Domebeer-aholics, we know this a faux pas, but we will let you in anyways. We have nothing that burning to talk about.
So, in that vein, let's meander.
We found it a little odd when we opened up the paper the other day to discover that we are all now suppose to be participating in the rehabilitation of one Ales Kotalik.
Domebeer-aholics, help us out here, because we do not understand why articles like this get penned at all. Why are the ink stained scribes trying to gin up sympathy for a guy who should not be on this team?
Ladies and gentlemen, the Calgary Flames need to cut 3 - 4 million dollars worth of cap space from the budget, largely because Darryl Sutter caught a case of the retards around trade deadline day and traded Olli Jokinen for Ales Kotalik, and then doubled down on that miscarriage of a move by re-signing Jokinen. The fans in this city have their particular favourite overpaid player that they like to pick on (Sarich, Staios, Stajan...shoot anyone not named Bourque or Gio) but if you are looking to why the Flames are 3 million over the cap, it's that Jokinen Kotalik move.
And the newspaper is penning pieces on the type of person Ales Kotalik is? Why? Allow us to be blunt: Why the fuck should we care about Ales Kotalik? Why?
Ales Kotalik was a little down last year, gang. Yeah, we know, tough, heartbreaking stuff. It's just the worst tragedy in the world to see a human soul suffer. Ales got traded last year, guys, and it really shook his confidence. Is your tummy hurting? Ours are. Can you believe, honestly, can you believe that the people who run the New York Rangers would have the gall to expect that a guy they were paying THREE MILLION DOLLARS would, we don't know, maybe score a fucking goal once in a while? Could you believe they would have the audacity to make Ales Kotalik a healthy scratch when he started to pout about not getting ice time because he wasn't scoring, or hitting, or back checking, or being what they like to jokingly call 'a hockey player'?
This whole 'woe is me' act is just to much. Ales Kotalik had a few ok seasons in Buffalo. He had one 62 point campaign, and the rest come in around 40. After a cup of coffee with Edmonton (the Oilers didn't want him, for Christ's sake) he signs a 9 million dollars contract with the New York Rangers. Because players who sign for 3 million dollars have expectations on them, and Ales Kotalik is soft, he immediately began the pout act and did his best to pull a Kurt Russel. It worked, and we know have this expensive diva on our team.
But let's go through that once again. Kotalik played well enough in Buffalo that he and his agent thought they could make some wealth. Power to Ales, we have no problem with that. So Buffalo trades him because they know him, and because they know him, decide he isn't worth spending millions of dollars on. Edmonton gets a look at him, and even though they had so much cap space that they could have signed him to a 3 year, 9 million dollar pact to wash the toilets, they let him go. Both these team let Kotalik go because he was going to ask for too much money in free agency. Free agency day comes and Kotalik signs with the club that offers him the most money, the New York Rangers. Again, power to Ales. He got that contract, so it could be said that he earned that money. But let's be clear: Ales was on his 3rd team at that point because he was chasing a contract.
What we don't understand is this argument put out there by some media types that people like us, fans, should ignore what a player makes. Why? A 50 point player at 1 million dollars isn't the same as a 50 point player at 8 million. Valuations matter. We understand a lot of hockey players are straight off the farm, never learned to read types, but that's why they hire lawyers and agents. If Ales Kotalik doesn't like to play with pressure, then he shouldn't have gone fishing for a 9 million dollar contract. If Ales Kotalik doesn't like expectations, then he should go play rec league. In the NHL, you are paid to help a team win, period. You aren't paid because, to quote Coach, "You know, he's a very caring individual . . . but he's a very proud person and he takes things to heart."
Ugh. Let's share a little story about 'taking things to heart'. A few years ago in the financial world, the sky fell. The DOW was thousands of points below 10K, the S&P was down in the 600's. During this period a peculiar phenomenon took place: Very wealthy money managers were killing themselves. Why were wealthy, cultured, comfortable, safe people killing themselves? Because they were men of honour, and the code of honour stipulates there is consequences for mistakes. In honour codes from Europe to Japan to Arabia, when a man fails miserable at something they have pledged to do, there is only one course of action: suicide. It's suicide, because a man of honour cannot live with the stain of shame. These money managers had made their reputations as savvy investors. When they lost the majority of the money entrusted to them by their clients, it wasn't a professional pain they felt, it was personal. They felt so ashamed at losing their clients money, their clients dreams and futures, that they literally couldn't look at themselves, even though they still had money and wealth and a future, in the mirror anymore. They felt so obligated to perform that when they didn't, they chose to die rather than continue on living.
That's 'taking things to heart'. What Ales Kotalik did was to wallow in his own self pity, something he started in New York and continued here. And excuse us if we have no time for it. Are we asking Ales Kotalik to take up a warrior code ethos, samurai up, and kill himself if he takes a step backwards in the middle of battle? Of course not. But we are asking for him to display the elan of the warrior: Head up or no head at all. No fucking pouting.
And sure, you can point to some of the comments in the article, and the fact that he even showed up to camp, as signs that he hasn't given up, hasn't quit, still has pride in himself. All we will point to is that all it took was for him to be put on waivers.
For all the ranting and raving, Ales Kotalik is a very big guy. If the team could figure the princess out and actually get the guy forechecking, he could probably be a useful player. But he simply makes too much money, and on a team where everybody makes a little too much money, it just isn't tenable. We don't think it is that crazy to suggest that most of the fanbase wouldn't shed a tear if Kotalik and Staios were to go away. With the injury situation being what it is, though, we don't think that is the greatest move.
Because the centres are injured, Kotalik should probably stick around, unless you want Brett Sutter or Tim Jackman skating in your top 9. Sutter's fetish for 'leadership' probably keeps Staios in town. Cap relief will probably come in the form of Langkow being put on the LTIR (the 90 day DL). This has bad voodoo written all over it.
If Langkow is put on the LTIR, then we get his cap relief, which is cool, but we don't get to bring him back unless we can clear his cap off the books in the current year. If the guy isn't out for the whole year, then all the Flames are doing know is delaying the inevitable. We will admit that it could work: Maybe Staios goes insane, puts up 5 goals in 15 games, and gets himself traded. Maybe Kotalik goes all world and we can get a draft pick for him. But for 4.5 million in cap relief, they would both have to have outstanding starts to the campaign, and the risk manager in us doesn't see that happening.
Unless Reggie gets traded, the only way we see the cap relief coming is if Kotalik and Staios are sent to the minors. And because of the injuries, they won't be at the start of the year. Imagine all the scenarios that could play out: The Flames start out slow, Langkows back in December, and is now seen as the saviour. The team has to spend a week talking about how their play has cost Staios and Kotalik their jobs, and how they need to step up now. If the team gets better with Langkow back, then no problem. If it doesn't, then this city will turn on him and the team and it will get ugly. Similarly, if the team gets out to a fast start and Langkow is back for December, the fans will go 'why do we need this guy', and get pissed that a useful part needs to get jettisoned to bring him back. The players will have to talk about it for the next news cycle. If the team flounders after that, again it will get real ugly.
And then there is this: If Langkow is on the LTIR, it isn't Langkows decision to come off it. He could only rejoin the team if the team clears the cap space. If it doesn't, then Langkow stays on the LTIR, from what we can understand, whether he likes it or not. He could be the healthiest he has ever been in his life, and if the team won't clear the 4.5 million in cap space for him to return, then he doesn't return. We would like to believe the players union would file a grievance, but after watching them get rolled in the Ilya debacle, do you expect the players union to show any teeth? And it's not like we are out of line to question whether or not the Flames plan to use the LTIR as cap relief for the whole year, whether Langkow is healthy or not. It isn't out of line, because they have done it before.
WHAT IS THE GOAL
What makes the whole scenario even more convoluted is the fact that the Flames are in the proverbial no-mans land of being a middle of the road hockey team. They are not tanking and rebuilding, but they are not seriously challenging for a Stanley Cup either (a playoff berth, maybe). If they were trying to tank it this year, it would be easy to find cap relief; because they are trying to win a playoff spot, they will need to find cap relief to allow their better players to play.
Having Corey Sarich and Steve Staios as your 5 and 6 defencemen isn't bad. It actually goes to show that we have a pretty solid blue line. Removing those two for Pardy and Kronwall would mean we lose more games. Ales Kotalik had his best seasons on the third line in Buffalo. He is better on our third line then Brett Sutter is. Swapping those two would mean we would lose more games. But these depth deleting moves are the type that are going to need to be done if we are to get cap compliant so an actual top 6 guy in Langkow can rejoin the fold.
Is one Langkow worth two players?
Did Henry Burris spend the whole week drinking? Did Huff? Out-played and out-coached at home. Embarrassing. It's all well and good to take a game off (wait, you are getting a paycheque to play? Then no it isn't.) but for the love of satan can't you do it on a road game?
Something we wanted to point out. There was an article written today about the 49ers and their coach, Mike Singletary. Lord knows people are allowed opinions, but there was a line in this article that we really didn't like. The line was this: It's fair to ask: In a league dominated by master strategists, have the 49ers gone as far as they can go with a coach who disdains intricate strategy and who hired Jimmy Raye as his offensive coordinator?
What we have a problem with about that statement is that Mike Singletary wanted to hire Mike Martz to be his OC. This is known. Singletary was told by the owners of the team that he couldn't keep Mike Martz on as his OC, so he was forced to go in another direction. But do you think a guy who 'disdains intricate strategy' would want to hire Mike Martz in the first place?
Could it be that Singletary is saddled with a complete spare at quarterback, who is protected by a shitty O-line? Could it be that his running back is serviceable but not world class? Could it be, maybe, just maybe, the GM?
Of course not. Talent doesn't win games in the NFL, whoever you hire to be your OC does. Alex Smith can't throw a pass that doesn't look like a wounded duck? Mike Singletary doesn't know how to coach.
Glen Sather keeping his job is tangible proof that Santa Clause is real. What else could it be?
Barb Higgins, if you are trying to get with the fashionable cause celeb that is the enviro hippie movement, that's all well and good. Just don't cover every park in the city with your green signs. It distorts the message. Similarly, Nenshi going with purple signs doesn't do him any favours. Either he is trying to show he is young and hip (read inexperienced, raw, and mistake prone), or he is hat tipping the colour of royalty (Caesars purple). Not a good look.
We are not telling you how to vote, but we will make this observation: People who probably would vote for Barb Higgins would probably vote for Nenshi too, and vice versa. These two candidates split their votes with each other. If Barb harbours realistic notions of winning the election, she needs to get Nenshi to drop out. The last poll we say showed Ric Mc at 40%+, Higgins at 30%, Nenshi at 10% (we are being generous with Nenshi's numbers, he polled at 8%). Of course, the fact that she hasn't speaks to her and her campaign managers abilities, and they don't speak kindly.
Finally, mucho gracias to the Pat, Jared, and Doug for helping me with the NFL panel. People we met in real real life over the weekend really liked it.
Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.