January 01 2015 02:43AM
The Calgary Flames completed the 2014 portion of their regular season tonight with a comeback overtime win over their most bitter rivals, the Edmonton Oilers, by way of a 4-3 score at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
The calendar year ended in much the same way that it went all season for this group - they figured out a way to win when winning didn't seem easy.
December 31 2014 01:28PM
The past year has been pretty good to the Calgary Flames, all things considered. The team's rebuild progressed from its infancy to the point where the Flames played spoiler to playoff teams last season and went on a great run late in the season. Overall, the Flames enter tonight's game against Edmonton, their final game of 2014, with a 41-35-4 record over the calendar year.
And yes, they still consider themselves to be rebuilding. They probably will until they make the playoffs, whenever that happens.
Tonight's game is interested on a number of levels. Calgary (20-15-3 on the season) hosts their most bitter historical rival, the Oilers (8-22-7 on the season) for the second time in five days. It's the annual New Year's Eve game. Everyone will have the end of the calendar year looming around them. The Flames desperately want to bank some points as they creep towards a playoff spot. The Oilers just want to avoid starting another losing streak as they creep towards relevancy.
The puck drops at 7:30pm MT on Sportsnet One and Sportsnet 960 The Fan. It's the late game of a double-header, following a Toronto/Boston game at 5pm on Sportsnet West. There's a chance that if the first game runs long, the start of the Flames game could be delayed slightly on Sportsnet West, so beware. Or just stick to Sportsnet One, if you get both.
December 31 2014 08:13AM
Today is the round robin match that everyone has been waiting for. Team Canada vs. Team Our Parents Immigrated from Canada. As a child of the 80s it seems odd to consider the US as Canada's chief hockey rival, but I can no longer trap myself in 1987 and continue to believe that the Russians are the greatest test for Canada.
This game preview could take the high road and talk about how great the US National Team Development Program is, and how I wish that Hockey Canada had something resembling anything close to that. We could talk about how this game could be a gold medal preview and features the two undefeated teams from Group A and a victory has the high stakes of a much easier path to the medal round, though losing to the Swiss or the Czechs would be unlikely for either of these teams.
December 30 2014 10:59AM
Lost in all the hubbub about the Calgary Flames winning games in dramatic fashion is the news that center Mikael Backlund - a favourite around these parts as a possession-driving young forward - is recovering from his abdominal injury.
He's recovered so much, that in fact he joined the main group for full practice on Monday prior to the Flames game versus the Los Angeles Kings. He was wearing a non-contact jersey, but this is huge progress, as he'd be a massive, massive addition to a team that's arguably still playing over its head.
But what happens when Backlund does make his return?
December 29 2014 10:21PM
On Saturday night, the Calgary Flames got an early lead against the woeful Edmonton Oilers and went into cruise control. The Oilers got a third period goal to make it close, but the Flames were good enough to keep them at bay without any effort.
Tonight's game was creepily similar, except for the fact that their opponent tonight was the Los Angeles Kings, the defending Stanley Cup champions, and that the hometown team needed a much more concerted effort to hold onto their lead and get two points.
But after two first period goals in rapid succession, the Calgary Flames held on - despite a second period Kings marker - to win their 20th game of the season, this time by a 2-1 score.