Sunday, November 14, 2010

Give Your Heads A Shake

I gotta say, I am getting really frustrated with the Calgary Flames fan base lately, and a few media persons. The Flames are mired in a big funk right now. We have only won one of our last six games, and our offence has gone absolutely stone cold. A large part of our slump has been a complete lack of any type of presence from our top players. Unfortunately our beloved captain Jarome Iginla is one of the most glaring examples of our big time players that have gone missing. It is unacceptable that our top players have almost been non-existent during this funk, but it's not just them its the whole team that has been inconsistent, timid, lacking any confidence. This is evidenced in the numerous brain lapses they've had, bad line changes, poor positioning, scrambling, deviating from the system.

The unfortunate part, as it has been for numerous years,; is that when the team is doing lousy, the share of the blame falls on Iginla's shoulders for the entire teams short comings. Lately on the after hours call in shows, and on some blogs, I am hearing things like our problem lies in the fact that Iginla isn't scoring, and that it is time to trade Iginla. Trade him now while he has a lot of value. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Here is why I think that this line of thinking is extremely flawed, short sighted, ridiculous (Sutter like, you'll understand as you read on). First off, Iginla is one of the greatest Flames to take Saddledome ice. He has carried our team on his shoulders night in and night out, year after year, often with little to no support. He has proven his mettle game in and game out. He has been the face of the franchise, and along with Kipper; probably the only reason we've enjoyed the fruitful years of success we have. This alone should grant him some respect.

This teams success largely depends on Iginla's play. If he's scoring, odds are Calgary will have a good chance of winning. While he is struggling now, his game is showing improvement. In a year where the Flames are going to largely live on the playoff bubble, trading him mid-season doesn't make sense, unless you want to start playing for the number one overall draft pick next year.
But here is my biggest reason to not trade him now. It seems that if you are going to trade Iginla, that signal's that you are going to initiate an all out re-build of the team. That to me would logically include your other older and valuable assets (Kipper, Regher). While trading these assets for future young talent to take us back to prominence, do you really want to put your trust in Darryl Sutter? Hasn't he proven, time and time again; that he is not very competent at creating a good team for the new NHL? He struck gold with Kipper, but since then it has been a solid string of mediocre at best acquisitions. (Look no further than the Olli Jokinen trade) Even today, he traded away Ian White, who was a large part of that Dion Phaneuf trade. Yet another piece that we acquired that didn't work out. Additionally, he has had a valuable scoring superstar in Jarome Iginla who has been begging for complimentary players to play with. And year after year he has gotten mediocre players to play with him, producing nothing but a frustrated Iginla and fan base. You can't make water into wine.
Essentially I feel Iginla still has a lot to offer any team. I think he has a couple more solid, productive years left in him. His leadership and skill are an asset to anyone. I really hope he stays, but if not, I hope that a) he goes to a contender, for a shot at a cup, b) that someone other than Sutter handles the deal.
But to all of you fans crying for Iggy, to get traded, give your heads a shake! After all that man has done for this team, and the community, don't you think he's earned the benefit of the doubt?