The Weekly Ignition: December 16 2013

 

 

As the National Hockey League enters into the third month of the 2013-14 season, we’re also hitting the lean part of the junior and college seasons. Christmas breaks are upon us, so hockey is thinning out a tiny bit.

So we have a little bit less to catch up on here in the Weekly Ignition.

RESULTS ROUND-UP

In an emotional battle on Tuesday night, Jarome Iginla got zero points but the Bruins beat the Flames at home anyway by a 2-1 score. The Flames got off to a 1-0 start via a Jiri Hudler goal, but Reto Berra couldn’t hold the Flames in it and they fell via a third period collapse. [Post-Game]

Thursday night’s clash with the Carolina Hurricanes was a bit similar: The Flames got out to a lead (Brian McGrattan scored), the road team tied it up late…except this time, Chris Butler scored in overtime to give them the win. Karri Ramo got the win. [Post-Game]

On Saturday the Flames played a matinee as they began a five-game Eastern road trip. They trek began in Buffalo, with a match against the NHL’s worst team. They won 2-1 in overtime, with Paul Byron and Matt Stajan scoring and Ramo picking up the win. [Post-Game]

Finally, the week ended with a Sunday night game with the New York Rangers. Despite goals from Mikael Backlund, Curtis Glencross and Sean Monahan, the Flames fell 4-3 in a shootout. Ramo took the loss. [Post-Game]

PRESS ROUND-UP

To kick things off, Steve Macfarlane spoke with Jarome Iginla following Iggy’s return to Calgary. Great stuff, except for the fact that the Flames lost.

Georgie Johnson broke down the ins and outs Feaster/Weisbrod firings.

Eric Francis looks at the timing of the move.

Randy Sportak explains why, despite Brian Burke’s insistence that he’s impatient, that patience will be needed in the rebuild.

Finally, Kristen Odland breaks down Sean Monahan’s return to the line-up.

A LOOK BACK

The Flames went 2-1-1 this week, continuing a pretty decent recent string. They also fired their GM. Right after Brian Burke spoke about truculence and size, tiny Paul Byron got four points in two games. Life’s all about timing.

Down on the farm, the Abbotsford Heat split a pair of games with the Iowa Wild this week. Joni Ortio got the lone win. Other notables included Corban Knight, Markus Granlund and Brett Olson, all with three points, and Ben Street with a pair of goals. Granlund’s on a long scoring streak and Michael Ferland has been excellent, as well. In the ECHL, Alaska lost two of three games, but David Eddy did have two short-handed goals in one game.

Not much to talk about in regards to prospects. Ryan Culkin (3 assists), Emile Poirier (2 assists) and Brett Kulak (2 goals) are your Three Stars. But remember, Hockey East is off for Christmas (and ECAC and Big Ten are off next week, as is the CHL). And heck, Eric Roy, Coda Gordon and Morgan Klimchuk are out with injuries, so it is what it is.

A LOOK AHEAD

The Flames play three times this week as they finish off their road trip. On Tuesday they visit the Boston Bruins, on Thursday it’s Detroit, and on Saturday morning they play Pittsburgh beginning at 11am.

In the minors, the Heat head on the road. They’re in Utica to play the Comets on Wednesday and Friday, and then head to Hamilton to play the Bulldogs on Sunday. The Alaska Aces host the Utah Grizzlies on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Junior and college teams begin their Christmas breaks this week, so you won’t have much prospect news until after Boxing Day. But, upside? The World Juniors are almost here!

  • mk

    The rest of December looks a little rough schedule-wise:
    BOS-DET-PIT-STL-EDM-VAN-PHI

    I think we’re looking at this record to close out the year, but I hear the game isn’t played on paper so who knows:
    L-L-L-L-W-L-T

    • McRib

      Wow, things are going to get interesting after this stretch, as you mention Edmonton and Philadelphia are the only winnable games…

      If we go 1-5-1, I have hard time believing Burke will stay put for long, this stretch should also help us get a lot of the way to securing a Top. 5 pick. Fortunately after the Kessel trade, I can’t see Burke trading a top pick again, but nothing or no one else is safe once things go south in the next month or so. This string of games should reinforce that we are still in a rebuild whether ownership or Burke likes it or not.

      • mk

        What I don’t get is that Burke’s impatient with the rebuild…it only started like 8 months ago. How many teams can do a rebuild in less than a year?!? None is the answer, especially when starting from where the organization was at.

        As for the fans in other markets who say that this 4 year rebuild is taking too long – we wish the rebuild started then. We really do.

    • SmellOfVictory

      Honestly, I’m okay with some losses. I know this is a new GM, but I always worry a little about teams overperforming and tricking management in the midst of a rebuild. It’s not very fan-like, but hopefully the Flames are exactly as bad results-wise as they should be (even a little worse) for the next year or two.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Remember, the flames were not as bad as their record last year. They had AWFUL goaltending. I suspect the flames will do better this year than last.

    RE: Dec Schedule. I also think we might be able to catch a few of these teams sleeping. I think we come away 2-4-1

  • SmellOfVictory

    It’s nice to see Knight finally breaking out of that putrid scoring drought otherwise known as the second half of November.

    Anyone else confused as to Hunter Shinkaruk’s inclusion on the WJC team? Actually, confused is the wrong word; more like disappointed. Hockey Canada is, as always, mesmerized by big names and shiny things.

    It was a rhetorical question. I know everyone feels the same way by now.

    • loudogYYC

      I don’t have a lot of faith in Brent Sutter, even if junior hockey is his thing.

      Not bringing 35 or more players to a National training camp seems a little arrogant to me. It’s not always about how each player performs on his respective club, but also how he performs with others.

    • McRib

      Not only is he on the World Junior Team after the lackluster offensive numbers he has put up this season to go along with a bratty freakout he had in Medicine Hat a month ago, but he was also playing with Connor MacDavid & Kerby Rychel on the Top PP Unit in the exhibition game that Canada only won 3-0 against the CIS All Stars.

      When Hockey Canada hired Head Scout Ryan Jankowski, I was hoping they would stop taking a team of the most hyped players every year… Apparently Jankowski is just another pawn for Bob Nicholson.

      Frederik Gauthier is fifth in team scoring for Rimouski with 24 points, while Emile Poirier is fifth in league scoring with 48 points…. What one made Team Canada???? I really think that one was Sutter sticking it to us, even in the two QMJHL vs Russia Games Poirier got surprisingly very limited ice time for a top scoring league player and first round pick to show himself.

      • Frederik Gauthier is fifth in team scoring for Rimouski with 24 points, while Emile Poirier is fifth in league scoring with 48 points…. What one made Team Canada????

        But Gauthier is BIG center that everyone wants.

        The focus on having big guys up the middle has really obscured the main thing that matters in useful centers – they also have to be, you know, good.

  • calgaryfan

    Very disappointed in Flames owners and Ken King. Hiring a president to work with your team and allowing him to fire the GM after only 3 months. Pretty obvious now the owners and Burke were not honest from the beginning.
    This is not good for the rebuild, Burke is an old school dinosaur who made lots of moves in Toronto, most of them not good. In Vancouver he had a good team but never found a goalie, kept telling fans Cloutier was an NHL goalie.

    • loudogYYC

      President of Hockey Operations means he makes decisions for the hockey side of the organization. I’d be disappointed if Burke started making Marketing and Sales decisions, cuz that’s Ken Kings job now. Weren’t you here for the big announcement 3 months ago?

      Brian Burke was hired to be the big picture manager of the hockey team, the next GM will be in charge of day-to-day management.

      It’s like Macro and Micro Economics, people are having a hard time believing that for some reason.
      The model has been used in pro sports for decades.

      • calgaryfan

        I understand the theory and I know all about the annoucement, but I also was not born yesterday. I moved to the coast when Mr. Burke was with the Canucks. Had season tickets for the Flames for 10 years, when Cliff Fletcher was GM. I have heard all of Burkes schtick before, nothing he has said at the Calgary press conferences is new, have heard it all before in Vancouver. Calgary fans will tire of him soon enough! I had great hope for the Flames with the drafting and the direction they were going, not so much hope anymore.

  • TDM

    I think, with the nastiness of the upcoming schedule, that we’re likely to sustain a few more losses in the near future. However, if someone had told me at the start of the year that there would be no foolhardy moves to postpone the rebuild and yet we would close out 2013 ahead of Edmonton, I’d have been pretty happy with that.