Well, after a brief change of fortune, the Flames are back on the skid that's seen them drop six of their last seven games. While they haven't played terribly in recent games, they haven't been good enough for long enough to win. Two late-game comebacks have made the contests look closer than they were, and the team closed out there four-game road trip at a miserable 1-3, collecting just 2 of 8 points, and are now two games under .500 on the season. As others have noted, this year's version of the Flames certainly aren't world beaters, but they're also capable of much better results.
Today's news however, has been much more relevant to off-ice operations. Brett Sutter and the team issued a statement today five days after he decided to do his best Patrick Kane impression at an Arizona bar, and was subsequently sent down to the Heat after not having played since October 16th. The main topic of conversation, however, was the revealing email exchanges between NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell and former referee/director of officiating Stephen Walkom, detailed by Oilers blogger Tyler Dellow at his site Mc79hockey. The discussion between the two mainly focused on the performance of former referee Dean Warren, who was released by the league in 2008, especially in games involving Campbell's son, Gregory, who was then a member of the Florida Panthers. Campbell also refers to a player believed to be former Flame Marc Savard as "a little fake artist," and mentions that the two didn't always see eye to eye when Campbell was Savard's coach in New York. While there is no outrageously incriminating evidence here, there's enough information there to suggest deeper implications and make one uncomfortable with the behaviour of a high-ranking and supposedly objective NHL executive. It certainly makes you wonder about the direction the league is heading in.
Reaction to the emails and more after the jump.
Bill Daly and Campbell himself predictably shrug off any implications of wrong-doing suggested by the emails [TSN]
A very well articulated take on the situation from a blogger who wants to see the game we all love maintain a shred of integrity, for the sake of the next generation [Winging it in Motown]
Elliotte Friedman tries to see both sides of the story [CBC Sports]
Does Kiprusoff need to be better in order for the Flames to start winning games again? [The Calgary Sun]
Why no discipline for Brett Sutter's drunken debauchery? [Dome Beers]
Somehow I doubt that anyone is surprised that Alex Burrows and Rick Rypien have taken Sean Avery's side in the fallout from last night's Oilers-Rangers brawl [Nucks Misconduct]
Rene Bourque makes for an interesting and entertaining fake interview [The 4th Line Blog]
A Q&A with the always quotable Coyotes' 'enforcer' Paul Bissonnette [The Vancouver Sun]
Lastly, it's that time of year again: vote for which NHLers you want to send to Raleigh for a meaningless and typically unentertaining All-Star weekend, preferably when you're very bored in the middle of your school/work day [NHL]
Have a great week everyone, and try to avoid the overwhelming temptation to resign yourself to, well...resignation where the Flames are concerned.