April 10 2016 03:30PM
Three players made their National Hockey League debuts for the Calgary Flames last night in a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Turner Elson, Patrick Sieloff and Oliver Kylington were summoned on short-notice from the American Hockey League's Stockton Heat and pressed into service without so much as a morning skate.
So how did the three greenhorns do? All-in-all, they were actually pretty darn good considering the circumstances.
April 10 2016 01:30PM
The Calgary Flames finished their 2015-16 season last night in Minnesota. Since there are no longer games left to be played, the Flames are no longer in an emergency roster situation. And since the emergency situation is over, the team officially announced earlier today they've returned five players – all up on emergency recalls – to the American Hockey League's Stockton Heat.
So farewell (for now) to defensemen Oliver Kylington and Patrick Sieloff and forwards Drew Shore, Turner Elson and Hunter Shinkaruk. They'll rejoin a Heat club that's desperately trying to stay alive in a playoff race and will be stoked about the additions.
Not heading back to the AHL are Joni Ortio and Derek Grant (both eligible but requiring waivers to go back) and Jakub Nakladal (who wasn't on the Heat's playoff roster).
April 10 2016 12:00PM
So this is how it ends.
Not with the quiet deflation met 11 months ago, an acceptance at having been bested by a superior opponent while clinging to life with the skin of teeth. Rather, with personal bests across the board and smiling, youthful faces living out their dreams and getting a shot.
The latter is much more pleasant, but much more hollow. It shows a promise of a future: a future already met by the former. We already lived it. Not for long, but we did. And in comparison, this is cheap.
Two steps forward, one step back. This season was the step backwards. It was coming, it was expected, but that doesn't make it any easier to swallow.
April 10 2016 08:00AM
Photo credit: Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports
All it took was 31 seconds and a couple of first-ever NHL points to bring the Flames up from the drudges of a 1-0 loss, give an old goaltender the best possible farewell he probably could have asked for, and pick up a completely unnecessary two points.
Thirty-one seconds, and a trio of unlikely performers.
April 09 2016 08:23PM
It was a nice gesture by the Calgary Flames to give veteran goaltender Niklas Backstrom the final start of the season, which happened to be in his old stomping grounds of Minnesota. Backstrom played just over 400 games with the Wild and at 38 years of age, it doesn't seem likely that he'll be back in the National Hockey League next season.
But Backstrom was a massive difference-maker for a Flames roster full of youthful exuberance tonight, making 35 saves en route to a 2-1 comeback victory to close out the 2015-16 season.