February 09 2017 08:00AM
The Calgary Flames are aware they have a problem on defence.
Considering how Dennis Wideman is regularly playing over 20 minutes a game, you'd hope that would be the case. And, at least according to a drive-by mention on Sportsnet, they absolutely are looking to upgrade their top four.
The Flames only have three defencemen - Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, and Dougie Hamilton - signed beyond this season, so they're going to have to do something at the position no matter what. Complicating things, however, is the expansion draft; there's a pretty decent chance the Flames won't even be able to protect their new asset, lest they want to risk giving up, say, Michael Frolik.
Which is probably not going to happen.
That said, the Flames have both a short- and long-term need for a defensive upgrade. They're a playoff bubble team; they're not good enough to give up assets for a rental at this point in time. Whoever they target should be able to play for years down the line, and we should hope he's on the team next season, too.
February 08 2017 02:00PM
(Neville E. Guard / USA Today Sports)
Last year, the National Hockey League revamped the All-Star Game by making it a three-on-three tournament featuring teams from all four divisions. As a way to get the NHLPA to sign off on that format change, the players were granted a five-day bye week inserted into every team's schedule for this season.
For teams in each conference, it's made standings watching effectively useless because the difference in games played between teams in the playoff races can often be massive. The byes are all going to be complete by the trade deadline. But when will the games played gap even out?
In short, it'll take awhile.
February 08 2017 10:30AM
We're three weeks away form the 2017 trade deadline and the Flames are in a dogfight for the final playoff spot. The difference between making the dance and not is likely going to come down to a couple of points between Calgary, Los Angeles and St. Louis.
Brad Treliving has gone on record as not being interested in a pure rental situation. That means if the Flames add anything by March 1, it will probably be something long term and significant.
That also means the acquisition cost will be higher. With a lot on the line and their eyes on a bigger prize, is it possible the Flames could move their 2017 first rounder at the deadline?
February 08 2017 08:00AM
The Calgary Flames faced a team that is unquestionably better than they are. True, it was a team that's been hit by injuries as of late, but the Pittsburgh Penguins are undeniably better - and it showed.
And yet the Flames were never out of the game. Chad Johnson made sure of it, as did a trio of Mikes and a Matthew. And though they did bend, they didn't break.
The Penguins may have deserved a better fate in this one. The Flames didn't let them have it. There are nine teams above .500 in the West, and they're the last one.
February 08 2017 07:30AM
The Boston Bruins fired head coach Claude Julien and did so in a way that made the organization look as classless as possible. On the other side of that coin, the Islanders have gone on fire since firing Jack Capuano and replacing him with Doug Weight.