‪The Nation Notebook: NHL/Flames meet to talk officiating, Is there a market for Lazar? and what it’s like to be a GM on deadline day. ‬

Updated: January 11, 2018 at 12:47 am by Zach Laing

Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

(Photo Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern – USA TODAY Sports)

In today’s Nation Notebook, we look at the latest news around the league.

NHL and the Flames meet to discuss the way their games are officiated

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Freidman, the league and the Calgary Flames met to discuss the way their games are called.

We get phone calls, Part I: Last week, Doug was talking about a penalty Calgary took in its win over Philadelphia and I joked about the “Wideman Conspiracy.” One referee did not find that funny. The next day, he phoned to complain and dropped a bit of a bombshell: The NHL and the Flames met to discuss the way Calgary games are officiated. They went through a ton of video, and even talked about calls not made — including some specifically against Wideman.

From what I was told, it was very tense at times. The Flames lead the league in penalties taken and penalty minutes per game. Last year, they were 26th and 19th, respectively, in those categories.

You can’t forget what happened last year when Calgary Flame Dennis Wideman cross-checked linesman Don Henderson from behind and received a 20-game suspension.

Now, it appears the Flames feel like the incident has caused the team some issues. As Friedman wrote, the Flames have committed the most penalties this season and received the most penalty minutes per game.

Feel free to take either side on this. Is there really a conspiracy against the Calgary Flames? If the team has gone out of their way to chat with the league about the way their games are called, they must think there is some bias against them.

In the same breath, it’s not like the team made a huge move in the penalties taken rank. Who knows whether the NHL’s referees have colluded against the team or not.

What is Lazar worth?

His name has been circulating in the NHL’s rumour mill for a while now. A former first-rounder, Lazar hasn’t quite panned out as the Senators hoped. 

In 175 NHL games, Lazar has only scored 36 points. Last year he scored a career high 20 points in 76 games, but this year he has only one point, an assist in 32 NHL games.

Despite his lack of production, the team isn’t ready to just give up on him as it’s rumoured that the Senators are looking for a first or second-round draft pick in return. 

As TSN’s Travis Yost wrote, the team should be looking to move on from Lazar in fear of “holding onto an asset for far too long.”

I don’t envy Ottawa’s position here. You don’t want to be the team that trades away Filip Forsberg for a song. But you also need to balance the very real risk of holding onto an asset for far too long, especially when the empirical evidence suggests that said asset is rapidly depreciating in value.

If there’s a chance to acquire a meaningful draft pick or even a decent rental option at the trade deadline, I think you have to say yes. There’s a chance Lazar becomes Niederreiter. But there’s a much greater chance he’s not long for the NHL.

The Senators are a team poised to make a push for an Atlantic Division title and instead of having their big story being how they are looking to buy, it’s how they are looking to sell on Lazar. 

What it’s like to be a GM on deadline day

We’ve all been there. It’s deadline day as you play the latest EA Sports NHL installment and you’re looking to make a splash. 

Your team is in need of some scoring help, so you head to the league scoring leaders and try to put together a package for a high-scoring player to help supplement your team. 

While it’s easy to make deals in a video game, the NHL’s trading is actually far different. 

Yesterday, Yahoo!’s Jim Cerny wrote about life as a GM on deadline day. The article quotes Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford, Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving and current Carolina Hurricanes President and former Atlanta Thrashers GM Don Waddell. 

The article provides great insight into the life as a GM. As Treliving puts it, “We’re not in the fantasy hockey business. We’re dealing with real people, real families, and you have to recognize that. I am very cognizant that there’s a human element to this. People’s lives are being turned upside down with the decisions you make.”