It’s beginning to look like time for hockey, both in terms of the calendar and in terms of Calgary’s weather! The European pro hockey schedule has begun and pretty soon we’ll be underway in North America, as well!
Here’s a quick Monday morning primer for your perusal.
ROOKIE CAMP OPENS ON THURSDAY
The Calgary Flames have their golf tournament on Tuesday – weather permitting – and following that, the team’s youngest players all gather in town for rookie camp. The Flames had to Penticton on the weekend, and we’ll have coverage – granted, from a distance – for the annual YoungStars Classic tournament!
In terms of games…
- Friday, September 12: Flames vs. Jets – 5pm MT
- Saturday, September 13: Flames vs. Oilers – 8:30pm MT
- Sunday, September 14: No Flames games, enjoy your Sunday!
- Monday, September 15: Flames vs. Canucks – 6:30pm MT
I am of the understanding that our pals at Sportsnet 960 The Fan will be calling all three games, featuring the radio debut of the Derek Wills/Peter Loubardias tandem. I suspect that the Flames site will be streaming the games, but I am not in any way sure yet.
My expectation is Calgary’s roster for the tournament should be available Tuesday or Wednesday.
MEET DEREK WILLS
Our pal Darren Haynes did a really cool feature on Derek Wills on his blog, Flames from 80 Feet.
The Claude Julien story is gold.
LOU IS ON TWITTER NOW
Our pal Peter Loubardias is on Twitter @Fan960Lou. You should follow him, although his patented soliloquies about junior hockey probably won’t translate to 140 characters well.
Sunday was the 3rd anniversary of the tragic crash of Yak-Service Flight 9633, which resulted in the deaths of basically the entire Yaroslavl Lokomotiv hockey club. It took more than a year to conclude the investigation into the crash, where it was concluded that the pilots falsified their training documents.
Former Flames captain and assistant coach Brad McCrimmon was one of the passengers on that plane, and was en route to Minsk to begin his KHL head coaching career. The Flames honoured McCrimmon’s memory with a permanent display on the concourse, which I believe is adjacent to the display honouring former Flames head coach “Badger” Bob Johnson.
Flames 2013 seventh-rounder Rushan Rafikov represented Russia at the end of August in the Four Nations Cup. Russia beat the Czech Republic but lost to Sweden and Finland, so they finished third. Rafikov played in all three games and didn’t get any points. He was paired with his junior teammate Nikita Cherepanov.
Rafikov’s junior team, Loko Yaroslavl, won both of their games thus far to open their season. Rafikov had a goal over the weekend.
OLLAS MATTSSON UPDATE
Flames 2014 sixth rounder Adam Ollas Mattsson represented Sweden at the same Four Nations Cup. Sweden won two of three, losing to Finland, finishing first overall. Ollas Mattsson had no points, and was paired primarily with 2014 Canucks fifth rounder Gustav Forsling, who was chosen 126th overall (49 spots before Ollas Mattsson).
Ollas Mattsson joined his pro team, Djurgardens IF, for their final Champions League round robin game, a 4-3 shootout loss to Eisbaren Berlin. The SHL regular season begins on Saturday.
UPDATE: DIAZ COMING TO CAMP
— Silvan Schweizer (@SchweizerSilvan) September 8, 2014
Stick-tap to Roger Millions for the heads-up via Twitter. Diaz, 28, has 45 points in 145 NHL games split between Montreal, Vancouver and the NY Rangers. He’s (only) 5’11” and 195 pounds, but he’s an underrated passer and could be a low-risk addition. Last season in 63 games his CorsiRel was +4.1, his QualComp was -1.00 and he had 50.5% offensive zone starts. In short: he did decent possession-wise, but he was both sheltered (in terms of starts) and shielded (in terms of competition). But hey, if he’s a third pairing guy, that’s not terrible.
The Flames have 48 players under contract for 2014-15, but four of those deals (Sam Bennett, Keegan Kanzig, Morgan Klimchuk and Emile Poirier) can slide, so up to six more players could be signed. But if Diaz and/or Sheldon Brookbank impress, expect an established defender to be moved out.
I mean, one would have to be, right?