55Glen Gulutzan
Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn / USA Today Sports

The Flames share their thoughts on the season’s end

Among all the hustle and bustle and disappointment of last night’s 3-1 Calgary Flames loss to the Anaheim Ducks, several individuals connected with the club shared their thoughts not only on the series sweep by the Ducks but also the season as a whole. Rather than cram them into yesterday’s post-game coverage, we broke some of them out to share them with you.

Mark Giordano

The Flames’ captain returned to the NHL’s playoffs for the first time since 2007. When asked if the disappointment of the losses to Anaheim were important for the team’s younger players, he expanded the benefits a bit.

It’s important, I think, for all of us. For myself, too. Not being in playoffs for a long time, you realize how thin the margin is between winning and losing. And some nights it’s a bounce, some nights it’s a penalty, some nights it’s little things. And in this series, we had a little bit of everything and they found ways to win every game.

Kris Versteeg

Versteeg had a really interesting last 12 months. He originally signed to play in Switzerland, but issues surrounding his past injuries complicated the insurance process and so he became a free agent once more. He went to Edmonton on a try-out, played the entire exhibition schedule and then signed with the Flames the day before the season began. Then he had one of his best seasons in years. The two-time Stanley Cup winner held court at his locker stall for awhile post-game, sans shirt, and shared his emotions on the series and season.

I’ve been part of sweeps before, for and against, and they were deserving. This one, this definitely wasn’t warranted. We played really good hockey, and sometimes it goes like that, bounces and timely goals. But man, I said this team has great young guys, all willing to learn, all willing to get better. You got a great coaching staff, they make it fun for you every day, you can see how it turned the season around early on when things were bleak. And man, you’ve got the best leader and one of the best leaders I’ve ever played with, and I’ve played with some darn good leaders. Blue skies ahead, but right now you kinda suck on the sour lemon and move on.

Glen Gulutzan

After three years as an assistant in Vancouver, Gulutzan got a second chance to be an NHL head coach this season with the Flames. After a terrible start, his team turned it around and managed to get into the playoffs – his first taste of the playoffs as an NHL bench boss. He shared some thoughts on what his team will learn from the whole experience.

We had some young guys step up, even from two years ago, against a really good team. What you’re going to learn from this series is you’re going to remember it, but where the learning comes from is the whole season. We’ve grown immensely as a group and we’ll learn about how much this stings. I thought our guys gave everything. Even more resolve when it gets to playoffs.

  • Greg

    Versteeg really impressed me this series. Really stepped up and fought for it above his weight class. Classy comment from him too. I hope they can find a good contract number to bring him back.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Problem is Versteeg will be looking for big dough as this will likely be his last chance to make some real NHL coin. There will also be suitors out there who are in a better financial spot than the Flames to chuck bucks at him. Let’s not end up overpaying another bottom 6 forward. Brouwer, Bouma and Stajan might be the most expensive 4th line in the NHL.

      • supra steve

        It’s time for NHL clubs to start signing these ageing role players to 1-2 year deals max. No more Brouwer type signings please, too much risk involved for any club.

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        Well Versteeg is not going to be one of those veterans that loses his speed anytime soon, he can be moved up and downs the line up and he seems to be a real positive influence on the players. I hope we keep him.

      • ThisBigMouthIsRight

        Kris Versteeg knew what he wanted, With a young family Versteeg’s primary focus was finding a landing spot that was close to home (Edmonton or Calgary)… “It’s the start of free agency and before July 1, I told my agent that at the personal level, I have two young children now and I want to be close to home,” Versteeg told CalgaryFlames.com. So Calgary and Edmonton we’re two places that I really wanted to key in on and try to be a part of their organizations” …. I believe “Where” is more important to Versteeg than $$$. He may Jump ship to get a chance to play with the Coilers? or he may just take the home-team discount to remain a Flame.

  • DuckofDeath

    Until 13 understands that sometimes you have to take a hit of some level to make a play, he will not be effective. For the teams highest player to be only effective in an odd man situation

    • SmellOfVictory

      Disagree. Patrick Kane doesn’t take hits to make plays. JG just needs to figure out how to counter the defence they’re putting in front of him. He’s got the agility and puckhandling skills for it; he just needs to recognize how to apply it again.

    • Fan the Flames

      I don’t agree that Johnny is only effective in odd man situations . He generates scoring chances by seeing the ice well and hitting people driving to the net . His 3 on 3 play is amongst the best in the NHL .

    • Jessemadnote

      Johnny definitely had some growing pains this year. Even as such he put up some impressive numbers. I think he’ll make the adjustments necessary to deal with the new on-ice focus. Age 23 Johnny got 61 points in 72 games. Age 23 Patrick Kane got 66 points in 82 games. So let’s all get ready for Johnny to go above a PPG for the next 5 seasons.

    • calgaryfan

      what about Monahan taking a hit to make a play. Monahan is the softest Flame and does very little except stand in the slot waiting for Johnny to get him the puck. Why does Monahan get a pass from fans? He skates like he is wearing snowshoes and seems to be afraid of body contact. Other than a good release from the slot not much else in his game.

  • Justthateasy

    I would venture that the so-called first line was hemmed in their own end for longer and more often than any other line on the team. You can’t have one stick checking weak link in your d zone and let the other four do all the work.
    I wonder if you are allowed to sit on your bench until the puck comes your way and then pop up and surprise everybody. Might as well sit on your bench until the puck comes your way and then pop out and surprise everybody.

  • beloch

    Versteeg is right that the Flames played some good hockey in this series and didn’t deserve to be swept. They were in every game and dominated some of them in all ways but the score. Ultimately, they were undone by a few lapses of discipline (this is a young team), bad luck (both in bounces and officiating), and bad goal-tending.

    That last point can’t be blamed on Treliving either. Johnson and Elliott were a good duo, but one closer to a 1A/1B than a starter/backup than anyone could have expected. Aside from the beginning of the season, when one was cold the other was hot. It was plain bad luck that the playoffs started right after Johnson was injured and Elliott was cooling off. Had Johnson been ready to go in game 2 of the series things might have gone differently.

    The takeaway lesson from all this is that the Flames’ cannot rely on Elliott to be a Kipper caliber starter. When he’s hot he’s excellent, but he’s not completely reliable. He needs to be a part of a tandem with another (healthy) quality goalie. The same goes for Johnson even more so. What does this mean for the future? One or both of these guys could be back, but likely as backups or part of a 1A/1B tandem. Treliving’s quest for goalies will likely continue this off-season.

    Oh, and Treliving will be rehired. You could come up with a few reasons why he shouldn’t be back, like Brouwer’s contract, but in balance he’s done a fine job. Still, the fearful among us will probably sleep fitfully until Treliving’s contract is inked and there’s absolutely no possibility that Darryl Sutter will return to the GM’s job in Calgary. That would be a pretty dark timeline.

  • Lets Get Something Clear

    It’s pretty tough for either TheoForever or JohnnyGarbage to claim any kind of moral high ground here. Both of you have made jokes about sexual assault (rape and molestation respectively). I understand some trolling and fan-base rivalry, but this (and other threads on the site lately) have become toxic. Hopefully some of the FN moderators will take some action.

    • Lets Get Something Clear

      For the benefit of the both of you, here are the offending jokes (maybe the term joke was being generous…).
      TheoForever: “When one day you end up in prison and you will, you will be traded daily.” JohnnyGarbage: “Stop projecting what your dad did to your sister and you on me bro.”

      In the first, there’s the “I hope once you go to prison you get raped” and in the second the “I disagree with you so I’m going to claim it was because you were abused.”

      Neither is funny. Both make light of sexual assault.

  • Alberta Ice

    Hey, the Black Hawks will be swept and the Blue Jackets are now gone. 8 teams are going to need to deal with first round losses. Yep, let’s learn from our adversity and turn it into a stepping stone for the future.

        • TheoForever

          Theo was great, better hockey player than Johnny for sure, perhaps not as talented. Problem is that pound for pound Theo was one of the toughest players in the league and he was built like a little tank. Johnny would have to push a lot of weights and even then he doesn’t have that insane blood lust that Theo had.

  • The Sultan

    I’m sorry but Elliott blew it. You can wax poetic all you want about him getting us here, but when it came down to brass tax, he proved he couldn’t hang with the big boys. Elliott came as advertised; not quite an NHL starter, good in a 1a/1b role, hot and cold streaks, inconsistent. Hope he ends up anywhere else but here.

    • dontcryWOLF88

      I agree, he blew it. But why didn’t he blow it for the Blues last year when he took them to the conference final?

      I just don’t know what to say about this guy now. I was a big fan of his…until he became a Flame, which is ironic as hell.

  • Scary Gary

    Re Elliot, that conditional third rounder is looking pretty good right now…use it to entice Vegas to select Brouwer, then pick up a starting goalie in the summer to be backed up by Gillies.

  • TheoForever

    Your nickname says it all. If you put your first name and add garbage it will be a perfect description for the type of human being you are, and I used the term ‘human’ in its most liberal form.

  • Lets Get Something Clear

    It’s pretty tough for either TheoForever or JohnnyGarbage to claim any kind of moral high ground here. Both of you have made jokes about sexual assault (rape and molestation respectively). I understand some trolling and fan-base rivalry, but this (and other threads on the site lately) have become toxic. Hopefully some of the FN moderators will take some action.

  • dontcryWOLF88

    You come in here inciting all hell….trying to make people feel like crap…this is exactly what you wanted to happen, and you know it.

    Stop trying to sound reasonable after your pathetic display of sportmanship.

  • Maverick

    Why? Did he enjoy being swept by the Oilers in the regular season? If so he must have really enjoyed being swept in the playoffs. Guess you’re insinuating that he enjoys golf?