The Weekly Ignition: January 6 2014

Ryan Pike
January 06 2014 09:03AM

 

 

It's 2014. As that sinks in, the World Juniors have been completed, and all sorts of pro, junior and college hockey are back from winter break. And, as the Hockey Gods have dictated, as the Calgary Flames have struggled, some of their prospects have having great years.

Here's your Weekly Ignition.

RESULTS ROUND-UP

The Flames continued their post-Christmas struggles with a 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on New Year's Eve. Sean Monahan scored a goal. Reto Berra got the start. [Post-Game]

The Flames began their 2014 schedule with a 2-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Karri Ramo started for the Flames. [Post-Game]

The Flames also traded 2008 first rounder Greg Nemisz to Carolina for forward Kevin Westgarth, and signed 2013 pick Emile Poirier to a pro contract.

PRESS ROUND-UP

Kristen Odland details how Sean Monahan is pushing through his recent slump.

Dennis Wideman returned from his broken hand this week.

Eric Francis theorizes that Mark Giordano won't make the Canadian Olympic team because he ran out of time to impress the brass.

Randy Sportak weighs the good and the bad of the Flames first 41 games.

And finally, Justin Azevedo looked at December's NHLE updates, featuring a few Flames picks just having unreal years.

A LOOK BACK

The Flames have scored one goal since Christmas. Yep.

The farm teams had a bit of a rough go of it this week, too. The Heat lost a pair of games to the Hamilton Bulldogs (2-1 and 3-1). The Alaska Aces lost two of three this week; they lost to Ontario 3-0, beat Idaho 4-3 and then lost to Idaho 4-3 in a shootout.

The prospects had a much better week than the pros.

Coda Gordon and Morgan Klimchuk returned to action for the first time since late November – Klimchuk had 3 points and Gordon had 4 points. Johnny Gaudreau had 2 goals and Bill Arnold had 3 points at Fenway Park in a 4-3 win over Notre Dame. Kenny Agostino had 2 goals in a single game for Yale. Eric Roy had 3 assists this week. Brett Kulak had 6 assists this week. Ryan Culkin had his first game-winning goal of the year and had 4 points. Emile Poirier also had 4 points, but three of them were goals, and one was his seventh game-winner of the season.

Let's say Poirier, Culkin and Kulak are the Three Stars, but a lot of guys had good weeks.

A LOOK AHEAD

Four games this week for your Flames, but none of them easy. They head to Denver tonight to play the Colorado Avalanche, then fly straight to Phoenix for a Tuesday game against the Coyotes. Then it's back home to play St. Louis on Thursday and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. And after that, they head to the airport again for a trip out east early next week.

Both minor league teams are on the road. The Heat head down to Texas – they play in San Antonio on Tuesday, Cedar Park on Friday and San Antonio again on Saturday. The Aces visit the San Francisco Bulls on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

And two college games highlight this week's prospect calendar. On Friday night, Boston College plays Providence College, featuring college hockey's hottest line (Flame prospects Johnny Gaudreau and Bill Arnold alongside Blackhawks pick Jimmy Hayes) against one of college hockey's top goalies in Jon Gillies. Also: Jankowski. On Saturday, Kenny Agostino leads Yale into battle at Madison Square Garden against those stuffed shirts from Harvard.

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Now in his third full season covering the Calgary Flames and the NHL, Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's trying to keep his head up, his stick on the ice and is giving it 110% every shift. You can also find his work at The Hockey Writers, the Wrestling Observer and Tough Talk MMA.
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#1 cunning_linguist
January 06 2014, 09:50AM
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One of my favorite things about the weekly ignition is reading what Johnny G did for the week. Boy am I excited for this kid.

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#2 smith
January 06 2014, 10:08AM
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Agreed about Jonny G. It is getting to the point where you just can't compare his numbers to others or you get too excited. He is not even playing much on the power play and yet he has an NHL E of 61. That is ridiculous. It looks like if he was put out on the ice more on the power play and more versus weak teams that he could easily have another 15 points.

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#3 the-wolf
January 06 2014, 10:20AM
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Poirier not making the WJC squad is one of the stupider things I can think of in recent memory. What a joke.

Also, good call by the Flames not sending Monahan to the WJC. Much better that he got injured in Calgary and is now being forced to play while still hurt. The team's prized prospect and they make himplay while still wearing a walking cast. But anything it takes to admit they didn't make a mistake by promoting him to the NHL this season.

In hinsight, it's abunduntly clear he should've stayed in junior. Always stay with your first instinct, as alas, I too was seduced by his early numbers. Unfortunately, my fears of him hitting a mjaor wall came to pass. This is why the team, as policy, should've never entertained it to begin with.

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#4 Byron Bader
January 06 2014, 10:20AM
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@smith

I'd concur with both of you gents. He's just been too good to not get excited about. And Arnold too. That guy's going to be alllriight as well.

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#5 Kevin R
January 06 2014, 10:48AM
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Thank you Ryan, I really enjoy these write-ups. The fact that we have so many young prospects doing so well gives me hope this rebuild can go a little quicker than the one up North. Not too many think too much of our prospect cupboards, as evidenced by how many were in this latest WJC. But as we do accumulate some coveted young players, the ability to make excellent sweet deals will increase. My fingers are crossed Burke can extract way better value for the next waive of UFA selloffs. Maybe Burke can utilize the incredible amount of Cap space I feel Feaster didn't or couldn't.

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#6 negrilcowboy
January 06 2014, 11:06AM
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butter is taking a beating in the media over his ridiculous comments after the exit of the juniors. blaming players, system and everyone else but himself. lost the team prior to the tourny with his stoneage mentality.

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#7 MichaelD
January 06 2014, 11:30AM
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Did anybody see that Berra got named to the Swiss roster behind Hiller. I don't know if it's a big surprise as I don't know of too many other Swiss goalies, but nice to see regardless.

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#8 Parallex
January 06 2014, 11:31AM
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@negrilcowboy

So basically Butter being Butter.

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#9 Baalzamon
January 06 2014, 11:38AM
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MichaelD wrote:

Did anybody see that Berra got named to the Swiss roster behind Hiller. I don't know if it's a big surprise as I don't know of too many other Swiss goalies, but nice to see regardless.

He might not have been had Martin Gerber been healthy.

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#10 negrilcowboy
January 06 2014, 11:41AM
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Parallex wrote:

So basically Butter being Butter.

yeppers, afterall he is brent sutter mr everything to hockey.

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#11 MichaelD
January 06 2014, 11:55AM
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@Baalzamon

I see, well I haven't really heard of the third guy. Do you know if Berra is listed as the back up or as the third guy?

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#12 the-wolf
January 06 2014, 11:59AM
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negrilcowboy wrote:

butter is taking a beating in the media over his ridiculous comments after the exit of the juniors. blaming players, system and everyone else but himself. lost the team prior to the tourny with his stoneage mentality.

On the other hand, it's not like he doesn't have a winning tack record at the tournament........

Maybe Hockey Canada would be wise to listen to him, Cherry and others to see what's gone so wrong.

Which brings me to the question of, why are the coaches for the team not picking the team? They would need help, for sure, especially in leagues they're not familiar with, but no Nurse, no Domi, no Poirier? 11 guys eligible to return next season in a what's supposed to essentially be a 19 year old's tournament?

Lots to dissect there.

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#13 Baalzamon
January 06 2014, 12:01PM
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@MichaelD

No idea. If Stephan's results in the NLA are any indication though, he's probably the backup ahead of Berra.

Then again, Berra made the WC team last year, so I suppose it's all about who the coach and such think give them the best chance to win.

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#14 piscera.infada
January 06 2014, 12:03PM
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the-wolf wrote:

On the other hand, it's not like he doesn't have a winning tack record at the tournament........

Maybe Hockey Canada would be wise to listen to him, Cherry and others to see what's gone so wrong.

Which brings me to the question of, why are the coaches for the team not picking the team? They would need help, for sure, especially in leagues they're not familiar with, but no Nurse, no Domi, no Poirier? 11 guys eligible to return next season in a what's supposed to essentially be a 19 year old's tournament?

Lots to dissect there.

While I'm somewhat willing to concede to you the point that Sutter "had a winning streak at the tournament" and thus, deserves some clout. He won in 2005 and 2006. If you coach a team that stacked, and don't win every game, there's something wrong. Hello junior hockey's equivalent to Phil Jackson.

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#15 negrilcowboy
January 06 2014, 12:03PM
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@the-wolf

butter was given final say on who was on the team, that was stated yesterday by dave hodge, who actually questioned why so many guys were stapled to the bench.

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#16 Baalzamon
January 06 2014, 12:05PM
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@the-wolf

Yeah, the selection process really bothered me this year. There were like three cuts from dev camp.

Especially the goaltending. They didn't even go as far as last year's mockery of a selection process, where the camp's best performer was somehow the only cut because they had already decided on Malcolm Subban. They just picked Fucale, added Patterson because he was there last year, and called it a day. Didn't even look at guys like Tristan Jarry, Eric Comrie (and others, I'm sure) who are having excellent seasons.

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#17 the-wolf
January 06 2014, 01:06PM
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negrilcowboy wrote:

butter was given final say on who was on the team, that was stated yesterday by dave hodge, who actually questioned why so many guys were stapled to the bench.

I was wondering the same thing (re: the short bench). Assuming Hodge is right, that's baffling, to say the least.

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#18 loudogYYC
January 07 2014, 02:17AM
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Taking 25 players to camp like we're some kind of dynasty was arrogant. Now it's time to change Sutter says... A good start would be to stop hiring coaches like him that believe 4th liners deserve PP time if the try hard enough.

The rest of the world isn't catching up, it has caught up already. Time to stop acting like the hunted.

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