CALGARY AB - FEBRUARY 20: Fans deal with the cold temperatures during the 2011 NHL Heritage Classic Game at McMahon Stadium on February 20 2011 in Calgary Alberta Canada. (Photo by Dylan Lynch/Getty Images)
Hello, this is a new feature that will go through what the Flames players, prospects and personnel have been up to in the past week. As there's been nothing new from the big club in terms of player movement, let's take this opportunity to see what the head office and the kids have been doing this week, shall we?
A lovely, but bi-polar week when it comes to the weather the last 7 days, huh? Well, bi-polar's probably an accurate description of my interest in the NHL playoffs as well. The series themselves? They don't really do anything for me. But once we hit overtime- even in the Devils-Panthers series- I'm enthralled. The vacillation between the two is fascinating and leaves me to wonder why the concept of sudden death is so alluring. Compared to my relative apathy for the rest of the action, my belief that playoff overtime is the best thing in the world only grows.
The big news this week around the web was this interview with Assistant GM John Weisbrod.
Now, Lambert pretty much covered everything I wanted to say in his 5 things recap over at FlamesNation, but I do want to mention the odd optics we're dealing with here. I think it's generally assumed that the Flames only used young players because they had to, not because they wanted to. But then I think of a couple of guys, Horak, in particular- and I remember this conversation from the start of the season- he was believed to be up with the Flames simply because of the part he played in the Tim Erixon swap. As the season went on, we did see flashes of a capable NHLer at times (which is more then we can say about his Chilliwack counterpart, Ryan Howse), but with what we know about the Flames' ownership and their hands being in the cookie jars of the Hockey Operations, it's hard to watch this interview and listen to what Weisbrod's saying without muttering "bullshit" under your breath every 20 seconds.
The hunt for a coach continues, and the feeling is from a couple of people in the know that Bob Hartley is being looked at as a candidate. This terrifies me, so I've started to pray to my Lord and Saviour, the Olli Jokinen bobblehead, for a good coach to come available. Over the next little while we'll have some coach scouting reports pop up at this fine website.
At least one team in the organization is in the playoffs, right? The Heatles swept their first-round opponents in the AHL playoffs, the Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville Predators). Looking at the Heat's roster right now is an excursus in controlling one's temperament, as there are young guys who look to be doing well, young guys who suck, old guys who could maybe be 4th liners next year and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond.
In Judd Blackwater news, there is none.
An interesting storyline has been the play of 26 year old Danny Taylor in the Abbotsford cage. Since joining the Heat, Taylor's appeared in 33 games with an impressive .927 SV%. You all know what I think of the perception around Leland Irving, but even in saying that Taylor's earned this job on merit and nothing else. He's not technically Flames property, but don't be surprised if there's a NHL contract waiting for him come July 1.
The Heat start round two tomorrow as they take on the Toronto Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs), a pretty stacked team. The game starts at 5PM Mountain.
The only junior teams still playing that feature Flames prospects happen to be facing each other- the Edmonton Oil Kings and the Portland Winterhawks. Much has been made about Sven Baertschi and Laurent Brossoit's respective performances in the playoffs this season, and with pretty good reason- they're both lighting it up out there. Sven's 25P in 15GP this postseason is good for 2nd place in the scoring race, while Brossoit's .942 SV% is just insane, small sample size be dammed.
But the guy who's not getting talked about a lot is Tyler Wotherspoon. In the Winterhawks' sweep of the Tri-City Americans, Wotherspoon was tasked with handling the WHL's leading scorer this year, Brendan Shinnimin. He did pretty well for himself- Shinnimin was 2-3-5 in the four games.
As a side note, I'll direct you to Kristen Odland's feature on Brossoit, which I thought was pretty excellent. It's well worth a read.
The series between the Oil Kings and Winterhawks starts May 3rd in Edmonton.
Hopefully more clarity in terms of the coaching search, as well as more prospect recap stuff.
I'll be in Vegas, so the tone of the article may be more positive/negative then usual depending on how much money I've won or lost.
A Moment of Zen
(click for zen)
Have a good week.