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
While Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Sam Bennett staked their claim as the cornerstones of the future Flames this post-season, it was big, physical winger Michael Ferland who may have had the biggest coming-out party of the playoffs for Calgary in the playoffs.
Ferland, with his in your face brand of play and thunderous body checks, became a household name and a top target for Canucks fans early in the first-round series after repeated run-ins with Vancouver’s Derek Dorsett and Kevin Bieksa early in the matchup. And if Canucks fans didn’t like Ferland, maybe they’ll at the very least respect him after learning that Ferland suffered a torn oblique muscle and played through it. Read more
Now that the Cinderella season has ended for the Calgary Flames comes time for speculation about where they go from here. After a season when the team defied the advanced statistical odds to make the post-season – and win a round, yet – did Calgary set up a one-off or can the Flames repeat the feat?
Strictly statistically speaking, it seems unlikely. After all, we’ve seen similar acts before. The Toronto Maple Leafs in 2012-13 were one shot away from advancing to Round 2 but imploded the following season. The Colorado Avalanche won the difficult Central Division last year and were “upset” in the first round only to finish well out of the playoffs this campaign. But for every Colorado and Toronto there has been, there have been clubs to resist what the numbers say and continue to succeed. It wouldn’t be shocking if the Flames added to that list. Read more
The Anaheim Ducks are off to the Western Conference final, but there’s no doubt that one of the common talking points among Calgary Flames fans this off-season will be the way in which Corey Perry scored the series-clinching goal.
Early in the extra frame on a net-front scramble, with the puck loose in front of Flames’ netminder Karri Ramo, Perry fell to his knees before giving Ramo a slight shove while fighting to get his stick on the loose puck. On his second swing at the puck, after first making contact with Ramo, Perry knocked it into the net and gave the Ducks the series victory, while Ramo and the Flames immediately sought justice for what they perceived to be goaltender interference. Watch the goal: Read more
Give the Flames credit for making their second-round series against Anaheim into an actual series. After the Ducks shellacked them in the first two games by a combined score of 9-1, Calgary won Game 3 and fought valiantly in a 4-2 Game 4 loss – and in Game 5 Sunday at Honda Center, they held a lead twice against the home team. But, led by their core of veteran stars and newer contributors such as Matt Beleskey, Anaheim was not going to be denied, tying the game early in the third period and winning 3-2 in overtime to eliminate the Flames in five games and move on to what promises to be a spectacular Western Conference Final against Chicago.
It’s not fair to say the Flames overachieved all season. You might use the word “overachieved” if they played well for a stretch of a week, or maybe a month or two. But this team did so much, you need to drop the “over” from overachieved and just focused on the amazing things they achieved: overcoming a so-so start in their first month, a December swoon and the loss of injured star defenseman Mark Giordano to knock (a) the defending Stanley Cup champion L.A. Kings out of a playoff spot, and (b) Vancouver out of the post-season in their first-round matchup.
That’s impressive, and Flames fans ought to be thrilled about the future of the franchise with the likes of Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and T.J. Brodie in tow. Now, on to the less-than-good news: they were defeated by a clearly superior Ducks team that gave them a reality check as to what it takes to make it to the Western Final and beyond. Read more
Ducks left winger Matt Beleskey had a breakout regular season this year, posting a career-best 22 goals and 32 points in 65 games for Anaheim. And the 26-year-old is continuing to establish himself as a force around the opposition’s net in the post-season, as evidenced by his game-tying goal Sunday in the third period of Game 5 against Caglary.
The Ducks had trailed Calgary 2-1 from early in the second period, but Flames center Mikael Backlund took a slashing penalty at the 20:00 mark of the middle frame and Anaheim began the third with the man advantage. And just 59 seconds into the period, Beleskey struck for his fifth in nine playoff games this year: Read more
The Ducks’ season flashed before their eyes Sunday when star winger Corey Perry limped off the ice in obvious pain following an awkward collision with Calgary’s Matt Stajan in Game 5 of their second-round series. Luckily for them, Perry was fine – but for a moment, Perry and Ducks fans were in considerable agony.
The hit took place late in the second period in Anaheim with the Flames up 2-1 and the play just inside Calgary’s zone; Stajan was following the puck near the blueline and the Ducks’ bench, and turned into Perry as their legs collided. Stajan was none the worse for wear, but Perry had to hobble off immediately: Read more
By George Johnson
Watching his father, Paul, on ESPN Classic is like being transported into another world for Sam Reinhart. But it’s not his dad’s skill that has Sam in awe. The effortless skating style, crisp passing and ability to read the play in the high-octane ’80s – all of that transcends eras and styles. Besides, as the most hotly anticipated teenage talent outside the NHL not named Connor McDavid, Sam has all those qualities himself.
No, it’s that luxuriant thatch above Paul Reinhart’s upper lip that gets Sam’s attention.
“I’ve been trying to grow that mustache for 19 years,” Sam said.
At 19, Sam may not be able to manage his father’s Chia Pet mustache, but as the baby of the hockey-playing Reinhart brood, he’s the closest in style and the highest in hype. Read more