The Calgary Flames are back at home today after being out in sunny California for a week, going 1-1-0 in a short road trip. Now that the trip is over, it’s onto the home stretch of the 2014-15 season.
Here’s a brief primer for dates and figures to remember.
The Flames have 27 games remaining on the schedule; 13 home games and 14 away games. The bulk of the away games are part of the road trip made necessary by the Tim Hortons Brier; the club will be on the road continuously from February 23 until March 9, so almost exactly two weeks.
In contrast, the Flames also have a long homestand, and actually play just one road game between March 9 and March 26; 7 of 8 games at home in that stretch, broken up only by an in-and-out trip to Denver for a game with the Avalanche.
There are 7 games before the NHL’s trade deadline on March 2 (at 1pm MT), and 20 games after the deadline.
Wondering when (or if) we’ll see a goalie playing that’s not Jonas Hiller? Well, the club has four sets of back-to-back games on the remaining schedule. And just for kicks, every single pairing involves travel!
- February 24 in Manhattan, February 25 in Newark – travel’s not horrible.
- March 5 in Boston, March 6 in Detroit
- March 13 at home against Toronto, March 14 in Denver – the travel’s not awful and it’s part of that aforementioned lengthy home stretch.
- March 29 in Nashville, March 30 in Dallas – and both games are at weird times, too.
Games left against teams currently in a playoff spot: 11.
Is there a cavalry coming, in terms of players from the farm or any prospects coming in to be Black Aces? Well, consider the following:
- The NHL schedule ends on April 11.
- The AHL schedule ends on April 19, and the Adirondack Flames occupy the 8th seed in the AHL’s Eastern Conference, albeit tenuously.
- The schedule ends for most NCAA conferences on March 21, including conference playoffs. The Frozen Four runs March 27 to April 11 in all its stages. Boston University is a lock to be there (and Brandon Hickey ain’t leaving school). Providence College will probably be there, but may get bounced in the regional round given how their season’s been going, so there’s a chance that Jon Gillies signs before April 1 and goes…somewhere. (I’d try to get him to sign an ATO and go to Adirondack for two weeks, but that’s me.) I’m not certain what Mark Jankowski will do, and John Gilmour is injured. Colgate likely won’t be at the Frozen Four, and I reckon it’s a coin toss if Tim Harrison goes pro next season or not. Michigan State will not be a Frozen Four team, but I also doubt the Flames sign Matthew Deblouw, either.
- In the junior leagues, things are a bit more fluid. All three CHL leagues end their regular seasons the weekend of March 22. Oshawa of the OHL (Hunter Smith) has already clinched a playoff spot and will win at least a couple rounds (they’re stacked). Kingston (Sam Bennett) is a low seed in their conference and should make it…and get eliminated quickly. Charlottetown of the QMJHL (Mason McDonald) is a middle-of-the-pack club and could get bounced early. In the WHL, Brandon (Eric Roy and Morgan Klimchuk) is a top seed that’s already clinched a spot. Calgary (Keegan Kanzig) and Victoria (Austin Carroll) are middle-of-the-pack seeds who could lose early. For the curious, a playoff round lasts about 10-14 days in the junior leagues.
In short: is anybody definitely coming? Not definitely, but there’s a good chance that a few players will be freed up to join the Baby Flames on try-outs by early April.