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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

  • Albertabeef

    When Dougie played in Calgary I called him “Hamy the puck hog”. I was just on NHL.com and saw
    “Hurricanes roll out red carpet for Hamilton the Pig
    Good luck charm allowed in PNC Arena for first time, will watch Game 6 from Section 108”
    I almost fell off my chair lmao.

  • PlayitagainSam

    Definition of insane…doing the same thing and expecting different results
    Sportsnet report. “Gaudreau wants to give it another shot at playoffs with same roster.”

    • BlueMoonNigel

      So you expected him to throw his band of brothers under the bus? Johnny said what he was expected to say. The problem with Johnny in the playoffs was that he played exactly how he was expected to play. Avs knew that even before Johnny did. Johnny failed to adapt his game to how the Avs were playing, thus he was a non factor in the series. When your top man is a non factor, your team has a high probability of losing.

      • FlamesFanOtherCity

        The top line went from scoring every game, to Johnny being the only one able to score the last month of the season. JH had one PP point since March 1st. Being shut down individually 5v5 in the playoffs is only part of the story. Ask his linemates what they did to bring back the scoring.

    • BringtheFire 2.0

      No. That is NOT the definition of insanity. At all. Example:

      If I work out every single day, the muscles I work will get stronger, I’ll be come healthier, and my quality of life will improve.

      If I meditate every single day, over and over, I will become calm and more focused, and my quality of life will improve.

      I am so sick of that stupid, stupid quote that people only know because it was in Far Cry 3.

      • Sobueno

        Off topic of the article, but anyway here we go:

        The quote is largely attributed to Einstein, but apparently there’s not much in the way of evidence he’s actually the originator. I guess Far Cry is just the latest to include it.

        I think you’re somewhat misinterpreting the idea behind the quote though. It’s basically saying that repeating ineffectual actions and expecting different results is “insanity”. So lifting weights and getting stronger and improving quality of life isn’t ineffectual or “insane” unless your expectation is that a daily gym pump and gaining 25lbs of muscle mass is going to improve your marathon time. Or alternatively, expecting running 20km per day is going to get you jacked. Not bad pursuits in and of themselves, but ineffectual based on your goals.

        I get the irritation with its overuse though.

  • Widemans Anger

    Hey Monahan! If you are injured… please sit out some someone who is not injured (Dube, Quine, Czarnik, anyone else) can take your spot and maybe impact the game… just a tip from the outside looking in….

  • Stu Gotz

    As much as I like Monahan management sticking up for this guy after poor performances is getting a bit tiring. The kid is talented blessed with sweet hands. But his skating may no longer be up to NHL standards.

  • buts

    Calgary Flames management and players. You picked the worst possible time to put out your worst possible performance. Tre said it’s not the time to over react but you shouldn’t under react either. This group is far away from a cup, the top 6 needs a overhaul only JG and MT are top line caliber SM and EL are 2nd liners. Backlund is a 3rd line centre. We have a lot of D assets to get the players needed.

  • The GREAT WW

    What would you give the Canucks for the last year of Markstrom’s contract?

    Sure; Stone, Neal or Frolik…..

    What if they wanted Brodie, Jankowski, Bennett or a draft pick…….?

    Not so funny now is it…?!


  • Off the wall

    I don’t read the wrap up quotes, nor watch any of it. I just don’t like rhetoric and cliche’s.

    It’s not as if our players have anything else to add. They didn’t get it done. Period.

    Now we need to take a hard look at this group. That’s where the answers lie, not with mandatory quotes from players.

    My nickname given by my old timers teammates is , “animal”.

    I don’t think it’s an compliment necessarily, it’s more of a reflection of how badly I hate to lose. I’m the smallest guy on the team, not really that good, but losing isn’t in my mindset. Ever.

    I’m too intense they say for old timers. I don’t agree. If you play with intensity, it makes you be accountable to yourself. Why go play a game that keeps score, if you don’t want to be competitive?

    Doesn’t make sense to me. And I’m no athlete. Just a regular Otw.

    Give me 23 players who HATE losing. I don’t care if they love winning, everyone does.

    I want a team that will not accept LOSING. If that means getting rid of some good players, then so be it. This is something analysts can’t measure. An athletes makeup. His brain, his desire, his heart.

    That’s where we should be reinvested. It’s going to take more than statistics to find the players who actually fit that mold. Betty Crocker doesn’t make them. You have to search for the right recipe.

    Good luck Treliving. You’re going to need it, to get this team into a mindset of HATING losing.

    Give me 23 “animals”!
    I’ll take that any day…

    • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

      Everyone wants a team full of “nice guys” and “character”, but the last time we won a Stanley Cup we had Vernon, Gilmour, Fleury partying so often at Cowboys they had a private washroom to do blow. Patrick Kane’s, Alexander Ovechkin’s and Phil Kessel’s of the world win you Stanley Cups. Everyone wants the “nice guys”, but when you go to war you need to get dirty.

  • everton fc

    I said this on the last thread; we don’t need to jettison Monahan, or any of our high-scoring players. We need to add guys w/skill and grit, to compliment them. A fine example is Ferland, though I doubt he’d re-sign here, and I doubt the Flames will talk to him.

    Hamonic. Hathaway. Bennett. Tkachuk. Gio. These guys come to play. Ditto Mangiapane. And Ryan, too, but not as a gritty player. Ryan really impressed me, this season, as being balanced, steady, and professional.

    Our first line needs to be shuffled. Lindholm is a keeper. Monahan scores 30+ goals a season, and people want to move him? Find him a role, and let him play that role. Same with Backlund. Let him be “Backlund”.

    Gaudreau is “Gaudreau”. A rare talent. Find a wing who can create some space for him, and can feed him the puck, and receive the puck from Johnny…

    Guys that should be shopped: Frolik/Brodie/Czarnik/Neal (I know, we can’t move Neal. What a horrific signing). Dube should step in as a fine pro, next season. Jankowski is a real puzzler – he may be no more than he already is, but he’s good defencively, and great omn the PK. Perhaps he has come trade value – or, perhaps he’s a 3/4 centre, and nothing more? He doesn’t appear to be “built” for the playoffs, and may never clear 20 goals…

    On defence, we are over-stocked. Move some people. I’d be wary of cutting Kylington loose, though. Fantenberg is a nice #7. Kylington with a solid, “stay at home” partner, could be a real asset. I’d hold onto Hamonic, as well. Brodie can go, and will fetch a good return. Leaves us with Gio/Andersson; Hamonic/Hanifin; Valimaki/Kylington – or some combination of the above. I thought Hamonic/Hanifin looked good, at times, in the playoffs. Fantenberg or Stone, as the #7, isn’t a bad group.

    So… We need to get Bennett with the right linemates. We need to hope Neal bounces back. We need to bring back Ferland. We need to sign Tkachuk/Rittich/Bennett/Hathaway. We need to move Brodie/Frolik/Czarnik/Neal, if possible, and maybe Jankowski. We have Dube coming up. We need to seriously consider holding onto Kylington. All additions need to be players brought in to make us ready for the physical grind, of the playoffs (Can’t wait to see Pospisil, in the “A” net season. And hold onto Mason McDonald, one more year)

    • Puck Head

      If the team can’t find at least one big talented player with muscle to play alongside Johnny I think he has to go.

      Think about the possibilities if the team did ship out Johnny and Mony. They would get some good picks/prospects which they could use as currency to find players better suited for playoff hockey.

      In all honesty, after this years playoff debacle there are only 8 players on the roster who I think should be here. These are guys with some heart, skill and grit.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        That’s the same refrain I heard for years with Iggy. “Get him a damn centre with high end talent to match Iggy’s or trade Iggy for a king’s ransom.” We know how well that worked.

    • calgaryfan

      I have always thought Monahan is under acheiving only getting 30 goals with the set ups he gets from Johnny, shoots a lot of pucks at the goalies chest protector.

      • Albertabeef

        No one has really talked about Mony and his 48 assists this season. He even had a 5 assist game. I think his game has grown and matured quite a lot. Sometimes I think Johnny just tries to do too much by himself. One of the hardest things to grow out of being better than all your team mates growing up. Johnny always wants to be a difference maker, sometimes he forgets he has some decent guys to play with. But I also think some people have no clue how difficult playing in the NHL really is. Winning is even harder.

    • Meadowlark Lemon

      Everton FC
      Substantially agree with everything except Neal. Buy him out, or whatever it takes, now. You can’t sit a 5.75 mil USD guy in the press box for, what, 4 more years? He is Lucic redux, except he is not even mean.

      • Albertabeef

        I kinda gotta wonder about Neal. Here is a guy who went to the finals twice in a row, knows what it takes. Thought he was gonna have an easy ride to the finals again. Man was he and us ever fooled. I wonder if we see a flip or not next season. I don’t want to be blindly optimistic but we could see a better Neal next season. He should be embarrassed with this season and hopefully shows us next season why we paid him so much. He isn’t too old not to make a come back next season. It will be interesting(for lack of a better word) to see it all unfold.

    • Derzie

      Exactly. Every guy screaming for all grit is probably a grit guy themselves. All of anything is not good. We need to sprinkle in some SOBs that can skate and we’ll improve.

    • Albertabeef

      I have to say, Brodie hockey might not be pretty at times but somehow it is effective. He plays huge minutes and of our top four D, our opponents score less when he is one the ice. Playoffs and regular season.

  • Lazarus

    So we find out Monahan finished the season playing through an injury, which he has shown he can and will do previously and a lot of pussies on here scoff at that and continue to hate.
    What a bunch of idiots. You guys didn’t deserve a cup run anyways. You guys didn’t deserve the regular season either. Bunch of jerks

    • Toma41

      Monahan was trash since the all star break. Also, not sure how his cracked thumb affected his skating, forechecking, backchecking, and overall ability to give a s#!t? This also is turning into a bad pattern. For a guy who never is involved in any physical play, he is always hurt. Finishing the season with an injury is absolute stupidity when it effects the player to the point where he can’t play anymore.

  • Franko J

    The reaction I’m feeling from today is as a whole group including the coaches is the team didn’t play with the swagger and confidence needed to beat the Av’s. On the other hand throughout the series the Avalanche oozed the confidence because they knew that they had the better superstar in their lineup. Looking back now sort of remind of in the eighties when the Flames played Gretzky and the Oilers. No matter how good the Flames were, the Oilers had the best player in the world and the only way the Flames could beat them was to combat the Oilers with their own brand and will of hockey. Eventually they won a series albeit a fluke goal and went onto win the series. Maybe in order for the Flames to win this series they should have played a little more “River boat gambling” hockey. Who would have cared if they had lost or won the games 6-5 or 7-6. At the very least they would have gained confidence of their own and maybe instead of having a year end moratorium on the team they would be playing a game seven tonight.

  • Albertabeef

    I really do find it interesting that people harp on Mony so much. Yes his salary, yes his status. This was his worst playoffs in his career, but he was not only to blame. It’s really not easy to score 27+ goals five years in a row in the NHL, even with Johnny setting you up. I just wanted to post a comparison of other former Flames rookies career totals. Once through their 24th age season.
    Fleury 358 163 214 377
    Iginla 470 174 189 363
    Monahan 172 191 363
    Nieuwendyk 319 197 163 360
    Reichel 425 153 201 354

    And through six seasons
    Nieuwendyk 467 257 234 491
    Fleury 441 203 259 462
    Loob 450 193 236 429
    Suter 441 89 327 416
    MacInnis 449 98 318 416
    Iginla 470 174 189 363
    Monahan 471 172 191 363
    Reichel 425 153 201 354
    Reinhart 395 86 254 340
    Otto 449 116 182 298
    Roberts 411 154 142 296
    Peplinski 465 109 174 283
    Macoun 470 53 157 210
    Brodie 418 31 150 181
    Backlund 378 72 103 175
    Gio 385 41 109 150
    David Moss 317 61 63 124
    T Hunter 414 41 51 92
    Regher 431 18 62 80
    Gauthier 384 13 45 58

  • CalgaryBornandRaised

    Monahan played like crap, there is no denying that, but I judge a man by what he does when the world kicks him down…..will he come back next season a little lighter and a little faster? Let’s hope so

    Expectations have been raised, so if he takes this series loss and uses it as a chip, then I think we could see the best of him, there was a reason we took him as high as we did and a reason he stuck with the team straight out of junior…..the guy has talent

    • freethe flames

      I agree that he has talent but he is not dynamic; he is not a game changer, He is a piece of the puzzle; he needs to score and be defensively responsible to be that piece. He will not turn into McKinnon, McDavid or Barkov so don’t expect that to happen. The key is to access what you have and then try to add to it. There are not many of these guys around. So what to do? Can BT find a RW/C that can be add more energy/speed to that line? That becomes the task. Going forward and looking internally here is what I would look at:
      Johnny/Monny/Bennett(unless you can find a true RW/C)
      Like many I suspect that both Frolik and TJ will be traded and the return for them should help add something to this forward units. I don’t hold out much hope for Neal; the fountain of youth is a hard thing to find. Czarnik showed some moments but not nearly enough consistency. BT don’t chase old FA; look at younger guys who bring an effort most nights.

      • CalgaryBornandRaised

        I agree, Monahan is a piece but is not a gamebreak like Mackinnon, Gaudreau has the potential to be that gamebreaker

        I would like to see the following:
        Bennett-Janko-Neal (or replacement)
        Dube-Ryan-Hathaway (or Czarnik)

      • Albertabeef

        And as I said before, last summer was rehab not training. This summer should be training instead of rehab. People have no idea what the difference is, I will tell you the difference is huge. The guy did score in every game against the Ducks last post season so this is not the normal for him.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Just checked Yelesin. Just what the club needs another smallish type player–under 6′ and under 200 lbs. My hope is that he is depth for Stockton. Boy do they ever need it.

    Hope Tre learned something from the Avs series about large, punishing defencemen, such as Cole and that giant Russian bear, that he can successfully apply to the Flames.

    • Heeeeere’s Johnny

      So, what makes Yelesin so special? First and foremost, he’s a physical, right-handed defenseman coming off of a career-best 10-point season. Now, 10 points in 55 regular season games may not jump off the page — and zero points in 10 postseason games for Lokomotiv definitely doesn’t jump off the page — but there’s more to Yelesin than goals and assists. He’s a punishing player in his own zone who doesn’t shy away from taking the body.

      Yelesin registered 188 hits this year. He led both his team and the KHL in hits by a significant margin. The second-highest hit total in the league belonged to teammate Nikita Cherepanov who finished the year with 128 hits. If that frequency of body contact on an international ice surface wasn’t eye-catching enough for NHL scouts and general managers, Yelesin also clocked a 102 mph slap shot at the KHL All-Star game on Jan. 19, 2019.

      This is what I found. I think we could use some of that.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        I hardly think a guy under 6′ and less than 200 pounds is what Frolik had in mind when he said the club needed to get bigger and meaner.

        Remember the playoffs when the Flames were lead in hits by Fleury? Team lost 4 straight but Fleury hit everybody in sight. In fact, when the cup was awarded, Fleury was still in the top 5 for hits even though he only played 4 games!

        Doesn’t Stone possess the hardest shot on the Flames?

        Tell us about Boris’ skating? Can he keep up with Mack? If not, how is he going to hit him?

        This signing looks like an early start to stock the Stockton roster.

        • Albertabeef

          Hanafin was better than Hamonic as far as the stats are concerned. At least Hanafin has lots of room to grow. Hamonic is pretty much all he will be at his age. I also consider moving Gio to the wing when not on the PP. I think he still has hockey to give but I wonder if he would be more effective playing forward. Oddly enough Hanafin and Brodie made a pretty good pair. both had over 10 minutes of PK time and never allowed a PP goal against. Gio and Hamonic surrendered a 5, one for every 5 minutes of PK time vs the Avs. One of Gio or Hamonic should have been switched out for a rookie. Not switching guys out because of special teams was just a bad coaching decision. Mind you the flames only scored one measly goal while Hamonic was on the ice in the playoffs.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        You gotta have a mix of defencemen in terms of size and style of play. Give me 6 Brett Burns on defence and I’ll give you a team that is worse than the Oilers.

        Avs have big bad Cole and that big red bear–both are big men who play like big men. Johnson is a big man too who played like one against Cal.

        Flames don’t really have any big, punishing defencemen. Hamonic does his part as does Gio but neither could be defined as big and tough in the classic sense.

        • BlueMoonNigel

          Johnny, Mony and Chucky looked absolutely terrified when they crossed the Avs blueline and played like it. Nobody on the Flames’ defence struck the fear of Providence in any of the Avs. Lesson to be learned here.

          • snotss

            well the need for a bigger rougher team was discussed at great length on this site and now we know that the need is even greater after the “collapse”..bt must see the urgency now and act on it……….they were soft during the reg. season and even softer(if that is possible) in the playoffs

    • Beer League Coach

      Pound for pound, two of the toughest Flames were Theo Fleury and Dougie Gilmour. Size alone is not the most important part. I think it was Brian Sutter who once said “It isn’t the size of the bull that counts. It’s how well he is hung”. Nuff said. Give the Russian a chance to show what he can do. He just might surprise a few people.

  • Luter 1

    Who would have thought a plumber like Cole would outplay our total defence including Gio? Was watching the Stars game last night and that big mother of a defenceman was pasting people, then Austin Watson (exactly the kind of guys we need) pastes a Dallas guy who gives up the puck and presto 10 seconds later Watson’s putting the puck in his net while the Stars player is picking himself off the ice. Really only one guy this series that did this kind of dirty work and that was Bennett, Mang and and Lindholm tried but are not built for that kindd of game, the rest of the wimps barely threw a check. We need a serious toughness and tenacity overhaul and that doesn’t happen without shipping some guys out. And Hanifin and Hamonic are not near as good as FN people think, they were atrocious most nights.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Need to add another solid gritty veteran 2nd line winger. I’m thinking TJ Brodie to NJ for RW Kyle Palmieri + and a 2nd round pick. NJ needs defense, especially after winning the lottery again. These two players are the same age, same cap hit… a true hockey trade. NJ has the cap space to re-sign Brodie after next year… Flames do not. Palmieri is signed for one extra year than TJ, giving the Flames a bit of cap certainty.

    Gives Flames draft picks in most rounds next year to re-stock farm. NJ willing to give up the (high) 2nd round pick as Brodie can be sold as a ‘top pairing’ puck-moving, skating d-man (who can play both sides), which are more expensive than wingers. Ras moves to top pairing with Gio. Vali/Kyl get into lineup. If Stone is not bought out he could be 7th d.

  • Gus Fring

    You guys do remember that in the summer Tre did try to sign Reaves and Maroon so he did try to bring in some size for this team! So I assume he sees a bigger urgency now to add size to this rooster.

  • Albertabeef

    So hear me out. We trade Hamonic and give Brodie a one year extension. That or we extend both one year trade Gio. Having Brodie and Hamonic as UFAs come expansion draft gives us less bodies to protect. If you want to prepare for the expansion draft safely. You would still have to protect Andersson, Valimaki, and one of Hanafin or Kylington. Thankfully we have two full seasons to see what we have to make those decisions.

  • Getpucksdeep

    Hall is a great player anyone would want. He’s also a Calgary kid. That said he gets injured…a lot. I doubt they’d throw in Hirscher but if you were crazy enough to trade Gaudreau a Hall caliber return is a fair idea. As they say even Gretztky got traded.

  • Albertabeef

    I was considering Neal, Jankowski and Hamonic(add a first) for Hall. Sign Eberle as a UFA 2x3mil(exp draft safe). Maybe try to snag Pavelski at a cheapish 1 or 2 year term for leadership. We are trying to get better not stay the same.