Kukla's Korner Hockey
CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames announced today that they have signed centre Mikael Backlund to a multi-year contract.
Backlund, a native of Vasteras, Sweden recorded double-digit totals in goals and assists in the 2014-15 season, despite missing 30 games through injury. The 26-year-old also made his NHL post-season debut this year and he recorded a goal and an assist in Calgary’s playoff run. He was drafted by the Flames in the first round (24th overall) in the 2007 NHL Draft.
Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley talks with the media about being eliminated from the playoffs and how his team is going to keep building.
Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving talks with the media about where he sees his team going and the status of captain Mark Giordano.
Nice to hear the interaction between the refs and players...
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
There are some good young players in place – Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Sam Bennett, the fourth player chosen in the 2014 NHL entry draft, who made his NHL debut in April and looks to be a keeper. The Flames will have to sort out their goaltending – Karri Ramo, who was the de facto No. 1 at the end of the year, is an unrestricted free agent, and it appears that he has greater potential than Jonas Hiller, who was on the bench at the end. But Hiller has a year left on his contract at a tidy $4.5-million (U.S.).
Hartley has been around the block enough times to know that duplicating this year’s magical run won’t be easy. He is, after all, a former Colorado coach and still has close ties to Roy, Joe Sakic and others in that organization.
Pointing to the future, Hartley used the diminutive Gaudreau as an example of “the kind of culture we’re trying to bring in Calgary. Johnny wants to be a difference-maker. In life, as in sports, you have to be ambitious. It’s so easy to satisfy yourself with very little. Mediocrity is not part of our standard.”
The coach went on to add: “We’re always talking about our young talented players and leaders, but they’re also good people, and what I’ve learned is, good people make good teams. I’ve believed that my whole career: It wasn’t only about the talent – it was about the preparation, the desire to be the best, always striving for more.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
In time, the disappointment of how it ended – with a gutting 3-2 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks – will be mitigated by the unexpectedly successful season they had. But that knowledge did nothing in the short term to temper the disappointment they were feeling in the Calgary Flames’ dressing room Sunday night, when their remarkable, unexpected run to the second round of the NHL playoffs came to an abrupt end in Death Valley, aka the Honda Center.
The Ducks, who’d dominated the Flames at home for the better part of a decade, found a way of pulling one out of the fire Sunday.
Unlike the first two games in the series, which Anaheim dominated and won by a cumulative 9-1 margin, the Flames gave them a much harder time of it in Game 5.
Calgary never trailed in the game until Corey Perry scored 2:26 into overtime to give the Ducks another in a season-long string of come-from-behind victories. Anaheim dominated the overtime, but it wasn’t until Perry banged in a loose puck from the crease, after surviving a scary moment earlier in the game, that the Ducks finally put the Flames away.
“It’s sad that our season is over,” said Flames’ coach Bob Hartley, “but the boys battled hard. There are lots of long faces in this locker room. They wanted to keep going. I’m very proud of our group. Tonight, is not a good night. It’s a tough loss to swallow, but at the same time, we knew that with a young team, we had to take some lessons – and tonight is a tough one.
“Looking at the season, looking at the playoffs, the Ducks stepped it up and in the third period and in OT, we had no answers for them.”
Below, watch the Perry OT goal, handshakes, etc...
from Kristen Odland of the Calgary Herald,
The Calgary Flames are all out of second chances and have no more last life lines left to call.
Sunday — Game 5 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Anaheim Ducks — is their final hope of extending their Cinderella season.
After Friday’s 4-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, they trail 3-1 in the best-of-seven series.
“We want to keep going,” said Flames head coach Bob Hartley Saturday afternoon as the team prepared to load up to head back to the Happiest Place on Earth. “This has been a great season for us. I know how resilient our players have been. It’s not that we’re down 1-3 or we haven’t won in Anaheim. We need to win one game. Let’s bring it back to the ‘C’ of Red and, after this, let’s see what happens.
“But we need to win (Sunday) night, plain and simple.”
from Kristen Odland of the Calgary Herald,
Facing elimination on Sunday in Game 5 at the Honda Center — a position they put themselves in after their belief carried them to a 4-3 overtime win in Tuesday’s Game 4 as, yet again, another comeback victory — the Flames are behind 3-1 in the best-of-seven second-round series.
“We know our situation … obviously, we need to win,” said Flames head coach Bob Hartley. “We’ll be a desperate group, as always. I know that everyone that’s going to get on the plane (Saturday) believes we can go and get Game 5 and force a Game 6 here.
“That’s the identity of this organization all year. A tough loss, we’re going to swallow it. (Saturday) we’ll be back at work.”
On this night, however, their resilient nature wasn’t enough.
Joe Colborne’s uncharacteristic high-sticking penalty on Francois Beauchemin at the end of the second period led to Matt Beleskey’s game-winning goal 1:11 into the third period. Patrick Maroon scored an empty-netter with 36.7 seconds left on the clock to ice it.
The Flames had a 56-second five-on-three in the third — which had been similar to the final minutes of Tuesday’s game which saw Johnny Gaudreau connect with 19.5 seconds left to force overtime. But they couldn’t connect.
Game highlights are below...
added 8:03am, Game story from Eric Duhatsched is below too....
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
This city is famous for its Red Mile, the fun part of town where those without tickets to their beloved Flames can wear their colours, cheer on their team and hang out with like-minded individuals.
The “C of Red” will swarm the street Friday night, no doubt, when the Flames play Game 4 of their Stanley Cup playoff series against the Anaheim Ducks.
But the Red Mile is also infamous for catcalls and groping, and the testosterone-fuelled mob has given Calgary a bit of a black eye nationally.
Sports should be as fun and safe for women as they are for men. But some nights, that’s just not the case on the Red Mile.
So I came Calgary to walk the Red Mile. Is it just a handful of rubes ruining the fun for everyone? Or is it a handful of protesters making a mountain where a molehill might otherwise be?
from Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Sun,
If you’ve been following this second-round showdown between the Flames and Ducks, you know Honda Center has been a house of horrors for the crew from Calgary. In fact, they have lost 21 straight contests in Anaheim, a skid that dates back to April 25, 2006.
So the idea of facing elimination just down the street from Disneyland is ... well ... downright frightening.
With a victory Friday in Game 4 at the Saddledome (7:30 p.m., Sportsnet/Sportsnet 960 The Fan), the Flames can avoid that.
Or, at least, delay it.
“Obviously, they have home-ice advantage, so you have to win one there,” said Flames right-winger David Jones. “To get the win last game was a huge game. And now, it’s going to be equally important. We don’t want to go back into their building down 3-1.”
The Flames were down 3-2 in the final moments of Tuesday’s Game 3, but Calder Trophy candidate Johnny Gaudreau picked the top shelf with 19.5 ticks left in the regulation to force overtime and centre Mikael Backlund snaked a shot through traffic on a delayed penalty call in the extra session.
“I think we’ve given them some life in the series now, which is never a good thing, especially against a pesky Calgary team, a team that really enjoys playing in their own building,” Ducks defenceman Cam Fowler told reporters after Thursday’s practice in Banff. “We understand that we’ve given them some confidence for Game 4 but, when it comes down to it, if we do the things we can do as a team, we feel like we’re a difficult group to handle.
“We have to come with a good response in Game 4 and try and put another stranglehold on the series.”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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