In this edition of Calgary Flames News & Rumors, Blake Coleman spoke about his excitement prior to Saturday night’s game in what was his first experience playing in the Battle of Alberta. In other news, prospect Matthew Phillips is continuing to pile up points in the American Hockey League (AHL), as is prospect Rory Kerins in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). Last but not least, Jarome Iginla’s daughter, Jade, was one of 23 players named to Team Canada’s U18 roster.
Coleman Excited for Flames Oilers Rivalry
Saturday night marked Coleman’s first time playing in the Battle of Alberta. Though the two teams met earlier this season, the 30-year-old was forced to sit out due to suspension. He spoke with the media ahead of the game and was clearly very excited about the opportunity. (from ‘Wes Gilbertson: Flames’ Coleman ready for his introduction to the Battle of Alberta’ , Calgary Sun 01/21/22).
“It definitely lived up to it right away,” said Coleman when asked what he thought about watching the first game between these two clubs. “I’m excited for it. Obviously, I had a Battle of Florida last year that got me excited, and now I’ve got something else to look forward to up here.
“At the end of the day, it’s just another game that we need to win and perform well in, but the fact that there is that history should play into the emotions and the excitement of the game. Hopefully it’s a good one for fans but we just prep the same way and treat this as we do every game – as a must-win for us.”
The Oilers ended up walking away with a 5-3 win in what was a disappointing defeat for the Flames, who were the more dominant team for the majority of the night. Nonetheless, they fall to 0-2 against their provincial rival this season and will need to do a better job of shutting down Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl when they meet next.
Phillips Dominating AHL
For a third straight season, Phillips is putting up big numbers for the Stockton Heat with the hopes of getting a call-up to the Flames. He was able to get that thrilling call last season but appeared in just one game. While many believe that the five-foot-seven forward is too small for the NHL, he is hoping he can get the chance to prove his doubters wrong (from ‘Wes Gilbertson: BRINGING THE HEAT: Matthew Phillips piling up points for Flames farm club’, Calgary Sun 01/20/22).
“It’s something that I’ve been working forever since I put skates on, pretty much,” said Phillips earlier this season when asked about his desire to get a true NHL shot. But it’s something that you don’t want to overthink. You just want to show up every day, whether you’re down in Stockton or with the Flames, and just try to be your best every single day and get to that next level and be the best player you can be and just let the chips fall.
“it’s just knowing that you’re working towards being that next call-up and showing up every day and showing that you can play in the NHL, showing that your details are good. For a guy like me, I get looked to for creating offence and maybe trying to score goals and stuff like that, but I think showing that your details are at an NHL caliber every day is what really helps you get to the next level. And just try not to overthink it and help the team win games.”
Phillips, who was born in Calgary, has a team-leading 13 goals in 31 games with the Heat, and his 32 points in that span trail only Jakob Pelletier for the team lead. Given how well he has played in Stockton the last few seasons, it seems safe to say he has earned an opportunity to prove himself in the NHL, though whether or not he will get that chance remains to be seen.
Kerins Having Season to Remember
Though it is still very early, it seems the Flames may have gotten a gem in the sixth round of the 2020 NHL Draft in Kerins. In his draft year, he registered 30 goals and 59 points in 64 games with the Soo Greyhounds. Unfortunately, he was unable to play much at all in 2020-21 due to the OHL cancelling their season, but he is making up for lost time in 2021-22.
The 19-year-old is currently sitting third in league scoring with 60 points in just 36 games with the Greyhounds and is only three shy of the league lead. It has been an extremely impressive season for him thus far, and one that is certainly getting the attention of Flames management. Though he will likely start the 2022-23 season in the AHL, he appears to have a very bright future ahead of him at this point and time.
Iginla Cracks U18 Roster
Despite the 2022 IIHF U18 Women’s Championship being cancelled in Sweden due to the pandemic, Team Canada still chose to announce their roster to recognize the 23 who would have been playing. One of those 23 players happened to be Jade Iginla, the daughter of Flames legend Jarome. Jade, who is playing for Rink Hockey Academy in Kelowna this season, has four goals and 12 points in 11 games.
Iginla, 17, is committed to Brown University for the 2022-23 season. It is another great feat for the Iginla’s, as Jarome’s son, Tij, was recently selected in the first round of the Western Hockey League draft by the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Up Next for the Flames
The Flames are back in action Monday night, as they take on the St. Louis Blues at the Saddledome. They will then head out on a mini two-game road trip where they will play the Columbus Blue Jackets and once again the Blues on a back-to-back set. Their final game of the week will come on Saturday in a divisional matchup against the Vancouver Canucks. These games will be crucial for them to get back into a playoff position, as they currently trail the San Jose Sharks by two points for the final wild card position in the Western Conference.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.