NHL Player Safety Just Keeps Getting it Wrong

Kent Wilson
April 21 2015 11:00AM

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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. 

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FN Mailbag - April 19, 2015

Kent Wilson
April 20 2015 11:00AM

Mailbag

It's the middle of April and the Flames are still playing hockey. Sure, they haven't looked great through two games, but they're playing meaningful hockey mid-Spring for the first time in recent memory. Like pizza, even bad playoff hockey is still pretty good. 

This week we look at the persistence of Joe Colborne, what to do with Sam Bennett and, of course, the blueline.

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5 Reasons Why the Flames Will Lose

Kent Wilson
April 15 2015 01:00PM

After Ryan's dose of sunny optimism earlier today, it's time for a cold dose of reality. And who better to deliver that dose than FlamesNation's founding father, the great Kent Wilson.

For almost a decade now I've written season preview pieces for the Calgary Flames. They have almost always featured a series of "what if" questions, sketching the various situations and scenarios that would have to happen for the team to succeed. They have never all hit simultaneously.

Until this year. With the exception of the injury to Mark Giordano injury, everything that could have possibly fallen in Calgary's favour, did. All of their notable kids took huge strides forward. Almost half the roster experienced career high point rates. The team was deadly in third periods, extra time and at 4on4. They drew tons of penalties, took very few and got above average goaltending. If anyone were to sketch out a convoluted plan of how to win despite bottom basement possession, it would be what the Flames managed this year.

It was fun, thrilling, incredible and altogether unlikely. 

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Handicapping the 2014-15 Calder Race

Kent Wilson
April 13 2015 03:00PM

Although Johnny Gaudreau was recently named the Calder favourite by NHL coaches, the race for the rookie of the year is almost as tight as the playoff race in the West this year. First overall pick Aaron Ekblad is roundly considered to another front runner, but Calgary's dynamic, diminutive winger faces stiff competition from a number of players aside from the Panthers teen phenom.

The other hopefuls in the Calder race include Filip Forsberg, Mark Stone and John Klingberg. Let's see if we can determine who has the upper hand. 

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All Hail Scorch

Kent Wilson
April 13 2015 11:00AM

SCORCH

Hat tip to @HunterSteez for the inspiring image

Pundits are struggling to explain the Flames Cinderella season. Is it Bob Hartley? The kids? Jiri Hudler? Better goaltending? Ineffable team chemistry.

No. Those all seem plausible, but I think we can all agree that the unveiling of Scorch the mascot (the undisputed greatest mascot ever) and Calgary's phoenix-like rise from the Western Conference basement cannot be a mere coincidence...

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