With the All Star game in the rear-view mirror and the Flames slowly gaining ground in the Western Conference, the focus turns to the Heritage Classic, the upcoming trade deadline and the final 31 games of the season. The rest of the schedule is a mixed bag of games against elite, middling, and basement-dwelling teams, with 12 games against non-playoff teams remaining on the docket.
Feaster has made a mostly positive impression with his first moves as Flames GM, moving out some veteran forwards who, in Kotalik's case, hadn't even come close to earning their salary and allowing the organization a little more flexibility going forward, either at the trade deadline or in the summer. While the team's recent hot streak does complicate things to a degree, it's clear that this is not a squad built for long-term, consistent success, and obviously jettisoning underperforming vets and bringing up a prospect or two from Abbotsford doesn't remedy that. There's no doubt Feaster and Co. will have to start seriously weighing their options as the deadline draws closer, and a bad month of February could see the vultures begin to circle around the Flames once more.
Links after the jump.
The All Star Game came and went yesterday without a single player representing the Flames in Raleigh, so Arik and Justin sought to remedy that with their own All Star teams composed solely of players in the Flames organization [The 4th Line Blog]
Regular commenter King Jafi makes his debut at Hit The Post with an excellent read on the Captain, who is currently keeping some elite company after reaching the 20-goal plateau for the twelfth consecutive season [HTP]
The Flames revealed the Heritage Classic website today with 19 days to go until the festivities begin [flames.nhl.com]
A collection of photos from this weekend's All Star events [Puck Daddy]
One year later, has the Phaneuf trade been a loss for both the Flames and the Leafs? [The Fan 960]
Have a great week everyone, and see you tomorrow for the much anticipated return of Flames hockey!