ScorchStack Issue #45- be nice to Jim Matheson or I’ll fight you in the street
Scorchstack finally has a motto, and it's that
Covered the NHL for 40 years, lucky to watch lots of Hall of Fame Oilers.
Duncan Keith, Oilers discourse, and giving Eric Francis some credit- all the things you look for in a Calgary Flames newsletter
The Canadiens went on quite the run with a roster many considered to be below grade. Can the Flames find similar success? Scorchstack Summer Student Krayden made an attempt (?) to find out.
One lucky reader has won themselves a hand-drawn logo of Scorchstack because they guessed the NHL playoff bracket with the best amount of mediocrity.
Since last issue
Scorchstack #44 was released, everyone loved it and they told us so
Ramina was on Big Shiny Goons, the official favourite podcast of the Scorchstack. We are currently in an arbitration dispute with her on whether this counts as her contribution for the week.
The Flames didn’t do anything for a second consecutive month. They hired something called Mitch Love to be their AHL head coach, but that’s a fake name if I’ve ever heard one. Someone needs to do the P.I. work here.
Let’s talk business
No. Salary. Retained.
by Mike (@mikeFAIL)
Nothing unites 31 other fan bases than the loud, public, and abundant suffering that finds a way to plague the Oilers fan base. Monday morning gave us Pierre McGuire stumbling into a job with an NHL team for the first time since he was run out of Hartford. It gave us the Tampa Bay Lightning denting the Stanley Cup’s bowl, which is fantastic for various reasons.
Then a lull appeared as we all learned that the Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks were pushing towards a trade to send youth-deprived, aging husk of a defenseman Duncan Keith to Edmonton after weeks of “will they or won’t they?” The skies opened up and from the heavens, a gift appeared: Duncan Keith (and Tim Soderlund) to the Edmonton Oilers for Caleb Jones and a third-round pick.
And then we cheered, laughed, cried tears of joy, and three camps formed on the trade which wasn’t official yet:
In Favor (which I can’t figure out why) - which means you’re likely a hockey scribe of Edmonton sweating profusely in the everlasting heatwave engorging the fair capital city of Alberta, carrying water for the organization as if it is their divine duty to serve the mortal incarnate of ineptitude that runs the Oilers; or you’re the guy who has effortlessly suckled the toes of guys like Kurt Leavins and Dave Staples (a guy who has endeared himself to folks as being so far up his own ass on civic and hockey matters, that his likely fate in this life is suffocating in his own lower colon), men of the trade of always look on the bright side of this era of handcuffing the game’s brightest offensive weapon.
There’s also Jim Matheson tweeting through it, but please be nice to Jim he’s trying his best. I’m confident the heat is impacting his tweeting game.
You’re flooding your basement right now to make a replica rink of Rogers Place so you can throw your jersey on it as a sign of giving up (you hate it)- which means Ken Holland, a man who on his exit from Detroit plugged every toilet; scorched every crop; rubbed his balls on the pizza dough in Little Caesars Arena, and poisoned every well on his way out has bested you and your optimism that anything is better than Peter Chiarelli find coup de grace was Mikko Koskinen eating up a decent chunk of the Oilers’ salary cap.
If you’re somewhat in between the two, which I can empathize with (on the fence; not throwing yourself into the North Saskatchewan River) - perhaps believing that the capacity of resurgence is in the cards for Keith and also believing that ol’ Kenny has been around a long time and he surely can finagle something of actual value onto this roster to help his two literal-Hart caliber forwards
It’s been a great deal of time since Keith has been anything to write home about, but his resume speaks volumes of what he was: a Norris trophy, a Conn Smythe, some Cup rings, and a destiny in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Matt McClure at Faxes from Uncle Dale can and did a better job of framing his impact better.
Lost in the humor to be had about the insufferably tripping over themselves motif the Oilers continue is the part where Keith himself doesn’t matter when it comes to this - at the point of writing - avoidable mistake. If it hadn’t have been him, it would have been some other hockey centenarian, who could be coveted for what knowledge or leadership characteristics they possess. All that matters is yet again that Ken Holland is an era or two behind in his decision-making processes.
What matters most is that Holland has given us all another reason to relish the suffering of this team while enabling the village idiots to parrot platitudes of leadership, knowing what it takes to win (which turns out to have a carefully constructed team of elite talent in their primes coalescing at the perfect moment), and whatever else sticks to a wall when thrown at the right velocity.
All the more impressive beyond the obviously stated is the spectacle which Holland continued on with, which included:
Citing a lack of leverage from the Oilers’ perspective and position. Fact-checking on this comes up with a resounding ‘no’ to Holland’s comments.
This one-two punch not vindicating the analytics community true in their assessment of Kenny, but clear as day proving the gap between us on Twitter and those of us comfortably compensated for years of mediocrity having as much in common as water and oil.
Chris Chelios reference which is dismantled in the most polite way by the nicest man in the Oilers writingsphere.
And finally, when pressed about the return on Keith.
I don’t think anyone expects a well-articulated, business approach to the line of questioning Holland waltzed through in the early evening of Monday. I don’t even think it was in the realm of possibilities, but it significantly identifies a man who likely bought whatever the soothsayer Stan Bowman was selling.
It also puts a bullseye squarely on the Oilers as a market that can be swindled again, if the right smooth-talking man can convince Ken Holland to give up everything and his toaster for a grossly overvalued asset. I would strongly encourage every GM who is a Scorchstack reader (editor’s note: there are 31) to call Kenny now and sell him your finest trash.
Just to reiterate: be nice to Jim Matheson or I’ll fight you in the street.
Is Eric Francis playing us all by bullying Johnny Gaudreau with the narrative that he wants to leave Calgary after his contract expires so that he gets Johnny to stay long-term and retire as a Calgary Flame?
Is Eric Francis playing the long con here?
by Mike (@mikeFAIL)
What is the devious, miasma-spewing columnist for Sportsnet is actually doing the most ingenious thing ever done in hockey?
What if everything he has said for years about Gaudreau, about his inability to rise up in necessary moments; or that he could never get done in the postseason; or that he wants to go back to Philadelphia or some pizza tavern in Jersey; or that he wants to set the Calgary Tower on fire as a final farewell fuck you to the city when he bails in free agency; or that Gaudreau has been poisoning the local water supply by replacing the fluoride with gallons of former-Flame Chris Butler’s urine?
Is Eric Francis the smartest columnist in Calgary - nay Canada - nay the entire hockey world?! Maybe he’s been two steps ahead of all of us for nearly a decade and what he is crafting is his perfect column: I spent years bullying Gaudreau and convincing fans he was leaving just to force him to stay for forever.
Summer student Krayden thinks so.
ScorchStack would like to remind everyone that Eric Francis and Francis Ericsson are two different, unrelated people and any similarity between the two is a coincidence
Summer Student Krayden takes on Montreal
It’s the debut of Summer Student Krayden. He tried his best!
by Summer Student Krayden, with tremendous help from the Scorchstack staff
Some of you may be familiar with Summer Student Krayden, the Scorchstack’s summer student from the SAIT broadcasting program, for his infamous coverage of Flames game 56. On that date, he committed multiple violations of the Scorchstack media policy and internet usage and was subsequently terminated.
Due to the various conflicts it caused with SAIT and his uncle working there, we agreed to reinstate Krayden and put him in a better position for his skillset and talents around the office. Everyone makes mistakes, and we shouldn’t judge people based on their worst days even they reveal too much about themselves and make everyone uncomfortable on said days.
Unfortunately, this proved to be more of a challenge than a solution. While Summer Student Krayden does lack basic journalism skills, knowledge of most things hockey-related, and can’t make coffee, he does have endless enthusiasm and extensive knowledge of the most GIFable scenes from popular TV. We set his role as “production assistant,” where he could help out with the day-to-day operations of the Scorchstack. His responsibilities usually involved him not doing journalism and spending most of his day out of the office, but everyone agreed that it was a working plan.
However, his program required him to turn in a portfolio of his work. With his gameday social media posts obviously not a strong example, we decided to hand him an assignment based on the following premise: the Montreal Canadiens had made the Stanley Cup Finals, significantly lacking in star power - how did they do it, and how could the Flames position themselves to go on a run like that? We made it clear that we were literally going to accept anything.
After we handed him the assignment, Krayden disappeared without a trace and we were unable to contact him. This took a toll on all of us at the Scorchstack, as we now had to pay for and pick up our lunch orders ourselves. Two weeks later, he reappeared in the Scorchstack offices. He submitted this and an expense request (denied). I don’t know what it is or how it even comes close to answering the question, but I guess he spent $2,000 and needs at least a grade to advance at school.
[waving gif] (Krayden, I had to remove the GIFs from this article. It messes with the newsletter)
I’m Summer Student Krayden. I’m currently a student of Broadcast Journalism at SAIT and I have the privilege to work at the Scorchstack this summer. I love the Calgary Flames and everything about the game of hockey!
I have learned many things in my first real job. How to make coffee. What everyone has for lunch. What everyone’s favourite GIFs are (they don’t have any?). All in all, it has been a very fun experience even if I haven’t been able to do much hockey writing.
Buuuuuuuuttt, I was recently asked by the Scorchstack team to cover the Montreal Canadiens (not a typo!). In case you haven’t heard, the Canadiens - or the “Habs”- were eliminated in the Stanley Cup Finals to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
But how did the Canadiens get there? Early in the playoffs, no one would’ve picked them as Cup Contenders. Their Cinderella story has inspired many to ask how they can be the next Canadiens.
And what better way to find the answer than to go direct to the source? The Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
The Bell Centre (French: Centre Bell), formerly known as the Molson Centre (or Le Centre Molson), is a multi-purpose arena in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It opened on March 16, 1996, after nearly three years of construction. It is most notable as the home arena for the National Hockey League's Montreal Canadiens who are co-owned by the Molson Family. The Bell Centre is the largest hockey arena in the world. [Krayden, plagiarism is unacceptable] If the secret to a Cup run was anywhere, it would be here.
Unfortunately, I could not get into the Bell Centre. The first door I tried was locked. I couldn’t seem to find an entrance, and all the directions were apparently in a different language.
[Eric Andre “let me in” gif]
It seemed to me that they want to keep their cup winning ways a secret.
However, after looking into it a bit, I found out that the Canadiens are one of the most successful franchises in the league, having won numerous cups over the years. My source? Right outside the Bell Centre doors.
Now, I don’t know much about analytics, but it seems to me like the Canadiens are one of the best teams of all time. They win a lot and have a lot of [Krayden apparently didn’t feel the need to expand on this, nor even finish the thought in the first place]
But that still doesn’t answer the question: why are the Canadiens one of the best teams of all time?
And the secret was right outside, in front of me and everyone the whole time.
I think this is the first clue into the Canadiens and their dominance of the league: they have used many players over the years. I did not recognize some of them, like John Quilty and Louis Denis. But some of them I did recognize. Guy Lafleur and Maurice Richard and known by every hockey fan, and they’re on this statue too.
Is it really that simple? In my honest opinion, yes. The Habs have built a dynasty by adding a lot of great players to their roster, and they did it multiple times throughout the years. If you flip back through the history books of the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, you’ll see many great names and some okay ones associated with the Habs. As a result, they won championships. Coincidence? I think not.
This is the challenge the Flames face. If they were to build a statue like that, there would not be as many names on there, perhaps even less than a quarter of those names. Now the Flames have only existed for a short period of time compared to the Canadiens, but I think if they start adding players and tried to add good ones, they could be as successful as the Habs.
This is Summer Student Krayden, signing off from Montreal!
Thank you for reading Summer Student Krayden’s article. We are happy to report there are only six weeks left in summer.
Scorchstack NHL Bracket Winner
We were all quite frankly really bad at this, but one person was the least bad
by Nathan (@hanoten)
Well, another edition of the NHL Playoffs is done, and the Tampa Bay Lightning have won another Stanley Cup*. This gives them a grand total of three Stanley Cup* wins, for two seasons that were entirely made up and not tainted by a global pandemic, and also for the lingering bullshit that was 2004. Congrats on the Stanley ***. May the Flames one day learn they too can exploit a shoddy CBA for a competitive edge beyond taking away all RFA negotiating rights.
You know what is a pure and wholly legitimate prize though? The Scorchstack NHL Bracket Challenge, and boy howdy did one of you sure win it.
As discussed in the last update, we were all quite bad at picking a bracket this year. The Scorchstack Bracket winner won with 148 points, because no one correctly picked Tampa Bay to win the Cup. To put that in context, the overall top score for everyone who did a bracket was 379. So, our best bracket was about half right. Yeesh.
Last time, I made fun of ACTRP for picking the Leafs to win and speculated what it stood for. Turns out, it’s Antonio C, The Real Pepman.
I did as good a job at figuring that out as I did with my own bracket, finishing with a paltry 56 points. I am not looking forward to having to discuss this in the upcoming quarterly Scorchstack reviews.
But you care about who won, and which Scorchie will be providing a hand-drawn logo to our victor as well as some hockey cards. When we last checked in Butterscorch was in the lead. They stumbled a bit down the stretch and finished third overall. In second place was Don’t Be Salty, making a great underdog run only to lose by selected the Lightning to lose in the Finals. I hope they aren’t salty.
Instead, the overall winner is Oui The North, who unlike his beloved Habs was good enough. For your efforts, you will be rewarded with a custom drawing by Konnie, just as you requested. It is valued at 50 Scorchcoins. Lucky!
Thank you to everyone who participated this year, stick around and see if we remember to have more contests that ultimately provide only a modest amount of engagement next season.
Up Next Week
Well, there’s the expansion draft, the NHL draft, and free agency coming up so the Flames are pretty much forced to do something. Meaning we’ll also be forced to do something.