Hi. My name is John Alsedek, and I'm the new LCS Hockey Calgary
Correspondent. It's a singular honor, and one that I will try to
live up to by giving you the most up-to-date Calgary Flames info
that you'll find on this page.
Well, it was a pretty slow two weeks up in Calgary, so let me
tell you a little about my childhood...oh, that's right. There was
one trade...involved some guy named Fleury.
Yup, GM Al Coates finally went and did it: he traded away the heart
and soul of the Calgary Flames, Theo Fleury - a guy who stood (and
still stands, so far as I know) just 5'6", yet looked about 22 feet
tall to the folks in Calgary. The scribes at the Calgary Sun
promptly called it the dawn of the Apocalypse, declaring February
28th not just the end of the Flames' season, but of the Flames
One problem, though. None of the "Young Guns" must know how to read,
because, in the first three games P.F. (Post Fleury), they outplayed
San Jose in a 2-1 loss, and then whomped the hapless Canucks and the
equally hapless Kings 5-1 and 4-1, respectively. Valeri Bure picked up
two goals and two assists; Cory Stillman notched three goals and a
helper; and Jarome Iginla got four points.
And then there's Freddy Brathwaite. After holding Vancouver to one
goal on 23 shots, he did the same to the Kings (only on more shots).
As a result, he's 5-1-1 in his last eight starts, and the Flames are
just a win or two away from bumping the Sharks outta that last
Okay, all doom-talk aside: how did GM Coates do on the Fleury trade?
Pretty darn well, as far as I'm concerned. The odds of Calgary being
able to re-sign the Little Big Man were slim to none, and all they'd
have gotten back was a compensatory second-round draft pick.
With the Colorado deal, they get that pick anyway - or a
first-rounder if Fleury does the unlikely and signs with the Avs -
plus two other items. The first of those is a guy who just joined
the Flames lineup on Saturday and picked up an assist: Rene Corbet.
Looking at his numbers over the past few seasons, Corbet looks like
third-line material. However, remember that he was playing for the
top-heavy Avs, and wasn't getting the ice time he will with
Calgary. Former Avs coach Marc Crawford sang Corbet's praises
immediately after the trade, bringing up his high-scoring junior
and minor-league credentials, plus the fact that he's made the
effort to turn himself into a complete player. Having seen him play
quite a bit myself, both in the minors and for Colorado, I'd say
he's a keeper.
Then, of course, there's the other item - a top Avs prospect who
hasn't yet been signed by Colorado, Flames' choice. The Avs nixed
any deal involving well-regarded forward prospect Alex Tanguay, but
have left several other players available for Al Coates to choose
from. It's widely expected that he'll go for rough tough blueliner
Robyn Regehr, but don't be all that surprised if he opts instead
for puck-rushing defensive prospect Martin Skoula. In only his
second season of North American competition, Skoula has adjusted
well and is considered by his coach in Barrie, the inimitable Bert
Templeton, to be one of the best defensemen in junior hockey.
For Al Coates, it was a no-win situation. Trade Fleury and have the
fans curse you for ostensibly giving up on any chance at the
playoffs; keep Fleury and have the fans complain that you didn't
get any return for him. To my mind, he did the best he could under
the circumstances, which says a lot more about today's NHL than I
like to think about.
Coates will likely be doing the same with another Flames
unrestricted free agent, Andrew Cassels, even as you read this.
Where's Cassels headed? Well, here's a hint: have you ever
fantasized about Matthew Barnaby in a Flames uniform? If so, you're
likely to be in luck, unless Phoenix is willing to give up a kid
like Brad Isbister or Shane Doan as part of a deal.
Oh, and if that isn't enough to think about until next issue, here's
something else: head coach Brian Sutter's contract is up over the
summer, which means that the rest of this season will determine if
he's back come September. If he can motivate the Kid Flames into a
playoff berth - or even come close to it - he'll probably be back.