Greetings everyone! I am writing you from one of oldest and dearest friend's lovely apartment in Toronto, where I will be residing until my return to Calgary. In our travels today we walked past the old Maple Leaf Gardens several times, which naturally got me thinking a bit about hockey history. I'm not entirely sure what the city's plans are for the Leafs old stomping grounds, aside from filming future seasons of "Battle of the Blades" there, but the fact that it remains standing albeit non-functional must be at the same time comforting, nostalgia-inducing, and somewhat depressing for Leafs fans old enough to remember its mystique, so often talked about in narratives that warm the heart and send chills down the spine of any hockey fan.
Discussions pertaining to the construction of a new arena to replace the Saddledome, which, at 27-years old has become on of the league's oldest buildings, have begun in earnest, and I believe Ken King mentioned that the 'Dome would indeed be knocked down upon completion of said new arena, which is sad for not only Flames fans, but all Calgarians and anyone for whom its appearance amidst the city's skyline has become a familiar and eye-catching sight. It may not have the historical significance of Maple Leaf Gardens and other buildings that once housed original six franchises, but three Stanley Cup finals series have been played on its ice; it accommodated the 1988 Olympics and was prepared when Calgary offered step in again in 2002 when the Salt Lake City games were marred by scandal. While certain aspects of the building certainly need to be updated, demolishing it would mean erasing a part of Calgary's history and nearly all of the Flames' history in the city, and it could likely still serve as a venue for concerts and shows and other sporting events, as it is certainly large enough to accommodate Hitmen and Roughnecks crowds. What do you think?
Links after the jump.
A Flames free agency review from the guys up North, who have a surprisingly sunny take on two of Darry's most controversial additions [The Copper & Blue]
The latest rumours surrounding Ales Kotalik's contract situation involve the winger's imminent departure to a KHL squad [Flames Insider], but Dome Beers has the inside scoop on where he's really headed
Gary Bettman makes more money per year than Jarome Iginla and slightly less than Scott Gomez [Puck Daddy]
28-year old Alexander Frolov could be headed back to Russia if he doesn't reach an agreement on a contract with an NHL club by the end of the week. I'm very surprised that Nikolai Zherdev has been signed and someone hasn't taken a chance on Frolov yet. [Kukla's Korner]
Former Abbotsford Heat goaltender David Shantz, who became the default #1 last season after both Irving and Keetley struggled, has signed a deal with the AHL's Manitoba Moose [Flames Nation] While the Oilers have reportedly re-signed 'tender Devan Dubnyk
Former Flame Rob Ramage, whose son was drafted by the Flames in June, lost his bid for a new trial today. Ramage is charged with four counts of impaired driving after crashing his car in 2003, killing another former NHLer Keith Magnuson. [Sportsnet]
Lastly, everyone should make a point of stopping by to read Arik's touching piece on Daniel Ryder and his battle with mental illness [The 4th Line Blog]
Have a great week everyone! I'll be living it up in Leafland till Thursday, so I encourage my fellow Calgarians indulge in a little excess Stampeding in my absence. I'm sure it won't be too difficult.