Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
An impressive 3-1 win over the Sharks vaulted the Flames from a wildcard spot, over the Vancouver Canucks and the Sharks into second in the Pacific behind the league-leading Anaheim Ducks, who the Flames happen to have a better goal differential than.
With such a perch two months from now come privileges few could have fathomed in October when Johnny Gaudreau was an unproven rookie and Josh Jooris sounded more like a legal term.
That’s how far this Flames team has come.
While the discussion around town has revolved around whether this team can actually shock the hockey world by holding on to make the final playoff spot, few imagined the team would actually ascend the standings.
That’s what winning eight of 10 can do this time of year.
For a day, anyway, the talk is not of how to stave off the Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars, but just how high the Flames could climb.
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
A Calgary Sun source confirms GM Brad Treliving has discussed the possibility of acquiring the 29-year-old centre from the team he helped to win two Stanley Cups in the last three years.
Make no mistake, it would be a long shot for the Kings to be able to peddle the fourth-liner who still has five years left in his contract at a cap hit of US$5.75 million annually.
Given Richards’ decline in speed and productivity, Kings GM Dean Lombardi will have to be plenty creative to free the club of Richards, who cleared waivers Tuesday morning and was assigned to Manchester of the AHL to save the club $925,000 in salary-cap relief.
Given how much room the Flames have in salary-cap space they are one of the few teams in the league who may have the palate to stomach the contract, but only if it makes sense on other levels.
Essentially, any team that takes on Richards would be doing the cap-strapped Kings a favour.
from Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald,
When Johnny Gaudreau’s agent noticed the eye-catching slogan — “Johnny (Effin’) Hockey” — he went to work, applying for “Johnny Hockey” trademarks with patent offices in Canada and the United States.
Understandably, this garment is not something Lewis Gross wanted associated with his client, a hotshot rookie with the Calgary Flames.
“There were a couple shirts, a couple things, that were derogatory,” Craig Conroy — assistant general manager of the Flames, who was represented by Gross during his playing days — said Wednesday at the Saddledome. “Lewis said, ‘We just want to make sure we monitor it.’ And that’s all it was.
“More than anything, it was to make sure that people weren’t selling stuff that made him look bad. I mean, I think that’s what it came down to.”
TSN, with confirmation and reaction from Gross, reported the story Tuesday afternoon.
Immediately — predictably enough — there had been backlash.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Remember when the Calgary Flames got off to that great start and everyone was waiting for the bottom to fall out? Then when Calgary went winless in eight everyone said "Oh, okay, this is it. See you next year." Um, not so fast.
The Flames came up with a nice 2-1 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings on Monday night and have won three in a row, and are now tied in points with the Kings for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference. Jonas Hiller is back in a groove in goal, going 3-0-1 in his last four starts while allowing just seven goals along the way. Meanwhile, Johnny Gaudreau picked up an assist on the winner in the first period and has shouldered his way into the Rookie of the Year discussion.
Johnny Hockey has 30 points, five back of Filip Forsberg of Nashville as the two have pulled miles ahead of the rest of the competition vis-à-vis first-year point-producers.
read on for Custance on Brodeur, LeBrun in the Jets and Strang on the Islanders...
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
General manager Craig MacTavish doesn’t have a firm timetable on how long he’ll stay behind the Edmonton Oilers’ bench as co-coach with former OKC head man Todd Nelson, but he’s in no rush to move back upstairs to watch his struggling team. He still figures he’s learning more about his players body language and compete level at ice-level than 100 feet away in the pressbox.
MacTavish will eventually hand-off to Nelson to get a read on the former AHL coach and whether his tag will go from interim to full head coach after the season. But for now, it’s a two-headed co-coaching Oiler situation with assistant Craig Ramsay also on the bench, and Keith Acton and Rocky Thompson up in the pressbox looking things over.
“It doesn’t feel well to leave right now,” said MacTavish, who needs a longer assessment of his players–weeks, not days because there’s the initial play-hard-for-the-new-guys-behind-the-bench with every guy, then the ultimate you-can’t-change-a-leopard’s-spots mentality.
Also from Matheson,
What makes Gaudreau special? “He skates as fast with the puck as without it and that’s very tough. Many players you give them the puck and it almost transforms the puck into a curling rock. Where does the speed go,” said Hartley. “He’s so quick in tight areas and what he did in LA (against one of the biggest teams in the league) is a great step for his career. There’s many more steps to come, but to get a hat-trick, to put pucks at the net (behind Jonathan Quick). We’ve been preaching at him to shoot more (70 shots in 35 games).”
“He’s just scratching the surface. He wants to contribute, his defence has come such a long way, and he’s proud. When things don’t go well in our end and he comes back to the bench, you can tell he can cares. He’s not a one-trick pony who just cares about goals and assists. He wants this team to win,” said Hartley.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
Before Johnny Hockey did his thing in L.A., enraging Jonathan Quick and stunning the Kings Monday night, the Calgary Flames had lost eight games in a row.
Before the Canucks handed Calgary that eighth straight defeat and then received the largesse extended by Arizona goalie Mike Smith who was dressed as Santa Claus, the Canucks had lost five straight.
And the Oilers? Well that is a tale of woe still running strong.
That dream squad has one win in its last 20 games, and despite the fact the Oil scored five goals against Dallas Sunday in blowing a third-period lead and three goals in their previous loss to San Jose, the team with all the high-end forwards making a ton of money early in their lives still has just 27 goals in its last 16 games.
The point here is that unless these past couple of somewhat questionable wins for the Canucks and Monday night’s miracle finish for the Flames signal a significant turnaround, Western Canada is quickly becoming a place where you want to play. It’s been a patsy place in December.
from Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald,
The Calgary Flames managed to overcome.
Several heavy hits.
And, operating under the weight of a season-soiling slump, they rallied in remarkable fashion.
Rookie Johnny Gaudreau, with a natural hat trick in barely 20 minutes of game time, two of the goals with the extra attacker, forced overtime.
“Johnny Hockey turned the show on,” said Mark Giordano. “In overtime, I saw the lane to the net and I just tried to take it.”
The Flames captain took it — and finished it.
Giordano scored in the extra period to lift the Flames to an improbable — and eight-game-losing-streak-busting — 4-3 decision Monday at the Staples Center.
continued and watch the game highlights below...
The natural order of the Western Conference begins to reassert itself, after the unlikeliness of Vancouver and Calgary in the early going. The likes of Chicago and San Jose surge, and Vancouver and Calgary regress to what consensus figured them for in the early autumn: the Canucks a fringe playoff team, and the Flames a Connor McDavid contender.
There remains, of course, a lot of hockey to play. But it does not look good for Western Canada’s hockey teams, the Oilers obviously, the Canucks on the edge and the Flames cratering. Like an errant pass, bouncing all the way back into your own empty net. Wideman was frank Saturday night: “It’s kind of the way things are going right now.”
-David Ebner of the Globe and Mail where you can read more on the Canucks and Flames.
By Michael Ray,
Rick Nash had a two-goal night on Tuesday, extending the New York Rangers' winning streak to four games in a row.
Nash's goals were his 19th and 20th in the season; they helped the Rangers beat the Calgary Flames 5-2. He's also tied with Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh) for the longest current-season point streak in the NHL, with his eight goals and six assists giving him an 11-game point streak. It's the best in his career.
both via Hometown Hockey,
After a Hall of Fame career, Doug Gilmour returns to his hometown to coach the cities beloved Kingston Frontenacs and somehow proves the adage that you can take the boy out of Kingston, but you can’t take Kingston out of the boy.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com