By Andrew McCormack
The Calgary Flames are out of the post-season, and it’s been 26 years now since they won their lone Stanley Cup in 1988-89 with rookie Theo Fleury on the roster. The 46-year-old native of Oxbow, Sask., who always dreamt of playing in the NHL, is now on a mission to improve mental health through promoting an understanding of the effects of trauma.
The November 2014 release of Conversations with a Rattlesnake – coauthored by occupational therapist Kim Barthel – is the second book by Fleury, following 2010’s Playing with Fire. He chose entertainment writer Kirstie McLellan Day to tell readers about his tough home life as a child, the sexual abuse his junior hockey coach, Graham James, subjected him to as a teenager, his drug and alcohol addiction, and being on the brink of committing suicide. Read more
Tyler Johnson is short and good at hockey. After two-and-a-half rounds of watching the guy lead his Tampa Bay Lightning in the playoffs, we’ve been hearing the same thing on every nightly broadcast. He’s pretty darn talented, but he’s not the first small guy to do big things.
There have been several big-game, undersized players who’ve stepped up in the playoffs over the years. Some played back in the black-and-white TV days. Others skated when radio was high-tech. One of them is stilling playing in Martin St-Louis, but we’ll leave him off the list because he’s still not done writing his legacy.
He’s also the same height as Johnson, and as much as we praised these two 5-foot-8 players for overcoming their size deficiencies, there are other historic playoff standouts who were even smaller.
Here are some of the best.
One day after it was reported that free agent Czech defenseman Jakub Nakladal, 27, was intending on signing a deal in the NHL, the Calgary Flames announced they have come to terms on a one-year, entry-level deal with the sought-after blueliner.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Nakladal’s choices were down to Calgary, Carolina and Chicago, but landing with the Flames likely means Nakladal will have the chance to compete for a roster spot and potentially help a young team that is close to becoming a perennial playoff contender.
While Flames GM Brad Treliving wouldn’t confirm the signing of Nakladal necessarily means he’ll be on the roster next season, he did say the potential rewards for signing the one-time Czech Extraliga defenseman of the year heavily outweighs the risk. Read more
Standout Czech defenseman Jakub Nakladal could be heading to North America next season and if he does, it appears he could be landing with the Hurricanes, Flames or Blackhawks.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Nakladal is working on finalizing an NHL deal and Carolina, Calgary and Chicago are the three teams left in the running. While there haven’t been many reports on what exactly the 27-year-old blueliner is looking for in a destination, he certainly has his pick of destinations following a stellar campaign with TPS Turku of Finland’s SM-Liiga. Read more
As he heads towards unrestricted free agency and the biggest contract of his career, Karri Ramo is saying all the right things. The question is will he get intercepted along the way by Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving.
Ramo isn’t the top goalie slated to become a UFA July 1 — that distinction belongs to Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk — but he will be in demand if he doesn’t come to contract terms with the Flames. And the Wild have made every indication they intend to re-sign Dubnyk, which will play in favor of Ramo if he’s still unsigned July 1. Read more
We know our four teams for the Memorial Cup now. Thanks to Oshawa’s ousting of Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters, the Generals will represent the OHL, joining Kelowna of the WHL, plus Quebec (the hosts) and Rimouski in the QMJHL. So who is favored to win it all? Ah, that’s a thorny question in a tournament that often surprises. But let’s take a look at what you should know about the four worthy squads in contention.
As we pause briefly from the Stanley Cup playoffs, let’s turn our eyes over to Europe for a second, where the World Championship is down to four teams. Canada plays the Czech Republic in one semifinal, while Russia and the United States renew hostilities on the other side of the bracket.
If Canada hopes to move on, they’ll have to stop an ageless icon. Meanwhile, the Russians will have their hands full with a powerful teenager.
Though the Calgary Flames were recently eliminated from the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs, they can move into the off-season feeling a sense of accomplishment. In the second season of their rebuild, the Flames confounded the experts by not only clinching a playoff berth but also upsetting the veteran-laden Vancouver Canucks in the opening round.
With a roster comprised of rising young talent (Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, T.J. Brodie, Sam Bennett) and skilled veterans (Jiri Hudler, Mark Giordano, Dennis Wideman), Flames GM Brad Treliving has a solid base upon which to continue the rebuild. With over $25 million in salary-cap space, Treliving also has the cash to add some experienced outside talent. Read more