December 27 2014 11:09PM
Lest we get too negative around these here parts about the Edmonton Oilers, let's just lay something out here.
The Edmonton Oilers were the better team than the Calgary Flames tonight.
Alas, there aren't any points for the "better team," and the Flames were the team that scored more goals, en route to a 4-1 home victory over the aforementioned hockey team from Edmonton.
The Oilers generally out-played and out-shot the Flames. But they were also key contributors to three of the four goals against themselves, which made all the difference in the world.
December 27 2014 02:00PM
On October 9, on the second day of the regular season, the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers met in their first Battle of Alberta of 2014-15. The season was full of promise for both of them at that point. Since that game - a 5-2 comeback win for the Calgary Flames up at Rexall - the teams have moved in different directions.
Calgary's win was their first of the season, and they've subsequently added an additional 17 triumphs to enter tonight's game with Edmonton at the Saddledome with a pretty solid 18-15-3 record. The Flames exited the Christmas break a mere two points out of a playoff spot, a massive leap forward for a club that drafted fourth overall last season (even after an eight-game losing streak).
Edmonton's loss was their first of the season, and they've subsequently added an additional 20 setbacks to enter this rematch with Calgary with a 7-21-7 record. Like Calgary, the Oilers are a streaky bunch. Unlike Calgary (until their recent ugly stretch), they've been finding ways to both (a) lose in gut-wrenching fashion and (b) extend losing streaks beyond the point of even being funny anymore. They exit the holiday break 20 points out of a playoff spot.
Calgary's last five wins? December 22, December 4, December 2, November 29 and November 26.
Edmonton's last five wins? December 7, November 9, November 7, October 27 and October 24.
Ouch. (Both Edmonton's total number of wins and Calgary's big, big recent gap.)
In a weird quirk, the Oilers axed coach Dallas Eakins (and brought in GM Craig MacTavish as interim coach) the same week that the Flames extended coach Bob Hartley for what's reportedly a deal through 2016-17.
The puck drops at 8pm MT and the game can be viewed on CBC (with Rick Ball and Craig Simpson) and heard on Sportsnet 960 The Fan (with Derek Wills and Peter Loubardias).
December 26 2014 10:10AM
When Jay Feaster announced the hiring of Bob Hartley a scant three years ago, I don't think anybody could've anticipated the success he would have fostering the Calgary Flames through their long-awaited rebuild.
But more importantly for sports writers, nobody really anticipated the treasure trove of quotable quotes that coach Hartley would provide the world with over his tenure. To both celebrate his contract extension and ring in the holiday season, we present to you a selected collection of Hartley's best zingers.
We're hoping to continue adding to this, so add any we might have missed in the comments!
December 24 2014 01:30PM
When the Calgary Flames relocated their American Hockey League affiliate to Glens Falls, New York, the club also went out and recruited a brand-new coach to lead the team.
Formerly a bench boss with the Kelowna Rockets - where Mikael Backlund was one of his charges for a season - Ryan Huska is in his first season as a professional-league coach. The Baby Flames started off slowly, but have really hit the ground running over the past eight weeks, and they enter the Christmas break with an 18-11-2 record (second in their division behind the Utica Comets).
Thanks to our friends at the Adirondack Flames PR office, we had a quick chat over the phone with Huska late last week.
December 23 2014 01:20AM
Heading into the meat of tonight's game in Los Angeles, things did not look great for the Calgary Flames. Down 3-0 to the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Flames seemed set for their ninth straight loss. To that point, the Flames had been out-played and largely out-classed by the Kings.
Then Johnny Gaudreau happened.
The Calgary Flames won 4-3 in overtime in a game that turned on the play of a 21-year-old rookie. Johnny Gaudreau saved Christmas.
Here's how it happened.