November 28, 2011
Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.
"[Feaster] said Jarome Iginla is part of the solution in Calgary, not part of the problem," Friedman explained.
Very odd. One thing that's supposed to be part of a general manager's job, in any sport, is making tough decisions. Those that aren't arrived at easily or happily, but which must be pursued (or at least explored) to their fullest extent, in an effort to make sure the team they're tasked with shaping or improving continues to be competitive.
Usually, the hard decisions in the NHL start coming around now. Thanksgiving in the U.S. is a pretty good delineating point to telling when a team has merely struggled out of the gate or needs a shakeup to have any hope of making the playoffs.
In the case of Iginla, we have a 34-year-old player who used to be elite and now is merely very good, at least in theory. He has just 11 points in 22 games and is a minus-8 for a team that is a whopping four points ahead of Columbus in the standings. He has looked disinterested in the defensive zone — something not often seen from the Flames captain — and punchless in attack.
He is, reportedly, not on the same page as Brent Sutter (though earlier in Hotstove, Eric Francis revealed that letting the coach go after this 9-12-1 start is also not being considered).
And at the same time, the number of teams who would be lined up around the block to acquire him for rafts of picks and/or prospects is likely quite high. Iginla is getting older, not younger, and the clock is ticking on his viability as a trade target. There's a lot to be said for selling as high as possible, and if Mike Milbury has to step in to be the voice of reason in this whole mess, then things have gone very wrong indeed.
The only solution for the Flames is obvious: Trade Iginla and anyone else who will fetch anything resembling a good price.
The team is going nowhere in a hurry, but trading Iginla would mean two things for Feaster: 1) He's already running up the white flag on a team which he said repeatedly and unequivocally over the summer could make the playoffs, and 2) He'd forever be The Guy Who Traded Jarome Iginla.
And imagine if the prospects and picks he got for the best Calgary Flame ever didn't pan out five years down the line? Hoo boy.
What We Learned
Boston Bruins: Chris Kelly(notes) scored twice on Saturday night against Winnipeg and now has nine goals on the season. His career high is 15. That's playing for a contract, and the Bruins would do well to give him one.
Carolina Hurricanes: Know whose fault the Hurricanes' current disaster is? Why it's Tomas Kaberle(notes), designated scapegoat and local media piñata, 2008-present. And by the way, Kaberle got scratched for last night's game, and the team gave up four goals anyway.
Chicago Blackhawks: Very quietly, I think, the Blackhawks have become the best team in the West. And that's with having gone just 3-3-0 on this road trip. Remember when they gave up nine to Edmonton? That was last week!
It was the game-winner.
Columbus Blue Jackets: The Blue Jackets are getting it together pretty well here (ahead of last night's game, they'd gotten points in all of their last five games), and will probably get Kristian Huselius(notes) back next Tuesday or so.
Florida Panthers: The Panthers saw the Lightning snap their three-game winning streak but at least earned a point on Friday. Saturday's 5-1 loss was considerably worse. I kind of feel like the Panthers are gonna collapse late like the Thrashers did last year and Washington will still win the division by a decent margin.
Los Angeles Kings: It would appear the Kings are overthinking things offensively and want to concentrate instead on scoring "greasy" goals. When Terry Murray told the guys about the desire to get greasy, Dustin Penner(notes) paid attention for the first time all season.
Nashville Predators: The Preds pretty well rolled over in a 4-1 loss to Detroit, which Ryan Suter(notes) says happens kind of a lot. "(We're) just playing soft. We have to get back to playing hard and playing fast and aggressive," Suter said. "That's our style. We win a couple of games and we kind of forget about our identity." That is not a good style to have.
New Jersey Devils: Zach Parise(notes) had a goal waved off in the dying seconds of Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Isles that would have sent the game to overtime, apparently because there was a distinct kicking motion on the play. He was really pretty bummed about it. And yeah, he got jobbed.
New York Rangers: Think the Rangers and Flyers were playing up to the HBO cameras a bit in their game on Saturday? A fight four seconds into the game, another fight seconds after Wayne Simmonds(notes) and Brandon Prust(notes) came out of the box for almost fighting earlier in the period. Oh and also the Rangers won 2-0 and are now 6-1-1 at MSG. Also that.
Ottawa Senators: Nikita Filatov(notes) was recalled by the Sens for yesterday's game with Carolina. The bigger news, if you want to call it that, is that there is a Nov. 30 drop-off date for his status with the Sens. Either he'll play well enough to stay in North America or Bryan Murray will acquiesce to demands to let Filatov go back to Russia.
Philadelphia Flyers: Meanwhile, the goalie that Philadelphia wanted so desperately they cleared out two of their best players to get him in the offseason started neither of the team's back-to-back games this weekend. Sergei Bobrovsky(notes) gave up three goals on 56 shots. Why you heff to be good?
Phoenix Coyotes: The Coyotes were going to send Kyle Turris(notes) to the AHL for a few games to get his legs back under him, but now they're probably not going to. "Kyle has returned in phenomenal condition," GM Don Maloney said. "We skated him hard two days in a row, and he looks strong and in shape, so we've decided to keep him with us."
San Jose Sharks: The Sharks talked a lot of trash ahead of Saturday's Western Conference Final redux with Vancouver, but the results remained just as they were last spring. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak, but it wasn't all bad. "It's probably the best game we've played in the last five, and it's the one that we happened to lose," said coach Todd McLellan.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Surprising things that I guess shouldn't be surprising if you think about it: Marty St. Louis now has 300 goals with the Lightning (304 overall). Here's the milestone marker.
Toronto Maple Leafs: When Joffrey Lupul(notes) was struggling, Randy Carlyle told him he just didn't think the kid could be a full-time left wing in the NHL. Safe to say he's doing okay with it now.
Vancouver Canucks: Alex Edler left Saturday's game after a big hit from Jamie McGinn(notes) and his availability for Tuesday is not yet known. Real tough break for the Canucks if he's out for more than a game or two. He's been great this year.
Winnipeg Jets: Loved how this odd-man rush came together for Winnipeg on Saturday. Really nice, quick transition.
Gold Star Award
Jonathan Toews(notes) has been playing out of his mind lately. In back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday, he put up three goals and six points (five of them on Friday, to be fair) and now has 16 points in his last nine games.
Minus of the Weekend
Washington's defense has just been terrible. Which I guess goes pretty well with the rest of the team.
Play of the Weekend
What in the world?
Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week
User "FLaMeRss" wants to help Jay Feaster out.
Please stop laughing.
Get OUT of here, ghost!