I think I WILL drink some tea, thanks Paul

Leafs fans who call into talk-radio shows here in Toronto never cease to crack me up. It’s probably no worse in Calgary these days (and let me know on that one), but I didn’t realize until the past week just how irrational these people can be.

The Leafs haven’t had the best pre-season, but it hasn’t been the worst either — 3-2-2 after a win over the Red Wings yesterday. But two games ago, after a 7-2 loss to Buffalo, it was clear that the Maple Leafs would not be winning a game this season. So Paul Maurice got a few microphones in front of him and told people to “calm down, it’s just the pre-season, have a cup of tea and relax.”

Predictably, calls came soon after from fans who, in the same three-minute stretch, declare that while they bleed blue and white, such statements are proof that Maurice needs to go, along with Vesa Toskala who obviously sucks, and let’s bring back “Cujo or something like that.”

I am keeping my opinion of these people in mind as I survey the results of this pre-season: 1-4-2 record, only 12 goals for and 22 against. Not many reports of chemistry other than the one line of Alex Tanguay, Daymond Langkow and Jarome Iginla, and Matthew Lombardi is nursing a sore wrist.

Then there’s the strange, strange demeanour of this guy.

As some have pointed out, slow starts have been a signature of the Calgary Flames for a few years now. And as Dave says, “What I would give for a team that didn’t suck in the first, oh, 25% of the season…” But this IS the pre-season, and a team playing for a new coach and learning new systems, with several new players. In other words, the machine is not well oiled. I’m going to be patient. For now.

All that said, it would be nice to get a little confidence tonight against the Sharks to wrap up the pre-season. I’m just saying.

KIPPER WATCH: Does anyone know where the information on Miikka Kiprusoff’s contract demands came from in this story, or this one? Sure would be nice to see some sources cited here and there. Not that he isn’t seeking “Iggy money” or doesn’t deserve it, but at least write it as speculation rather than fact if you aren’t going to put forward something of substance. (Incidentally, if they won’t give him at least “Iggy money,” they’re crazy.)

MARK SMITH: Having not seen one pre-season game or attended camp, and not being an expert on Mark Smith, I’m going to withhold judgment on him — especially since reaction is mixed between MG and WI. Nice hair though, buddy, I’m fully in favour of it.

UNIFORM FEELINGS UPDATE: Seriously, what’s worse? This or this?

WHO I WANT TO MAKE THE TEAM: Based on reports, and my desire for general enjoyment while watching players develop rather than plod, here’s the lineup I’m really, really hoping for on opening night after five more dudes were sent to Quad Cities today.






I’d LOVE to try to develop Hale and Boyd rather than plug along with guys like Eriksson who aren’t going to do much for the team short- or long-term. Or maybe Eriksson’s a better choice than Warrener at this point. Whatever, I want two kids in the lineup every night. It’s a worthwhile investment.


~ by duncan on September 29, 2007.

12 Responses to “I think I WILL drink some tea, thanks Paul”

  1. The Kipper demands were not news to me, I mentioned a couple weeks ago Kipper(Kipper’s camp) is unhappy with the money he is making and expects/wants a significant raise. If we aren’t stupid we will find a way to give it to him.

  2. Thing is, it’s not like the demands are surprising, but the Herald and Sun were blasting it all over their front pages without anything direct to pin it on. That’s effectively like having a front page headline that says FLAMES WANT SELLOUT EVERY GAME. That’s not a diss at you kyle — those newspaper guys have the time and resources to get it right.

  3. For what it’s worth, Primeau-Conroy-Nolan (when not falling apart due to injury) is surprisingly effective, based on the first game vs SJ. Old age and treachery, I guess. I think Regehr will pair up more often than not with Sarich, and Phaneuf with Aucoin, just based on what I’ve seen this preseason.

    I agree about the development of the kids – I’d much rather Pardy stick with the team than have Eriksson hanging around, sigh…

    The season hasn’t started yet, and hockey is already starting to exhaust me. Geeez…

  4. it is my theory that kipper wants more money, sure, but is still testing the climate under keenan and won’t sign a deal until he knows how miserable things can be. think about it. would YOU ???

    boyd concerns me. he got a pretty raw deal this preseason by getting shifted with brent sutter for the entirety, and never with any sort of top-ish line players. sure, lombardi would be a great match for him and lombardi hardly played, but i think he would also fit nicely with a tanguay or a huselius and never got that opportunity. yelle is a great roleplayer for our team, but that’s not where boyd would excel (a situation not unlike how playfair couldn’t seem to find a use for lombardi)… i will re-itterate, however, that from what i’ve seen in a year’s worth of camps (rookie camp06, prospect camp 07), boyd is lazy in practise. ie: won’t get rewarded with top line minutes.

    and finally to leanne: phaneuf/sarich, regehr/aucoin spent the majority of the pre-season together, much to my surprise. i really thought regehr would play with sarich and phaneuf with aucoin but the other way actually makes more sense (one defensive minded guy on the ice with one bullet shooter)…

    we shall see…

  5. oh, and re: mark smith — MG and i are on the same page, thinking that he’s yet another average and now redundant fourth liner. if he has any kind of skating/puck handling skills, can draw those ville niemenen/jarkko ruutu type penalties, and occasionally scrap then i have no problems with him taking godard’s 4 minutes per game. otherwise, he’s just kinda handsome…. 😉

  6. I want two kids in the lineup every night. It’s a worthwhile investment.

    Agreed, but it’s looking more and more like Sutter is pretty much unwilling to give the kids some at bats (kids not named “Phaneuf” anyways). Instead, he signs marginal NHL journeymen with little upside (Primeau, Smith, Eriksson, Friesen, Zyuzin etc.) to plug roster holes.

    It’s really starting to bug me.

  7. Instead, he signs marginal NHL journeymen with little upside
    one has to wonder if the dollars that sutter has put towards these redundant guys might have been better saved to afford a single worthwhile player. this, of course, would entail bringing up at least one of the kids to “plug roster holes.” how can nobody see that the winningest teams have at least a couple of sparkplug rookies (getzlaf/perry for example). it is this theory that makes me wonder if edmonton and its youth brigade might win a few games this year…

  8. it is this theory that makes me wonder if edmonton and its youth brigade might win a few games this year…

    This strategy can be a winning one depending on the quality of the kids in question, the number of them needed and the quality of the surrounding vets. All told, that’s likely the reason that Edmonton won’t be a good team this year and WHY the Flames SHOULD be employing this tact.

    Edmonton has too many rookies required to step up and they don’t have enough difference makers.

    The Flames have top-notch vets. They have the ability to put kids into sheltered situations where they can succeed (which is what Burke/Carlyle did with Perry and Getzlaf last year). It’s arguable whether Calgary has the sort of quality prospects that can step-up and do some damage, but there’s a good chance they could at least replace the contributions of, say, Wayne Primeau or Anders Eriksson. At a lesser price-tag with the promise of future, escalating contributions to boot.

    I know the Flames are in “win it now” mode, but I can’t see how periphery guys Mark Smith et al. are going to put Calgary over the top. It looks like re-arranging deck chairs at the expense (at the very least) of the youngsters development. It won’t likely lead to many more wins this season but could very well cost the team wins down the road…

    I really hope Im reading this wrong and overreacting, of course.

  9. Hey Duncan,

    Well, I don’t have actual comparisons, having not lived anywhere else for long enough, but I will say this about Toronto and the Leaf fans…it never ceases to disgust me.

    I know it’s said that Toronto is a hard place to play because the city has such focus on the team, but frankly, you go to the sports bars or anywhere, and the bandwagon jumpers are SEVERE. One week, after three wins in a row, everyone’s smiling and proudly wearing their leaf jerseys (even those who haven’t bought one since wendel clark, ugh)…after thee losses, everyone starts asking for people to be cut, dropped, switched lines, sent down…whatever…

    Are you with us or against us?

    Did I just say that?


    and i realize this ain’t about the flames…sorry.

  10. Having spent my enitre life in ‘Leaf Country’, the one thing that consistently surprises me the most is that for a city that professes to be so hockey mad, the average fan here knows exceedingly little about the rest of the teams in the league…

    Which is probably one of the reasons that both my brother and I cheer from teams from outside of Ontario and not for what our mother terms ‘Canada’s team’…

    Our dad raised us better than to be blind followers in a ‘nation’ that prides itself on faith in an organization that treats them like shit… pardon the French… ; )

    Go Flames!

  11. On bringing up the kids: It’s amazing that Sutter didn’t figure it out after the emergence of Moss and Giordano last year. I hadn’t realized until today that Mark Smith was on a one-way … I think Sutter and Keenan must have been sufficiently unimpressed with what they saw in camp from the youth for that to happen. Still, it’s hard to swallow that he’ll be playing on any night instead of Boyd or Prust.

    That said, perhaps there’ll be four injuries on opening night and we’ll all be singing Darryl’s praises for properly anticipating the need for depth.

  12. It’s amazing that Sutter didn’t figure it out after the emergence of Moss and Giordano last year.

    It’s not just the emergence of guys like Moss and Gio that’s instructive – it’s the outright failure of veteran signings like Friesen, Amonte, Zyuzin and McCarty. These guys were more expensive than rookies (except, perhaps, McCarty) and were detriments to the team. Sutter hedged his bets with veterans over youngsters and it ended up hurting the Flames in various ways: on-ice play, cap room AND the resultant non-development of rookies. I thought the message was loud and clear with the spectacular failures that were Friesen and Zyuzin…

    but here we are again with Eriksson, Primeau and Mark Smith. All the while insisting on a 2-way deal for Mark Giordano, who, as a rookie, conspicuously outplayed “safe bet” Andrea Susan.

    I honestly don’t get it.

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