I was at tonight's game in Buffalo with Leanne. I was blown away how many Flames fans there were, I'd guesstimate about a third of the entire crowd were adorned with Flames paraphernalia. Virtually our entire row was solid red as well, and a bunch of people in the rows ahead and behind as well. There were several instances of loud "Go Flames Go!" chants that embarrassed the Sabres fans who then countered with Buffalo chants. We tried to make it feel like a home game, but the vibe just isn't there. The AC/DC of the Saddledome is replaced with 90s pop music at HSBC Arena. It just ain't the same.
That said, it was a typical game for the Flames lately. Grab a narrow lead, squander it, then take it to a shootout. From what we saw on the shitty HSBC jumbotron, our first goal was a gooder...need to see a replay on that. Still, "we got a point". Vancouver got two, I see, which is not so cool.
I was all depressed coming home when I saw some startling news on TSN. The Flames are now short a Team Hippy and a perennial underperformer/ragdoll (Ference and Kobasew -- signed beyond this season), and we received Brad Stuart (a UFA at the end of the year), Wayne Primeau (a UFA at the end of the year), and a "conditional draft pick". Interesting trade.
For one, every year I say "this will be Kobasew's breakout year". Every year he disappoints. I believe I've pinpointed why he can't translate his AHL scoring prowess to the big leagues. He simply gets pushed around a lot. Each game he plays, he's always falling on his ass on the ice...I think he's one of those guys who tries hard but just can't become an impact player in the big leagues.
Ference was interesting. He was a genuinely intelligent guy, for the most part, but one who perhaps smoked a bit too much dope while watching Al Gore and Michael Moore movies in the offseason. He usually tried hard, put in good efforts, but he's always been a "meh" d-man. Most of the time I barely noticed he was on the ice, unless he screwed up. Gonna miss him, but I'll live.
As for our new acquisitions...I think we got the better end of the deal, presuming we're going for the cup this year (which, duh, is what Sutter is indicating). I think he'll add depth to our blueline, definitely an upgrade over Ference, and probably help our powerplay as well. Solid.
Wayne Primeau? Like Stuart, an early first round pick. Unlike Stuart, Primeau is clearly in the decline of his career. Still comparable to Kobasew in output this yeare, but let's see how he blends in with the team.
Stuart is the biggest news here. His name was floated around quite a bit as someone Edmonton had their eye on. Because, let's face it, you can't make the playoffs with the AHL-calibre defense they have right now. The Stuart pickup is a giant middle-finger to K-Lowe fans, and that's what makes me smile tonight.
Also, props to mc79 who noted that Andrew Ference was a quasi-regular poster to CalgaryPuck.com. Here's his "goodbye post":
Wow, I am sitting in a hotel room in Buffalo just trying to register everything right now. I really appreciate the kind words in the other thread, it means a lot to me to hear that. I honestly could not have been caught more off guard or thought I could be so sad to say bye to the guys. I have so much respect for the players in the locker room and if I can’t hold the cup I would love nothing more than to see my good friends do it there. Thanks again for all of the kind words and for being such great fans, it was truly special for me to play for the Flames and come across so many wonderful people during that time. Thanks, Andrew Ference, Go Bruins