Saturday, February 10, 2007


Flames Game Day

Flames @ Sabres, 5PM MT, HNIC
"For the first time in a long time, you guys are going into a game as genuine, honest-to-goodness underdogs."

That was Roger Millions talking to Craig Conroy on Hockeycentral a few minutes ago, and he's right. The Flames have certainly been 'dogs on ProLine a few times this season (a dozen, maybe?), but this is surely the first game this season where a neutral observer would look at everything and simply conclude that they expect the Flames to lose.

Buffalo is the #1 team in the EC; the Flames are coming off a couple of crap games against bad teams; at this point, everyone's past wondering if it's mostly random that their road record is so poor, and knows it's something structural (what that is is less clear); and Oh, yeah: Calgary hasn't won in Buffalo since March 15, 1996, when the Sabres still played in The Aud in front of rookie coach Ted Nolan.

Flames radio host Rob Kerr often goes on about how he thinks the Flames are a better team when they're the underdogs. I guess we'll see tonight, because this game certainly qualifies. For my part, I'm hanging my hopes more on the fact that they have very infrequently had bad results in streaks. Even 3-game losing streaks have been few and far between since the lockout. Is this random? Eh, my mathematical side says yes, but my fan side says No: for the same reason that they almost never get blown out. For whatever reason -- whether it's their system, or coaching, or character, or some freaky voodoo shit -- failure just does not beget more failure in this team in the same way as most.

Iginla will play a good game. Tommy will extend his point streak. Chris Drury will be 71.4% on faceoffs, but a -2, and Calgary will win 3-2 (Iginla, Langkow, Moss). Go Flames.


Calgary played well...but another blown lead and another shoot out loss. There were times in the late second and early third periods that the Flames were handling the best team in the East on their own ice, BUT elite teams know how to close out games and not to blow leads. It looks like its starting to get into their heads now, and thats not a habit you want to start.

Did you notice Kipper in the shootout? He was tring everything to break his mojo--the poke check was inspired. He looked like he had said to himself, 'yeah, I might lose this thing, but lets go down swinging'

Outshot handily again. Probably to be expected though since they were playing one of the handful of good EC teams. IIRC, the Flames have been outshot all year, but it's no coincidence that the down times in their season seem to correlate with their largest shot total deficits.

It's also great that Kipper can't buy a shootout performance.

Brad Stuart and Wayne Primeau to the Flames for Kobasew and A. Ference, as per the FAN 960.

Two UFA's for two guys signed beyond this season? It's clear now that Sutter's going for it THIS season.

Stuart-Regehr as the top pairing now, Warrener-Giordano as the 3rd pair? Calgary's blueline is loaded, and they've got center depth galore (Langkow-Conroy-Lombard-Yelle-Primeau).

Obviously the Flames are only going to keep one of Hamrlik/Stuart beyond this year. Does Sutter want to win this year so he can turn one of his UFA-to-be-in-summer-2008 players into other assets through trade this summer?

Interesting move, for sure....pisses me off because Stuart's a guy who would have really helped the Oilers out. What would be an equivalent trade from and Edmonton perspective though? Bergeron plus Torres?

I guess it would be easier to stomach if the team was in the hunt for the division title, but if Lowe had done that deal, I'd be lukewarm to it. However, IF it pans out and gets Calgary over the top, will anyone care what they gave up?

I doubt that Warrener gets dropped to the third pairing - that guy has been playing the tough minutes in Calgary for awhile now. I'd say Stuart's either a third pairing guy or they bump Phaneuf to the third pairing.

Wow...didn't see the Stuart trade to Calgary coming. Reading the TSN article now so just wow.

Riv, somehow I doubt they give up THAT much for Stuart and bring him in to play the 3rd pairng. Plus, I think Phaneuf is pretty much locked-in with Hamrlik (they have good chemistry and work well as the 3/4 pairing).

Another theory here to consider: perhaps Sutter tries to sign both Stuart and Hamrlik and decides to try and capitalize on Regehr's value in the trade market this summer. They could fetch a LOT for that guy, and considering he could conceivably ask for 5 million a season in the same summer that Kiprusoff will demand around 6.5-7 million and Iginla may be even more expensive....maybe he's the guy who isn't back in Calgary beyond this season.

Just a thought. It's clear this Flames team is taking their run at it THIS year, and that there will be some movement this summer in Calgary.

Even with this move, I still see the Flames as a cut below the "big three" in the west (Anaheim, Nashville and San Jose), at the top of the 2nd tier cluster with Detroit, Vancouver, and Dallas.

Now I'm just thinking it would be funny if they got Vancouver in the first round and Luongo took it upon himself to avenge the Flames' upset of the Dys in the 2004 first round....I'd certainly get a chuckle out of that.

I'm still hoping the best thing out of all of this might be the kick in the ass it provides Lowe to FINALLY go out and find the Oilers a top-pairing puckmover. Pitkanen...please?

Weird move. I'm interested to hear what Matt has to say about it. Ference is a more accomplished NHL defenceman than anything that the Oilers were going to send the other way but I'd like to think that Edmonton could have provided something more intriguing up front that Chuck Kobasew, who's pretty much a bust + concussion problems. I'm looking at the thread on HF and they're saying that the equivalent is Torres or Lupul + MAB...I can't get on board with that.

Very surprising deal. The Flames look more and more like the team that's going to be coming out of the West today. This makes me sick.

I think the Flames think that Moss can replace Kobasew and Richie Regehr can replace A. Ference. Primeau looks like a throw in/depth move and Stuart is either rental/Hamrlik replacement.

Plus, did Sutter draft Stuart when he was with the Sharks? Might be some connection there.

I'm almost more excited about seeing Andy's response as opposed to Matt's. I imagine that Oiler nation is freaking out a bit.

Why would Oil fans be freaking out? Doesn't really change what they need. Everyone knew the asking price of Lupul/Torres + Bergie (rumoured) was too high for a rental on what is still an iffy season.

The Flames are already kicking ass, so it's not like all of a sudden they've turned the tables on the Oilers.

The Oilers are really battling Minnie and Collie for that last spot right now, and a big trade with either of those two teams would be what would rank as a concern.

So pretty much the only thing is a mild annoyance that Calgary got a little better. But I highly doubt anyone is 'freaking out' over this by a long shot.

Why would Oil fans be freaking out?
Because Stuart was the guy their team was conceivably gunning for? While this doesn't change what they need, it does change what is readily available.

Because Stuart was the guy their team was conceivably gunning for? While this doesn't change what they need, it does change what is readily available.

Perhaps you didn't read my comment very well as you seemed to miss that I stated:

Everyone knew the asking price of Lupul/Torres + Bergie (rumoured) was too high for a rental on what is still an iffy season.

I'm pretty sure that was the general feeling in Oil Country. That's not even taking into account the TSN reported rumours that Stuart wants to resign in the Southern latitudes and is unlikely to be signed up north. The guy everyone really wants for a Lupul/Torres + Bergeron/draft picks is Pitkanen.

Man Sutter really is going for it. I always liked A. Ference too. Funny though that now it works out to Sturm, Ference, & Primeau for Thornton haha. Wonder if Calgary could have tossed in Lombardi and gotten Thornton last year =D.

Great move for the Flames and while I like Ference I think they can replace him. Plus they're going for it. Might not work out but Sutter is rolling the dice. Dennis is right on.

As an Oilers' fan it doesn't break my heart that Lowe didn't make that trade. Torres plus MAB for 25 games of Stuart doesn't make a lot of sense. I think Lowe waited too long and when he moves Torres or Lupul it will be for a guy who is under contract for next year.

Good morning to be a Flames' fan.

Plus, did Sutter draft Stuart when he was with the Sharks? Might be some connection there.

Actually, Stuart was a Lombardi pick, and it's been suggested numerous times that he wants to go back to Cali at the end of the season (LeBrun suggested LA for the Lombardi connection), but I'm sure Sutter's familiar from when he coached there.

Sturm, Ference, & Primeau for Thornton haha

Actually, isn't it really Sturm, Ference, and Kobasew?

Man, I'm glad I'm not a Bruins fan.

Rub it in a little more, doogie. I hate what the Bruins put me through. Are any Flames fans actually upset about losing Kobasew? I know people like Ference (I do, too), but no one feels the same way about Chuck.
Sucks for the Oil that they didn't capitalize on Bruins management. They probably could have gotten Stuart and Patrice Bergeron for Toby Peterson. I'm so very bitter.
Who do you think Lowe will go after now?

Keep in mind, they flames REALLY overpaid Ference. This is a salary dump that will keep on giving in the next 2 (3?) years. And Giordano made him expendable. So this is basically a trade straight across for a rental player -- kobasew for stuart.

Two thoughts -- was this deal (in part) intended to block a potential move by Edmonton/Vancouver/Colorado, etc?

If so, it's grand.

Also, perhaps Sutter isn't done yet. I want an upgrade on chuck's old position. With a long list of experienced centers, maybe something is coming.

flames REALLY overpaid Ference.

I thought Ference was only making 750K?

you are right....I thought Ference made a lot more money than that.

Wow, typo...Kobasew in place of Primeau doesn't make it a whole lot better though haha. Nice catch doogie.

No game thread? Sacamano always gave us game threads.

Sacamano always gave us game threads.

No he didn't.

Terry Jones, the local director of glorifying the past, tells me he did Andy.

Terry Jones, the local director of glorifying the past, tells me he did Andy.

Terry Jones is wrong. And there is one up now, so stop hassling me. :)

anonymous 2:17, dave mclean:
Ference's contract extension pays him an average of 1.4 mill a year for the next three seasons.

I already made that joke.

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