May 04 2015 11:00AM
Game 1 of round 2 was a bit of a rude awakening for the Flames and their fans. The Ducks are a clear step up from the Vancouver Canucks, so it's going to take some new strategy from the Flames coaches and new heroics from their increasingly beat up line up to get this thing back on track.
The questions this week focused more on the future than the present though. Topics include the Flames draft, if there are any buy-out candidates on the roster and where we can expect to see them finish next year.
April 29 2015 03:00PM
Because I wrote this kind of article about the Canucks and the Flames won (and it made people mad), we figured I had to do the same thing about the Ducks in round 2.
The first round match up with Vancouver was the most favourable one the Flames could hope for in the entire Western Conference. Though the Canucks were nominally a better team than Calgary in the regular season, they were definitely the weakest off all the cup contenders that made the post-season.
The Ducks are a much stiffer test. Theyir core players are younger, they have better depth and they made moves at the deadline that made them even better. Oh and that come from behind thing that the Flames made a habit of this year? The Ducks were the only team in the league to do it more often.
So, without further adieu, here's 5 reasons the Flames will lose to the Ducks in round 2:
April 29 2015 09:00AM
Ryan recently chose Matt Stajan as the sentimental MVP of the Flames first round. It's not a bad choice - Stajan did in fact have an excellent series, despite playing a pretty tough role. Nevertheless, I was going through the numbers today and I think another skater bears an honourable mention: TJ Brodie.
The youngest regular defender on the Flames blueline is also it's best in the absence of Captain Mark Giordano. Aside from his four points in six games, Brodie provided a steady, stabling influence on the back-end that was likely one of the key reasons the Flames were able to complete the upset.
Via War on Ice, here's a series of graphs that illustrates just how good Brodie was against the Canucks.
April 25 2015 12:27PM
We're nearly six games into the Flames first round series with the Canucks and as usual nothing is clear or simple with the club. Calgary took a 3-1 series lead only to lay a giant egg in Vancouver, casting a small shadow of doubt on how things will play out.
The hobbled first line isn't scoring, but the goaltending and special teams have been good enough to get the Flames the lead. It remains to be seen if they can close things out without functional top unit at even strength, however.
This week we'll look at the Flames on-going roster decisions, Mikael Backlund's contract, how potential expansion to Las Vegas might effect Calgary and much more*.
*(There was a lot of questions for this mailbag, so please forgive me if I don't answer yours this time around. The volume of inquiries forced me to pare things down significantly)
April 21 2015 11:00AM
Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports
As the clock wound down on the Flames recent 4-2 victory over the Canucks, the game descended into a series of flying body checks, chucked knuckles and post whistle scrums. This mirrored the previous game, a 4-1 Vancouver victory that ended in an ice clearing brawl and a $50,000 fine to Calgary coach Bob Hartley.
That fine is the only supplemental discipline the NHL has handed out in a series that has featured gratuitous head shots, sucker punches, at least two last minute instigator penalties and numerous infractions that were ignored by the officials. It's been a rough series and because of the NHL's typically pedestrian response to the violence, it figures to get even uglier.
The NHL's system of justice is broken. It's been broken for a long time. Here's how and why they keep getting things wrong.