The Weekly Ignition: January 6 2014



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.


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.


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.

  • smith

    Agreed about Jonny G. It is getting to the point where you just can’t compare his numbers to others or you get too excited. He is not even playing much on the power play and yet he has an NHL E of 61. That is ridiculous. It looks like if he was put out on the ice more on the power play and more versus weak teams that he could easily have another 15 points.

  • loudogYYC

    Poirier not making the WJC squad is one of the stupider things I can think of in recent memory. What a joke.

    Also, good call by the Flames not sending Monahan to the WJC. Much better that he got injured in Calgary and is now being forced to play while still hurt. The team’s prized prospect and they make himplay while still wearing a walking cast. But anything it takes to admit they didn’t make a mistake by promoting him to the NHL this season.

    In hinsight, it’s abunduntly clear he should’ve stayed in junior. Always stay with your first instinct, as alas, I too was seduced by his early numbers. Unfortunately, my fears of him hitting a mjaor wall came to pass. This is why the team, as policy, should’ve never entertained it to begin with.

  • cunning_linguist

    Thank you Ryan, I really enjoy these write-ups. The fact that we have so many young prospects doing so well gives me hope this rebuild can go a little quicker than the one up North. Not too many think too much of our prospect cupboards, as evidenced by how many were in this latest WJC. But as we do accumulate some coveted young players, the ability to make excellent sweet deals will increase. My fingers are crossed Burke can extract way better value for the next waive of UFA selloffs. Maybe Burke can utilize the incredible amount of Cap space I feel Feaster didn’t or couldn’t.

  • MichaelD

    butter is taking a beating in the media over his ridiculous comments after the exit of the juniors. blaming players, system and everyone else but himself. lost the team prior to the tourny with his stoneage mentality.

    • piscera.infada

      On the other hand, it’s not like he doesn’t have a winning tack record at the tournament……..

      Maybe Hockey Canada would be wise to listen to him, Cherry and others to see what’s gone so wrong.

      Which brings me to the question of, why are the coaches for the team not picking the team?
      They would need help, for sure, especially in leagues they’re not familiar with, but no Nurse, no Domi, no Poirier? 11 guys eligible to return next season in a what’s supposed to essentially be a 19 year old’s tournament?

      Lots to dissect there.

      • piscera.infada

        While I’m somewhat willing to concede to you the point that Sutter “had a winning streak at the tournament” and thus, deserves some clout. He won in 2005 and 2006. If you coach a team that stacked, and don’t win every game, there’s something wrong. Hello junior hockey’s equivalent to Phil Jackson.

      • piscera.infada

        butter was given final say on who was on the team, that was stated yesterday by dave hodge, who actually questioned why so many guys were stapled to the bench.

      • piscera.infada

        Yeah, the selection process really bothered me this year. There were like three cuts from dev camp.

        Especially the goaltending. They didn’t even go as far as last year’s mockery of a selection process, where the camp’s best performer was somehow the only cut because they had already decided on Malcolm Subban. They just picked Fucale, added Patterson because he was there last year, and called it a day. Didn’t even look at guys like Tristan Jarry, Eric Comrie (and others, I’m sure) who are having excellent seasons.

  • MichaelD

    Did anybody see that Berra got named to the Swiss roster behind Hiller. I don’t know if it’s a big surprise as I don’t know of too many other Swiss goalies, but nice to see regardless.

  • loudogYYC

    Taking 25 players to camp like we’re some kind of dynasty was arrogant. Now it’s time to change Sutter says… A good start would be to stop hiring coaches like him that believe 4th liners deserve PP time if the try hard enough.

    The rest of the world isn’t catching up, it has caught up already. Time to stop acting like the hunted.