It’s a holiday Monday across North America, with Canada celebrating Thanksgiving and their American neighbours observing Columbus Day. The hockey world chugs along, with three games on the NHL schedule and a whole lot of catching-up to do following a really busy week. We’re here to catch you up.
The Flames played twice this week after a couple days of practice following their first week of games.
Wednesday: The Flames beat the Montreal Canadiens by a 3-2 score. The game was tight-checking, entertaining and featured some impressive play from Sven Baertschi, Sean Monahan and Lee Stempniak. After staking a 3-0 lead, the club held on during a big third-period push from the Habs. [Read our Post-Game Recap]
Friday: In what could be the last visit to Calgary for Martin Brodeur and Jaromir Jagr, the Flames survived an uneven first two periods and a last-period push by the New Jersey Devils to skate away with a 3-2 win. Sean Monahan and Sven Baertschi connected on the game-winning goal late in the third, causing Flames fandom to squeal with joy and struggle to remember when two Flames first round picks did such impressive things. [Read our Post-Game Recap]
THE PRESS ROUND-UP
Would like to congratulate my good friend Mark Stephen as he will be honored by the Canadian Football League Hall of Fame!! Well deserved!
— Roger Millions (@RogMillions) October 11, 2013
Congrats to Mark Stephen, presently at QR77 and formerly at the University of Calgary’s The Gauntlet (and also CJSW), where both myself and Justin Azevedo have worked in the past. And now, the must-see stories from the past seven days.
- First off, if you read one Flames story this week, check out Kristen Odland’s in-depth look at Sean Monahan from the Herald.
- Via the Calgary Herald’s Scott Cruickshank, Sean Monahan is living with Jiri Hudler.
- Via the Calgary Sun’s Randy Sportak, the Flames are blocking a LOT of shots. Many of them were blocked against the Devils.
- ESPN’s Pierre Lebrun spoke with Bob Hartley about Calgary’s start. To steal a quote: "Whatever Mad Dog or Bodog says, I don’t really give a s—."
- USA Today’s Kevin Allen (recently announced as the 2013 Lester Patrick Award winner for service to hockey in the United States) takes a look at the Flames recent success, proving that American writers have read the NHL standings and went, "Wait, what?"
- The Vancouver Province’s Steve Ewan examines the Abbotsford Heat’s youth movement.
- Over at The Hockey Writers, I took at look at the past and future of the Scotiabank Saddledome.
- Around these parts, I suggested that icings could be the next advanced stat. I’ll be tracking these throughout the year and we’ll see if this amounts to anything.
- Nations Overlord Kent Wilson advised caution when thinking about Sean Monahan’s performance with the Flames.
- And finally, Steve Macfarlane is a sooth-sayer, as the day after he put together a great comparison piece holding Lance Bouma up against Brandon Prust, Bouma had a fantastic game against the Devils.
A LOOK BACK
The Flames won twice, out-playing the Habs throughout most of their meeting and riding out an uneven first forty minutes against New Jersey by virtue of a strong power-play. Sean Monahan continues to impress and put up points at key times while Jiri Hudler is quietly one of the NHL’s points leaders. They also lost David Jones to an upper-body injury against the Canadiens and recalled Blair Jones in his place. As of now, the Flames are without Jones, Mike Cammalleri and Matt Stajan – arguably their three best forwards not named Curtis Glencross – yet they keep winning anyway.
Elsewhere, the Abbotsford Heat began their home schedule with a couple lengthy games against the Milwaukee Admirals – a 3-2 overtime win and a 2-1 shootout loss. Reto Berra started both games and generally was said to be strong. Corban Knight had two assists in the first game, while Josh Jooris had a helper in each game. Turner Elson, Ben Hanowski and Greg Nemisz (with the OT winner) scored in the first contest, while Roman Horak had the lone goal in the shootout loss.
My arbitrary amateur Three Stars of the week are Gatineau forward Emile Poirier (5 points and 1 game-winning gal in 3 games), Quebec defender Ryan Culkin (4 points in 3 games) and Boston College star Johnny Gaudreau (4 points in 2 games). Lots of honourable mentions this week, as Morgan Klimchuk, Coda Gordon and John Gilmour all had 3 points. As seen above, Johnny Gaudreau has some sick deke moves.
A LOOK AHEAD
The Flames have another relatively light week ahead, beginning a five-game road trip that will have them criss-cross the western part of the continent over the next ten days. First up is a visit to Anaheim on Wednesday night (an 8pm start on TSN) and then a two-day break before Saturday’s game in San Jose (8pm, CBC). After that their sked gets hairy, with three road games in four nights.
The Heat hit the road way down south with three games in three nights, all on the road. Friday and Saturday they tangle with the Baby Oilers, the Oklahoma City Barons. On Sunday they head to Cedar Park, Texas to play the Texas Stars. After that, they head back home to prepare for another weekend of games.
Up in Anchorage, Calgary’s newest affiliate club, the Alaska Aces, begin play on the weekend. They’ll host the San Francisco Bulls on Friday and Saturday, and there’s a pretty good chance that Laurent Brossoit will make his pro debut in one of those games. (Update: The Heat and Aces swapped Brossoit and Joni Ortio on Monday afternoon.)
Finally, there’s a metric ton of junior and college hockey coming up. Yale begins their defense of their national championship (and Flames fans begin to count down to Kenny Agostino turning pro) on Saturday against Ontario Tech. And in general, college clubs continue to tune things up with non-conference games before things kick off in a serious way in November when league play begins.
SUM IT UP
The Flames are doing well (so far). The Heat are doing well (so far). Many of the Flames prospects are doing well (so far). It’s a long, long season, but things are starting off in a promising manner.