Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Sun,
The stats show it.
The boss said it.
And the stars on the Saddledome payroll, the subject of much finger-pointing during what has been frustrating fall for the Calgary Flames, are not disputing it.
“Right now, our top guys aren’t good enough. And we know that,” said Flames first-liner and alternate captain Sean Monahan. “We know it ourselves. It’s pretty obvious. We talk about it, and this is time for us to step up and get some wins here and do it as a team. Our best players have to be our best players.”
There is plenty of blame to go around as the Flames have flickered to a 5-8-1 start, and the big boys certainly deserve their share.
It’s always newsworthy when criticism is made public, but Calgary’s president of hockey operations, Brian Burke, wasn’t exactly revealing state secrets when he mentioned during Monday’s morning show appearance on Sportsnet 960 The Fan radio that “our top guys aren’t getting it done.”
from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Every penalty feels like a goal against before the puck even drops. The confidence is completely shot. Even penalty-killing stalwarts such as Kruger and Duncan Keith are getting burned game after game after game.
If ever the Hawks were going to get their confidence — and maybe even their mojo — back, it was going to be Monday night against the Calgary Flames, who have been as awful on the power play as the Hawks have been on the PK. Yet the Flames, 1-of-25 with the man-advantage entering the game, scored 39 seconds into each of their first two power plays and went on to win 3-2 when Kris Versteeg scored the lone goal of a seven-round shootout.
At the point of the Flames’ second power-play goal of the night, the Hawks had given up an unconscionable 14 goals on 23 opposing power plays. For some perspective, that 2013 team gave up just 18 power-play goals in 141 chances.
“Just seems no matter what, it finds a way, a different way, every time,” Joel Quenneville said.
“It just seems to find its way to the back of the net if we just make one little mistake,”Jonathan Toews said.
Watch the game highlights below...
from Wes Gilbertson at the National Post,
Can the Flames snap out of this?
You might feel like you stumbled into a time-machine or somehow drifted back to last fall. The Flames are handing out Grade A scoring opportunities like Halloween treats. Again.
As a result, they rank among the NHL’s statistical cellar-dwellers in both goals against (4.33 per game) and team save percentage (.856). Again.
The special-teams stink, again, although the power play is now more offensive — not in a good way — than the penalty kill....
Who’s the go-to goaltender?
Gulutzan insisted last week there is no goaltending controversy at the Saddledome. But at the very least, it’s a goaltending conundrum.
Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson have split the workload so far: three games apiece. Elliott is expected to be back between the pipes in Chicago, but there were some eyebrows raised when Johnson received the starting nod for Saturday’s showdown with the Blues, with the man they call ‘Moose’ serving as backup in his first meeting against his former team....
from Kristen Odland of the Calgary Herald,
Mark Giordano accepted the blame for that one.
But let’s back-up for a moment.
There were many reasons why the Calgary Flames suffered a 6-4 loss to the visiting St. Louis Blues on Saturday night.
They surrendered four straight goals.
They continued to draw blanks on their league-worst power-play.
They had another horrible display of puck management.
They showed no support to their goalie.
Their big stars were silent.
They are still struggling with consistency, identity, systems … the list goes on.
However, as the captain of the Flames, the defender’s second-period blunders were inexcusable and changed the course of the game.
A holding penalty, taken out of frustration, turned into a four-minute timeout after he foolishly argued with the referee and was slapped with an unsportsmanlike conduct.
Watch the game highlights below...
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
Of course, the Sabres felt Monahan shouldn't have even been on the ice at that point. A few seconds before the goal, he got the puck away from Sam Reinhart by drilling the Buffalo winger from behind into the end boards. Referee Brad Meier simply stood and watched.
"There has to be a call there," Lehner said. "He hits him from behind. It's fairly clear. We get judged day by day and I just think it was a terrible ref performance today, absolutely terrible."
Coach Dan Bylsma certainly agreed. Asked by a Calgary reporter for his view on what led to the winning goal, a stern-looking Bylsma shot back, "The cross-check in the back? That's what it looked like from where I was at."
more on the game...
Below, watch the Frolik goal which was waived off by an early whistle but the officials huddled and reversed the call.
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
And just like that, the noose starts to tighten.
A mere two games in and the Calgary Flames are already starting to feel the pressure.
Two straight losses to a recovering bottom-feeder from their own division and now off to Vancouver for a Canucks season opener the lads surely feel they need to win.
All the talk through a lacklustre preseason revolved around the importance of a good start.
And they respond with two clunkers.
Seems it’s never too early to start digging holes for this bunch.
The new system implemented by coach Glen Gulutzan clearly isn’t being grasped or, at the very least, the players are caught snoozing far too regularly.
Below, watch highlights of Calgary's 5-3 loss to Edmonton....
from Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Herald,
On Tuesday — officially, finally — Glen Gulutzan has the wee whiz-kid on his side.
Gaudreau signed a six-year, US$40.5-million deal on Thanksgiving Monday, ending the contract impasse that had been hanging like a dark cloud over Gulutzan’s first training camp as head coach of the Calgary Flames.
“It’s going to be really nice to see him,” said Gulutzan, who witnessed plenty of Gaudreau’s offensive dazzles and dipsy-doodles during his time as an assistant coach with the Pacific Division rival Vancouver Canucks. “I spoke to him on the phone this summer a couple of times, and I hear really good things. Obviously, as a player, he’s a dynamic player.
“It gives us a lift. If anything, we’ve put in a lot of work in training camp but I think to everybody here, moreso than even myself, it felt like something was missing. Now that he’s here, I think that’s going to give us a little push.
“I think, generally, it’s a little bit of a sense of relief. I had my player meetings today and yesterday (Monday and Sunday) and a couple of veteran guys spoke about how important he is to the team. I think it’s a sense of relief for them to have him here.”
added 6:31pm, Calgary press release is below...
from Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald,
When, while in charge of the Detroit Falcons, Cameron was forced to turn in a masterful display of in-game direction — ice management, player deployment, line matching, life preservation.
Post-win, he even gave himself a well-deserved back-pat.
Because he’d succeeded in making sure that the team owner’s boy, foisted upon him prior to puck-drop, survived.
“(Owner) Doc Afr was always telling me that his son played at Michigan University – so a hell of a player, right?” says Cameron. “So I asked our manager, ‘Why isn’t this kid on our radar?’ He laughed and said, ‘No, he plays intramurals at Michigan.’ ”
Which is plenty funny, till Cameron is ordered to stick Tamer Afr, only 20, in his lineup.
“Now my big fear is that this kid gets hurt – how am I going to answer to this?” he says. “So I kind of protected him, used him some. He got into a fight, but he hung on and he was all right. I didn’t play him much the last part of the game. But we won and he was all excited. He was all happy. Good.”
Cameron’s reward — a phone call placed to his home the following day.
It was the boss himself on the line, not tickled.
“Basically, he gave me crap for not playing his son enough — I’d embarrassed the family,” Cameron says, still incredulous. “Here I thought I did a hell of a job — he didn’t get killed.”
via Sportsnet YouTube channel,
Calgary Flames president of hockey operations, Brian Burke, explains what Hockey Night in Canada means to him.
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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