During Jay Feaster's now infamous 'blogger in the basement in his underwear' media scrum, he made it clear that the mandate for the team continues to be the playoffs.
You'll find the fan base a little divided on whether or not that's even a possibility or legitimate goal. To me, I feel the team's play over the course of the past 2+ seasons has more than aptly shown the team is not capable of being a contender. However, hockey operations for the Calgary Flames disagree, and so - we continue chasing what appears to be a futile dream.
With the injury to Henrik Karlsson, the backup goaltender spot opened up and Leland Irving was hailed from Abbotsford to fill that opening.
This had many a fan thinking 'it's time to see what he can do!' The reality is, he's here to fill Karlsson's role as backup, not for the club to get a look at what they have going forward. With playoffs still the goal, you can be darn sure that Miikka Kiprusoff will, at the very least, start every one of the next 3 home games and more than likely the next road game in Nashville. The next back to back on the road doesn't hit until over a week from now in Florida, and it's expected that Karlsson will be ready to go by then.
(EDIT: @NHLFlames announced Karlsson will be out for 6-8 weeks. This should allow Irving to make his first start next Thursday/Friday against either Tampa or Florida.)
Once Flames management comes to the inevitable realization that this team needs some pretty major re-tooling, then they'll call up Irving and give him a shot at some games. This current call-up was not scheduled, is not to check out Irving and is actually a negative stretch in Irving's development as he could be down in Abbotsford soaking in all kinds of minutes. Hopefully, he gains something from just being at practice with the big club.
We'll get our chance to see Irving in the spring. Until then, it's business as usual.
Links after the jump.I look forward to this Flames update every week. From Robert Vollman at FlamesNation [Flames Black Box] - If you want a really good breakdown of what the Flames players are up to in all situations and including Corsi events and scoring chances. This is the place. Plus, it fuels my bromance with Mikael Backlund each and every week.
The Flames prospects are lighting up the WHL. [Vicki Hall - Calgary Herald] - I'm not sure what exactly the picture has to do with the article, but the Flames have no prospects, right? Honestly, I hesitate to get too excited about any of these guys (sans SVEN) because I remember Dustin Boyd used to tear up the dub, too.
Five Burning Questions with Randy Sportak. I always get a kick out of these brain-busters. [Burning Q's - Calgary Sun]
SVEN is in Prince George tonight! That's a long and boring bus ride, I'm sure. [Winterhawks-Cougars Preview]
John Gaudreau and Bill Arnold of Boston College are named to Team USA's National Jr. Pre-lim roster. [Boston College Athletics]
Down Goes Brown with a quiz for you! Is it time to fire your coach? For some funny reason, he has a picture of Brent Sutter on the post. [DGB]