‘I didn’t have fun last year’: Jonathan Huberdeau reflects on first season in Calgary (and more from Frankly Speaking)

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
9 months ago
Our pal Frank Seravalli from Daily Faceoff was in town last week as part of his tour throughout western Canada for his podcast, Frankly Speaking. The Calgary Flames-focused episode of Frankly Speaking dropped on Wednesday, and it’s chock full of interesting information and tidbits.
Here are a few key quotes and takeaways from a great, dense 40+ minutes of Flames audio.

On Mikael Backlund and the captaincy

“Once we got back here, it was me reaching out to Connie saying ‘you know what, we’ve made a decision that we’d like to stay.” Mikael Backlund, on how his extension came together. He cited a combination of belief in the group (the Flames’ roster) and his and his wife’s feeling that Calgary was their home. He noted it was too hard to say no to potentially being captain and reaching 1,000 games with a single team.
“…he should’ve been the captain probably the last couple years…” – Craig Conroy, in the middle of explaining how the deal came together, with this quick rejoinder about Backlund assuming the captaincy.
“It was an important piece for me and hopefully that translates into other guys feeling the same way.” – Conroy, on Backlund signing and becoming captain.

On Jonathan Huberdeau and his tough 2022-23 season

“Not yet. I mean, last year the way it went, wasn’t myself. This summer was huge for me to come back and get my confidence back and my swag, and they’re going to see the real Jonathan.” – Jonathan Huberdeau, when asked by Seravalli if Calgary’s met the real Jonathan Huberdeau yet.
“I didn’t have fun last year. I think the first time in my career, I kinda lost the passion a little bit to come to the rink and stuff like that. They way I was playing on the ice, it wasn’t me and it kind of frustrated me.” – Huberdeau, on how the 2022-23 season went. He added a bit later that he didn’t feel like himself in the room, either.
Seravalli, asking about playing right wing: “Did that make a difference last year?”
Huberdeau: “Oh yeah, obviously. I never played right side.”

On the team’s mentality heading into the season

“I think I like that we’re underdogs this year, honestly. People don’t expect much from us. I expect a lot from us, myself. I think the guys do.” – Craig Conroy on the Flames’ approach to the season. He mentioned that he liked what he’s seen from the team during camp.
“…at the end of the day, the group that we had last year was three points out of a playoff spot and we were very close. And we had some guys that would tell you to a man that we didn’t play to their expectations and what they felt like they were capable of. So we don’t feel like we have to make a lot of tweaks. We feel like we just have to challenge them, as a group, to be better.” – Ryan Huska on making changes to how the team plays.
“There’s a lot of talk about other teams in our division, in our conference. When you’re a competitor, as much as they say they don’t listen to the media or read reports, they do. They know what’s going on. So it’s competitive. They want to be considered one of the better teams and if this is the way that can help motivate them along the way, we can be classified as an underdog. That’s totally fine with us.” – Huska, on the club having a potential underdog mentality.
Check out the latest episode of Frankly Speaking wherever you get your podcasts!
Get your tickets for the FlamesNation Season Home Opener party, and come hang out with us at Greta Bar while we watch the Flames take on the Winnipeg Jets in their season opener!

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