Sunday, April 15, 2012


Eric Francis Is Wrong

The frustration and loss I feel from the Flames missing the playoffs again this year is really being compounded by the chatter around the path ahead. I know this sounds crazy, but I find that a lot of hockey analysis lacks clarity of thought... Anyway, here's some questions for the group:

Most of these questions are not rhetorical; I obviously have my own thoughts, but I'm interested in the discussion. Where I am pretty firm in my convictions:

1) I don't see any problem in trying to improve the team's future while still retaining Jarome Iginla. Rebuilding adjacent to him is not much different than rebuilding around him is not much different than rebuilding without him. Insofar as this represented a chunk of the philosophical difference between Feaster and Brent Sutter, I'm on Feaster's side -- trading Iginla is not a prerequisite for successfully moving forward.

2) I understand the sentiment, and even admire the patience, behind someone like Eric Francis propounding that a team take two steps backward in order to take three forward. Where he loses me, and frankly, goes wrong, is in failing to properly appreciate the difficulty of taking three steps forward, regardless of where you're starting from. Getting better is hard! Getting a LOT better is really hard.

3) I'm thrilled for Kipper that he had a good season. I didn't think it would happen again, and I was wrong. But it's quite possible, bordering on likely, that the Flames could replace him next season and get better goaltending than what he provides next season for his new team. His recent performance, his contract status, and the team need for some young pros (notice I didn't say draft picks) mean that now's the time to trade him. Then he can come back in a few years and receive a hero's welcome when he's honoured as the greatest goalie in team history.

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