October 22 2013 10:14AM
It's been a busy week in the world of Calgary Flames, with the big club playing twice, the AHL club playing three games in three nights, the ECHL kicking off and basically every other affiliate and draft pick in action.
Here's your weekly look at what you need to know to start your week.
The Flames had a relatively light schedule this week, kicking off one of three five-game road trips this year. They only played twice – on Wednesday in a 3-2 loss in Anaheim and on Saturday in a 6-3 loss in San Jose. Neither loss was quite as bad as it sounded from the score.
In Anaheim, the Flames played a lousy first period and got down early, then battled back and made the game interesting with a strong late push. Outside of the first 15 minutes of the game – which admittedly is a terrible precursor – they controlled the game. Unfortunately, the first 15 killed them. [Post-Game]
In San Jose, the Flames were utterly dismantled by a fantastic Sharks power-play. Despite this, they rallied back from a 4-1 deficit after 40 minutes to make things interesting in the third before allowing a power-play goal and an empty-netter late. [Post-Game]
They began this week with a 3-2 win in Los Angeles. In a weird quirk, all five goals were scored on a power-play. [Post-Game]
- Mike Morrale over at NHL.com has an excellent (long) piece about the dilemma NHL teams face in developing their young stars.
- In a related piece, Steve Macfarlane examines the big decision the Flames face regarding that Sean Monahan kid everyone's talking about.
- The Sun's Randy Sportak penned a column about Tomas Hertl, goons and the concept of “disrespect” in the NHL.
- George Johnson of the Herald wondered if Mark Giordano's impressive start has gotten him on Hockey Canada's radar for Sochi.
- Brian McGrattan hasn't gotten into a fight yet. What gives? Scott Cruickshank investigates.
- Over at The Hockey Writers, I pondered the Flames roster situation heading into the road trip.
- And Nations Overlord Kent Wilson takes a look at the Flames by the numbers through their first five games.
A LOOK BACK
The Flames played twice, losing both games in California to pretty good teams. At times they looked like a team that's rebuilding – in the first 15 minutes in Anaheim and anytime they were on the PK in San Jose. At other times, they looked like a team that just won't quit – especially in the third period of both games. They may crash down to Earth a bit in the next little while as they stop getting the bounces, but you've gotta give them credit for not laying down in any of their games when they got down a few goals, as we've seen prior incarnations of this team do. They pushed back well against Los Angeles, so perhaps any fears were for naught.
Down on the farm, the Abbotsford Heat played three games in just under 72 hours down in Oklahoma and Texas. They split their games with the Oklahoma City Barons – losing 4-3 on Friday and winning 2-1 in a shootout on Saturday. Then they headed into Texas and lost 9-3. No, that's not a typo. The Heat gave up five power-play goals against the Texas Stars and gave up 42 shots on goalie Laurent Brossoit. Yikes. In the ECHL, Alaska split a pair of games with the San Francisco Bulls. Joni Ortio made 17 saves for a shutout win on Saturday.
Lots of contenders for my weekly arbitrary prospect Three Stars. I ended up going with four guys, because I'm allowed to. Morgan Klimchuk had 6 points (including a game-winning goal), Emile Poirier had 5 points (including his fourth game-winner of the year so far) and we have a tie for the third star, as both Johnny Gaudreau and Brett Kulak had 3 points in a single game this week. Klimchuk, Kulak and Coda Gordon all lead their respective WHL clubs in scoring so far this season. And for the curious, Johnny Gaudreau's brother Matt hasn't played a game yet.
A LOOK AHEAD
The Flames play a lot of hockey in the next seven days. A lot. Tonight they're in Phoenix, Thursday they're in Dallas and on Saturday they're back in Calgary to host the Washington Capitals. They have two days off and a lot of travel. The mettle of this club will be tested quite a bit. Expect to see a lot of both goaltenders – I'd reckon we see MacDonald tonight and Ramo the other two, but I'm not the coach.
The AHL's Abbotsford Heat return home to host the Lake Erie Monsters, Colorado's farm team, on Friday and Saturday. The Alaska Aces head to Sin City for three games in less than 72 hours at the Orleans (Casino) Arena when they face the Las Vegas Wranglers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
All of the Flames junior prospects play at least twice (some play three times). In addition, it's the last weekend of the NCAA's non-conference play, meaning college teams work the kinks out in games that don't count. However, competition is ramping up a bit: for instance, Yale plays Brown and Princeton, Boston College plays Minnesota State twice and Providence College plays Miami (of Ohio) twice. Things are about to get real for the college kids.
SUM IT UP
If you like watching Flames hockey, you're in luck this week: four games in six nights in four different cities, and we've already seen the first one. There's no guarantee that they'll come away with a heck of a lot of points, though, for exactly the same reasons I just mentioned.