And the winners are…

Funny how the Flames escaped what for them has recently been the gruesome month of October with a fairly health 7-4-1 record and yet there are as many concerns and questions about the hockey club as ever.

Meanwhile, up in Edmonton, illness and a weird pattern of scoring either a lot or not at all has marked a .500-ish start for the Oilers.

And over in Vancouver, all the new space-age dressing-room features in the world hasn’t prevented the spate of injuries that have made the defending division-champion Canucks a very mediocre outfit.

With one month of play in the books, the Western Canadian clubs show 7-7-7 in the win column. That’ll get you a nice payout in Vegas but nobody should be in any hurry to plan a parade route in any of those cities.

Anyhow, without further ado, we bring you the Northwest Division Awards for October.

MVP: Craig Anderson has been so good so far this season, the NHL oughta allow him to re-add the second “S” in his surname. The Colorado Avalanche netminder was one of the stealth acquisitions of the past off-season and the former Flames draftee has compiled a 10-2-2 record, a 2.04 goals-against average and a scintillating .939 save percentage. More often than not, he’s been the single biggest difference between a Colorado club that many figured would be in the division cellar and the one that is actually leading the pack.

Honourable mention: Edmonton’s Dustin Penner, Calgary’s Rene Bouque and Colorado’s Wojtek Wolski

LVP: If the MVP comes from the division leader, then the Least Valuable Player should be selected from the bunch in the basement. The Minnesota Wild have several excellent candidates but let’s go with Martin Havlat, a splashy free-agent addition who has but one goal (it came on the power play) and a minus-9 figure to show for his early work with the Wildmen. He also found the time to miss a few games with a groin injury, just in case Minnesotans were feeling nostalgic about Marian Gaborik’s days with the franchise.

Dishonourable mention: Minnesota’s Brent Burns, Calgary’s Olli Jokinen and Vancouver’s Kyle Wellwood

Quote of the month: I’m watching how they play — do they compete? I know some of them have skill, I watch them in the morning, but some guys are really morning glories."
— Oilers skipper Pat Quinn on unnamed members of Edmonton’s skill players

Stat of the month: The Flames were 5-0 against the Western Canadian brethren in October and 2-4-1 against everyone else.

Individual stat of the month: The Avs’ Wolski was subject to several benchings by rookie skipper Joe Sacco but he still scored eight goals in October, none on the power play. The next most goals without the benefit of a man-advantage marker is five, a total reached by ex-Oiler Joffrey Lupul, Clarke MacArthur and Tyler Kennedy.
 

  • If Pat Quinn and the rest of the Oil coaching staff are dissatisfied with the team's performances in October, they will certainly not be pleased with November. This is when the Canadian Finals Rodeo hits Rexall Place and the team is on the road. As we are aware, the Oil aren't a good road team. Right now, the lack of Souray is having a negative effect. I understand his concussion is serious enough to put him on long term disability. Is it possible for Tambellini to wake up and trade for a centre that is strong on the puck and good in the faceoff circle?

  • Lofty

    Vegas has the Oil at 50/1,the flames at 18/1 and the canucks at 15/1 to win the cup… I am a die hard Oil fan but out of the three I will throw my $20 at the Flamers from everything I have seen so far.

    Avs were 75/1 but I still think they will fold like a cheap tent after the olympics.

  • I'm curious to know how a handful of road games played with an overabundance of AHL stand-ins, prospects and guys operating at about 30% due to sickness equates to the rather conclusive statement "As we are aware, the Oil aren't a good road team.".

  • Hemmertime

    On the Souray thing, I heard his problems are worse than just a concussion. Probably out for a long time. they won't be trading any defencmen away anytime soon I don't think.

  • Not sure the validity, but "Canes Insider" on twitter has this to say…

    It seems Ray Whitney is going to be on the move to Calgary. Details to come on a move that appears to be happening.

    about 6 hours ago from HootSuite

    That is now the 2nd source saying this, the 1st being are buddy Ek. Could be picking up steam… or could be a load. Ray Whitney for who? Olli Jokinen? Corey Sarich?

    Also, Eric Staal apparently left the last game with an upper body injury. Haven't heard how serious yet.

  • Pajamah

    Making a trade here would be a terrible choice….Oiler fans have dealt with too much of the "rebuild until we try a quick fix, then start from scratch again" crap that we've seen the last 10 years, minus 06'

    We finally have a full cupboard of prospects, with a decent NHL team. Trade prospect for talent today? Who says we don't end up with a Souray (injured too frequently) or Penner (20 good games in his first 3 seasons). Better the devil we know, far as I'm concerned.

    Wait until we have prospects pushing out bonafide NHL'ers for jobs, and then make moves (ugh) like the Flames have, where its just filling holes around your core guys. Sutter is a smart guy, got Kiprusoff for nothing, Iginla for an aging Neiuwendyk, who very few thought would be a superstar, and Luongo in Vancouver?….worst one sided trade in league history. We havent had a good track record in the pulling a rabbit out of a hat department, so lets build slowly, and properly

    2015 Cup….maybe

      • ~Well at least Sutter did better than stupid K-Lowe – he got nuthin for Messier or Gretzky when he traded them~

        Haha, I saw that last night and decided I'd wait for a smart oiler fan to correct him. Congratulations cable guy.

        *~shocked that there's actually a smart oiler fan~*

          • Well RossCreek, if that's the way you express narrow-minded thoughts, then I pity you.

            What about some of the atrocious deals Cowtown has made in the past ? Let's not just have tunnel vision on what is in Cowtown today. Look at all the mediocrity in the 90's, all the missed playoff years my friend. And what about all the stalls in the playoffs in the last 4 playoff years ? No progress shown past the 1st round.

            If one is to hatchet-job another merely out of hate then you're not immune to it yourself my friend ! The Flames are not a historically winning organization either. Just like the Oil. Except if you talk the earlier years.

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      Only semi related, but. A major beef amoungst Oiler fans over the last couple of years has been that the team ruins young players, who then go on to be stars elsewhere.

      "Sutter" (code name for Flames GM from any era)traded away both Mark Savard and St Louis and both went on to have 90+ point seasons.

      Some perspective is needed.

      • No Sutter actually traded those 2 away, as Darryl is the only Sutter to have been GM, and that happened long before his arrival. Brian was indeed the coach IIRC.

        St. Louis was just another in a long line of small forwards at the time. He was never projected to become a superstar (fact is, he was never drafted). It was Craig Button who released St. Louis (aafter 4 goals in 69 games). Unfortunately for the Flames, he went on to do much bigger things than the Hnat Domenichelli's, Marty McInnis', Valeri Bure's, Marty Murray's, Cory Stillman's and Rico Fata's of the world. I guess Domenichelli could be a good example for my pal LIBRARIAN MIKE (think it was you looking for the Kostitsyn/Gagner comparison). Hnat played Jr. with Iginla in Kamloops, and he didn't pan out as an NHLer long-term.

        As for Marc Savard (this one kinda, no scratch that, TOTALLY chaps my ass), Button moved a playmaking center with a poor work ethic for something called a Ruslan Zainullin (bless you). The Flames have been looking for a playmaking center ever since.

        Oh… and wasn't it Craig Button who signed Roman Turek to that big deal after about 13 good games. How'd that work out for ya Craig? What! You're not the GM anymore? What a shock!

        Damn you Craig Button!

          • Whatever. Thanks for bringin Marc Savard up though.

            ~It's not like he'd be the cat's meow in Calgary right now with Iggy on his wing~

            ~At least we have Olli Jokinen.~

            ~That's 5.25 well spent~

            And I actually wanted them to get Olli for the past 3 deadlines. At least if he'd grow a moustache again, he'd prett'near be worth the $$

  • I was hearing talk all last night about a possible deal between the two teams. I wish I had specifics, but I have heard Horcoff's name mentioned and a pretty significant player returning to Edmonton. A young player not named Tavares of course! Hopefully there will be more.

    What is 'the latest verbal diahrhea coming out of Eklund's mouth', Alex?

  • There is a concerning amount of crap being thrown around without any kind of evidence.

    "Reply #8 Hoss November 01 2009, 07:55PM
    On the Souray thing, I heard his problems are worse than just a concussion. Probably out for a long time. they won't be trading any defencmen away anytime soon I don't think."
    (heard where?)

    Dear lord the comments on this site certainly have gone a direction…

  • Chris Botta of http://www.islanderspointblank.com has these tidbits today…

    11:50 am – Dwayne Roloson said facing his old team and his former teammates shooting on him “is not an advantage to anyone.”

    Doug Weight to the Edmonton media (and one eavesdropper) on houseguest John Tavares: “Being here with the Islanders media, John has some anonymity. It’s allowed him to be one of the guys.”

    Jeff Tambellini said on Saturday night he didn’t just get a hat trick, he “set a record for text messages and emails.” He said he even heard from some of his old teachers. On the Islanders’ recent influx of secondary scoring, Tambellini said, “You can’t win in this league relying on your top line every night.”

    Scott Gordon said Trent Hunter is not quite ready for a return to the lineup. “He hasn’t practiced with us yet,” said Gordon.

    *

    10:45 am – The locker room coffee tastes better, smiles come more easily, mundane drills are packed with energy and laughs and there’s some extra pep in the steps of these Islanders, winners of three in a row and owners of points in five straight. There have even been some mischievous grins of “I told you so” and a few pesky late-night emails from app-filled iPhones saying…uh, “We think we’re all pretty good hockey players here. (Well, something like that).

    The gritty-gutty Islanders host Robert Nilsson, Mike Comrie (maybe – has the flu) and the Edmonton Oilers tonight. Today we throw out all talk of attendance. It’s a Monday night and the Falcons are playing the Saints on ESPN.

    *

    Dwayne Roloson gets the start against his former team. Rob Schremp sits again tonight. Trent Hunter looks like he should be ready this week. If he’s taken off IR and no one else gets hurt, Islanders will have to make a roster move. As of today, placing Schremp on waivers would be the most logical one.

    Based on this morning’s skate at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the Islanders’ lineup – as you would expect – remains the same:

    Moulson – Tavares – Okposo

    Bergenheim – Nielsen – Sim

    Tambellini – Bailey – Weight

    Thompson – Park – Jackman

    Streit – Gervais

    Sutton – Martinek

    Witt – Hillen

    Roloson

    Biron

    (Meyer, Schremp, Comeau, Hunter – injured)

  • Moulson – Tavares – Okposo

    Bergenheim – Nielsen – Sim

    Tambellini – Bailey – Weight

    Thompson – Park – Jackman

    Streit – Gervais

    Sutton – Martinek

    Witt – Hillen

    Roloson

    Biron

    (Meyer, Schremp, Comeau, Hunter – injured)

  • Dan the Man

    I have to say the topic of "bad Flames trades" is a good one…

    How about:

    Brett Hull and Steve Bozek to St. Louis in exchange for Rob Ramage and Rick Wamsley

    or

    Chris Drury and Steve Begin were traded from the Calgary Flames to the Buffalo Sabres for Rhett Warrener and Steven Reinprecht

    or

    The Gilmour Trade

    and finally…

    Jean-Sebastien Giguere to The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for 2000 2nd Round selection (later traded to the Washington Capitals – Matt Pettinger)

    • Librarian Mike

      The thing about that is; Barry Pederson was a pretty good player. I'd trade just about anybody for Cam Neely, but personally I think this trade is overrated as 'most one-sided ever'.

      Luongo to Vancouver for Bertuzzi is a bad one though, as the Panthers only got him for 7 games…actually I'd call that one about even…

  • Not quite as much action down here as on ON is there? Most of the comments appear to be similar or cut and pasted.

    Anyone esle absolutely appalled with how the Flamers decided to jump the line to get the swine flu shots?

  • WOW ! I can't believe Flames Nation website has so much Edmonton content !!! What's up with that ???

    Anyways, I was reading a comment by Robyn Regehr in today's Sun cited "Flames blueliner Robyn Regehr defended the process, saying the players had no clue the vaccine was in short supply. "

    Man o Man ! Give me a break you dunce ! That's total crap !! Given the general public knew about this shortage concern a week ago. It was clearly in all the papers !