August 17th Notes and Weekend Open Thread

This man is making it far too difficult to get excited about hockey this close to September.

Oh, hello there.

It's setting up to be another fine and toasty weekend here in Calgary, and as the summer winds down for many of us who have to return to school or work, the same cannot be said of the NHL, which faces the prospect an extended off-season as negotiations continue this week between the NHLPA and the league. The two sides haven't met face-to-face since Wednesday, but Fehr reiterated today that the players do not want a work stoppage and that he expects to speak with Bettman again this weekend.

The American Hockey League released its schedule today, and it could see a huge increase in fanfare if the NHL does indeed lockout its players. The AHL season is set to open on October 12th, when the Abbotsford Heat face off against the Peoria Rivermen. In the case of a lockout, the minor league's ranks could swell to include a number of young and very talented NHLers, as was the case in 2004-05. Via Puck Daddy:

The rule at the time was, if you are an NHL player under the age of 22, you were AHL-eligible. Here, then, is a brief list of notable NHL players who will be under 22 when the AHL season starts: Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jeff Skinner, Ryan Johansen, Taylor Hall, Alex Burmistrov, Dmitry Kulikov, Matt Duchene, Evander Kane, Brayden Schenn, Cam Fowler, Tyler Seguin, Justin Faulk, and Sean Couturier.

I'd bet the Heat would have no problem boosting their paltry attendance rates with a few of those players on their roster, but I also doubt few of them would be too eager to play in Abbotsford.

In Flames news, the team has signed Quebec native and former Flame Steve Begin to a Professional Tryout Contract. Whenever the season begins, Begin will attend training camp with the team. The 34-year-old was drafted 40th overall by Calgary in 1996 and has amassed a total of 100 NHL points with the Flames, Canadiens, Stars, Bruins, and Predators. Former Flame Scott Hannan also signed a one-year deal with the Preds today.

With regards to prospects, Flames draftee and Edmonton Oil Kings goalie Laurent Brossoit appeared in the Canada Russia Challenge which concluded this past Tuesday in Halifax. Brossoit was in net for Game Three of the series, which Canada ended up losing 6-5 before winning Game Four 4-2 with Malcom Subban between the pipes.

The Flames could be well-represented when it comes to the 2013 World Junior Championships, but maybe not for the right country, depending on where your allegiances lie. Flames fans have good reason to be excited about John Gaudreau, who scored two goals and five points in three games for Team USA during their evaluation camp; 2012 draftees Patrick Sieloff and Jon Gillies also tried out for an invite to join the squad. The tournament begins as always on Boxing Day, in Ufa, Russia.

Please use this space to discuss anything that may pop into your head over the course of this weekend, whether it be lockout doomsday scenarios, which team/league you would support in the case of a work stoppage or which adult beverage you are currently enjoying on the patio of your house/a licensed establishment. Or not, I won't judge.

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