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02-17-2013, 10:44 AM
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IMO both sides are equally to blame in all of this. Here is the breakdown as I've seen it over the past year:

Mid way through the season last year, Karlson shows he just can't get it done, and Flames brass reward Irving for his past work. Irving at this point had shown he was a legit starter in the AHL and had alot of promise. By all accounts he has earned this call up.

Good work by both sides.

Like usual we are in a tight battle for a PO spot, Kipper needs to start each game and Irving only gets into back to back games. Management feel it is not good for Irving's development to sit for extended periods, so they shuttle him back & forth between NHL & AHL (this was where it all went wrong IMO). Leland has some good games in Calgary, and some not so good games. In the AHL he loses his starter job to Taylor. Some serious concerns here for me at this point, but some posters making excuses for him already.
Lock out happens, which was terrible timing for this soap opera. It would have been great to see the goalies in a proper camp battle it out for the backup job. Brust is signed because we werenít sure if Irving could be sent down without being claimed. Irving is sent down, and has a not so good camp getting outplayed by both Taylor and Brust. Season starts and Irving does not even dress. Fans still in denial saying itís because of his 25 game tryout contract. Irving content to sit and not get overseas to get some playing time. In any game action he did get into he continued to play considerably worse than either of the other 2 goalies (who were playing lights out at the time). At this point Iím questioning Irvings desire to remain with the Flames/ability to play at the NHL level.
Both sides dropped the ball here.

Lockout ends, Irving gets rewarded for nothing and gets an invite to camp. He canít show he is the better option over Karlson, so both go on waivers. Irving ďwinsĒ the backup spot because he is younger and cheaper. Kipper starts every game because Irving is not ready yet (why is he there again?). Kipper gets injured and Irving is thrust into a starting job in the NHL. Wow, talk about an opportunity. He plays some good games, and some not so good games. Sure he makes some flashy saves, but he shows some serious weaknesses in his game, and it is clear he is not ready yet and will need more playing time (duh.....). We sign a goalie who has played on a new team almost every year during the 7 years heís been a back up in the NHL to carry the mail while Kipper is out. Taylor gets called up, maybe he should have been the one to back up to begin with?

From here it is up to Irving as far as what happens with the rest of his career. If heís going to sulk, donít let the door hit you on the way out. If heís going to battle and show that he can be the best goalie on the farm, then good for him. If he can do that he will get another opportunity to play for the Flames this year and show he can succeed at the NHL level. If he canít, heís done Ė and no one should be sad to see him go.

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