The NHL is still on lockout, but our lives aren’t quite as empty as they could be. No, friends, because there are still Flames-related items to discuss. So, in-between sobbing openly about cancelled games and catching up on Breaking Bad or the Wire, check out this quick rundown of how players are doing.
THE LOCK-OUT BUNCH
A pair of newly-acquired Flames are playing rather well in Europe. Young Roman Cervenka has nine points over six games with HC Slavia Praha of the Czech Extraliga. His club is 4-5-0 this season. In the KHL, Jiri Hudler has an assist in four games with HC Lev Praha. That was until this morning, however, when Hudler decided to opt out of his contract with Lev due to a groin injury and a wish to be ready for the NHL once it’s starts up again. Add another Flame to the "won’t be playing this lock-out" category.
Surprising a few, the KHL’s Donbass Donesk signed Anton Babchuk – yes, that’s the club who also signed Clay Wilson. Babchuk has no points in four games with Donesk and is averaging 23 minutes of ice-time per game (Wilson is out-scoring Babchuk, by the way).
THE EURO KIDS
Karri Ramo is the number-one goalie for the KHL’s Avangard Omsk. He has a 5-3-2 record in 10 starts, with a 1.85 goals against average and a very good .930 save percentage. The team has lost both of the games he hasn’t started and is batting .500 overall. That’s a really, really good start for the guy who might be taking over for Kipper in a year or so.
Joni Ortio is the number-one goalie for SM-Liiga’s HIFK Helsinki. He has a 3-2-2 record in 7 starts, with a 2.52 goals against average and a .909 save percentage. He’s just okay so far. Teammate Markus Granlund has four points in seven games, but it’s his first season playing without his brother, Mikael, who is an insanely talented hockey player (Markus is the Valeri Bure to Mikael’s Pavel).
THE CANADIAN KIDS
Blueliner Ryan Culkin has seven points in five games for the Quebec Remparts and is a plus-seven. To the surprise of nobody, the juggernaut Remparts are undefeated.
Patrick Sieloff has three points in five games for the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires (who have lost once this year). He’s also been throwing his body around, leading his team with 20 penalty minutes thus far.
In the Dub, Turner Elson of the Red Deer Rebels has been sitting out the past few games, as he’s day-to-day with a lower body injury. The Rebels also have four 20-year-olds on their roster and a week to get down to three, so Elson’s injury gives them time to audition over-agers. Swift Current’s Coda Gordon has five points in five games, whle Vancouver’s Brett Kulak has three points in four games.
BACK TO SCHOOL
The Boston College Eagles, home of Bill Arnold and Johnny Gaudreau, play a pre-season game on Saturday against the University of New Brunswick. Their regular season begins next weekend against Northeastern University. In related news, you can buy a "Gaudreaubey Baker" shirt from BC Interruption. The Boston College arm of SBNation is quite high on the pint-sized wonder and is mounting a campaign to get Gaudreau the Hobey Baker award this year.
Providence College, home of Mark Jankowski and Jon Gillies, kick off their campaign next Friday against Sacred Heart.
The Eagles were ranked first in the United States among all college teams in the pre-season men’s hockey poll conducted by USCHO.com. It shouldn’t be surprising, considering that they won the national championship last season.