Circle your calendars for Sept. 18, because that’s the first day the Calgary Flames will play once again.
For the preseason, of course – the regular season will still be a bit further off, but preseason is the sign it is fast approaching. The Flames will play seven times over the second half of September in final preparation for the 2017-18 season.
— Wes Gilbertson (@WesGilbertson) June 15, 2017
The Flames will be seeing the exact same teams they saw a year ago in 2016-17’s preseason. All games will be played in western Canada, and the Arizona Coyotes are the only non-Canadian (but still western, and in-division) opponent they will face. Why mess with what works?
Once again, the split squad games against Edmonton will start at the same time, because staggering starts is unheard of. In this day and age it is impossible for a person to watch two hockey games at the same time, and the NHL knows it. Or something. (Seriously, they hold these games every year, they could just trade off who starts at 7:00 and who starts at 7:30. I don’t get it.)
Interesting to note: Vancouver and Los Angeles will play two preseason games in China (because growing the game is important, unless you have direct access to the untapped Asian market on the world’s biggest stage, in which case, it is actually bad, apparently), on Sept. 21 and 23. The Flames will be Vancouver’s first preseason matchup following their return from China.
Fewer preseason games may mean fewer chances to get ready, but they also minimize chances of injury. And this preseason should hopefully be different. While we can’t predict what ailments may befall a player in the offseason, like Sean Monahan’s strained back, we know there’s no chance of Mikael Backlund getting injured in the World Cup of Hockey this year. Also, Johnny Gaudreau has a contract now, and the Flames’ most prominent restricted free agents – Sam Bennett and Micheal Ferland – aren’t going to be worth a big enough deal like Gaudreau’s that saw him hold out until October.
So fingers crossed for everyone to be able to participate in preseason this time, and fingers crossed for a better start to the regular season, which should come soon after.