FGD #19: Visiting The Champs

Ryan Pike
November 15 2015 12:00PM

Well, it's come down to this: the Calgary Flames are capping off their four-game, eight-day sojourn through the United States tonight with a meeting with the reigning and defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks.

Some of the most memorable road hockey moments of the past few seasons for the Calgary Flames have happened in Chicago. Who could forget Reto Berra's miraculous first game in the NHL in Chicago back in November 2013? Or Jonas Hiller's 49-save first Flames win in Chicago last October? The Blackhawks (9-7-1) are a damn good team, but they played last night against St. Louis and may be tired. It's something the Flames (6-11-1) will need to try to take advantage of if they want to return home with a .500 record on this trip.

The puck drops just after 6:30pm MT on Sportsnet One (with Rick Ball and Kelly Hrudey) and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

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Mangiapane Earns Hat Trick As Colts Beat Saginaw 5-1

November 15 2015 09:00AM

It was a huge night for Flames prospect Andrew Mangiapane, as the 19-year-old netted a hat trick for his Barrie Colts in a 5-1 victory over the Saginaw Spirit. 

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Johnny Gaudreau, 99 games played, and his path to NHL stardom

Ari Yanover
November 14 2015 02:00PM

Tomorrow, Johnny Gaudreau is going to play his 100th NHL game. He enters it with 29 goals, 53 assists, and 82 points: a .83 point per game pace, the highest in his draft class with at least 50 games played.

Of the 211 players picked in the 2011 NHL entry draft, Gaudreau is the 24th player to reach 100 games. He's 12th in scoring. It's entirely likely he passes most of the players ahead of him. And he was picked 104th overall.

Players picked in the later rounds don't tend to make the show, let alone become one of the best players on their team, en route to becoming one of the top players in the NHL. Johnny Hockey, though? He's well on his way.

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Sam Bennett: An Elite Player in the Making

Byron Bader
November 14 2015 12:00PM

Sam Bennett, 4th overall pick of the 2014 draft and the highest draft pick the Calgary Flames have ever had, has played just shy of 30 games total in the NHL (18 in the regular season and 11 in the post-season) but has already impressed quite substantially. Sam has 11 points in 17 games this year (0.65 ppg), contributing more and more offensively of late. A safe estimate is 40-50 points by the end of the year which puts him in the top 20-30 in rookie scoring over the past decade or so.  Here's his best example so far...

But the offense isn't the only thing Sam is showing an incredible early knack for as his underlying possession numbers, in this small initial sample set, are all pretty impressive thus far.

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The Perceived Value of Blocked Shots

Ari Yanover
November 14 2015 10:00AM

[Editor's note: This is a guest post from clib542, who has been nerding it up over on Twitter under the same username. I asked him if he wanted to put his findings into a full-fledged article, and here we are!]

It is no secret that the Calgary Flames are good at blocking shots. There is more to it than just getting in front of the puck; it takes courage and grit. The players who are best at blocking shots are the heart and soul of the team and are often leaders on and off the ice. 

You could argue that there is an art to blocking a shot, involving timing and technique. I think it would be safe to say Bob Hartley expects the players to block shots, and it is used as a defensive strategy. For every shot blocked, it is one fewer shot the goalie needs to save. 

However, is putting yourself in front of a 100mph shot worth it? Every year there are countless injuries due to blocking a shot. Unless a player dives across the crease, or knocks a puck off the goal line, preventing a sure goal, how much value is there in blocking at shot?

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