Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Sun,
It could be a loooonnnngggg winter in Calgary.
That's not the latest prediction from the Farmer's Almanac, it's simple math based on the Calgary Flames' record so far this fall -- a miserable 2-7-0 mark.
The last time the Flames had only four points to show for their first nine dates on the calendar was the 1997-98 campaign, their worst in franchise history.
Led by Theo Fleury, Cory Stillman and goaltending tandem of Rick Tabaracci and Dwayne Roloson, the Flames collected just 67 points during that dreadful season. If this current cast doesn't snap out of this funk (and fast), they'll be closer to challenging that dubious club record than punching a return ticket to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
"I don't think it's too late at all," said Flames captain Mark Giordano after Monday's 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders in Brooklyn. "But, in saying that, we have to chip away and chip away starting now. You can't wait 15 or 20 games into the season and think you're going to come back and make a huge run. You've gotta chip away at our segments ...
"But it's definitely not too late. It's early in the year, but we've gotta start chipping away right now."
Hockey Central at Noon trying to pinpoint such a poor start by a Calgary Flames team that looked so good last season, with John Shannon saying struggling teams really need to identify a number one goalie.
from Chris Nichols of Today's Slapshots,
Bob McKenzie was on Toronto’s TSN 1050 on Thursday afternoon....
“It’s my understanding – there’s no question that Brad Treliving is trying to shake the Flames up. And there’s no question that he’s talked to a number of teams and I don’t doubt for a moment that he’s spoken to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“But as best I can tell, and I certainly stand to be corrected if I’m wrong, I don’t think the Flames and Tampa are talking about Stamkos right now.
“Now, it’s funny though. In the summer when I was on vacation – I still talk to people on my vacation – and there were people who were absolutely adamant and told me that they thought that both Buffalo and Calgary were the two teams that were trying to talk to Tampa about Stamkos. The timing on it might have been sketchy really, because there were later reports that Buffalo I guess did reach out, but that was prior to the draft – or in around the draft – or prior to him actually becoming a free agent. But I had heard the Calgary rumors real strong in the summer. I chased them down when I came back and didn’t get anything that would suggest to me that there was evidence of that.
“I will say this, though, about Brad Treliving and the Calgary Flames – he’s sort of a stealth big deal guy. We saw that in the summer with Dougie Hamilton. Nobody saw the Dougie Hamilton trade coming, and Treliving kind of pulled a rabbit out of his hat there.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
This is the most dangerous time to be Brad Treliving.
The Calgary Flames general manager has very little time to save his team’s season, at a time of year when National Hockey League trades are rare. Few other teams are as desperate as Calgary, so from a Flames perspective, the opportunity to make a very risky deal will never be higher for Treliving.
For that reason, you couldn’t find a hockey man on Monday who’s GM had not heard from Treliving on the weekend. Or a GM who wasn’t admitting that, yes, he was also aware that Treliving was racking up his cell bill in pursuit of a deal.
Treliving is working the phones like his players once worked in their own zone — OK, that’s a cheap shot — though all the Flames GM would say when asked Monday was that he is simply “doing what everyone is doing, trying to make the team better,” he offered via email.
No small trade is going to fix his Flames, who are entirely broken right now, and word is out that Treliving is willing to talk about a very big deal if he can find one. We even heard that his conversation with Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman was all about the Lightning’s obvious issues with signing soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Steven Stamkos.
from George Johnson of the Calgary Herald,
The only thing missing Tuesday was the Benny Hill Yakety Sax theme music.
“We gave up I don’t know many point-blank chances from in the front of the net,” said a sombre Matt Stajan. “We’re not working the way we need to. We know that. We talk about it, but we’ve got to figure this out.
“We’ve gotta clean it up. This is embarrassing for our hockey club.
“You fall too far back in the West, we know what happens.”
The abysmal start to the 2015-2016 season lengthened, the gathering shadows deepened, as the Calgary Flames were folded, pasted, mutilated and generally slapped silly 6-2 by the Washington Capitals at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
And in doing so, they ventured into uncharted territory.
No edition since the franchise relocated north from Georgia had lost its opening four home games of any season.
View the game highlights below...
from Travis Yost of TSN,
One of the most interesting debates of the hockey off-season concerned the Calgary Flames, and whether they did enough in terms of talent cultivation to offset likely regression in 2015-16.
Calgary’s 1-4-0 start hasn’t answered that question, but early signs from Bob Hartley’s team indicate that the latter may – at least in the short-term – be winning out.
The optimism surrounding Calgary’s impressive young core was and still is understandable. It’s more than reasonable to believe that players like Dougie Hamilton, Johnny Gaudreau, and Sean Monahan (to name but a few) will continue to develop as talents. The mere fact that Calgary has these players in place and hasn’t mortgaged much of anything for the future speaks to their ability to challenge in the Western Conference down the road.
But, in the immediate sense, this core group of Calgary players faces a very real uphill battle. Whether the front office wanted it to occur or not, a combination of a 97-point season and a first-round series win heightened expectations.
Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley is sick and tired with his goalie situation, saying it’s time for one to make a statement, and earn the job.
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
One last note on the Flames and Canucks. Both teams pleased their fans by making the post-season last year, but you have to wonder if that was actually a bit counter-productive in terms of building a championship quality team.
Let me explain. Calgary got to the second round, and then felt it had to try to improve immediately when the chance came to trade for Hamilton, moving a first round pick in the process. The Flames have Bennett and Sean Monahan, but you have to wonder if this isn’t a team that could have used one more high pick as much or more than a playoff spot if winning a Cup is the goal.
Same for the Canucks. GM Jim Benning is trying to retool on the fly, bringing in kids at the same time as this team continues to revolve around the Sedins, who aren’t showing signs of going anywhere in the near future. As long as they are there, Vancouver could continue to be just good enough not to get one of the very best picks – they took winger Brock Boeser 23rd overall in June – which means they will continue to build a list of good, but not outstanding, young prospects. Unless they get very lucky.
many more topics...
from George Johnson of the Calgary Herald,
They’re losing the plot. Quickly. This is threatening to unravel like a cheap, off-the-rack leisure suit. A year ago, virtually every night, they were hungrier than George Foreman around a grill and a hunk of red meat.
Right now, it’s as if they’d been first in line at a Vegas buffet, filled their bellies to the bursting and couldn’t swallow another bite.
“Obviously,’’ said coach Bob Hartley, “our compete is not there. Our game is not there. Tonight we got outplayed, we got outworked, we got outhustled.
“You have no chance to win in this league like this. (Friday) night we gave it away late. Tonight we didn’t even show up.’’
A damning appraisal.
Yes, Hartley’s crew was facing the business end of back-to-backs on Saturday night. And those Winnipeg Jets can be a punishing load; a big, belligerent bunch. They’d succeeded in nicking Sam Bennett up badly enough that he was scratched for the second end of the two-in-two.
But that was hardly the ’76 Canadiens on the other side of the centre line during warm-up. That was an 0-5 Edmonton Oilers’ team, in the throes of their own special angst. The big Oil Drop, of course, is Calgary’s own personal ‘Who’s Your Daddy?’ team.
A comprehensive 5-2 loss really drove home what’s missing.
Watch the game highlights below...
Flames GM Brad Treliving breaks the news on Hockey Central at Noon that forward Lance Bouma will require surgery after breaking his fibula and will miss significant time.
Video of the injury starts at the :30 second mark.
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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