Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
The NHLPA says the Calgary Flames cannot mandate its players wear protective foot and ankle equipment commonly known as "shotblockers."
Flames general manager Jay Feaster instructed his players get fitted for the guards after Calgary captain Mark Giordano suffered a broken ankle and veteran forward Lee Stempniak broke his foot after being hit by pucks last month.
Flames players have informed the Players Association they were strongly encouraged by Flames management to wear the shotblockers, but were told the equipment wasn't mandatory.
However, Feaster says this is a mandatory team policy which may create a problem as such a policy could be viewed as a CBA violation.
This from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun a few days ago...
In fact, following the loss of their two most consistent players to shot-blocking injuries, the Calgary Flames have issued a directive to players making additional foot protection mandatory.
“With the injuries, it’s too bad that we reacted too late, but we don’t encourage them right now, they have to wear them now — it’s policy starting two days ago,” said Flames head coach Bob Hartley, whose club suited up Wednesday for the second game in a row without captain Mark Giordano and forward Lee Stempniak following painful shot-blocks that broke their ankle and foot respectively.
“It’s too late, but we learn from our mistakes. It won’t repeat itself with what happened to Giordano and Stempniak. Even though the players are pros, once in awhile, we have to put in some strict policies. Right now, we’re certainly not a better team without those two in the lineup.”
from Wes Gibertson of the Calgary Sun,
A former Swiss League standout, Berra finished with 42 stops in his NHL debut, surrendering just two tallies to the defending Stanley Cup champions and making his boss look like a genius for giving him his first start in one of the NHL’s most intimidating settings just one day after his callup from the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat.
“Honestly, I had a lot of thoughts. Everything went through my mind,” Berra told reporters after backstopping the Flames to their first victory in Chicago since March 16, 2008.
“After lunch, I always sleep, but today I couldn’t sleep. I was really nervous. But right before game when I was sitting in here, I said, ‘Just go out and play your game and have fun. You have nothing to lose.’ I put that excitement and nerves into positive energy.”
Watch Berra rob Patrick Sharp below...
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
The only thing shocking about the edict is how long it took for the Flames and various other clubs to start instituting a simple policy aimed at protecting multi-million dollar assets from an injury bound to occur over time given the demand on shot-blocking.
“If it doesn’t affect your game, I don’t see why you wouldn’t wear them — especially when you see two teammates go down like that,” said Flames veteran Matt Stajan, who, for one, can vouch for the fact the new wardrobe rules didn’t come too late. “It’s common sense.
“I honestly put them on last game for the first time in my career, and a Mike Green one-timer from the point caught me right on the inside of the foot. I felt it through the shot-blocker, and I was stiff the next day, so I’m pretty sure if I didn’t have it on, I would be sitting back on the (injured reserve) with a few of my teammates. It saved me.”
Most players around the league started having the clear plastic caps molded to the shape of their skates two seasons ago, when more of a premium seemed to be put on the art of putting yourself in harm’s way. Some players restricted their use to practices unhappy with the discomfort, weight and restriction of their foot flex because of them. Others, like Flames veteran Curtis Glencross, opted for another custom offering made of Kevlar that has laces over top.
“I got them made at the beginning of the year because if you miss 10 or 15 games, is it worth it for a couple pounds for the two of them or whatever they weigh?” said Glencross, a regular penalty-killer.
via the Calgary Flames,
Mark Giordano (defense) – broken ankle – 6-8 weeks (Injured Reserve)
Lee Stempniak (right wing) – broken foot – week to week
Chris Breen (defense) – abdominal wall strain – day to day
CALGARY, AB – The Calgary Flames unveiled their third jersey to fans and media earlier today during the inaugural Flames Fest presented by Calgary Co-op at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
The Flaming C logo remains the primary logo along with the world “Calgary.” A western style shoulder yoke and tie down laces on the front represents strong western heritage. Along with a new shoulder patch, created to celebrate the unique landscape of southern Alberta
The jersey also features a new two colour name and number font but also keeps with tradition by including the Atlanta A for the assistant captain letter.
“Personally I like it because I am very proud of our city and every time the Flames wear our third jersey ‘Calgary’ is front and centre on television screens and newspapers around the world,” said Jim Peplinski, Calgary Flames VP, Business Development. “Many of our fans have been asking us for a third jersey. We listen. And we believe we have delivered a third jersey that will appeal to those who wanted a third jersey while adding to our classic vintage jersey and solid current jersey.”
2500 Budweiser Red Light helmets were passed out at the Calgary/Washington game last night.
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
A 4-4-2 record is .500 based on the league’s math, and considering the expectations that most everybody in the hockey world — at least those who are outside the organization — pegged them to be swimming with the fishes from the drop of the puck, it’s a heady accomplishment for the squad.
However, the Flames returned home with only one victory from a very difficult five-game road trip and are already four points out of a playoff spot and sixth in the tough seven-team Pacific Division.
Things won’t be any easier at the Saddledome in the coming days. They start a homestand Saturday against a Washington Capitals team that appears to be rounding into form and led by goal-per-game sniper Alex Ovechkin before the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings arrive in the Stampede City.
So … half-full?
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
The team is 3-0-2, but many people would argue that its success is not sustainable because it is winning fewer than 45 percent of faceoffs, giving up 31 shots per game, more than three goals per game, and one goal for every three power-play opportunities. How do you respond to those issues and do you worry if they don't turn quickly they could rear their ugly heads when you go on this five-game road trip?
"We know that we have some very interesting challenges ahead of us, but at the same time, in our situation, the same as many teams, we take this one game at a time. We're looking at chances-for versus chances-against and in our first five games we out-chanced the other team by about 15 chances. So we're getting three more chances to score per game than the other team. Maybe we don't have a [Sidney] Crosby or an [Alex] Ovechkin on our team, but we're doing it by committee and right now it's working.
"But we're all aware that the pace of the League is going to pick up. I believe with my years in the NHL that in probably another five or seven games, the pace is going to pick up and some of the teams that are struggling now are going to start to turn it on.
"On our side, we're all aware of what has been written and said for us regarding expectations, where we should finish. We're all aware of this and that's OK. There's nothing that we can do about it from what was written or said. The only thing that we can do is control the way we work, the way we prepare and that's how I challenged the guys from Day 1 in training camp. I told them, 'If you read everything that is being said about us, No. 1 we're lucky to be in the NHL and No. 2 we may want to retire.' I said, 'If you want to use this as motivation that's fine, but I'd rather look at [president of hockey operations] Brian Burke, [general manager] Jay Feaster, our fans, our sponsors. We have a great hockey community over here and they're certainly behind us all the way.'
"Maybe the best way is to put a positive spin to all of that. We work for us, we work for those guys and let's see where that takes us. And right now we've been getting unbelievable contributions basically from everyone."
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.
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