February 01 2014 09:36AM
Last night provided a rare opportunity to see two recent Calgary Flames draft picks in their natural element - the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Thankfully, our buds at Sportsnet televised a contest between the Gatineau Olympiques and the Drummondville Voltigeurs, so I was able to get a rare chance to check out 2013 first round pick Emile Poirier of Gatineau and 2012 fifth round pick Ryan Culkin of Drummondville. (Well, I saw them both during pre-season, but this is them in their current level of play against guys their own age.)
January 30 2014 12:28PM
Fairly significant Olympic hockey news came down this morning, as it was announced that Red Wings forward Johan Franzen will miss the tournament due to an injury. As per tradition, this immediately began speculation regarding who could replace Franzen next month in Russia as part of Team Sweden.
Let's throw this bit of speculation into the fore - could Calgary Flames forward Mikael Backlund be on the short-list?
January 29 2014 10:14AM
It's well-established that the Calgary Flames are not a great 5-on-5 team. They have just 82 goals at even strength, 28th in the NHL (ahead of Montreal and Buffalo), and they've allowed more goals at 5-on-5 than anybody but Nashville, the Islanders and Edmonton.
The reason why other teams are able to overcome their dreadful even-strength totals is their power-play. Calgary's power-play is converting about 14.8% of chances, which places them at 25th in the NHL. For reference, the teams that are worse are Buffalo, Carolina, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Florida, and every team is significantly worse than Calgary. (Spoiler: being bad at even-strength and the PP is why Buffalo is 30th.)
Here's a quick look at just how the Flames PP is doing.
January 28 2014 11:07PM
Tuesday night's contest was an opportunity on many fronts for the Calgary Flames. It was their chance to continue a string of solid efforts that pre-dates their current winning string. It was a chance to clinch the season series against the reigning Stanley Cup Champions from Chicago. It was also their chance to win three in a row for the first time all year, something they had failed to do three times previous.
It was also considered a potential measuring-stick game for the club, a chance to see how they stacked up against one of the most complete hockey clubs in the NHL. But sometimes things turn out a bit weirdly, and as a result, the Flames were engaged for two periods in a bit of a track meet.
Oh, and Reto Berra failed to get a regulation win for the 22nd time this season. That's gotta be some sort of record.
January 28 2014 03:15PM
(Warning: video includes some cussing, so if you're at work, rock some headphones!)
After a few days off, the Calgary Flames (18-27-7) attempt to finally win three games in a row for the first time this season. Three previous times, the Flames have won a pair. On all three occasions, they lost their next game. Their latest attempt at a three-game streak comes at home against a team they've had a few battles with this year, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks (32-10-12).
This is the third and final meeting between these two clubs this year. The home team has won each game by a 3-2 score – the first in Chicago was Reto Berra's excellent debut, the second in Calgary featured the Flames blowing a 2-0 lead with three third-period goals. You may also recall an excellent game between the two clubs last season where the Flames almost derailed the Hawks winning streak in its infancy before the Hawks won a thriller in OT.
The Hawks are reeling, having lost two in a row – and boasting just two regulation wins in their last six outings. A Flames/Hawks game could be just what each team has in mind to either continue their play or right their ship, as the case may be. The puck drops at 7:30pm MT and is the last TSN telecast from the Saddledome for quite awhile.