September 30 2016 12:21PM
Good news! September is almost over, which means the new season is almost here.
Bad news...it's still the preseason and rosters remain littered with PTOs, AHLers and unknowns. Sometimes it's fun to see if a kid or a tryout can make an impression, but most of the time it means the hockey is shinny grade.
Tonight, the Canucks send their sad collection of hopefuls to the Dome to take on the Flames' semi-AHL squad. While the outcome of this one doesn't matter at all, losing to the Canucks in any form is never entirely acceptable. Vancouver is going to stink this year, so it would be nice start things off in what will be typical fashion for them (a humiliating loss).
September 29 2016 03:40PM
The offseason is almost over and so is the first phase of the Flames rebuild.
Calgary has picked inside the top six three out of the last four drafts and is starting to assemble a young core of talented (and potentially expensive) players. Once Sam Bennett and Matthew Tkachuk are contributing meaningfully at the NHL level, Treliving has little else to do but fill in the gaps at forward and defense (err... and figure out the long-term goalie situation).
Sounds easy, but this is actually where a lot of rebuilds go off the rails. It's one thing to flounder at the bottom of the standings and pick a bunch of highly rated prospects - it's quite another to develop the team around them into a competitor. Sometimes it works (Chicago, Pittsburgh) and sometimes it doesn't (Edmonton, Edmonton).
September 26 2016 10:00AM
The summer is over. The World Cup of Hockey is finishing. Now it's training camp time.
Which means the return of the FlamesNation Mailbag. Brad Treliving had a busy offseason, so we have a lot to talk about.
Actually, with Johnny Gaudreau's lingering contract talks hanging overheard, Treliving's offseason technically isn't over. The diminutive star went to the WCH without a contract and put together an outstanding performance against and amongst some of the NHL's best players: another small bit of ammo for his agent in negotiations.
In the inaugural 2016-17 season Mailbag, we talk the Gaudreau contract, Sam Bennett's ceiling, which rookies will make the team and more.
September 21 2016 09:52AM
Team North America lost a heartbreaker to Russia in their previous game, completely outshooting and outchancing Ovechkin and pals in the final frame only to come up one goal short. The upstart young stars team has been full value so far this tournament, providing entertaining, high-octane hockey that puts their opponents on their heels.
The kids face a stiff test in Team Sweden today, however. The Swede's roster is filled with NHL stars, both of the grizzled vet and young star variety. Sweden's blueline is especially imposing, featuring Erik Karlsson, Hampus Lindholm, Victor Hedman, Oliver Ekman-Larrson and Anton Stralman.
Team North America started to look like a Cinderella story in the making after an impressive start to the tournament. Can they get past Sweden today or does the fairy tale end?
September 20 2016 12:00PM
My second game of the Young Stars tournament was a mirror image of the first, with the Flames ending things in OT with a breakaway goal. Calgary's roster didn't change too much, but there were definitely some differences in the performances, at least from my seat in the stands.
Here's the guys who stood out one way or another.