguay?


Mats is truly a warhorse, but that's delusional even by toronto standards.

Lombardi is a better player than Tanguay. I would rather trade Phaneuf than Lombardi, and throw in Tanguay. Alex is to soft and isnt a team guy, thats why he gets no respect!!!

"Throw in" Tanguay.
Where to start...

Alex is to soft and isnt a team guy, thats why he gets no respect!!!

Too soft? Wow. I had no idea Huselius was Cam Neely. And please give evidence that's he not a team player. I'd be more than happy to see Tanguay disappear from the Flames roster, but these reasons seem pretty ridiculous.

Wow, two people in a row feeding the troll. Standards are slipping.

I'm gonna say, just for the hell of it, 3-1 Islanders (Guerin, Comrie, Satan, Tanguay).

I agree with "anon #1" I think Phaneuf would be better tradebait than Lombardi. I have seen no progression in his defensive game, and I think that he might be reaching his max potential already. I cant say he's any better than Kaberle for example. I would want the fog to lift from the eyes of his obvious adorers!!!! If we could get Sundin and Kaberle for Tanguay and Phaneuf, I say DO IT!!! It could put us over the top, and we wont have a chance every year..

I can only assume that the Calgary media also thinks Toronto is the centre of the universe and that Mats Sundin makes Mark Messier look like Mark Lamb, which is a disturbing development to say the least.

good post as always Matt, Dowbiggin has already said in print last week that he's picturing a Gomez like deal for Huselius (7 years 50 Million...but at least 7 years 35M) so I think that answers one of your questions


Gomez contract for Huselius??

Insanity. I see Kristian topping out at around 5M. Course, GM's always find a new way to up the stupidity quotient every summer, so...

Good call on Nystrom, Matt. I think the claim they were floating was "scratched for precautionary reasons" (injury) but I don't buy it. Course, the new Lomabrdi/Boyd/Primeau line got scored on twice anyways - the problem being that Primeau is basically a lateral step.


MG- I believe 18,19,41 were scored on 3 times, not 2. they really struggled


Ugh, you're right.

Although a good deal of the blame for last night's goal against has to be apportioned to the defenders. How many times did Sarich let some sneak behind him? Bad pinches, bad reads and mediocre goaltending conspired to make the stats look worse for Lombardi's line...

That said, 18/19/41 isn't going to be much better than 18/41/23 on any given night. They need someone markedly better than Nystrom (that is, not Primeau) to float that trio.

Gotta love those Isles eh?

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