Monday, February 25, 2008

Open Ice Hits scoops the deadline!

So we at Open Ice Hits are confounded by the absolute silence on all things trade deadline related. Through some investigative sleuthing, here's what we've been able to uncover for our readers:

Iginla to Leafs for Steen: Details to follow, in the finest style of all the best media sources. Note that Colaiacovo wasn't included in this swap - he and Tlusty are to be packaged together for Phaneuf. Local Leafs sources claim that Calgary is giving them the shaft on this one - nobody Facebooks quite like T-Lusty.

There is also a straight-up offer for Kipper - this would involve Raycroft, one for one. Of course, Calgary is a clear winner in this one. After all, which one of these two guys has a Calder? Huh? That's what I'm talking about.

Oh, Montreal
: Word is (and we're really about the last people to comment on this) that Montreal is interested in some local boys to freshen up the look of their team. Did I say "local?" Did I mention "looks?"

That's right. Montreal has offered Calgary a pair of Ray-bans in return for Matthew Lombardi. Darryl Sutter has not yet commented on this offer, but has been heard musing about whether the new shades would go with the cowboy hat. Jury is out on this one.

There's another local boy Montreal's interested in, as we all know. Alex Tanguay has attracted an amount of interest so intense Lombardi has been giving him pouty resentful looks this week. While Michael Ryder is the name most mentioned in combination with this, we have one Ryder already, and he's broken. Citing a mistrust of the manufacturer, Sutter has offered to package five first-round picks AND Tanguay, all in exchange for Carey Price's sweaty jockstrap. A whiff of that, and our boys will be ready to go all the way.

The Great Blue North
: Edmonton has been looking for a stay-at-home kind of player (literally, they're looking for a guy who wouldn't leave the city), and everybody knows Regehr is THE stay at home man. Plus, it would signficantly reduce the amount of wear and tear on Ales Hemsky. The Oil, unbelievably, have offered quite generously, the rights to negotiate with one Chris Lauren Pronger, and a bag of pucks. And who can resist a steal like that?

This just in: Tampa has been busy tonight, and upon hearing about negotiations for Regehr's services, offered Calgary instead the bloody towel that staunched Dan Boyle's bizarre cut to the wrist earlier this year. Citing the tight timeline of the remaining season, and the rather difficult quarantine requirements for biological materials going across the border, Tampa was politely rebuffed. Unless they would like, publicly, to admit that goal in Game 6 was IN.

On the home front: Much impressed by his strong play since leaving the embrace of the press box (did we not tell you???), the Flames organization has today signed Marcus Nilson to a contract extension. The terms of the deal are undisclosed, but it is understood that #26 will get to cherrypick from amongst the local virgins offered annually to Dion Phaneuf as part of his contract extension. Er. So to speak.

And finally, a trade the Flames win: Our blogosphere comrades have much lamented this season that Eric Godard is kind of useless. Kind of really useless. Well, for a limited time only, we can swap him for an impact player. From Phoenix, no less. That's right! Godard will be shipped out to sunny Arizona, in a precedent-setting swap for SHAQUILLE O'NEAL. I don't think there's been a bigger impact player on the block this season. There is some risk involved on the Flames' front... if Godard is suspended by the NBA for any reason between now and playoff time, we have to take him back.

And actually, I take it all back. What's wrong with a nice quiet trade deadline?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I don't do mornings this is the only way to put up a pre-game.

Ohhhh. The all-important divisional game. This one in particular is a huge one, since should we win and not give up any pity points, we'll be back atop the NW Division. Again.

I haven't been paying much attention to Minnesota this year, but they're on a slight skid, having lost the last two in a row, for reasons (honestly) unknown to me. Check out what Kirsten has to say, maybe. Ignore the Iggy hate, do.

We're building on some good momentum from the latter three games this week. I don't actually think it's a big deal whether Kipper bags a shutout or not, but it was nice for him to finally get that out of the way (besides saving my bacon in a couple of fantasy leagues). I really enjoyed the physical play they put forth against Detroit, though I could have done without Owen Nolan-the-bonehead.

Speaking of boneheaded, that Phaneuf hit on Kopecky looked pretty dangerous, though not intentionally malicious (I don't expect Dion to have a camera in his ass to notice Kopecky's helmet is off). From our experience with various Detroit fans from last year's playoffs, I have no doubt they will join their Edmontonian brethren in labeling Phaneuf a headhunting caveman who relishes small children, kittens, and fuzzy baby seals as his Sunday brunch entree. Whatever. He's OUR caveman.

What little we saw of Vandermeer looked fine, though (as expected) not stellar. Obviously opposing teams will push on him pretty hard until it's obvious he's used to the new team and the new system. Definitely an improvement on Eriksson, and no worse than last year's late pickup of David Hale.

I just want to say one more word about Alex Tanguay. Namely, BOOYEAH. Kudos to him for if not ignoring all the tedious trade talk, all but daring the Flames to trade him. I've pretty much been ignoring all mutterings about Tanguay, because even if it makes sense in a cap world, we don't get that far in the playoffs without him. And TSN and half of Montreal want us to trade him for spare parts? No way in hell.

So! It will be a Flames win, but afternoon games are pretty screwed up, so either the score is way high, or it's next to nil.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Staggering back in the saddle where were we?

I've spent a week without watching the Flames or even following along on radio. I feel dirty.

(By the way, should any of you happen into Cookstown, Ontario, there is an outlet mall there containing a Reebook outlet which is selling pre-RBK Edge-era jerseys for half price. I'm just saying.)

The Flames should be feeling pretty dirty too, after that road trip. Squinting at the scores, it looks like they at least cleaned up their act in time to made Gretzky throw a hissy fit (I am really choked I missed that), and to continue to play strong against their Texan nemesis.

And Detroit... this month just isn't getting any easier. On the plus side, the Wings are pretty injured and will be missing Lidstrom a lot. On the minus side...these are the Wings. Can't ever take them (or say, other teams, like, LA...) for granted.

I'm going to need some time to get back in the swing of things, so this is staying short. Flames win in a squeaker, while I rummage about to see how Dave has kept you all entertained.

Oh, nevermind.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Walk This Way, Talk This Way

The Flames have split the first four games of this roadtrip, and are now facing the most challenging opponent of that entire road trip. Dallas has a history of owning the Flames as of late, and I'd hope that this does not continue.

Iginla has been picking it up again. I'm not going to say he's been hot, but he's been better than he has been recently. Phaneuf has been a (sorry) MONSTER. Ever since his signing, he's been the top Flame.

But on not-so-optimistic side, Calgary currently sits in 8th. On the edge between Playoffs and "This Is Oil Country", and a first round date with Detroit (which admittedly, isn't as scary as it once was right now). This is somewhat of an oddity, but Vancouver and Calgary are in an exact tie right now and I'm not sure why Vancouver is in 7th and not Calgary -- can't we at least go alphabetically by city name?
Vancouver: 60GP, 30-22-8, 68pts
Calgary: 60GP, 30-22-8, 68pts

I'm also continually amazed to look at Kiprusoff's stats and see a big fat "0" in shutouts this season. The guy can't seem to buy himself a shutout this season, though his sub-standard play is of course part of the blame, worse goalies have gotten shutouts this season? Is tonight the game for his shutout? Nope.

This will be a tough one, and everyone knows it. Part of me is scared to watch it. But, make no mistake, this is a BigGame™. Winning it can be the start of something beautiful!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Pack your bags!

And hope that the Habs don't steal them...

In all seriousness though, this is going to be a long tedious stretch of games, where the Flames don't see the lights of the 'Dome for a week and a half, as they churn through the Pacific Division. There's some tough teams, and some easy teams which have played tougher lately, which is worrying, given our history of underestimating the other guy.

Unfortunately, I too will be on the road, headed for the Eastern time zone, making it harder to watch games...maybe I'll crash Dave's place sometime and hijack the TV.

Anyways! Tonight we play the Sharks, who have quietly been having a darn decent year. They're back on track, and starting to win at home (I think). In terms of matchups, the secondary scoring which has been our primary scoring for the last month will be pretty key, and it would help if our primary scorers (not naming names, but y'know...) could get going too.

Hopefully they've gotten all the penalty-taking out of their system after the Edmonton game... we will get killed on special teams should bodies start piling up in the box.

I'm going to predict a strong start to the road trip, and a Flames victory. All those barns they're visiting... well.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Would the real Flames please stand up?

Oh, my.

That was quite the game the other night, wasn't it? While it wasn't quite what I had in mind, I think the best thing about the game was that it was old-school Battle of Alberta nights, re-visited. The intensity (missing for at least a year and half) and the nastiness was back, plus some.

It's so easy to be frustrated by our fickle forwards however...either Alex Tanguay is totally snakebit, or he needs to work on his timing when it comes to shooting at the net. Lots of good chances gone bad.

I want to put out some kudos especially to David Hale - he's had a strong couple of outings.

No major complaints, unlike the Chicago game (I didn't see what happened - things went south after I left the house, evidently).

I've sat on the standings for our fantasy hockey league for far too long...let me do a belated update here:

1. Woolly brained (me)
2. The Pant Weasels (Dave's brother)
3. The Hopelesses (MG)
4. Flaming C
5. Completely Hammered (ST)
6. The Pantless Pirates (Dave <------ FINALLY not dead last!)
7. Craig Conroys (Duncan. Guy, you can't let Dave get ahead!)

Overall, it's pretty tight at both the top and bottom, with lots of room in the middle. I am, however, in complete awe of MG's +/- totals, at an unbelieveable +92. Crazy stuff.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Four Guys To Take On Chicago

Jarome Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis Iginla, Miikka Sakari Kiprusoff, and Robyn Regehr recently welcomed into their new family an adopted boy named Dion Phaneuf. These four brave men alone will take on the ferocious Chicago Blackhawks in a battle of the ages tonight.

Will they take the night off, like the Edmonton game; or will they show up, like the last 15 minutes of the Phoenix game? My money is on "show up", Iggy's last second(s) goal in the Phoenix game is remarkably similar to one earlier this season in the last second(s) against the tenacious Florida Panthers. My completely unbiased heart tells me this will be the start of another streak.

I've got some concerns over the top-heavyness of the roster starting next season. But ultimately, like virtually every other Flames fan, I'm thrilled Dion will be with the team for many years to come. The cap will go up, but at what point does the ownership group set their own cap for how much they can pay? I'm starting to think we're approaching the ownership's cap, and it does concern me slightly.

I also think it's time to post some Fantasy hockey standings for the Sporting News league I'm in with Leanne:
#1. Marcus Nilson Allstars: 1294 (this is me)
#2. Leafs Still Suck: 1281
#3: The Zack Stortini Hug-Fighters: 1013
#4: P Rod's Punishers: 905
#5: Timbit's Hockey: 885 (only players 5'11" and under)
#6: Team Affirmative Action: 697 (visible minorities only)
#7: number 9: 681

And LASTly:
#8: Leanne: 594

Booya indeed, Leanne!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


It's a bit more expensive than I wanted, but looks like we bagged Phaneuf for another 6 years. It's roughly $6.5 M/year according to all sorts of sources I haven't bothered to verify yet.

Overall? A bit more expensive than we probably want, but them's the prices...

As for Huselius/Langkow/Tanguay/10 other guys next year?


(Can I just add that Nilson played last night, and we won? I'm just saying)

Did I mention I think this is a touch expensive?

Update: TSN has the story here

Monday, February 4, 2008

That's one to be purged from my memories

Nicely done, Leanne. Your prediction was almost spot on, but you were off-by-one^H^H^H^HSegmentation fault (core dumped).

(I make no apologies for this post, this team deserves it tonight).

Happy Belated Everything!

So this time last year (thereabouts), a bunch of blogs were born.

Happy first anniversary to all our other co-Flames bloggers out there. It's been a crazy year, and I'm (and I assume Dave is too) delighted to have met many of you on occasion.

How crazy a year has it been? Let me present to you our year in fabulous, hilarious greatest hits, Open Ice Hits style:

Dear Road Flames
Liveblog vs Dallas: the Kill me Now edition
Dave's not-quite excellent adventure in Detroit
Oh, Captain, our Captain
All hail Nilson!

(And yes, I know the end of the month has passed. I'm not kidding about the belated-everything of the post title. Fantasy standings up shortly. Really. Just let me climb on top again.)

So tonight we're playing the Oilers in what will be a momentous (I'm hoping not) first start for Curtis Joseph, the ex-Coyote, ex-Leaf, ex-Oiler, ex-ex midseason signing we made. It'll be a momentous start also for the Oilers' newly acquired Curtis Glencross, who tanned our asses last time the Jackets were in town (alas, I had front row seats to the tanning, and thus actually didn't get a good look at anything).

Should be a good game for us, not so good a game for our surly hosts. 5-1. Iggy with the half-Nilson hat trick.