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).
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.
That “mystery defenceman” is likely Alexander Yelesin, a right-shot from KHL Lokomotiv. The Flames were one of several teams pursuing him https://t.co/HlMamBnIQh
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) April 22, 2019
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:
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."
— Kristen Anderson (@KdotAnderson) April 22, 2019
My favourite quote of the day comes from Treliving. “Regular season is where you make your money. The playoffs is where you make your legacy” #Flames
— Jermain Franklin (@TSNJFranklin) April 22, 2019
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.