Thursday, March 31, 2016

This Concerns Me

Originally blogged at Flames Jambalaya

As a Calgary Flames fan, we have to hope to lose every game. Like it or not, the tank nation is in full bloom. And as a fan, that makes common sense. But what concerns me is if the players start believing losing is acceptable.

I once talked to a source who told me this can be a major problem. The players start getting used to losing and lose their desire to do what it takes.

My source described how the process begins. Believe or not, it starts with the coaches. They get frustrated with the players, and they give up on them. They start doubting the players' ability, so they start accepting the players' failures. They start making strange coaching decisions and start second-guessing themselves.

The second problem that goes with this acceptance of failure is the superstars thinking they are better than the third and fourth line grinders.  This leads to them not working as hard in practice. The coaches have to stop this before it starts. If the coaching staff let it go, they give players the wrong message. What is the message, you ask? It's only practice. That didn't work so well for a particular basketball player.

So as a Flames fan, I understand tank nation. But I hate to say this. I do have some major concerns with tank nation. So I just want them to lose every game as long as it's not acceptable to lose.


Apparently, the Flames' priority is getting a number one goalie. Of course, that is obvious. Breaking news from Sportsnet is that the Flames are trying to sign Yale goalie Alex Lyon. It is nice to see them being aggressive. Now for a little tidbit for the draft blog the Flames might seek to acquire another first rounder. They would like to draft another goalie in the draft.

How about how well the Flames did with the Russell trade? A solid dman, with a solid prospect and second rounder. No offense to Russell, no way did I think they could have gotten that kind of return for him.

Until next time.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Book Review - Once Brothers

Another review of one of my wife's novels. You can find her at She has several promos going on right now, including a giveaway of a signed copy of Once Brothers on Goodreads

Growing up, I was taught to stay away from the gangs and wild kids. Which was not to hard for me to do, because we did not have to deal with gangs in my day. Back then, we mostly got around by dinosaur, but I digress. For this reason, when I started reading Once Brothers, I was wondering how much I was going to hate these kids.  Much to my surprise, I found the exact opposite

The biggest lesson I learned from reading this marvelous book was the old saying you can never judge a book by its cover. In reality, we never know the real reason a homeless kid goes astray. Do you know what going on with those kids? What made those kids make the decisions they made?

I found myself in a predicament reading the book of being furious with the characters one moment and feeling sorry for them the next. Take Jacob for instance. Having a father who is a policeman is bad enough. Being constantly in the spotlight with so much pressure to be perfect. But Jacob had a much darker secret in his life. He has a smaller brother, Nicholas, who he has to take under his arm thanks to his abusive father. Jacob, a fifteen-year-old, was being forced to be a man much too young.  Jacob was looking anywhere for protection, to get away from his father. But can he leave his brother with his dad? His decisions lead to gang life. Can he get out? Can he save himself and his brother?

Deke is out on his own. He has no family, no one to look up to. No one to look to for answers. Where will he go who can he trust? How will he survive day to day? Future goals like education aren't even his priority. He first has to survive from day to day. What kind of chance does Deke have when everything seems to be against him in an unforgiving world? Is the gang life the only answer?
Sammy is a ten-year-old who would love to have a mother who is not always drunk or stoned. He would like to come home just once without worrying if his mother is still alive. When he is confronted by a gang who want him to be a courier, how is suppose to say no? Sammy has to make some tough decisions. Will they be the right ones?

Pam brings these kids to life in her thought-provoking novel. She makes you realize that life is not always black and white. Quite simply, life is not always as simple as it looks. She makes you think that those kids in the gang might not have the luxuries that you I take for granted.

You will find yourself pulling for these children. She will have you on the edge of your seat until the end. You won't be able to put this book down.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Are the Leafs Happy?

Let me ask the Leafs fans: Should we be happy with the team this season?

I was very pleased that we have brought up the kids and let them play. We need to know the state of our kids. We have to know exactly what we have in our prospects bank. The only way we can do that is by playing them. Honestly, we have nothing to lose. The results are not an issue right now.

Who are the kids I refer to? Finnish gold medal hero Kasperi Kapanen. Swedish number one pick William Nylander. The highly-skilled Russian Nikita Soshnikov. These are the names that come to mind when I mention the kids coming up.

The so-called tank issue is in full bloom right now.

But the tank mindset cannot enter the dressing room. Don't get me wrong; management cannot be too unhappy with losses. But they cannot allow the players to be satisfied with losing. The tanking issue has to be nipped in the bud now.

So what does this mean? Management has to be smiling on the inside, not the outside. They want to lose, but they do not want the players to want to lose.


They have to do what it takes to win. We need these kids to do what got them on the Leafs roster in the first place.  Each of them needs to trust in their ability and play to their strengths. They do not have to be perfect, but they do have to care, and they have to try.  They will make mistakes, but they have to learn from those mistakes. For in a true player's heart is their ability to cover their weakness. The Leafs have to start breeding champions.

I have no doubt that all three kids will be on the roster next year.  So why not prepare them for the days ahead?


By playing them in every aspect of the game. They have to play in power play units.  Do they know how to distribute the puck?  Do they know where to position themselves in the powerplay? Are they getting in position to receive the puck? They must be constantly aware of where the puck is.

They have to play in penalty kill situations. Are they defensively sound? Are they responsible in their own zone and do they cover their man? Are they me players or team players?

All these questions have to be answered. The only way to get to know the kids is to play them. Remember, they are our future.

Analyzing the Flames' Season

Originally blogged at Flames Jambalaya.

What word describes the Calgary Flames' Season?  Would it be underachievers?  Would it be unprepared?  Would it be disappointment? More than likely, all three of those words come to mind for most Flames fans.  If I was honest, maybe some other words, which I cannot use here.

So what happened?  If I ask most of you their biggest problem, you would say goaltending.

Some of you might put it on the defense.  Way too many giveaways in the offensive and defensive zones.  Defensive breakdowns were all too common.

Often there are no forwards within miles to back up the goalie. Too many floaters on the Flames this season. Forwards are staying up in the neutral zone waiting for the puck to come to them.  For some reason, this team’s grit has long gone south for the season.

Some may say the offensive scoring has to improve. Let's face facts. Outside of Johnny Hockey, would you give anyone a passing grade? No doubt this puts a lot of pressure on the goaltender.  Most nights, the Flames score only one or two goals.

That being said, the defense has taken a beating this season. Most of the time they were playing like they were walking on eggshells. The tender was guaranteed to give up at least one bad goal a game.

The defense is under pressure to play 100 percent mistake free because they have no confidence in the Goalies.  Add the pressure of the offense not being proficient enough to overcome inept goaltending.

All of this causes the enormous pressure on the defense not to make mistakes.  They jump at every chance they can, which usually results in way too many 2-on-1’s.

Then there is the other issue; their prima donna attitude. In other words, certain players are not willing to do what it takes to win.  Which is not being taken well by certain vets in the locker room.

If the rumors of a divided locker room are true, there could be a much deeper problem.  I have not been able to confirm it, but rumors of the Flames divided locker room are out there.

None of these problems can excuse the Flames.  There is way too much talent on this team for them to have such a poor season.