June 21, 2012
Jagr to Flames? It's possible
By RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency
CALGARY - Jaromir Jagr of the Calgary Flames.
Sounds far-fetched, doesn’t it?
But, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.
The Flames may be a middle-of-the-pack NHL team — maybe worse — but for the first time in a few years, they will have all kinds of salary cap space to add a piece in the forward ranks, especially if Olli Jokinen is allowed to walk via free agency.
The Flames signed Roman Cervenka this spring with the hopes he can skate on the top two lines, and that could be a reason Jagr — who sits eighth on the NHL’s all-time list with 1,653 regular-season points and 11th with 665 goals — may be interested in coming to the Stampede City.
Cervenka, 26, and Jagr were linemates a couple of seasons ago with Omsk of the KHL and had all kinds of success.
Cervenka led the league with 31 goals and collected 61 points in 51 games in 2010-11. Jagr had 19 goals and 51 points.
Jagr netted 19 goals and 54 points in 73 games this past season with the Philadelphia Flyers, which is probably the top end for the 40-year-old now.
However, his value would also come by helping Cervenka acclimatize to life in North America.
The only other Czech player who could be on the Flames roster next season is youngster Roman Horak.
Jagr, who returned to the NHL this past season after three years in the KHL, is due to become an unrestricted free agent July 1, and may return to the Flyers, who paid him US$3.3 million this past season.
However, he’s never been one to do the expected all the time, so deciding to head west isn’t as crazy as it sounds.
REPORT SHOT DOWN
Flames GM Jay Feaster responded to an e-mail in record time Wednesday to refute a story out of Edmonton the team wouldn’t let the Oilers talk to Brent Sutter for their head coaching position.
“NOT true,” Feaster replied in a shot.
According to the report, Edmonton’s push to replace Tom Renney has been held up because the Flames won’t allow Sutter to talk to them until his contract expires June 30.
Sutter and the Flames parted ways within days of the season ending, and the club has since hired Bob Hartley as his replacement and filled out the coaching staff.
Sutter said Wednesday he hasn’t spoken to any teams about any coaching positions.
While it makes for good copy to say the Flames would prevent a club from talking to Sutter, it’s worth noting the Flames asked and received permission from other teams to talk to all of their new coaches — Hartley, Jacques Cloutier and Martin Gelinas — before hiring them.
The full NHL schedule will be released Thursday, although expectations abound the season won’t start on time due to a pending labour showdown between the owners and the players ... Craig Hartsburg, who was associate coach of the Flames last season but relieved of his duties a couple of weeks ago, was hired as associate coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets Wednesday.