Christmas is right around the corner so it’s time to dole out a few gifts to the Calgary Flames. But despite the spirit of the giveaway season, it won’t be tolerated on the ice.
Craig Conroy. A goal. He hasn’t scored since April.
Miikka Kiprusoff. A gold star. The Finnish stopper has hands-down been Calgary’s MVP this season.
Curtis McElhinney. A semi-regular start. Wasn’t he supposed to start 15-20 games this season so Kiprusoff could be paced? What’s he started, four out of 33?
Jarome Iginla. A first-rate playmaking centre. Now well into the back nine of his career, Iginla would post some fabulous numbers playing with a premiere pass-first pivot. Someone like the available Jason Spezza.
Nigel Dawes. Daymond Langkow’s defensive awareness.
Rene Bourque. A three-year deal worth $12 million. That’s a 300 percent increase over the $1.35 million he’s getting now, but it’s well warranted. In fact, the Flames would be the happy recipient of a Christmas present like that.
Mark Giordano. Time on the first power play unit with Jay Bouwmeester. With it would come instant league-wide respect as a top-flight defenseman.
Jay Bouwmeester. An added sense of urgency. The poise and calmness are nice, but not always ideal when the alarm bells go off.
Dustin Boyd. Regular duty with scoring wingers to take his game to the next level.
David Moss. See Jay Bouwmeester.
Dion Phaneuf. Another half brain when playing in his own end without the puck.
Curtis Glencross. A week with Rich and Ron Sutter. The style of play is much the same. Maybe osmosis from the Sutter twins would add a bit more grit and consistency.
Olli Jokinen. A playmaking winger. All those good years in Florida came averaging more than four shots on goal per game. Now he’s not ever close to three per game.
Cory Sarich. Good health in 2010. The Flames aren’t nearly as tough without him in the lineup.
Robyn Regehr. See Craig Conroy. Actually, it’s no biggee he haven’t scored in 100-plus games. Balancing off a defensively weak partner is a big enough challenge.
Eric Nystrom. His father Bob’s hands.
Fredrik Sjostrom. Scoring totals like he used to post at the Saddledome (77 points in 63 games with the Hitmen in 2002-03). OK, we’d be happy with a goal every half dozen games or so.
This article also appeared in the Calgary Metro newspaper.
Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior special editions editor and a regular contributor to THN.com. You can find his blog each weekend.
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