January 25 2016 10:00AM
Jiri Hudler has suddenly become an important topic amongst Flames fans. After scoring the most 5on5 points in the league last year he has completely fallen off a cliff this year, to the degree that the coach doesn't seem to know where to put him in the lineup.
Heading into the season the question surrounding Hulder was whether the club could afford to re-sign him or if they'd move him for a sizeable return at the deadline. Now, the question is whether they can get anything for him at all.
The situation is reminiscent of Mike Cammalleri's final days as a Calgary Flame. With the organization staring a full tear down and rebuild in the face, Mike Cammalleri seemed like the last, best veteran asset in the cupboard in the wake of the Iginla and Bouwmeester selloffs.
Unfortunately, Cammalleri struggled through a concussion and was completely ineffective in the weeks leading up to the deadline. As a result, Burke only received lowball offers for the winger (third rounder or below) and the taciturn interim GM decided he'd rather keep the player than give him up for a nominal return (a decision I disagreed with).
Ironically, Cammalleri's game completely turned around after the deadline. He scored 13 goals and 24 points in the final 20 games, meaning he likely would have been one of the best deadline rentals of the season had the Flames traded him.
There's no saying whether that's what will happen with Hudler this year. All we know is he still has time to turn the ship around. Here's hoping he does before the deadline.
January 25 2016 08:00AM
Photo credit: James Guillroy/USA TODAY Sports
If you think about it, that game was a perfect microcosm for the entire Flames season.
The Flames didn't even show up at first. A goaltending miscue and incredibly questionable defence sunk them early on. But just when you thought all was hopeless, they began to rally back. They put themselves in conversation to win the game--
And promptly blew it all a few minutes later in rather emphatic fashion. Also, the special teams were real bad.
It was the entire season compressed into one 60-minute game. Can we go to the trade deadline now?
January 24 2016 07:38PM
It seems that whenever the Calgary Flames play a game that's not a standard start time (like 5pm, 7pm or 8pm MT), they come out flat, get down early and have to claw their way back. In front of allegedly 9,934 fans at PNC Arena in Raleigh, the Flames went down 3-0 early and lost 5-2 to the Carolina Hurricanes.
It was a really flat outing, which probably should be worrisome considering that the Flames played with sloppily and with little desperation early-on, and really didn't start playing well until Karri Ramo had been chased from the game and they had little chance of winning.
January 24 2016 02:02PM
Today in the great state of North Carolina, two excellent teams will clash in a battle of wills will high stakes.
Three hours east (and 40 minutes earlier), the Calgary Flames will face the Carolina Hurricanes in a battle of two teams trying to salvage their seasons and creep closer to an improbable playoff berth. And because of the NFC Championship game at Bank of America Stadium that's on at the exact same time (and the winter storm-related state of emergency in the area), expect to see a bunch of fans dressed up as seats. Yes, even moreso than a usual Hurricanes game, which averages a league-worse 11,000 fans.
The puck drops at 4pm MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.
January 24 2016 08:00AM
If read Pat Steinberg's piece on Jiri Hudler's decline last week - and if you didn't, here's a link, get to it - you might have had the same question come to mind that I did: "Hey, why is Jiri Hudler's shooting percentage so much lower than last year?"
The obvious answers are: (a) he got a whole lot worse at shooting or (b) he's taking worse shots than he was last year. I had some time on my hands, so I did some digging. The short answer is that it's a bit of both, and a great deal of it comes from the fact that Hudler has become a perimeter player almost overnight. (Or at least over the summer.)