Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Sun,
With 13 games on the docket before deadline day, the Flames GM is likely waiting for a hint from his inconsistent squad, and, in the meantime, hoping that his slate of soon-to-be unrestricted free agents — the most obvious trade chips — can boost their sagging stock over the next month.
To recap that list …
* Jiri Hudler was the NHL’s leading point-producer at even-strength during the 2014-15 campaign, and the Lady Byng Trophy-winner stole the show with his shoeless appearance at the season-ending awards gala in Las Vegas. Trouble is the 32-year-old right-winger has too often been a vanishing act this winter, with only six goals and 18 helpers in 41 contests so far. By comparison, Hudler had 14 tallies and 25 assists in 45 skates prior to the all-star break a year ago.
* Kris Russell ranks second in the league with 156 blocked shots, hardly a surprise after the gritty defenceman set an NHL record in that category last season. Russell’s offensive production has dipped slightly — he has three goals and 11 assists to date after a career-best 34-point campaign —and he’s often a whipping boy for the analytics crowd, but the 28-year-old alternate captain was a workhorse for the Flames during their playoff push last spring.
Missed what happened? Watch it here.
NEW YORK (Jan. 28, 2016) – Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman has been suspended pending a hearing with NHL Hockey Operations on Tuesday, February 2, for an incident involving linesman Don Henderson during NHL Game No. 742 Wednesday, January 27, at Scotiabank Saddledome.
The incident occurred at 11:19 of the second period.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
Brian Burke has held many titles in a lifetime of hockey - player, agent, general manager, league executive/disciplinarian and president of hockey operations.
Now, apparently, he would like add another.
The president of the Calgary Flames is on a mission - some would describe it as a difficult if not impossible uphill battle - to make ice surfaces bigger in the NHL.
"I've felt this way for a long time," the 59-year-old Burke said this week. "When I was GM of the [Vancouver] Canucks, I felt the ice was too congested for the size and skill we had on our team. I thought the size of the ice surface affected my team's ability to excel. That's where it started for me."
Self-interest may have sparked Burke's initial look into bigger ice. Now, though, the quest is, as he sees it, much more altruistic.
"It would," Burke said, "be good for the game of hockey."
Gary Bettman spoke with Roger Millions about building a new arena in Calgary, and why it’s important for the city and the Flames.
How does the mayor of Calgary feel?
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
This season’s trade deadline is a rarity, coming on Feb. 29.
That leaves slightly more than seven weeks to make a deal, but uncertain is what kind of deals the Flames will make.
The list of pending unrestricted free-agents consists of goalies Ramo and Hiller, defenceman Kris Russell and forwards Jiri Hudler and David Jones.
Even if they are in a playoff spot come the end of February, the Flames will very likely look to move at least a couple of those players at that time. Maybe almost all of them.
At the same time, rest assured the club will be looking to bring in players as they try to add more young players and prospects amidst the rebuild.
They were very interested in Ryan Johansen before he was traded from the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Nashville Predators and rest assured GM Brad Treliving knows what Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman wants for Jonathan Drouin.
Regardless of whether they’re in a playoff spot, the Flames will be an interesting follow at the deadline.
more on the Flames at the half way point of the NHL season...
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Growing up in Salem, N.J., Johnny Gaudreau had access to ice time constantly, because his dad, Guy, operated the local rink. Summers, when regular hockey was over, there was the option of playing in three-on-three leagues.
“And I was on three or four different teams,” reported Gaudreau, the Calgary Flames’ second-year scoring star. “In the summer, I loved playing three-on-three. I played a lot when I was younger, growing up.”
In a year when the rest of the NHL is trying to figure out three-on-three, Gaudreau has it nailed. The Flames are 8-1 in overtime, and Gaudreau – a.k.a. Johnny Hockey – has been in on seven of the game winners (three goals, four assists), one of the primary reasons his team is back in the playoff hunt after a slow start.
Gaudreau, a finalist for the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year last season, has not skipped a beat in his second year. At the NHL’s Christmas break, he was seventh in the NHL scoring race, with 15 goals and 22 assists in 34 games. He scored a hat trick in the final game before the holidays, with his brother Matt in the stands watching, leading Calgary to its 10th consecutive home-ice victory to tie a franchise record set in 2006.
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
When the dust settled on the affair at the Joe Louis Arena, the Flames won a paltry 15 of 55 faceoffs — a mere 29%.
Mikael Backlund won six of 17 draws, while Sean Monahan won only three of 19. It’s not a good sign when your two most active centres can’t gain possession of the puck.
“Faceoffs are basically a one-on-one battle with support crew around,” said head coach Bob Hartley, who wouldn’t mince words on the subject. “We don’t have really good numbers on faceoffs, it’s not a secret, but tonight they gave us quite a spanking.”
That lack of success is costing the Flames with their NHL-worst powerplay. Think of how often they start the man-advantage in the opposition zone, only to be forced to retreat to their end to get a puck fired down the ice and losing valuable seconds.
It has been costing them with their bottom-feeding penalty-kill, ruining a chance to burn opposition powerplay time right off the hope.
from the Calgary Flames,
Hey Brian, lifelong Flames fan here. Just wondering how you find the Calgary media as opposed to the Toronto media?
I’d say the two biggest differences are the Toronto media, they’re like Lemmings – there’s masses of them everywhere.
Everywhere where you turn there’s someone there with a recording device. The players are forced to deal with a huge quantity that gets tiresome, frankly. There will be 100 media in the room after a game and here there might be 40 and in Anaheim there might be 20 or 15. The number one thing is the volume, there’s a crush of them everywhere. Number two is, of course, in a 5-million market compared to a 1.2-million or whatever we are. The social media component is huge. If a player stops at a bar to have one beer, someone’s going to tweet that he had four. Or if he’s talking to a woman. Social media, if you add that to the media thing, is a crushing burden. Second is the attitude. I’ve said this before so this isn’t a revelation, I think in Toronto they breed on the misery of the team. When the team does poorly then love it and love to pick up rocks and throw them.
I think here the media have been fair. I think they’d like us to do well but they’re not cheerleaders and I think they’ve been fair.
more Q & A for Brian Burke...
from Kristen Odland of the Calgary Herald,
The Calgary Flames, one of the best overtime clubs in the National Hockey League, had 10 wins heading into their game against the San Jose Sharks.
And only three of them were completed in the traditional 60 minutes.
So, when the home team calmly went up 4-2 in the second period and held onto the lead until the final buzzer, the head coach welcomed the change.
“When I used to work in the (windshield) plant, I liked overtime because it meant time-and-a-half,” Bob Hartley said. “Over here, wins in regulation are a little easier on the coaches and the general managers.”
And, to boot, the Flames captured their seventh-straight victory on home ice with goals from Markus Granlund, Sean Monahan, Micheal Frolik, and Mikael Backlund.
In fact, it’s their longest home-ice spree since they prevailed in eight in a row, Feb. 23 to March 27, 2013. It’s also the first time that Calgary (11-14-2) has strung together a three-game win streak this season.
“I don’t know about relief,” said Flames captain Mark Giordano who, in one of his finest games of the season, logged 28:17 of ice time and had two assists. “We’ve been feeling good about ourselves here over the last little bit. The way we won those last two (against Boston and Dallas) did a lot for our team.
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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