Sunday, November 14, 2010

The 4th annual Calgary Flames freefall

With last night's 4-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks, my confidence in this year's Calgary Flames hockey club is whittled down, not unlike the puck that Logan Couture rubs on his stick before every game he plays.

The Flames have played sixteen games this season, not even a quarter-way through the year, but if there is any reason to think differently that this team is so fundamentally flawed and will not compete for a spot in the top-eight teams in the conference, please inform me.

Calgary is now 1-6 in their last seven games. Five of the six losses were games that Calgary held the lead in. Here are some things to think about: The Flames, supposedly Stanley Cup contenders a year ago, slipped down the stretch (read: January) last year and removed themselves from a playoff spot. The supposed problem? A new head coach, time to buy into the system, etc. Now the Flames are 7-9 on the season and currently look like they have no idea how to win a hockey game.

If you watched last night's contest, San Jose looked like they did everything they could to lose that game. Dany Heatley had four shots on net --those don't count the two he absolutely rifled over Kipper-- and he finished without a point on the night. The Sharks were taking penalties left right and center. They started Antti Niemi in net for Christ's sake, who got his second win of the season and brought down his GAA.

This is not a team, but rather a conglomeration of players. For whatever reason, they can't seem to get it together. So fifteen games into the season, I present to you, where I would like to see some of these players go.

Jarome Iginla

I am personally against Iginla being traded. I think that after all he has done for the franchise and the City of Calgary, he needs to retire as a Flame. Not sold? Take a look at Mike Modano right now. If you were a Stars fan would you be able to take him seriously?

If Iggy goes anywhere, its got to be Pittsburgh. If the debate in Calgary is "get a center for Iggy", the call in Pittsburgh has been "get a winger for Sid". Would this move realistically happen? Iginla would be a fool to not waive his NMC, and the question would be what the Flames want in return. I assume Darryl Sutter hates first-round draft picks so that's out of the question, and I also happen to have a sneaking suspicion he loves defencemen. The trade goes down as follows: Jarome Iginla and a 3rd round pick to PIT for Brooks Orpik and Max Talbot.

Why the trade makes sense:
Because it doesn't make any sense.

Robyn Regehr
This is your childhood dying on  your computer screen

I've said before I think Regehr is one of the most over-rated defencemen in the league. Here is a guy who makes $4million and is not expected to chip in offensively at all. The last three years he has scored five, zero, and two goals, while earning point totals of 20, 8, and 17. For four million dollars a season. The argument is that he is supposed to be one of the better defensive defenceman in the league. EVEN IF he is the PREMIER defensive shutdown guy in the league (which he is not), four million bucks a year?

Regehr goes to Ottawa if anywhere. Ottawa is a team that recently called up David Hale on defense. When your team is screaming for help on defense, they call up David Hale. Regehr goes to Ottawa in exchange for Nick Foligno and Chris Kelly, thus adding more depth forwards and still not addressing any of Calgary's real needs.

Why the trade makes sense:
In this case the cap numbers actually work out, Ottawa gets a defensively reliable player to play with Gonchar, and Calgary spins its tires once again.

Miikka Kiprusoff

This is the man who is acting as Mighty Putty for this Calgary Flames team. This basically means he is patching up every hole in this team to date. Far and away the team MVP, the Flames actually owe it to Kiprusoff to trade him away to a contender so he can win the Stanley Cup he deserves.

What team on the edge of greatness needs a goalie? Couple of choices. The obvious pick is Washington. Sure people are raving about rookie Michael Neuvirth's play so far in net. But are you really going to sit there and tell me that he is going to win the close games for Washington in the playoffs? Kiprusoff to Washington for Brooks Laich, Tomas Fleischmann, and a 3rd round pick.

Why the trade makes sense:
Washington gets a goalie, Calgary gets depth depth depth! On the condition they re-acquire that pesky draft pick they were able to ship off in the Pittsburgh trade.

The other not-so-obvious choice I'd say is Detroit. I've never been sold on Jimmy Howard, and with Kipper in net wearing the winged wheel, this is a team that would benefit greatly from his services. Kiprusoff is shipped off to the Motor City in exchange for Daniel Cleary and Justin Abdelkader.

Why the trade makes sense:
Jimmy Howard might be a fine goalie but there's no way to say he is better than Kiprusoff, and Kipper will most definitely make it past the last day of the regular season first-round of the playoffs. Flames get a couple younger players who might actually look like they give a rat's ass.

All in all I know its only fifteen games in but quite frankly I'm just getting bored of watching the Flames play, and these changes would really alter the team and perhaps send them in a direction that is up from 14th in the conference.

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