Saturday Feb 19, NHL Rumors and News

Flames’ turnaround changes deadline plan

Ed Jovanovski likely out several weeks with orbital bone fracture

Sheldon Souray is in play. Put on re-entry waivers today.

Deadline Scoops!
Flames’ turnaround changes deadline plan

As I arrive in Calgary for the Heritage Classic on Friday, I shake my head at how the host Flames have completely transformed their storyline from just two months ago.

In mid-December, the outdoor game between Calgary and the visiting Montreal Canadiens had you wishing the league could have moved the event to another location.

You wondered whether Flames captain Jarome Iginla would even be around for the outdoor game. And if he was, was it because the organization didn’t want to be embarrassed and not have its longtime poster player be a part of it?

And surely the Flames’ rebuild would have started by now, before the puck drops Sunday at McMahon Stadium.

Well, never mind all those thoughts. Never mind big-mouth LeBrun saying, during a Hot Stove segment on “Hockey Night in Canada,” that the Flames were crazy if they didn’t try to trade Iginla to kick start the rebuild. Just forget any of that happened, because what has transpired over the past two months is simply mind-blowing.

In the 25 games since GM Darryl Sutter was pushed aside Dec. 28, the Flames have played at a clip that would make the 1989 Cup-winning squad proud. Try a .740 winning percentage over that stretch in the middle of a crazy Western race, with a shot at fourth place in the conference.

Truly amazing.

“It sure is,” interim GM Jay Feaster told on Thursday. “It’s an example of what can happen when you have an entire group that has bought in to the system, that has bought in to the team concept and that is bringing the work ethic on a nightly basis.

“I said for a long time that when we follow the system and we work hard, that we can beat anybody in the National Hockey League,” Feaster added. “When we don’t follow the system or when we try to take short cuts and don’t work hard, then we’re in trouble. We can’t just rely on our talent alone. It has to be our talent level supported by our work ethic. And that’s really what has happened over the last couple of months.”

Which brings us to the Feb. 28 trade deadline. When Feaster took over in late December, he was thinking of which parts he would sell off. Now, those parts are staying. UFAs-to-be Curtis Glencross, Brendan Morrison and Alex Tanguay, all of whom could have been trade bait had the Flames continue their losing ways, are here for the playoff push.

“The mission here is to make the playoffs,” Feaster said. “We’ll deal with the free agency when we have to deal with it.”

Sellers just two months ago, now they’re possible buyers.

“Yes, if we can add in a way that makes sense, and by that I mean part of it will depend on the pricing,” Feaster said of trying to add a player.

Ed Jovanovski likely out several weeks with orbital bone fracture

Ed Jovanovski, whose season already was compromised with injuries and bouts with the flu, will miss several weeks after undergoing surgery Friday for an orbital bone fracture.

The veteran defenseman was injured late in Thursday night’s game against Atlanta when he and the Thrashers’ Patrice Cormier collided, face to face, as the second period was coming to an end. He was placed on injured reserve.

His absence comes at a critical time for the Coyotes, who lead the Pacific Division by one point and begin a five-game road trip Saturday in Nashville.

“It is tough,” coach Dave Tippett said. “We certainly will miss him, but we’ve got some players that hopefully will step in and fill that role. Jovo has missed a little bit of time here lately, so we’ve got some players that have been playing in that role, but he will certainly be missed.”

In 47 games this season, Jovanovski has five goals, 14 points and 37 penalty minutes, but captain Shane Doan said his contributions cannot be measured by numbers alone.

“He’s such a big part of our team, and we count on him so much,” Doan said. “As a player, he’s so competitive, he does all the little things, and he’s so hard to play against.

“We’re definitely going to miss him, and hopefully he can get better and be back soon , and we’re going to count on guys to step up.”

Two players who will have to share that burden are Oliver Ekman-Larsson and David Schlemko, rookies who have logged important minutes this season. Schlemko, coming off an upper-body injury, has been reactivated and was sent to San Antonio for conditioning.

Sheldon Souray is in play. Put on re-entry waivers today.

Deadline Scoops!

Shark bites….

There’s been some discussion of forward Devin Setoguchi being in play, possibly for a D-man San Jose is looking to add. A source close to the Sharks tells me “There’s no chance Setoguchi is moved for a rental”.

This shouldn’t suggest San Jose won’t deal the former 30 goal scorer but the player in return will have to have some term remaining on their deal.


If the Hurricanes were to slip out of playoff contention D-man Joni Pitkanen could be made available. Ian White’s name has already come up as both D-men are playing in the final year of their contract.

Congrats to one of the All-time greats in Rod Brind”Amour who will have his jersey retired tonight.

Several teams are looking to add defense including Montreal, Boston, San Jose, Rangers, and Calgary just to name a few. I’m sure I’m leaving out a few.

Oil Country….

Several names are being tossed around out of Edmonton. According to multiple Western Conference scouts Ales Hemsky, Ladislav Smid, and Tom Gilbert could be had for the right price. Glibert still has several years remaining on a contract that pays him an average of $4 million per year. Hemsky is owed $5 Million next season in the final year of his deal, Smid, a former Anaheim first round selection, is an RFA after this season.