It’s 2014. As that sinks in, the World Juniors have been completed, and all sorts of pro, junior and college hockey are back from winter break. And, as the Hockey Gods have dictated, as the Calgary Flames have struggled, some of their prospects have having great years.
Here’s your Weekly Ignition.
The Flames continued their post-Christmas struggles with a 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on New Year’s Eve. Sean Monahan scored a goal. Reto Berra got the start. [Post-Game]
The Flames began their 2014 schedule with a 2-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Karri Ramo started for the Flames. [Post-Game]
The Flames also traded 2008 first rounder Greg Nemisz to Carolina for forward Kevin Westgarth, and signed 2013 pick Emile Poirier to a pro contract.
Kristen Odland details how Sean Monahan is pushing through his recent slump.
Dennis Wideman returned from his broken hand this week.
Eric Francis theorizes that Mark Giordano won’t make the Canadian Olympic team because he ran out of time to impress the brass.
Randy Sportak weighs the good and the bad of the Flames first 41 games.
And finally, Justin Azevedo looked at December’s NHLE updates, featuring a few Flames picks just having unreal years.
A LOOK BACK
The Flames have scored one goal since Christmas. Yep.
The farm teams had a bit of a rough go of it this week, too. The Heat lost a pair of games to the Hamilton Bulldogs (2-1 and 3-1). The Alaska Aces lost two of three this week; they lost to Ontario 3-0, beat Idaho 4-3 and then lost to Idaho 4-3 in a shootout.
The prospects had a much better week than the pros.
Coda Gordon and Morgan Klimchuk returned to action for the first time since late November – Klimchuk had 3 points and Gordon had 4 points. Johnny Gaudreau had 2 goals and Bill Arnold had 3 points at Fenway Park in a 4-3 win over Notre Dame. Kenny Agostino had 2 goals in a single game for Yale. Eric Roy had 3 assists this week. Brett Kulak had 6 assists this week. Ryan Culkin had his first game-winning goal of the year and had 4 points. Emile Poirier also had 4 points, but three of them were goals, and one was his seventh game-winner of the season.
Let’s say Poirier, Culkin and Kulak are the Three Stars, but a lot of guys had good weeks.
A LOOK AHEAD
Four games this week for your Flames, but none of them easy. They head to Denver tonight to play the Colorado Avalanche, then fly straight to Phoenix for a Tuesday game against the Coyotes. Then it’s back home to play St. Louis on Thursday and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. And after that, they head to the airport again for a trip out east early next week.
Both minor league teams are on the road. The Heat head down to Texas – they play in San Antonio on Tuesday, Cedar Park on Friday and San Antonio again on Saturday. The Aces visit the San Francisco Bulls on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
And two college games highlight this week’s prospect calendar. On Friday night, Boston College plays Providence College, featuring college hockey’s hottest line (Flame prospects Johnny Gaudreau and Bill Arnold alongside Blackhawks pick Jimmy Hayes) against one of college hockey’s top goalies in Jon Gillies. Also: Jankowski. On Saturday, Kenny Agostino leads Yale into battle at Madison Square Garden against those stuffed shirts from Harvard.