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Flames Shake Things Up
Reinprect and Sauve to the Desert 

D'Arcy McGrath
February 1st, 2006

Oh the irony.

When Darryl Sutter drafted his son at the exact same draft position, 179th overall, he laughed out loud at the coincidence.

I wonder if he knows what February 1st means in Flames history.

Twenty years ago tonight, believe it or not, cars crowded out of the then Olympic Saddledome parking lot hearing that moments after the home town Flames erased a 4-0 Edmonton Oiler lead to tie their arch rivals at four they had completed a trade.

Later on video we all saw Cliff Fletcher announcing the principles in a gut wrenching order that featured the Calgary departures (Eddy Beers, Gino Cavallini and Charlie Bourgeois) followed by St. Louis Blue fodder (Rick Wilson, Terry Johnson) and then … Joey Mullen.

All this while Badger Bob Johnson played with a tinfoil ashtray to a point of distraction.

It was classic Calgary Flames history.

Now twenty years later we all get to our vehicles and guess what, Peter Maher, the same guy making the announcement twenty years ago, utters “the Flames have completed a trade tonight”.

Like I said, irony.

Similar impact?

Not even close. That trade was a building block to a Stanley Cup, an addition of a star player for a maybe (Beers) that turned the tables on the Edmonton Oilers.

Tonight it was different. This time the Oilers are chasing Calgary, and the Flames are moving a few minor pieces around, but a shake up nonetheless.

Going to Phoenix, if I might take a page from Mr. Fletcher and put things in the same order, is talented but enigmatic centerman Steve Reinprecht, and befuddled and disparaged backup Phil Sauve, for a power-winger lite Mike Leclerc, and Brian Boucher.

My take? Good move all around.

I’m not a Brian Boucher fan to be honest, but the Flames now have the current season shut out leader as a starter and the all time consecutive minutes without allowing a goal NHL record holder as a backup.

"We wanted an experienced goaltender, particularly with the schedule we have after the Olympic break," said Sutter on the Boucher acquisition.

Ironically again, I was actually in Phoenix on the night that the mayor of Glendale Arizona made a big presentation to Mr. Boucher for his legacy. The Flames on a Shean Donovan penalty shot went on to beat Sean Burke and the Coyotes.

However, Boucher is an experience upgrade to Sauve, the guy was the man that carried the Flyers two rounds in the playoffs four years ago, including that marathon game at the Igloo when Keith Primeau beat Johan Hedberg. And I was no apologist for Phil Sauve’s play in his last two starts.

Up front, the emergence of Matthew Lombardi moved Steve Reinprecht down the roster, and Mike Leclerc a guy more suited to the Flames as a left winger with size and a little pop.

"Leclerc is a big strong guy with good hands who drives the net hard and can play two positions," said Sutter.

Since Steve Reinprecht is a UFA at the end of the season, I’d have to assume that Leclerc is as well, or this deal is a huge steal for the Flames (Leclerc signed a one year deal with the Ducks in August before being traded to the Coyotes to make salary space for Brian Burke’s mess).

Sutter admitted to media after the game that this deal wasn’t as sudden as it seems to Calgary faithful, and that perhaps the forward for forward deal expanded with the play of Sauve in Denver last week.

"It is something we had worked on for a long time," said Sutter.

My first thought is there you go … Sutter does it again, adding two names that nobody has thought of despite the list of goaltenders that have paraded across phone in radio shows, and message boards for days.

He does that. You have to love it. Predictable is boring.

Are the Flames done? Likely not. Look at this one as the Chris Simon deal from two years ago. The Flames make a move with a few weeks to go until the deadline, and then go on to add a few more pieces (Marcus Nilson and Ville Niemienen later).

Have to hand it to the guy, Bitter Beer Face meets Poker Face.



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