Jarome Iginla

Report: Flames won’t spend to the cap ceiling next season

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The Calgary Flames haven’t been that far from the playoffs despite missing the postseason for three straight years, but that’s little solace to fans – especially since management is paying them like an elite club. Roger Millions passes along an intriguing detail, though: it sounds like the Flames’ days of spending to the cap are over.

To be more specific, Millions expects the Flames’ budget to be around $55 million, which would be about $15 million less than the expected cap ceiling if the CBA doesn’t alter the cap. Either way, it sounds like the Flames’ spending will be reined in quite a bit.

Get rid of Kipper, Iggy or Bouwmeester?

According to Capgeek, the Flames currently have about $50.3 million committed to the cap next season, with 16 players covered. Millions and Kent Wilson believe that one or more of big-money players Jarome Iginla, Miikka Kiprusoff and Jay Bouwmeester might need to go to make things work.

Perhaps to little surprise, Millions tabbed Bouwmeester as the odd man out, although one could argue that the Flames would be wiser to move Iginla because he might draw a better deal – particularly for a Flames team that still seems to be in “rebuild denial.” Bouwmeester’s disappointing offensive numbers and $6.68 million cap hit probably won’t attract half the attention as Iginla; Bouwmeester (28) is also considerably younger than Iginla (34).

Iginla has one more year left with a $7 million cap hit while Bouwmeester and Kiprusoff’s ($5.8M cap hit) deals run out after the 2013-14 season.

The rest of the moves

Either way, there isn’t a lot of wiggle room for GM Jay Feaster. The team can call up some minor league players/prospects to fill some roster spots cheaply, yet that’s not likely to jive well with their stated plans. Here’s a quick list of their pending free agents:

Unrestricted

Olli Jokinen
Lee Stempniak
David Moss
Tom Kostopoulos
Cory Sarich
Scott Hannan

Restricted

Blake Comeau
Mikael Backlund
Akim Aliu
Blair Jones

***

If you were in Feaster’s shoes, would you trade one (or more) of the bigger name players on the team? Would you instead try to get rid of a bigger salary eyesore like, say, Matt Stajan? Or would you blow the whole thing up?

Share your armchair management plan in the comments if you feel the need.

(H/T to Arik Knapp.)

Backes scores OT goal on his birthday, Blues even up series with Stars

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The St. Louis Blues won’t be thrilled with the way they played in the third period, but in the end, they did just enough to come away with a 4-3 overtime win over the Dallas Stars in Game 2. The Blues’ win means that the series will head to St. Louis tied 1-1.

The Stars opened the scoring in the first period, but the Blues responded by scoring three unanswered goals (Patrik Berglund, Joel Edmundson, Troy Brouwer) on five shots. Stars coach Lindy Ruff had seen enough from starter Kari Lehtonen at that point. He yanked Lehtonen in favor of Antti Niemi at the start of the second period.

Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the second period, but things got crazy in the third.

With his team still trailing 3-1, Mattias Janmark split Alex Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko before scoring a great goal.

Moments after Janmark’s goal, Brian Elliott took a Jason Spezza blast off the mask. Elliott was shaken up on the play (he even lost one of his contact lenses), but he did stay in the game.

Stars captain Jamie Benn (surprise, surprise) leveled the score by burying a goal by Brian Elliott with under three minutes in regulation.

Like they did during their first round series against Chicago, the Blues took some time to regroup before finding a way to get the job done.

The Blues’ power play went back to work after Antoine Roussel took his third penalty of the game. That’s when the birthday boy, David Backes, came through.

That’s a nice way to celebrate your 32nd birthday.

Game 3 goes Tuesday night in St. Louis.

 

Jamie Benn’s late goal sends Game 2 to overtime

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This definitely wasn’t the way the St. Louis Blues drew it up.

The Blues entered the third period of Game 2 with a 3-1 lead. Unfortunately for them, they weren’t able to shut the game down on the road.

St. Louis jumped ahead 3-1 after 20 minutes before Dallas decided to pull Kari Lehtonen in favor of Antti Niemi. The move didn’t provide any results in the middle frame, but something certainly sparked the Stars in the third period.

Mattias Janmark cut the deficit to 3-2 with this beauty (notice how he split Colton Parayko and Alex Pietrangelo).

With less than three minutes remaining in regulation, Stars captain Jamie Benn tied it up (top).

It’s safe to say this wasn’t a memorable third period for the Blues.

Video: Brian Elliott takes a blast off the mask, stays in the game

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A bit of a scary moment in the third period of Game 2 between the Stars and Blues.

Less than five minutes into the third period, Jason Spezza took a shot that caught Blues goalie Brian Elliott square in the mask. Play was halted as Elliott remained down. It appears as though the shot to the mask also made Elliott lose one of his contacts.

Thankfully, Elliott wasn’t seriously injured on the play. After being examined by the team doctor, he was allowed to stay into the game. He did need a new mask though (he got his original one back a few minutes later).

You can watch the play by clicking the video at the top of the page.

The Blues currently lead 3-2 late in the third period.

Here’s some Twitter reaction:

 

Lehtonen only lasts one period in Game 2

Lehtonen
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Kari Lehtonen might have been more hit than miss in the playoffs going into today’s action, but Game 2 against St. Louis was certainly a start he’d like to forget.

Dallas outshot St. Louis 10-5 in the first frame, but the Blues still managed to take a 3-1 lead. Antti Niemi replaced Lehtonen for the second period which means, barring another goalie change, Lehtonen will actually end up with a sub-.500 save percentage this afternoon.

The numbers obviously look bad and it’s hard not to blame Lehtonen in the face of that, but the Blues deserve a lot of the credit for those goals. Patrik Berglund had a great shot on goal for the first marker, Joel Edmundson‘s first career playoff goal came after a nice setup by Troy Brouwer, and when Brouwer collected his own goal it was off of a rebound during a power play.

So to an extent, you could say Lehtonen looked bad due to circumstances that were very unfavorable to him. Nevertheless, the Stars needed to shake things up after what was unquestionably a bad period for them.