Lindholm’s ‘Trolling’ Is Just Good Old Hockey Fun

Calgary Flames right-winger Elias Lindholm had himself a good time against his former team, the Carolina Hurricanes, last Sunday afternoon (Feb. 3). The Flames fought hard to beat Carolina 4-3, capturing an important win in Raleigh to stay on top of the Western Conference. Though slipping up early, the Flames quickly tied it up 1-1 late in the first period before pulling away in the second and eventually sealing the victory.

Garnet Hathaway, Petr Mrazek
Calgary Flames’ Garnet Hathaway scores on Carolina Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

It was Lindholm who opened the Flames scoring with that game-tying goal in the first. Defenceman Noah Hanifin and centre Derek Ryan also scored to lift Calgary over Carolina. These three players, along with head coach Bill Peters, are all ex-Hurricanes who were facing off against their old club on Sunday. Needless to say, it went as well as they had hoped.

While the victory is the main takeaway of the game, there were some other noteworthy occurrences afterward, courtesy of the Flames’ very own Lindholm. Many were amused by what they saw, but for some others…not so much.

Lindholm’s “Apex Trolling” Amuses Some, Enrages Others

As the final whistle blew and the Flames’ win was secured, Lindholm, celebrating on the ice with his teammates, felt inspired to put his own unique spin on the festivities.

Skating with the rest of his squad, “Lindholm raised his hands above his head for a purposeful clap, mimicking the so-called ‘Storm Surge’ that has become a viral post-game tradition anytime the Carolina Hurricanes win on home ice,” (from ‘Ex-Hurricane Hat-Trick propels Flames to win in Carolina – The Calgary Sun – 03/02/19).

Considering it was Lindholm and the Flames who won, and that the Raleigh crowd was booing him for numerous parts of the game, it is not hard to discern that his gesture was meant as a bit of payback towards the crowd of his former city. As one would expect, the locals were not impressed.

Many Hurricanes fans on Twitter railed against Lindholm’s antics, using some colourful adult language to express their disdain. Meanwhile at PNC Arena, boos continued to rain down from the stands, with one angry fan reportedly throwing a Lindholm jersey at the ice. From the ear-to-ear smile on Lindholm’s face, it seems he did not mind at all.

When asked about it after the game, Lindy gave a light shrug before saying, “Yeah…my name came up twice on the Jumbotron and I got booed, so I think it’s a nice way to end it.” In the post-game interview, Lindholm complimented the Hurricanes several times on their tough play. The nod signifies his respect for his former team, and that the small practical joke he played was nothing more than a friendly jab at a fellow hockey club.

Flames’ Season Sweep of Hurricanes Signify Trade Victory

Before joining the Flames, Lindholm, along with Hanifin, Ryan and Peters, were all members of a struggling Hurricanes squad. In April 2018, Peters resigned as Carolina’s head coach to take the job with Calgary.

Shortly after that, Lindholm and Hanifin were added to the Flames roster in a blockbuster summertime trade that sent Micheal Ferland and Dougie Hamilton to the Hurricanes. Ryan signed with the Flames as an unrestricted free agent during the offseason, becoming the fourth Hurricane to come up north to Calgary.

As with any trade, there is always the question of which side came away with the better deal. As of one month ago, the numbers indicate that Calgary was edging out Carolina by a hefty margin. Compared to Ferland and Hamilton, who, respectively, had 19 points (12 goals) and 13 points (five goals) as Hurricanes, Lindholm and Hanifin had accumulated 42 points (20 goals) and 21 points (three goals) as Flames, respectively.

Calgary Flames Elias Lindholm
Calgary Flames forward Elias Lindholm (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)

The trend continues one month later. Thus far, Lindholm has tallied 60 points on the season, with 23 of them being goals. Hanifin’s points count has grown to 26, with a goal total of five. On the Hurricanes side, Ferland has captured 28 points with 14 goals, while a struggling Hamilton makes a modest climb to 21 points and nine goals.

Along with this clear difference in output, the Flames’ 2-0 sweep of the season series against the Hurricanes is a clear indicator of who has won the trade. Since coming to Calgary, many of the new additions have found their place within the team, making valuable contributions to the club’s winning ways. As the leading producer among the new acquisitions, Lindholm is turning out to be one of the biggest success stories of this 2018-19 Flames season.

In short, Lindholm’s journey from Carolina to Calgary has been a fruitful and meaningful one. He is proud to be a Flame, and decided to have some fun by letting his old club know during his return to PNC Arena. While his humour might have rubbed some dedicated Canes fans the wrong way, it is clear that he still very much respects his former club and colleagues. Though a bit silly, his antics are harmless and a playful reminder of how friendly rivalries are part of the fun in sports.