The Calgary Flames lead the league in a dangerous category: Inflexibility.
As time ticks away on an organization on the precipice of having to rebuild, Flames management is saddled with a dilemma that finds its roster filled with 11 players who have the power of vetoing any proposed trade.
According to capgeek.com more than half the Flames’ roster includes players with no-trade or no-movement clauses in their contracts. That figure excludes Mark Giordano who will have that protection next season.
New Jersey sits second with nine, Vancouver has eight and three teams — Montreal, Boston and Detroit — have seven.
While the club’s wild swings in play make it far too early to suggest this is the year to start shedding major assets with an eye on the future, it’s important to note that whoever is calling the shots down the road will do so with his hands tied.
Now time for more notes, quotes and anecdotes from a sports world hoping the first Jockeys Gone Wild video hits stores before Christmas.
Around the horn
The bad news: The Hockey Hall of Fame voters screwed up by omitting Joe Nieuwendyk and Doug Gilmour this year. The good news: Ed Belfour is the only newly-eligible shoe-in for next year, meaning the voters can still slip both aforementioned stars in. They’d better do it then though as the class of 2012 includes Joe Sakic, Brendan Shanahan, Mats Sundin, Curtis Joseph and Jeremy Roenick. A year later, it’s Scott Niedermayer, Chris Chelios and Rob Blake ... How’s this for a bad night? Vancouver’s Guillaume Desbians gets exactly two seconds of ice time in a game against Colorado last week before a fight with Cody McLeod nets him a broken right hand that will keep him out of action indefinitely … Just when it appeared this was the year I was finally going to win my fantasy bobsleigh pool, down goes Jesse Lumsden with a knee injury … If Dion Phaneuf is indeed out six weeks due to his leg injury, that means his targeted return coincides with the day his Leafs make their first appearance in Calgary since he was traded to Toronto … Separated at birth: Actor Gary Sinise and Dino Ciccarelli.
Never known for its fashion sense, Saskatoon is about to find out if denim and Tweed go together. In recognition of the Pro Bull Riders Canadian finals coming to S’toon, the WHL’s Blades will wear a denim jacket hockey jersey Friday. What’s worse, the hideously detailed garments will be on display for the world to see when KISS front man Gene Simmons shows up with significant other Shannon Tweed — a former Saskatoon resident — to film his reality show Family Jewels. Simmons will don goalie equipment during the intermission and have several shooters test his skill, all for the benefit of the camera and the detriment of Canadian fashionistas … The league had best tread carefully when the GMs discuss adding a social media policy tomorrow as prompted by Phoenix GM Don Maloney. Maloney’s club currently houses Twitter star Paul Bissonnette — aka biz nasty — whose love for the homeless and hatred for PT Cruisers has attracted more than 10,000 twitter followers. Forever skirting the line of decency while tweeting from the bar, Bissonnette is monitored closely by the team. After being told to shut his account down in the summer by his agent, the Coyotes were flooded with complaints from fans who wanted him back online. So, he’s back at it. In a market where the team owes it to itself to reach out to potential fans any way possible, the fear is that some sort of censorship can interfere with that relationship … As written in this space last week the Flames have come under heavy fire from fans following the initial sale of Heritage Classic tickets, prompting the club to issue a rare but lengthy apology to season ticket holders Saturday via email explaining the challenges involved with taking the game outside to a stadium where essentially no one will have a good seat for the Feb. 20 game ... As disappointing as Olli Jokinen and Jay Bouwmeester have been, Flames fans ought to be thankful for Glen Sather, as he scooped up free agent Wade Redden in the summer of 2008 while the Flames were in the running.
Eric Francis appears regularly as a panellist on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada