The round-up returns, after some time away for a road trip to Edmonton. Unlike the hockey team that plies its trade in that burg, I actually had a clue when I went about my business in E-Town last week. It is though, as always, good to be back home, and with that, the round-up is back as well. This week, the Flames seem stuck in the mud, more dealing as GMs other than Steve Tambellini start to make decisions, and a look at home/road performance.
Another performance that deteriorated as it went on left the Flames on the bad end of a 3-2 score against the Senators. It does appear that the injury news is beginning to brighten, however, as all three of Moss, Dawes and Bourque took a spin at today's optional practice. If they want to activate one of Dawes or Moss, either Bourque needs to go on IR or someone (Backlund, Lundmark) needs to be off the roster. I suspect that the Flames want to keep Backlund around through the weekend, since they're thin in the middle, so if anyone is dealt with, it might be Lundmark by process of elimination.
In cheerier news, two veteran Flames will receive recognition for achieving a significant seniority moment last weekend. Jarome Iginla and Daymond Langkow will be feted tomorrow in honour of playing their 1,000th NHL games on consecutive nights in Florida, with a silver stick for each amongst the loot. A goal or two in those goodie bags might be more welcome than any material items at the moment, I'd think. Regardless, congratulations to both gents.
Meanwhile, former Flame farmhand Keith Aulie was back in Abbotsford this week, as the Marlies visited the Heat, and he noted that this transaction was his first trade, having never been moved in the junior ranks. Minor-leaguers are often the forgotten members of a trade like the Phaneuf deal, so good luck to the lanky youngster as he starts with Toronto's organization.
Kipper 5 v 5: EDM 0-21, PHI 2-22, CAR 0-20, FLA 0-11, TB 1-18, OTT 2-27. Season total 74-1121, SV% .934. I hope he doesn't burn out, either because of the Olympics or because of overwork with the Flames, because if he drops off, this team is absolutely cooked.
Up the road, the Oilers are at the point where their fans are doing two things; cheering openly for the lottery and assessing who needs to go overboard in their perpetual rebuild. The newest member of the Twitterati, Pat McLean, has a look at the Oiler forward prospects as they finish this season's slog. Meanwhile, over at BOA, Mike Winters takes the measure of Steve Tambellini's evaluation strategy. I'll confess some slight sympathy for the Oiler GM. There are some musicians who, on occasion, post mp3s on the web, and one of the notices you might see would read along the lines of, "These mp3s are for evaluation purposes only". I have to admit that I've been evaluating a few of them since around 2002, so I suppose I know where he's coming from ;-)
Last night brought some more player movement, with Kari Lehtonen heading to Dallas for Ivan Vishnevskiy and a draft pick. That does leave a logjam in the Stars' crease, but ESPN's Richard Durrett states that making the obvious move of dealing Marty Turco may not be in the Stars' best interests, at least for this year. I do wonder about the long-term prospects of Lehtonen, though. The guy has never been healthy for any significant period in his career.
Off the ice, the Stars' ownership situation has attracted the interest of Mark Cuban. As he notes, he isn't looking to be the primary owner, but simply to help stabilize matters for his co-tenant at American Airlines Center. He'd never last as an hockey owner, as much fun as it might be for a lot of us to watch. He's a notorious ref-baiter, and I just can't imagine that a league as dementedly protective of its officials as the NHL countenancing that sort of public scolding for very long.
The other team in the Lehtonen deal has been a bit busy of late, what with that other trade they rustled up last week. Bird Watchers Anonymous has compiled a handy scorecard to assist in grading the performance of Don Waddell. I'm in a good mood at the moment, so let's just call his record, "a bit better than Mike Milbury's", and move on.
In Leaf Country, Mike Komisarek's somewhat forgettable first year in the Blue and White will end with shoulder surgery. He's been replaced on the U.S. Olympic team, but the news for Canada's Ryan Getzlaf is more uncertain, as the Duck center's ankle injury has forced Team Canada boss Steve Yzerman to put Jeff Carter on hot standby. I like Jeff Carter as a player, but Ryan Geztlaf is very, very good, and I hope he has a full return to health the second that Anaheim's game in Calgary ends this Saturday.
The Canadiens are banged up at the moment, with Cammalleri, Bergeron and Pouliot all on the shelf until some time in March. Tomas Plekanec hasn't let that get in his way, however, and the new management in Montreal is in the tire-kicking stage as it's contemplates resigning the talented Czech. He won't be cheap, and he's likely to be a prize commodity if he makes it to July 1 as a UFA, given that it's a thin market for skilled forwards this summer.
Over at Battle of California, Earl Sleek has a fond look back at Jean-Sebastian Giguere's tenure with the Ducks. That series against Detroit in 2003 was as close as you could get to a goalie beating a team by himself, and after a season mostly spent watching in Anaheim, Giggy's gotten off to a solid start in Toronto. He's the first NHL goalie that team's had since before the lockout, so when they refill the roster next year, we should get a good idea if that was really all that was holding them back.
Jonathan Willis has a look at the performance of players home and away. Unsurprisingly, most players dig the home cooking, and if I was pressed, it's the ability of coaches to use last change that exaggerates the effect, IMO. You might notice that there's one outlier in the group of players Jonathan reviewed, and he plies his trade for a team that has looked in the collective like it prefers hotel rooms most of the year, unfortunately.
Finally this week, best wishes to Brian Burke, who had the terrible task of laying his son to rest in Massachusetts yesterday morning. Condolences to the Burkes and the Reedys.
As always, comments are open for anything you might have noticed this week.