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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries, mystery signings and disappointment: a garbage bag day wrap-up

The Calgary Flames gathered at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday for exit meetings and final chats with the assembled media. We’ve dug through all the interviews to provide a quick and dirty rundown of the day’s discussions.

Who’s going to the World Hockey Championship?

The only player who’s definitely going is Michael Frolik, who will represent the Czech Republic. Johnny Gaudreau and Noah Hanifin are reportedly mulling their options.

Definitely not going are Travis Hamonic (being a dad), Mikael Backlund (having a baby), Matthew Tkachuk (doesn’t have a contract for next season yet) and David Rittich (injury). Probably not going are Elias Lindholm (injury), Sean Monahan (injury), Mark Giordano (being a dad) and Juuso Valimaki (injury).

Who’s hurt?

The Flames don’t have a laundry list of injuries like they did a year ago, but they have a few guys who are nursing some injuries.

  • Sean Monahan had a “crack in his thumb.”
  • Elias Lindholm had a “slight ACL sprain” from Game 5 against Colorado.
  • David Rittich was working through a minor knee injury that according to Brad Treliving wasn’t bad enough to keep him from playing, but was a “nuisance.”
  • Juuso Valimaki has “a little nagging thing” that will be checked out.

Rittich’s injury was interesting, in the sense that he admitted in his chat with the media that he was hurt on Dec. 31 and if you look at his underlying numbers, his save percentage dropped like a stone in the second half – he rocked a .935 save percentage prior to his injury and a .910 afterwards.

Another defensive signing coming

Treliving’s group has been busy with signings this spring, inking deals with Luke Philp, Artyom Zagidulin, Adam Ruzicka, Martin Pospisil and Dmitry Zavgorodniy (and AHL deals with Rob Hamilton and Corey Schueneman). But in his media availability, Flames head coach Bill Peters let it slip that they had another blueline signing on the way.

We’ll see if it materializes, but Yelesin is 23 and plays on the same team as Flames pick Rushan Rafikov (and former Flames great Jakub Nakladal). At the very least, the Flames are familiar with the player.

Lots of disappointment

A common theme in everyone’s chats with the media was the feeling that the Flames let a great opportunity slip away. They were the best team in the Western Conference during the regular season, but really struggled with Colorado’s speed and trying to take back momentum (in games and in the series).

Two quotes basically summed things up:

If you’d like to listen to the player interviews yourself, our pals at Sportsnet 960 The Fan have oodles of audio from garbage bag day. As always, we’ll continue to break down the Flames’ season and offseason throughout the next few months.

  • fretsey

    I’ve always held Gio in the highest regard. The absense of his name from the “inury report” is most disappointing especially when he is quoted as saying
    “Giordano: “I honestly think we didn’t have the puck enough in that series. We were playing safe, at times, and when you play safe, you sit back.”

    Kinda begs the question….as the Norris guy and Captain why didn’t you lead by example?

    • Speed Kills

      “We were playing safe” and rearranging everyone to focus on the Avs top line… 50 wins and you change everything to limit the damage “one line” might do???? That was the biggest Fail of the post season… You don’t change so much (but nothing) or “play it safe” in the playoffs…. If that is how the team game plan is set… That’s Not a Captain problem…. That’s a coaching Problem.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        It’s not up to him to report it. It’s not up to the team to report it. The NHL does the reporting. The concussion spotter is in the employ of the NHL so it was his job to yank Gio off the ice for an exam if he suspected Gio got his bell rung.

  • fumanchu1968

    How much could that month of solid road trips have affected the lack of energy? I recall that even the play by play guy saying that the trips that month made him exhausted…To me they lost this series because they had run out of top-end energy.

    • Em Durp Em Hrudey

      Yeah by the end of that road trip even Hrudey was slurring his words and mumbling…..oh wait that was before the road trip as well….bad example.

    • Joel Ottos Jock

      They lost because
      1. Monahan is a giant pink kitty
      2. Giordano disappeared
      3. BP played Smith, who the team gave up on in November. Their play reflected this.
      4. Janko Frolik and Neal were in the line up too long.

    • Off the wall

      I think it’s time the league looks into shortening the NHL season.
      Not necessarily next year but at the next CBA negotiations.

      Can the league survive with 10 less games? Is it financially beneficial for Cap implications, injuries and player fatigue?
      I’m not a NHL player, however I think it’s worth exploring.

      The league keeps expanding, which creates more travel, fatigue and and extra time between games. If you live in the snow belt, your game could be canceled due to inclement weather. But Bettman wants the friendship tours to continue overseas? I don’t get it. Let’s send our players 10,000 miles away, to experience jet lag, foreign customs and having the players away from their families, prior to the regular season.

      We can grow the game right here. At smaller venues that don’t get the experience of NHL hockey ever. You don’t know what you have here Bettman. Tons of opportunities here in North America. Without the extensive travel, cost and risk.

      Maybe I’m too simple. But sometimes simple might be better?!

      • BlueMoonNigel

        So the high school kid who sells popcorn at the Dome to squirrel away for college or the Filipina who pulls taps to support her family back on the islands get 5 fewer workdays so we can offer more rest to the million dollar babies.

        You, my friend, have the kind of vision and thinking that will see you as a key campaign strategist for Team Grope in this fall’s election.

        • wot96

          The owners are not likely to vote for a better product that takes away 7 – 15% of their game day income, depending on how many games are left out. But neither are the owners in the business of worrying too much about how many work days lost for the average worker – not their role.

          Keep the politics out of the forum – please.

      • calgaryfan

        yes, you just have to watch the back to back games or the 3rd game in 4 nights to see how bad the product is and the fans pay the same amount for a ticket.

      • slapshot444

        The overseas play is about growing the game. It’s a bigger strategy that a lot of sports. It’s all about money and that makes the world go around. Shorting the season by ten would be perfect, take a few off of the preseason at the same time. But who’s gonna pay the players then. That only works if everyone takes a cut.

      • freethe flames

        Not sure about cutting it back 10 games. But lets create a balanced schedule; play each team in the East Twice 32 games, play each team in the west 3 time 45 games: that’s 77 games. Top 8 teams qualify for the playoffs. Use the 3/2/1/0 point system.

        • Willi P

          The 3/2/1/0 would eliminate the fake “parity” that the league falsely claims they have (and constantly boasts about).

          If not for the joke of a loser point, Colorado would not have even made the playoffs.

  • T&A4Flames

    This may be a long shot but could we pull off a 3-way trade with TOR and CLB? TOR really needs some defensive help; on the back and front ends. Not to mention some cap relief. If CLB loses all their FA’s they’ll need to add some top end skill. And we need some size and grit with skill.
    Brodie and Frolik could address TOR needs. Nylander could address CLB needs and maybe they would have interest in adding Marleau as well? We would love a Josh Anderson playing 2nd line RW. I think it may be hard to pry Anderson out of CLB but the rest seems possible with some tweaks, maybe. I would add Mangi or Kyl to make that happen with hopefully some picks coming our way as well. If I remember correctly, Anderson did request a trade out of CLB prior to this season. Thoughts? Trashes? Let’s here it.

  • SeanCharles

    Please avoid hitting the panic button..

    Move out: Brodie, Frolik, Stone, Neal

    Add: Dynamic top 6 forward (preferably RHed), goalie

    Gaudreau -Monahan-________
    Tkachuk-Backlund-Lindholm
    Bennett-Dube-Mangiapane
    Jankowski-Ryan-Hathaway
    Czarnik

    Gio-Andersson
    Hanifin-Hamonic
    Valimaki-Kylington
    Fantenberg-Yelesin

    Rittich
    ______

      • FlamesFanOtherCity

        Hayes is normally a 40+ point guy. That’s not top line material. Trading Neal doesn’t doiesn’t bring back a top 6 forward after this past season. Looking at the above lineup, we have very little scoring past the top 4 players.

        I would be okay with Zucker, but we need to target a big time player and move out the lesser ones. Duchene with Tkachuk and Lindholm. Zucker with JH and Monahan. Dzingle with Mangiapane and Neal. Dube with Ryan and another guy. Bennett had a good playoff again, but his regular season leaves a lot to be desired. Same with Janko.

        Okay, so signing 2 UFA’s and trading for Zucker is a tall order. Maybe instead of signing Dzingle, we trade Backlund to a team like TOR for Willie. Probably add 2m in cap, but we no longer are a team that can’t hit the net. Tired of the muffin shots. Pipe dreams.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    So Valimaki is hurt again, again. The kid had significant time on the DL as a junior and missed a huge chunk of his rookie season in the NHL with hurtz. I know Backlund was the same during his first few years in the NHL. Flames might not want to dispatch their defensive depth too quickly until Valimaki can show that he can answer the bell night after night after night. Godspeed to the lad for a quick recovery.