Calgary Flames: Making History Despite the Odds

Wait, the Calgary Flames are tied for top spot in the National Hockey League? Did the NHL hire gremlins to take care of stats?

By accumulating at least one point in each of their first five games, this year’s Flames have established a new team record since the league changed its overtime points. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year with fans looking to the bottom of the standings to find the team.

Top Offense

How else to explain that, as of the morning of Oct 12, Calgary had the fourth best offense at 3.60 with rookie Sean Monahan’s four goals already second best among rookies and Jiri Hudler quietly tied for most points in the league with seven? In fact, the Flames had three players in the top 14 in points with Hudler, Monahan and captain Mark Giordano.

And the team has been without its top scorer in Mike Cammalleri nursing a hand injury as well as two other veterans, Matt Stajan and David Jones.

What is noticeable in the first five games of the season is the team playing at a high tempo and working hard. There are youthful mistakes and a system still under construction with coach Bob Hartley. The defense needs a lot of working with the Flames sitting 25th in goals against (3.20) and the PK 26th (66.7%).

Of course, five games do not make a season but regardless of what happens in the next few months, the team is off on the right foot. Confidence and working as a team will go a long ways into the future. There seems to be a good balance of youth and veterans in the lineup with Giordano proving himself the right choice as captain.

Sean Monahan (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

Sean Monahan (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

 

Big Questions

Here are some questions ahead for the Flames:

-How will the team face adversity on a five-game road trip that includes California where it has struggled recently, especially in Anaheim?

-Should management return rookie sensation Sean Monahan back to juniors?

-Will Hartley rely on goaltender Joey MacDonald or give Karri Ramo another chance to prove himself?

-How can the team maintain its scoring prowess while cutting back on goals allowed?

Mario Boucher

Mario Boucher

Mario covers the Calgary Flames and other hockey features. He is an experienced journalist who has covered sports and entertainment in daily and weekly newspapers, magazines and online, including thedigitalbits.com/columns/inside-cinema
Mario Boucher

3 Comments

  1. Crazy and unexpected start for the Flames. Your question on should they send Monahan back to juniors is not an obvious one. Management would get drilled if they send him down while he is this hot AND the team continues their current level of play (neither is likely, but I would say the Manahan has a better chance of staying hot even though he will surely draw more focus from opponents).

    If both continue, I don’t think they can send him back, though the long term plan may serve him and the team better depending on how things play out in the short term. It could be a really interesting decision for the team to have to make.

  2. 1. The newly rejuvenated Flames encompass perseverance and steadfastness – different from the ones that had faced adversity on the five-game road trip. Bob Hartley has instigated collaboration, enthusiasm and optimism. Although it is difficult to determine the consequences of upcoming games, the Flames have developed an inherent propensity to deal positively to their opponents – whether they are leading, trailing or tied.

    2. I don’t thing management will send Sean back to juniors – unless they are striving for another transition.

    3. Boby Hartley has confidence in Joey MacDonald; but only he has the expertise to make the decision to give Karri Ramo another chance. Having said this, I believe that he will not make any goal tending changes for this upcoming trip to California…

    4. The scoring prowess can be sustained if all the players (defense and offense) contribute significantly when on ice. For instance, Wideman and Giordano both scored when the Flames had the man advantage, while players like Bouma blocked shots effectively to defend the opponents from scoring.

    • The Flames now encompass perseverance and steadfastness – different from the ones that had faced adversity on the five-game road trip. Bob Hartley has instigated team spirit consistent with collaboration, enthusiasm and optimism. Although the consequences of upcoming games is difficult to decipher, the Flames have an developed an inherent propensity to deal optimistically to their opponents – whether they are leading, trailing or tied.

      2. I don’t thing management will send Sean back to juniors – unless they are striving for another transition.

      3. Boby Hartley’s confidence in Joey MacDonald is discernable; but he has the expertise to make the decision to give others the chance to play. Nonetheless, he may not make any goal tending changes for this upcoming trip to California…

      4. The scoring prowess can be sustained if all the players share roles to contribute offensively and defensively when on ice. This strategy was apparent in the game against the Devils. .

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