Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/02/12 at 10:19 AM ET
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Now that the postmortem on the season is officially under way in Cowtown, Calgary’s inability to win the close one will also be the most seductive red herring to ponder in the months ahead. In effect, it provides ownership and management with one more opportunity to delude themselves into thinking the club is close to respectability – and with a break here and there, the Flames would be in the postseason, ready to make life difficult for a higher-seeded opponent.
That’s generally how it has gone these past few seasons in Calgary, with a massive disconnect between the handful of organizational decision makers and the rest of the hockey world at large. Internally, the Flames genuinely seem to think that the bones of a successful team are in place. Externally, most people see a middle- to lower-echelon club whose primary stars, right winger Jarome Iginla and goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, are one year older and one year further removed from their respective primes.
Iginla turns 35 on July 1. He will also be entering the final year of a five-year, $35-million (all currency U.S.) contract he signed in 2008 and some time this summer he will need to give the organization a clear sense of his plans for the future. The key question: Does Iginla want to stay through the rebuilding process that’s coming eventually? If so, fine. He should be given the right to do so, maybe at a contractual discount. If not, then his change of heart will need to be communicated early because everything else will hinge on getting full value for him in the trade market.
Kiprusoff’s contractual situation is far more complicated, given that he has two years left on a deal that will pay him $5-million in 2012-13, but then drops to $1.5-million in 2013-14.
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