Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sneak peek

Many of you may be slowly realizing that I've returned to the slacker student life, and now possess the schedule to match. Most relevantly, I don't have much to do on Tuesdays till 3:30.

Which gave me plenty of time to check out the rookie intersquad game. I managed to fit in two periods and about five minutes of the third, so I had lots of time to check out the kids and to chat up some of the other fans.

At present, the rookies are divided into two groups, "A" and "B." For the purposes of the game, there was a Red team and a White team (duh), WEARING THE NEW JERSEYS, and which consisted of players from both groups.

Um, they're tearing out some of the seats in the Saddledome too, and putting in new ones. (Lower bowl, the non-club seat end) Probably about damn time - I'm sure they uncovered the remnants of the cotton candy I dropped there when I was six and we went to see the Ice Capades.


For the time I was there (though they were perking up in the third, from what I saw, scoring a goal to tie the game 1-1), Team Red (featuring Sutter Jr, Backlund, Maki, Chucko, Watt, Aulie, amongst others) was badly dominated by Team White (starring Boyd, Germyn, Van der Gulik). Irving started for Team Red and was replaced halfway by Keetley, while McElhinney started for Team White and was replaced by Lalande.

Notable absences included Daniel Ryder, Krahn (injured again, meh) and Brandon Prust (also injured).

So here's what I noticed for team Red:

  • Backlund is totally a work in progress. Right now, he has the build of a stringbean, and still looks a bit awkward. He also needs to learn to not chicken out along the boards and improve his positioning in the defensive zone (he's about as useful as a pylon right now). That said, he's got great speed and a fair bit of playmaking ability, so he could be one to watch in a bit.
  • Love love love Sutter Jr. (even if his cousin Brandon is the one we should have drafted). Typical Sutter grit through the game - he was consistently the best player on team Red, especially with Maki and Watt.
  • Maki was another good player on team Red - paired up well with Sutter, for what I thought was the best tandem on team Red. (Sorry, WI, I'm waaay too tired to take proper care of the diacritical markings I'm missing on his name)
  • Chucko is going to wash out. He didn't show a lot of passion or even smarts throughout the entire scrimmage. For the position he's in, I was hoping he'd show a greater sense of urgency, but it's not there.
  • Goalie-wise, Irving was good, though I imagine he's a bit closer to game form than Keetley, after the Summit Series. I didn't get to see a lot of Keetley, but what I saw was some fat juicy rebounds...

And for team White:
  • Dustin Boyd is awesome. He needs to fill out a bit, and he'll be ready. We need a Chuck "Shazam!" Kobasew type guy again, and he'll do
  • I understand the buzz amongst some of my fellow Flames bloggers about David Van der Gulik. Fantastic work on the few occasions when he was in the defensive zone, plus offensive smarts, plus some grit. I like a lot
  • Nystrom and Germyn are in about the same spot, in terms of being very close to making the big team - I think they made more of their opportunities today than Chucko did.
  • Team White's goalies didn't have much to do. I got nothin'. Um, rebound control! Also McElhinney skated waaay out of the net once which made me nervous because he literally hadn't had to move all period.

I notice I haven't said much about our prospects on the D. Nobody really stood out, in good ways or bad. We've got several solid but unflashy guys like Aulie (Red), Ramholt (White), Hambly (White), Negrin (Red). Adam Pardy was probably the most physical of the bunch, and I could see him filling in for a (please!) injured Warrener, while Negrin actually managed a one-timer, which is a skill sorely lacking amongst the Flames' defensive corps. Are any of them ready for the big dance? Well... er....let's not go there.

The guys who showed the most hustle are the ones who are fighting for a spot even in Quad Cities - in particular guys like Cam Cunning and Devin Didiomete. A lot of fight there.

All in all, the rookies are what you'd expect the Flames to stock their farm team with - nobody too flashy, guys with decent fundamentals, the kind of guys who will do fine as spare parts as injuries start to mount up during the season.


  1. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU !!!! although i'm reading that and really feeling gutted that i can't be going, i'm SO happy that you're there and i can get a bit of a rundown.

    1. where the hell IS dan ryder ??? he left prospect camp after one day, as well... ! what's the story ?! there has GOT to be a scoop...

    Maki was another good player on team Red - paired up well with Sutter, for what I thought was the best tandem on team Red.
    is anyone else reading this ? my boy mäki was part of the best tandem on the winning team ;) [ie: why i live for rookie camp...] apology accepted by the way. though it's not hard to hit alt-u A.

    Chucko is going to wash out.
    i remember last year, MG and i were both trying to figure out what the deal is with chucko. as in: he's not that good. why is he still around...?

    I understand the buzz amongst some of my fellow Flames bloggers about David Van der Gulik
    the dude is ready. i mean, how can you argue with a +27 ??!?!

    as for D, i thought (in prospect camp) that ramholt looked pretty decent, and that negrin (for a guy who's just drafted) looked full of potential.

    oh jeez do i have to go to bed now...
    thanks again, leanne !!

    i've got a thing thursday am early, and if i can i'm gonna hit camp for the end of the 9am (or the noon). :)

  2. I fully expect more text updates if you go again.

  3. is anyone else reading this ? my boy mäki was part of the best tandem on the winning team ;)

    Er, team White was the winning team. Red was playing defense most of the game...which is probably Sutter and his various linemates stood out...

  4. Interesting. Thanks for the first-hand account.

    Chucko is going to wash out.

    Agreed. What a terrible first round pick. I watched Chucko closely last year and he was no better than mediocre at everything. He was an awkward skater, wasn't overly physical and seemed lost on the ice. his stats at any other level besides "BCHL" are yawn-inspiring.

    It's too early to say he's done for good, but there's nothing in his play or in his past performance that suggests he'll ever be an NHL player (or even a good AHL player).


  5. Yeah, a terrible draft pick. I found a blog about the 2004 draft here.

    His writing could use some work, but his insight was spot on:

    Calgary Flames have Tod Button make their selection. Great, the spectre of Craig Button lives on. They take Chris Chucko, who seems like perfect bust material for me.