Friday, July 8, 2011

Roman Turek Profile In Courage Award



It's Friday, and that means just one thing: Princess Kate, it isn't cheating, it's stampeding.

Huh? What? Wait, that's right. It is indeed that time of the week when we present the Roman Turek Profile In Courage Award (The RTPIC)!

So, anything happen this week?

Our first nominee of the week is this whole 'OH GOD MURDOCH IS KILLING THE NEWS OF THE WORLD ARGH MALARG'! thang. First, before we begin on this, Robert Fulford, the guy we link to, writes this:

 "...the abrupt shut-down of the 168-year-old News of the World looks like the worst financial calamity in the long and mostly successful career of the paper’s owner, Rupert Murdoch."

Which is so fucking stupid it's fupid. The 'News of the World' represents less than 1% of News Corporations (the parent company) operating income. So anybody who writes something like 'the worst financial calamity' is either ignorant, ill - informed, pushing an agenda, or stupid. Fucking stupid, to be exact.

'News Of The World' isn't even closing. People who think it is closing, again, are fucking stupid. 'News Of The World' is 'shutting down', we guess, but it is 'shutting down' so that it can be 'rebranded' as 'The Sun on Sunday'. Honestly, what the fuck is with this coverage? We get it, Rupert Murdoch is incredibly good at life, so it pissed people off who work in his sphere who are not as good at life as he is. We get it, that's a human emotion. But we aren't going to pretend this coverage is more than nakedly personal for most of the people reporting on it.

Let's get fucking real here, people. Murdoch is trying to by BSkyB. His little phone hacking scandal puts that bid in jeopardy for no other reason than the British are dumb. They have put the sale of BSkyB in the hands of politicians, and politicians who suck at running Britain but want British people to forget that will demagogue any issue they can find if they think it will get people to forget about how badly the politicians suck at running Britain. Because the business transaction of buying BSkyB is now tinged in politics, Rupert Murdoch made a political decision to re brand (or, if you are prone to hysteria, personal jealously,  or bouts of 'fupidness', to 'KILL') 'News Of The World', in order to assuage the politicians into allowing him to buy BSkyB. That is all this is. This is not 'the end of News Corporation', or whatever else people are peddling. And people who are pretending otherwise...are fupid.

Speaking of murders, our second nominee this week is the 'lying murderous slut' Casey Anthony. More specifically, the retards on the jury that let this 'lying murderous slut' out of jail. Not guilty? Are you fucking kidding us? Do they serve retard sandwiches during lunch time at the old courthouse?

This bitch should have fried. Her daughter was missing for 30 days before a call was made to the police to report this, and it was the 'lying murderous sluts' mom who made the call, not even the 'lying murderous slut'! We keep hearing from people who are trying to defend these moron jurists, saying there was no evidence blah blah blah. No evidence? First, if you want to talk about no evidence, how about we talk about the defence team, and their inability to present any evidence whatsoever about their own theories. Second, there was the most concrete evidence available: 30 days passed, in time, before the 'lying murderous sluts' missing baby was reported to the police. 30 fucking days. And during these 30 days, the 'lying murderous slut' was out clubbing and sleeping around. You know, searching for the real killer on her back with her ankles up.

Anybody who needs more evidence than this to fry someone is a moral midget. The jurists in this case are fucking retards. They had enough evidence to convict, they chose not too, and they can hide behind whatever reason they want to hide behind, but it doesn't change the fact that these jurists are moral cowards and fucking morons.

Keeping with morons, our third nominee of the week is Mayor Nenshi. This guy has been terrible, but we will stick to one topic. Ok, two. First, Nenshi and the rest of the city council morons get rid of fluoride in the water...because...and now it turns out that the price the city charges you for water is increasing! Huh? That little trick takes a real moron. Second, bike lanes? Really? Bike lanes, downtown? Nenshi wants to make the already caraphobic Calgary downtown more hostile to cars?

Mayor Moron, let us point something out. THERE IS WINTER IN THIS TOWN EIGHT MONTHS OF THE YEAR! Nobody uses the bike lanes in the winter except 'Bike Guy', who deserves to be run over anyways, and 'Bike Courier Guy', who is a professional, and doesn't need your little pansy bike lanes in the first place. But hey, Mayor One Term hasn't met a waste of tax dollars that he doesn't like, so this was probably predictable. As predictable as Nenshi being a one-termer.

This weeks winner of the Roman Turek Profile In Courage: The Calgary Stampede.


Go ahead. Touch it. It's ok. Just touch it.

Not a big story with this one, right? Booze, girls, boozy girls. It's everything a boy could hope for. Also, it is the one time of the year you can hogtie your partner and not have to explain the sexual kink. You can wear plaid, in public, as well. Good times.

Honestly, women look great in cowboy hats. They also look great in chaps. Assless chaps. And boots. They look great in boots. We are glad that back in the day, a conversation took place in this city that went "Hey, women look great in cowboy hats, chaps, tight jeans, or short skirts, and in boots. Also, if we could find a way to get some alcohol into all these hotties, that would just be grand. Hey, I know, why don't we start a festival!'

That's what we call commitment to civic culture.

For giving us an excuse to ogle coca-cola cowgirls, the Calgary Stampede wins this weeks Roman Turek Profile In Courage Award.

Hey, who wants to get sexist?

Nice...chaps.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

10 Glasses Of Ice Cold Milskey

-Sung to the beat of '10 rounds with Jose Cuervo", by Tracy Byrd.

10 Glasses Of Ice Cold Milskey.

I walked in and the game just started,
Cory Sarich couldn't carry a puck in a bucket.
Teams on a mission to make the playoffs but
I thought no way, they look like they are skating through mucus.

But after one glass of ice cold Milskey,
I started cheering even though the team was getting beat.
And after two glasses of ice cold Milskey,
The blue line certainly looked full of puck movers to me.

During intermission Feaster came down to dance,
When he should have been offering Stamkos an offer sheet.
Iggy said "Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed your prance,
But whenever you jiggle I'm reminded of 04's memory."

Then after three glasses of ice cold Milskey,
I saw Kipper lead the team out onto the ice.
And after four glasses of ice cold Milskey,
I wondered with Reggie gone with who will the Molson girls get nice?

Well, round glass five, around glass six,
I think I saw Stajan being effective with the stick.
After glass seven, or was it eight?
I swear I saw Stajan win a bloody puck race!

And after nine glasses of ice cold Milskey,
Free agents were counting Calgary out but Calgary wasn't about to give in.
Then after ten glasses of ice cold Milskey,
The organization started awarding NMC's and trading draft picks again!

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Plan B

Alright, before we begin, some housekeeping.

The Calgary Flames first round draft pick of this year, Sven Bartschi, was recently inked to an entry level contract. We bring this up for two reasons.

One is to point and laugh at some of the people who embarrassed themselves defending the Flames handling of the Tim Erixon fiasco. If the Flames themselves were able to recognize and correct the obvious mistakes they made with regards to Erixon, it's a pretty clear indication that mistake were indeed made in the first place with regards to Erixon. Why some people in the media chose to cover for the organization instead of grilling them for the Erixon fiasco is beyond us, but admittedly, we do not understand that whole 'paycheques and pom-poms' thang (Of course we do, we are just being polite).

But we bring the Bartschi thing for more than just schadenfreude. We bring it up because, intentionally or not, Jay Feaster, the ventriloquist dummy himself, gave away the ghost. Yesterday the Flames - oh hell, we will indulge in the polite fiction - GM was interviewed on the FAN960. He was asked, predictably, about Bartschi's signing and how it obviously relates to Darryl Sutters/Ken Kings mishandling of Tim Erixon. Jay Feaster answered the question in the affirmative, that yes, the Bartschi signing was a result of the Erixon situation, but he then went further, getting into the process of the whole thing, and that is where the interesting tidbit came out.

Jay Feaster, Jay Feaster said, had to get permission to sign the Calgary Flames first round drift pick to an entry level contract from Ken King.

What?

Yeah, it's true. The General Manager of a hockey team had to go get permission from the teams President to sign a prospect to a contract. This pretty clearly illustrates that despite whatever his title is, Jay Feaster doesn't have the organizational authority to make player personal moves, major or minor, without first having to go get permission from Ken King. In effect then, that means Jay Feaster is the 'assistant General Manager'. Ken King is the real GM of this team, something we have been saying publicly for quite some time, and something the sports 'media' in this city has known for quite some time but for whatever reason (probably something to do with 'paycheques and pom-poms), refuses to acknowledge publicly.

So for those of you out there who are wondering why Feaster, who came in talking about how he wasn't going to hand out NTC's/NMC's anymore or trade away draft picks, has proceeded to hand out NTC's/NMC's and trade away draft picks, there is your answer. It's because Ken King is still in charge, and Jay Feaster is nothing but a mouthpiece and a puppet (a situation we have been told Feaster is less than thrilled with, but hey, when only one team in the league will at least grant you the title of GM, you grin and bear it, we guess). With Ken King still in charge, we should have, and can still, expect the type of managerial moves that characterized Darryl Sutters last year and a half with the organization.

At least we all know now, and people claiming ignorance to this fact can be safely assigned to the 'paycheques and pom-poms' category.

Now, on to 'Plan B'.

This one is pretty obvious. The Nashville Predators.

Yes, the Nashville Predators. This is a team with no money, and several big money players on the roster. Anybody who lived through the early 90's with Calgary knows how this story is going to play out; Shea Weber is going to leave. Ryan Suter is going to leave. And Pekka Rinne is going to leave.

With the Flames ownerships recent attempt to acquire Brad Richards, we know that the team has an appetite to spend, and also an appetite to bring in a new superstar face-of-the-franchise, if you will. Which is perfect, because Shea Weber is the type of franchise cornerstone that a portion of those 64 million dollars the team had for Brad Richards could be showered on.

Shea Weber and his agents have let Nashville know that they are interested in signing a short term, possibly two year deal. In English, this means that Shea Weber and his agents have let Nashville know he is going to be looking for a major payday. Nashville cannot offer Shea what he is worth. Nashville couldn't afford Lombardi, for fucks sake. What's more, Nashville is not going to win a cup, or have the assets to put a real good team around Weber, in the next two years. On top of that, as of today, Nashville is spending, according to the contract canon that is capgeek.com, about 36 million dollars in salary, well below the salary cap floor of 48 million dollars.

Why not trade Nashville Jay Bouwmeester, and whatever other assets, for Shea Weber? The Flames are in a position where they could offer Weber a long term contract that he would find palatable, and there is certainly the need for a player like Weber on the Flames blueline. Acquiring Weber would make the signing of Ryan Suter in the free agency period next year that much easier, and who knows, maybe even get the Flames a foot in the door with Pekka Rinne as well. The Flames have over 20 million dollars coming off the books next year, so cap space is certainly not an issue (and wouldn't have been even if we had retained Regehr

Nashville would get Jay Bouwmeesters minutes, and a nice big cap hit to bump them closer to the cap floor. Nashville would also not be forced to spend upwards of 50 million dollars on a player, like they would be if they want to keep Weber. The Flames could throw in some draft picks as well (and Matt Stajan, if we can con the Preds), to make the transaction more palatable.

Obviously, unstated, is the threat of an offer sheet. Hey, the Brad Richards contract offer is as clear an indication as we have seen that the Flames are not going to rebuild, or at least not rebuild properly. So, if we are still in 'win now' mode, whats the damage in the offer sheet route, anyways?

If we were running the Flames, we would call up Nashville and tell them we were about to offer Weber an offer sheet worth 70 million dollars over 10 years. There is no way in hell that Nashville would be able to match that. We would then say to Nashville they could have the draft picks that come with an offer sheet, and the big gaping hole on the blue line that would come with them losing Weber, or they could play ball, and make a trade. The trade would be, as we have stated, Jay Bouwmeester and a combination of draft picks for Shea Weber. If Jay Bouwmeester says no to the trade, that`s fine. We could still offer Weber the offer sheet, and bury Hagman in the minors and we would have enough cap space to have both Weber and Bouwmeester on the roster. We would then not play Jay Bouwmeester for the rest of his Flames career. Zero minutes for the next 3 years if we had to. Jay wants to play, so he would probably accept the trade.

Then, following the season, we would offer contracts to Ryan Suter, Pekka Rinne (yeah, we would trade Kipper after signing Rinne. Rinne is 28 years old) and then, if we had the space, Alex Semin as well, but who knows, maybe the team could find a centre instead. And viola, you have rebuilt the franchise, and all it took was money and draft picks, but very little short term pain (by which we mean `losing`).

So there it is, Domebeer-aholics. Plan B. Nothing fancy. Power play Nashville for Weber this year, and sign Suter (and if it can be managed, Rinne as well.) next year. And if money is left over, why not at least take a shot at Semin, too.

But seriously. OFFER SHEET WEBER TODAY, KING/FEASTER. Hell, if Dome Beers is managing the team anyways (Brad Richards!)...

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Marketing

Put in Brad Richards name into the google, click on news, and a quote pops up.

Quoteth Brad Richards: "The hardest part - you know that going in - is there's only one place you're going."

So we can sit here today, and pretend that the Calgary Flames engaged in something more tangible than a marketing gambit, but we aren't. Because it wouldn't be the truth.

Let's start at the end of the beginning. The Calgary Flames enter this offseason, and Feaster gets it into his head that he needs cap space. Sure, on it's own, this is a laudable ideal to shoot for. But cap space on it's own is useless unless their is a player available to use it on. Going into this offseason, there wasn't a lot of free agents out there that were worth spending money on. But whatever. The organization decided it needed cap space, and cap space was to be acquired. For something.

There were several options available for the Calgary Flames to make cap space. The team could buy out players, a move not necessarily palatable to the GM or ownership because it would mean that the bought out contracts would stay on the books for several seasons. The team could trade picks with a bad contract to clear out cap space, but again, a move not popular because the new GM came into power talking about wanting to stockpile draft picks. The team could bury some of it's bad contracts either in Europe or in the AHL to clear cap space. While this move would have been the most popular with the fans, it would require the owners of the team to spend millions of dollars to correct mistakes. Or the team could try to clear cap space without spending anymore of the owners money by packaging a good contract with a bad one. This move would be attractive to the owners because it would allow them to save money, but it would not be attractive to the fans because it would make the team worse on the ice.

Contrary to all the Flames apologists and propagandists out there, trading Robyn Regehr to Buffalo so that they would take on Kotaliks salary as well was not the only avenue available for the team to go down in it's pursuit of cap space. If the teams owners were truly, 100% committed to winning, no matter the cost, like say, a Terry Pegula, the team would have buried Kotaliks (or Hagmans) contract in the minors or in Europe. But the owners of this team are not truly, 100% committed to winning, which is why the team engaged in a naked salary dump.

A fanbase that is paying what it is paying for tickets notices moves like that. This isn't the 90's anymore. This team should not be losing players because of money issues. The Saddledome is sold out every night. Everyone owns a jersey and swag. Coffers should be flush.

Trading Regehr to get Kotaliks contract off the books was rightly viewed by the majority of the fan base and by media members not collecting a cheque or dependent on access from the Flames as the owners cheaping out.

Going into free agency then, the optics were that the owners had just ordered Ken King to tell Jay Feaster to trade a top four defenceman for salary relief when other options were available to them to acquire that salary relief. The fanbase was rightly sour. If the team was not good enough last year, and this year the main moves amounted to retaining players who were not good enough to take the Flames to the playoffs to begin with, and then on top of that they traded away a solid player from the weakest area of the team (the blueline), how was the team improving? This course of action, trading away Regehr while retaining the support pieces of Glencross and Tanguay also raised questions. Is there a plan? What direction is the team going in? And, importantly, these questions are being asked by season ticket holders. Lots of them.

Free agency then opens with these questions and perceptions surrounding the Flames. Questions about the direction of the team, questions about ownerships commitment to winning, questions about the teams ability to compete next season.

And then comes word that the Flames have offered Brad Richards a contract, and suddenly, these questions fade into the background. Ownership is committed to winning, they stepped up to the plate on Richards. The team is going to compete now, as they are adding pieces for today.

Sorry, but all that was so much hogwash. The contract offer to Richards was a smoke screen, a marketing ploy, designed to take heat off the administration.

We started this piece with a quote from Brad Richards. He was not going anywhere besides New York. You can spare us all the clap trap about Calgary coming in second in the bidding. In auctions, second place is the same as last place. It seems probable to us that Richards agents didn't want to get involved in a situation where New York would feel it had no competition in the bidding process. In order to get New York to offer better terms, they would have to create the illusion that Richards would entertain going elsewhere. The result was that they fielded bids from anyone interested, and luckily for them, a desperate Calgary Flame team came calling with their massive, $64 million dollar bid.

Why would King/Feaster offer this type of contract, reportedly the biggest offered to Richards, if they didn't know he was leaning towards New York? They would not have. Did the Flames front office believe that the extra $4 million dollars they offered would be enough to convince Richards to change his (and his wifes) mind about where they were going to play the next decade? Impossible to tell what the Flames front office is thinking, but they could not be that naive/stupid to believe that an extra half million dollars a year was going to change Brad Richards mind.

If the Flames were serious! serious! about adding Brad Richards, they would have offered 70 million dollars or more. But they didn't. What they did was offer a contract that was comparable to the contract the team Brad Richards wanted to go to offered. Which means, to those of you who don't pay attention to M&A's, they were only half hearted in their pursuit of Brad Richards. They knew he wasn't going to say yes to their offer, so there was no harm in offering it.

Which, in effect, proves the point. The team offered Brad Richards a contract that they knew he would not seriously consider (and again, spare me the noise about second place. Go read the quote at the top of the page). They did so to look like heroes back home in the local market. For marketing.

Now, don't get us wrong. The team did offer Brad Richards a big money deal. If he had said yes, they wouldn't have pulled the deal off the table. But they did not offer enough money to close the gap with New York. We think that shows they were not serious! serious!, but it can also show they were just being prudent! prudent! (as prudent as one can be when one is offering 31 year olds 9 years and 64 million). How can we tell what the case is?

Was there any other market activity that could show us? We think there was. New York won the Richards bidding. The other teams involved in the bidding, Toronto and LA, once rebuffed, then moved quickly to secure some hockey talent. The Leafs signed often injured Tim Connoly, and the Kings signed Simon Gagne (often injured would be redundant). The Flames were not in negotiations for either player. Why not?  If their pursuit of Richards is an indication that the team is looking to add more skill to its forward ranks, either of these players, who ended up signing short term deals, would have fit the bill. Yet the Flames didn't negotiate with either. Similarly, they did not get involved in the Heatley/Havlat sweepstakes. Again, if the goal is to add elite level skill to the forwards, wouldn't they at least have put in a telephone call?

But the team didn't. It's hard to get around those facts. Which is why we believe that the Richards effort was little more than marketing. Sure, the team gets credit for putting in an offer, and the teams owners get credit for at least implying they would be willing to commit major dollars for a player, but at the same time, the team knew, going into the negotiations, that Brad Richards was wanting to sign with the Rangers. Offering a half million dollars per year more than the Rangers doesn't look to us to be a serious attempt to lure Richards away from his preferred destination. Which makes it look like to us like marketing.

(Also, the lack of any apparent 'Plan B's' kinda give away the game to those paying attention)

Now, what is marketing? It's simple. Marketing is the act of telling the market something. Not complicated. What was the message the Flames were sending, and to who?

We think the Flames were sending an important signal to the market, and to the fans, not about this year, but about next year. By getting their names in the Brad Richards negotiations, and by offering the term and the dollar they did, the Flames are telling the agents of the free agents of 2012 that Calgary is a place that might be interested in them. Calgary will have, very roughly, about $25 million dollars coming off the books at the end of this season. Calgary will also have at least 65 million dollars in monies that they have shown they are willing to commit. This does not go unnoticed by agents.

Free agent targets are semi obvious. Semin and Suter come to mind. But who knows, maybe Weber is on the market as well. It doesn't really matter. Whoever the shiny bauble is, the Flames have told the market that they will be interested in bidding on them. We think Flames fan should view this largely as a good thing.

The other signal this sends to the market is that the Flames are still looking to win now. The team would not have offered Richards a contract if it intended to rebuild (we hope). Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing can be debated. But the moves of the Flames this offseason, retaining Glencross and Tanguay (and now Badsuck, apparently), coupled with the offer to Richards, imply to us that this team is still very much in the 'win now' mode.

Yes, that same 'win now' mode that got Darryl fired. But really, why should we be shocked that type of outlook is still in the Flames front office. Ken King is still in the Flames front office. Ergo...

Meanwhile, while the administration has been out whale hunting, the team still needs a 3 and a 4 on the defence. It still needs a LW of better quality (or consistency) than Hagman. It could probably use what Richards isn't, a two way centreman. But forget all of that, Flames fan, your team bid on Brad Richards. Problems solved.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.