Better know a Calgary Flame

I suppose it’s been a little while, hasn’t it? If you feel like you’ve missed roughly 34 games of your favourite NHL hockey team’s regular season, well…

Obviously you know why you’ve missed roughly 34 games of your favourite hockey team’s regular season, and there’s no reason to re-hash that now, mostly because it’s over, but also because sometimes wounds just take that much more time to heal.

So maybe, after the dust has settled on what was the most aggravatingly cloying work stoppage in the history of the world’s anything, through anger, or apathy, or just simply an inferior long term memory, you’re having a hard time recalling the blade-clad mercenaries whose exploits you once found so vitalizing and admirable.

Working under the assumption that you’re a Calgary Flames fan (and really, why wouldn’t you be?), there is help.

With the season tantalizingly close (you guys can taste hockey too, right?), perhaps we need to take a quick step back from our rabid fanaticism on the verge of combustion to remember just who the hell it is we’re cheering for anyway.

And again, this is assuming you’re a Flames fan, because if you’re not, this might take a while to sit through.

Jarome Iginla

The man with the plan, the million middle names, a forehead crease that is as much his legacy as his offensive exploits, and probably Scotiabank’s finest bank account, Jarome Iginla is, of course, the Calgary Flames.  At 35, he may be slowing down a touch, and maybe in a 48 game season he doesn’t continue his world beater streak of consecutive 30 goal seasons (currently sitting at 11!) (11!!!), but he still identifies as the face of the Calgary Flames until Sven Baertschi notches his first 50 goal season.

Mike Cammalleri

If you say bad things about your boss in a forum where EVERYONE CAN HEAR IT,  there’s a good chance you get fired.  If you’re Mike Cammalleri, the rules don’t apply to you.  If you’re Mike Cammalleri, you get traded mid-game from one of the most hallowed organizations in sports history, to a struggling franchise you never wanted to leave in the first place.  If you’re Mike Cammalleri, it means you’re probably good at scoring goals, wearing Adidas, and drinking some kind of pink power gel that supposedly leaves you energized.  If you’re Mike Cammalleri, the amount of letters in your last name are superfluous.

Miikka Kiprusoff

Kipper is 36 years old, but in Finnish years, that’s only like 27, which is why Miikka continues to be so resilient in goal for your Calgary Flames.  Expected to play anywhere between 80 to 100,000 games in this lockout shortened season, you might want to put $50 down on Kiprusoff being your dark horse goalie to win the Vezina trophy.  Coming in at 33/1 odds (under the misspelled name “Any Other Goalie”, my man Miikka might surprise you and make you at least a little bit richer this season.

And isn’t that what pro sports is all about?

Sven Baertschi

Switzerland may be neutral, but it’s favourite son will be spending a lot of time in the offensive zone this year.  Maybe the Flames’ most droolworthy prospect since Dion Phaneuf, but with 90% less of a perceived Jerk Complex, Sven has already endeared himself to the fanbase based on his already wildly successful play.  Flames fans love the Bartsch so much that they’re willing to gamble on buying his jersey, even if they’re never quite sure what the accepted spelling is, nor if he’ll stick with number 47 on the back, or if he’ll switch to a grown ups number.

Fulton Reed

Lanky defenseman with a cannon shot that only hits the net 1 out of 10 times.

Jay Bouwmeester

Lanky defenseman with a cannon shot that only hits the net 1 out of 10 times.

Curtis Glencross

The Diamond In The Rough.  Curtis Glencross only knows how to do two things: Ride chuckwagons, and score goals.  Which is fortunate for Flames and Stampede fans in the city, as they get to see it’s adopted son excel in these ventures, but it’s also kind of sad when you consider that if these are the only thing GlenX knows, he’s in a world of trouble, because to make it in this world, you need to know how to do a smattering of other things, like using a fork, or tying shoes.

Best of luck to you, Curtis.

Mark Giordano

Steadily rising up the ranks of the Flaming C in terms of popularity, likelihood of future captaincy, dopplegangerness or Mr. Bean, and being awesome, Giordano is set to anchor the Flames defense in all situations on the ice again this year.  It’s going to be pretty great, so I think you should pay attention.

Mikael Backlund

L’il Mikey spent the lockout playing back in Sweden with his old club, Västerås, in the Swedish Second Division, and by all accounts just crushed it over there.  Furthermore, early training camp reflections by, well, me, say that he has looked pretty impressive in practice playing along side Sven Baertschi, and if you didn’t think it made sense pairing two of the only guys under 30 on the same line together, wait until the season starts.  You’re in for a treat.

Blair Jones

If I accomplish one thing here at the Spectator Tribune, and I probably won’t, it’s going to be to make you fall in love with Blair Jones.  This guy is my hero.  He’s tenacious, he’s a digger, he can agitate, and he’s got some undercover skill that we’re all waiting to see more of.  Of course, as the 4th line center, that will never be an expectation, but the guy is able to spin a Buick on his finger while kickboxing hammerhead sharks, in space, and there’s absolutely no need to fact check that, so in the words of Pierre Mcguire, “get excited” about Blair Jones.

Also in the words of Pierre Mcguire: “EL KABONG!”

Bob Hartley

The Flames new bench boss, and first guy in a long time we’re pretty sure doesn’t have any ancestry anywhere that includes a last name “Sutter” in it, which we are all very much looking forward to, as it’s 2013, and that mostly doesn’t work anymore (ignoring the fact that the Los Angeles Kings are prevailing Stanley Cup Champions)

I’ll admit, initially, I was hesitant about Hartley as a coach, thinking he was resting on his laurels of winning a Stanley Cup in Denver with an Avalanche team so stacked even I could find success.  But watching the way he operates thus far has me questioning my tune, which I hope continues, because I like the Calgary Flames and would like to see them succeed in some fashion, so the ball’s in your court on that one, Bobby.

And be nice to Sven, okay?

Jay Feaster

The Rex Ryan of Hockey General Managers, in the sense that, oh man, that guy needs to stop making predictions not entirely based in logic.  No more “Write it down, we are making the playoffs” on National TV when it’s obvious you aren’t; no more “Going For It” when you make it clear you’re gunning for 8th place (Playoffs?  Are you kidding me, playoffs?).  Stop being so quotable in ways that can come back to haunt your team.  We all love the confidence, but you’re making it really hard to defend loving this team sometimes.  So just stop it.

Until Sven notches his first 50 goal season.

Craig Conroy

Buggly eyes, and legendary status.  Craig Conroy, a king amongst men.

So there you have it.  That is literally everything you have to know, so now when you catch yourself watching a Flames game, and you’re like “hey, who’s that guy that just outdeked himself on his own blueline and fell and coughed the puck up and the other team scored?”, you can know that that’s Cory Sarich.  And I know we didn’t talk about him here today, but rest assured, that is always Cory Sarich.

Because Scott Hannan is in Nashville this season.

Heartbreaking defense aside, it is super terrific that hockey is back, and if you find yourself watching a lot of Flames games, hopefully this primer will be everything you need and more to keep abreast of the goings on of these saints of hockey.


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