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Brian Sutter


C- Andrew Cassels, Clarke Wilm, Cory Stillman, Jeff Shantz, Steve Dubinsky, Eric Landry; LW- Rene Corbet, Bob Bassen, Ed Ward, Jason Wiemer, Dave Roche; RW- Valeri Bure, Jarome Iginla, Martin St. Louis, Rocky Thompson; D- Tommy Albelin, Cale Hulse, Derek Morris, Todd Simpson, Steve Smith, Phil Housley, Denis Gauthier, Chris O'Sullivan; G- Ken Wregget, Fred Brathwaite.


Rocky Thompson, rw (concussion Jan. 16, indefinite).


Traded Theo Fleury, rw, and Chris Dingman, lw, to Colorado for Rene Corbet, lw, Wade Belak, d, and future considerations.


2/24 Buffalo      T 2-2
2/26 St. Louis    L 4-2
3/01 San Jose     L 2-1
3/05 Vancouver    W 5-1
3/06 Los Angeles  W 4-1


Northwest Division  GP   W   L   T   PTS   GF   GA  
  Colorado          64  32  24   8    72  177  159  
  Edmonton          64  25  29  10    60  178  168  
  Calgary           63  23  30  10    56  165  178  
  Vancouver         64  19  35  10    48  154  200


by John Alsedek, Calgary Correspondent

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 franchise itself.

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 playoff berth.

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. If not...

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