Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
The Flames are now officially at the midpoint of their schedule and are six points out of 8th and in 15th place in the conference. They are cooked. Now all eyes will be on the Flames and the approaching April 3 trade deadline. At some point, GM Jay Feaster will have to deal with the Jarome Iginla situation as the captain approaches the end of his contract with the Flames. Why on earth would Iginla stay in Calgary? Why on earth would a team on a collision course with a fourth straight miss of the playoff dance want to do anything but bring in as many valuable young assets as possible? An age-old question as it turns out. Iginla is an obvious asset who would generate significant interest on the trade market.
But who else could be moved? According to Capgeek.com, 11 players on the Flames roster have some form of contractual restriction against being moved. How does that happen? Mike Cammalleri has two years left on his deal at $6 million per year against a salary cap that will drop to $64.3 million next season from a prorated $70.2 million this season. Still, Cammalleri has a history of bringing it in the playoffs, so maybe there’s a fit somewhere if he wanted to move on.
Kiprusoff has another year at a shade more than $5.83 million. Jay Bouwmeester, who has never played a single playoff game in his NHL career, has another season at $6.68 million. Alex Tanguay remarkably has three more years at $3.50 million left on his bloated deal. In other words, lots of big-ticket underachievers available to GMs willing to overlook salary and production in the hopes of beefing up for the postseason. But even as the Flames’ season spirals out of sight, it’s hard to imagine there’ll be much of a silver lining come April 3.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The Flames, meanwhile, have now fallen to 15th place in the Western Conference standings, behind both the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Edmonton Oilers. If the objective is to bottom out this season, then the events of the past three games will go a long way to meeting that goal.
“Definitely, we took a step in the wrong direction,” said Flames’ captain Jarome Iginla. “We have to go home and we have to win games, but this trip definitely put us a way’s back.”
Iginla was asked: Is there enough time to right the ship?
“Well, we’re going to keep going and keep trying, but we’ve got to get better too,” he answered. “We have to find ways to out-compete the other teams, to find ways to win. This was a close game today, the last goal into the empty net, but they found a way to win it. That’s what we haven’t been doing enough of lately.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Glob and Mail,
...the stats line on Kiprusoff is so uncharacteristically grim – just a 3.43 goals-against average, an .857 save percentage and only three wins in 10 decisions. Kiprusoff’s save percentage leaves him ranked 72nd of the 79 goalies which have played a game in the league this year and is far off his historical standards. Kiprusoff had a slow start to the season and then, this past weekend, two grim outings in the Flames’ whirlwind trip through southern California.
Kiprusoff was the starter on Friday against Anaheim and was outplayed by the Ducks’ first-year goaltender, Viktor Fasth, in a 4-0 Calgary loss. It didn’t get any better 24 hours later either, as the Flames fell 6-2 to the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. Kiprusoff gave up six goals on 22 shots and then got the hook from coach Bob Hartley in favour of Joey MacDonald, when it no longer mattered.
To a man, the Flames raced to the defence of their beleaguered goaltender in the aftermath of the twin losses. This is in keeping with the sports’ widely held ethic – that under no circumstances, do you ever put the defeat on your goaltender’s shoulders.
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
Iginla’s agent, Don Meehan, has given the Calgary Sun an ominous update on the situation between the two sides, saying the Flames captain is “not currently in negotiations” with the NHL club he’s played with the last 18 years.
It’s a surprising revelation that speaks to just how close Iginla may be to opting out of Calgary to chase his Stanley Cup dreams elsewhere.
At this point, Meehan is awaiting instruction from his longtime client on how to proceed.
No timeline has been set for an answer, but with the April 3 trade deadline just 24 days away, it’s clear Iginla has little more than a week or two to let the Flames know if he intends to re-sign. Otherwise, the wheels will be set in motion for the most important trade in Flames history since Iginla was acquired for Joe Nieuwendyk in 1995.
Calgary, AB – The Calgary Flames announced today they have reassigned goaltender Danny Taylor to the Abbotsford Heat and activated Miikka Kiprusoff from injured reserve. Kiprusoff returns to the Flames line-up after recovering from a grade 2 MCL sprain suffered on February 5th against the Detroit Red Wings.
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
The Calgary Flames are used to getting nothing for their first- and third-round draft picks.
But to skip the formality of the draft altogether and simply gift your picks to someone else who may actually benefit from them seems unusually charitable, doesn’t it?
Surely, any organization that frittered away such assets to a rival would ensure heads rolled.
After all, shouldn’t management be as accountable as players?
The question, then, is whether GM Jay Feaster or someone else should lose their job following what could easily have gone down as one of the biggest front-office gaffes in NHL history.
“Prior to tendering the offer sheet for Ryan O’Reilly we, as a hockey operations department, examined whether there were any impediments to our successfully securing the services of the player including, but not limited to, his having played in the KHL after the start of the current NHL season.
Our interpretation of the Article 13 transition rules governing restricted free agents (“RFA”), and the applicability of Article 13.23 under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement to such RFA’s was, and continues to be, different than the NHL’s current interpretation as articulated to us this morning. Moreover, throughout our discussions, the player’s representative shared our interpretation and position with respect to the non-applicability of Article 13.23.
While we were prepared to advance our position with the NHL, in light of Colorado’s having matched the offer sheet it is now an academic point. As such, we will have no further comment on the matter, the player, or the offer sheet process.”
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
In a bizarre twist to an already unusual story, Sportsnet.ca has discovered that the Flames were not only in danger of losing 2013 first- and third-round draft picks as compensation if the Avs hadn’t matched the O’Reilly contract, but they also would likely have had to surrender the player before ever getting him in uniform.
That’s because O’Reilly would have needed to clear waivers before joining the team’s roster.
The unsigned forward spent part of the NHL lockout playing with his brother, Cal, for Magnitogorsk in Russia. According to Metallurg coach Paul Maurice and KHL spokesman Shawn McBride, he appeared in games on Jan. 21 and Jan. 23 – both after the shortened NHL schedule was back underway – which meant that waivers were required before O’Reilly could return to the NHL as a free agent midway through the season.
Chris Johnston joined Sportsnet's Hockey Central today to discuss all the scenarios that could have played out if Colorado did not mach the offer sheet.
Watch below and it looks like some of the Sportsne video can be embedded again.
from Damien Cox of Ths Spin at the Toronto Star,
It's really amazing how dumb the Calgary Flames have become.
A lack of strategic thinking has the Flames in a terrible spot with a disappointing record, still trying to deny all the strong evidence that they need to take a giant step back and rebuild, hanging on to veteran players beyond their due date in some faint hope that the club can scrape into the post-season and make magic happen.
It was evident last season in the way they hung on to Jarome Iginla, and with the deal done to give up a second round pick and a prospect in the deal to bring forward Mike Cammalleri, then 29 years old, back to Alberta. It was further evident in the free agent signings of Jiri Hudler and Dennis Wideman last summer to inflated salaries.
What are these guys thinking? Its like the Leafs of the final days of Mats Sundin being played out all over again in western Canada.
DENVER – The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced tonight that the team has matched the Calgary Flames’ offer sheet for forward Ryan O’Reilly.
Avs GM and Exec. VP Greg Sherman discusses the signing below...
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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