Friday, September 28, 2007

Wouldn't it be cool...

What kind of world is this? The Oilers have a winning pre-season record, the Flames have a decidedly AWFUL losing record (worst in the league, I believe). Yes, yes, it's only pre-season. And next week, it'll be "yes, yes, it's only October".

But damn, kids, what the hell? What. The. Hell. What I would give for a team that didn't suck in the first, oh, 25% of the season...

I have to say, my faith in Iron Mike was wobbly to begin with and he is not earning my confidence. Call me a pessimist, but I'm wondering how a team with so much talent can be so decidedly blah -- against teams like Edmonton, even.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007


So to follow up Dave's fantastic pre-game...

(What? Oh. There's no pre-game? Ok. Um. There was a game. Tonight. Against the Sharks. Which makes it the ex-Sharks vs the Sharks. Exhibition. Go Flames! Moving right along...)

...pretty sweet game all in all. I was worried when Kipper let in the first two shots he was faced with (not that it was necessarily all his fault), but Huselius saved the day. They were handing out lots of stuff with his autograph on it, so I guess he had to made it look good.

Speaking of Good:
Regehr. Most solid game I've seen from him from some time. Was paired with Phaneuf through the last part of the game, and unlike last season, they looked really damn good together.
Kipper. Really crunched down after those first two shots, and was clearly more focused than last game.
Nolan. Really noticed his hockey sense today, and in a good way. He was just always where he needed to be. Er. Most of the time. Well...enough times for me to notice.
Huselius. He just put the puck in the net. Again, and again, and again. Screw all the whispers about him being in Keenan's doghouse come December. He keeps this up, there's NO way that's happening.
Shootout. Huzzah! We win another shootout! Pinch me.

And sigh, there was the Bad:
Eriksson. See my whining and bitching about Andrea from last game. He was paired up with Regehr, Sarich, and Hale through different parts of the game, and only succeeded in making his various defensive partners look better. Sloppy puckhandling, bad positioning, and one giveaway resulting in a goal where neither my dad or myself even had to guess whodunnit.
Officiating. You know that Subway commercial? We didn't get the compensating penalty for no good reason in the second half. Unimpressed. (Ok, I'm biased, and it beats talking about our PP at midnight).
No Lombardi. 'Nuff said. Um, from the vets, also no Aucoin and Tanguay either tonight.

And of course, the Ugly:
Sharks jerseys. Now I keep on confusing them with the Blues (somebody else has made this observation, it's just bloody late and I'm too lazy to properly cite it).
Flames jerseys. I'm just being fair. They're growing on me, but the socks...yeah...the socks.
Wayne Primeau starting the game with Iggy and Langkow. I know they were short wingers tonight (this configuration had Iggy at centre), and Primeau did earn his way up last game, but yeah...some things just ain't meant to be.

Jim Playfair Fashion Police notice: Brown suit, matching tie, white/off-white shirt. Finally inoffensive.

Youngster Alert: The only young'uns playing were Boyd and Sutter, matched up with Moss or Yelle through the night. They got limited play in the second half of the game, as they were looking a bit bewildered at times early in the game.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Post-game: Sigh

Welllll... it was Craig Conroy Promotional night at the Saddledome, but no sign of him at all...maybe they had him locked in a room in the back signing jerseys?

Also no Huselius or Lombardi or Yelle. So faced with a team like Edmonton which is young and fast, the outcome wasn't too surprising...

Here's what I noticed:
Aucoin: Besides firing the shot that lamed Ethan Moreau, he exercised a calming influence on a Flames PP which later in the game, seemed unable to settle down
Eriksson: Of our new acquisitions, Anders is my leading candidate to become this year's Andrea. Awkward on the puck, and really shy with the hits. Oh, my.
Tanguay: Made a pre-emptive strike on the doghouse this year by making a pile of hard hits early in the game - with speedier playmakers to go to, he might have made a game of it.
Kipper: Spotted with a bowl of popcorn, not really, but he's in no rush for the season to start.
Jr. (Sutter): Needs to bulk up a bit, and then we'lll see him around on a more consistent basis. I imagine right now, his dad has got him signed up for boarding school in Quad Cities.
Boyd: Like a smaller Chuck Kobasew. Good points, and bad.
Stevenson: Turned out a solid game with a ton of minutes. I'd expect him to stick around
Nervous Jimmy: Still nervous, except when Keenan tells him to stick his hand in his pockets. Managed to find some nicer shirt and tie combos.

Pre-Game: I have tickets so make it look good Edition...

'Nuff said.

There were a pile more roster cuts since Wednesday night's um, effort in Vancouver. What we're seeing now is the final roster, pretty close to completion. Edmonton's got a lot of zippy young 'un's in camp - expect our defense get tested. Often.

I do expect a better outing tonight than we've seen from them before; for one thing, the Stampeders had a terrible night in Hamilton, resulting in Burris being injured, and swinging the Stamps/Flames mojometer back to favour the Flames.

(For those of you who care little about Canadian football, there appears to be a trend with pro sports teams in Calgary. Namely, either the Flames do well or the Stampeders do well, but never both at the same time. Such an event would likely indicate the end of the world, before lunchtime the day after. Scientific? Naw. Does it work? Just you wait...)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

From the "where are they now?" Files

I had an awful suspicion while looking at Mirtle's post about scoring leaders in the preseason.

That's right kids! I'm having a Brennan Evans moment!

(And for those of you non-believers, look at that sweater he's wearing in the pic. That definitely ain't teal. Yet.)

Dear Pre-season Flames,

As Dave noted, it's a bit early, but I have tickets for Saturday and Tuesday (thanks to the best parents ever, and their season-ticket-owning co-workers), and I want to send a good report card for you to HG?

I'm just saying.


(not worried yet. YET.)

Pre-Season: Pre-Game: Pre-Caring: Post-Ambivalence: Calgary vs Vancouver

Will this be a real game? Or another AHL scrimmage?

I want to see a real line up soon. I want to see chemistry forming. I don't want to start another season unprepared like the last seasons in recent memory. Maybe it's time to stop playing players like Chucko and let the real pros lace up for a game.

What better time to do that than against Vancouver?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

'Toon Time

Um, I got nothing.

Tonight's game's in Saskatoon, of course. Hopefully we'll get to see more of the youngsters on the squad come out...I suspect Irving will get a start.

Honestly, until I am at the game watching(see: this coming Saturday, or next Tuesday), I'm pretty sanguine about the pre-season in general. One thing to watch for will be whether Keenan starts upping the tempo with the vets - the Flames are notoriously slow starters every season, so maybe he'll, um, encourage them to pick it up some more as the pre-season progresses.

Florida will be playing their third game in three nights - even with an expanded roster, that's pretty rough. Look for our boys to take this one.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Welcome to a new season!

A new season brings new joys, new pains, and new rants.

Tonight, the [relevant adjective] Flames take on the [relevant adjective] [opposing team]. The outcome is [dramatic adjective] to the Flames' season. I can't wait!


Tonight, the brand new Flames take on the consistently pathetic Florida Panthers. The outcome is meaningless to the Flames' season. I can't wait!

This post is dedicated to our friends at Pepsi, who sent us a beautiful form email to ask us to do free advertising for them.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Happy days....?

While I completely missed the early session today at training camp (um, overslept), I was able to make the second session, which consisted of our vets. While they were all in practice jerseys which severely limited my ability to figure out who was doing what (er... Dion has a big green stick. Iggy is darker than everyone else. Kipper... oh, you get the idea...), it was an interesting session nonetheless.

As far as I could tell, this was the first practice for the team under the regime of Keenan. Given that it was public, and his first time skating with the team, of course there wasn't anything dramatic happening. And as far as practices go, it was pretty lighthearted. While you could see Preston or Keenan barking at the guys to work a bit harder or to keep their legs moving from time to time, overall, the tone of the practice wasn't too serious...exactly as you'd expect for the first one of the year.

(What would I call lighthearted? How about - my dad identified him as Tanguay, but what the hell do we know? - beating Kipper then riding his stick while getting some one-on-one drills done? It made everybody - on the ice and in the stands laugh...)

I didn't see a lot of summer rust on any of the guys. As soon as I found a seat I could tell the difference between this and the intrasquad game the other day - today, these guys are pros. The tempo was a lot faster and overall much more intense, though in the scrimmages there was less mushing and crushing along the boards.

All in all, I'm getting more and more psyched for the regular season. Not sure how my schedule next week will jibe with seeing more practices, but I do have tickets for a couple of pre-season games, and I can't hardly wait...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

New Uniforms

Entering a code in NHL 08 unveils what appears to be new uniforms for all the teams, including those who have yet to unveil them.

Let's start with Edmonton's ugly threads. The orange striping looks mildly awkward, and I'm sure the fact that player numbers are to be appearing on the biceps will not help.

Next up is San Jose.

St Louis:

And Phoenix's jersey somehow became slightly less ugly:

Source: Calgary Puck.

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.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Fantasy: Welcome

Registration is now closed for the Open Ice Fantasy Hockey League 07-08. The rule type will be Rotisserie.

Positions: C, C, LW, LW, RW, RW, D, D, D, D, Util, G, G, BN, BN, BN, BN, IR
Stat categories: G, A, +/-, PPG, PPA, SHG, GWG, W, GA, SHO

Those are all up for negotiation until the draft starts...please hold such discussions on the League Message Board:

In addition, we need to decide if we're to hold a live draft, or offline draft. I'm up for either, there aren't too many people in our league to hold a live draft -- perhaps we could agree on a date? How about sometime in the evening of Sunday, Sept. 23rd? If not, then we'll do an offline draft. In such a case, we need a random draft order (that hopefully an impartial observer can provide for us), and I will notify people via email when it is their turn to pick. If we're doing that, we should start soon to have it complete by the time the season starts.

Please let me know your preferences via the League Message Board. Henceforth, all these administrative messages will be posted there.


Sooooo... the new jerseys have been released. Not too different from the old ones - I could have hoped for black ties on the road jerseys which I think would have improved the look, but that's nothing a quick stop at the dollar store couldn't fix.

Thank goodness the flags are supposed to only be there for a year. For now. Let's hope it stays that way.

Not much else camp is around the corner, and then the real fun begins. Perhaps I'll take advantage of my new life as a starving student to check out the various stages of camp. I'll have to see...

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Fantasy: Last Call

The deadline to join the Open Ice Fantasy League is monday (tomorrow) at 7pm EST. There are still spaces available, so come join in. Newbies very welcome -- if you've never done a fantasy league before it's a very entertaining way to augment the hockey season.

To join:

The league ID is 6571.
The password to join is "berube", the best Flame of all time.

And barring any additional votes, the league type will be Rotisserie. As such, the new stat categories are as follows (and are up for debate/discussion):
Skaters: (7 stats)
G, A, +/-, PPG, PPA, SHG, GWG

Goalies: (3 stats)

I found the stats difficult to choose -- I'm usually a fan of sv% and PPG/PPA as just one stat (PPP), and GWG is kind of lucky...but then there'd be a massive emphasis on goaltenders. So I added more skater stats and removed sv%.