True, I've been waiting for this day to come ever since he coughed up the puck to Danny Briere opening night last season in the 'dome.
Anders Eriksson is officially an ex-Calgary Flame.
But I'll get back to that in a second.
First, I'd like to re-post what I wrote about Rhett Warrener when he was initially waived back in June. Sparking the notion that his time with the Flames would be done... which it almost certainly is.
Rhett Warrener: Acquired in July 2003, Rhett Warrener and Steve Reinprecht to Calgary for Chris Drury and Steve Begin. (side note, The Sabres originally acquired Warrener and a 5th rounder from Florida in exchange for D Mike Wilson... that 5th rounder turned out to be Ryan Miller). Warrener was absolutely thrilled to come to the Flames and I believe he was actually in Calgary visiting family when it was anounced.
He was a welcome addition as a bruising D-man who could clog players in the corner like not many others. He was a crucial part of the Finals run in 2004; paired with Andrew Ference, they were the heart and soul guys that you could count on night in and night out. Warrener had become a fan-favorite and would be signed to a huge extension for a 3rd pair D-man at 4 years, 9.4 million. The next year was lost to the lockout... and it would be all downhill for Warrener after that.
The post-lockout era saw a new breed of defenseman become important... the so-called, "puck-moving" D-man; which could also be referred to as, the Anti-Warrener. No amount of power skating in the offseason could get Warrener to the point where he could be a valuable 3rd pair guy. His contract was way too much. He gave us some great years in Calgary and every player on that cup run will be special to many Flames fans for years to come. Rhett's influence in the community and the way he handled himself as a professional will be missed... I hope he finds a team to give him a solid chance... possibly his old stomping grounds of Florida?
I don't see Rhettro going to Florida anymore, and to be perfectly honest, I don't see much of a fit for him anywhere at his current price tag. I'm interested to see what happens to him over the course of this season.
Regardless, he should be thanked by Flames fans for his service to our team and our community and I wish him the best of luck in getting on with another NHL franchise.
Back to Eriksson...
I've written and said so many exagerated things about this guy that maybe I should just leave him alone now and let him move on. By all accounts, he's one of the classiest guys on the team, even making time for the media today as he left the 'dome.
However, it's what he said during that scrum that has me a little fired up.
If he came back to camp this year, ready to make up for what was a brutal season last year; ready to put the time and effort in to stop his turnover-prone mentality, well, maybe I could have given him another chance. But, he looked much the same this pre-season... and then this...
He was asked why he was cut.
He said it was strictly a salary cap move. It's a business, and he knows it.
Okay, I can buy that. He may be right.
But then he went on to add that he's a really strong puck-moving defenseman (what?) and that he had a really good average ice-time (sadly, this is true) ... but then he continued, "And I felt I had a really good season."
Let's end it there. I'm glad to see him go. He's a great guy and a great interview for the media, but you need great PLAYERS to win championships, not great guys.
Lost in the fracas of the waiver wire today was the fact that by Warrener and Employee #8 being gone, it meant that Adam Pardy made the team. And rightly so. He should be congratulated on this and he certainly deserves it. Give him the ice time and let him learn from his mistakes and he'll be a much stronger defenseman by the end of the year and he'll be more than capable of replacing what we got from the other 2.
In terms of line combinations, there is only one line that appears to be set in stone as of practice this morning...
Glencross - Boyd - Moss
They excelled in the pre-season and will be given a shot to do the same in the regular season.
Other notables, Conroy skated on the first line. I think it would be a huge mistake of the Flames to push Lombardi out of a scoring line and into a checking role. Connie was re-signed to be a checker, so let him be just that. The only thing is that Lombo has been sick and they may just be letting him get his legs back.
Langkow and Lombo split time centering Bourque and Cammalleri. Although I don't like Bourque on the second line it seems they want to give him the opportunity to be a 20-goal scorer. I like him as a checker with good speed, but we'll see what comes of that.
This leaves Nystrom, Primeau, Prust and Roy to form the 4th line.
There's a lot of potential surrounding this team and if the Boyd line shows up, then secondary scoring may not be as big of an issue as everyone had thought it would be.
Let's just hope the old Kipper can make an appearance too...