In this edition of Calgary Flames News & Rumors, the team will have at least three games postponed due to six players entering the league’s COVID-19 protocol. Prior to this, they had been struggling a bit as of late, something head coach Darryl Sutter was not at all happy about. In other news, Jarome Iginla’s son, Tij, was drafted in the first round of the Western Hockey League (WHL) draft this past week. Last but not least, prior to the current outbreak amongst the team, defenceman Oliver Kylington had a bit of a hectic day last Tuesday due to a false positive COVID test.
Flames COVID Outbreak Update
Due to a major COVID-19 outbreak amongst several players and one staff member, the Flames are being forced to postpone their next three games, and possibly more afterward. Monday’s game in Chicago, Tuesday’s in Nashville and Thursday’s at home against Toronto have all been postponed. This came shortly after it was announced that Elias Lindholm, Andrew Mangiapane, Brad Richardson, Adam Ruzicka, Chris Tanev, Nikita Zadorov and one staff member had all entered the NHL’s COVID protocol.
First things first — we hope all the affected players and staff member are feeling okay. Assuming they are, this timing isn’t the worst thing to happen for the Flames, who had hit a bit of a rut as of late. Hopefully a short break gives them time to reset and get back on track. As of now, their next game is set to take place on Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Sutter Calls Out Flames After Tough Loss
Last Tuesday was not a game to remember for the Flames. They appeared to be very much in control with a 3-1 lead at the midway point of the contest, but then went on to allow four unanswered goals from the San Jose Sharks to fall 5-3. This loss saw the Flames play uncharacteristically bad defensively, something that Sutter was not at all pleased with.
“Our defence had a really rough night,” Sutter said. “The six defencemen played like an exhibition game.
“Those are defencemen mistakes, and our goaltender has to be better than theirs. Our goaltender had trouble in traffic and trouble with rebounds.
“Disappointing. Missing nets, missing assignments, turning pucks over. We’ve got to be better than that.”
Calling out players to the media isn’t generally something that happens in today’s NHL. However, Sutter has clearly brought in accountability to this group, and he felt after that game it was important to let it be known they need to be better.
Iginla Drafted to the Seattle Thunderbirds
On Thursday, Iginla’s son, Tij, had the thrill of a lifetime when it was announced that the Thunderbirds of the WHL had selected him in the first round (ninth overall) of the bantam draft. It is a major accomplishment for the 15-year-old who, in 13 games with the RINK Hockey Academy this season, has scored eight goals and 14 points.
Funny enough, Jarome himself was never drafted into the WHL. Instead, he was invited as an undrafted player to the Kamloops Blazers camp, and the rest from there is history. While it is far too early to suggest he could go on to have a career like his father’s, there is no denying the fact that Tij’s future seems quite bright right now.
Kylington Receives False Positive COVID Test
On Tuesday morning prior to a game vs. the Sharks, Kylington was absent from the Flames morning skate due to a positive COVID-19 test. It appeared he was going to have to miss some time, but he went on to provide two negative tests afterward and was able to suit up Tuesday night. The 24-year-old spoke with the media about the entire situation and the stress it caused him at the time. (from ‘Kristen Anderson: Flames’ Kylington shakes off a weird week after false positive COVID-19 test’ , Calgary Sun 12/10/21)
“I’m not going to make any excuses… but that game was probably my worst I’ve played this year,” Kylington told reporters after the 5-3 loss. “But I’m not really going to make any excuses because I had a false positive and I was sitting in my room until 4 o’clock. And my third test I did that day, every other test I did that day was negative and my third test was negative and then I was cleared. I felt my preparation wasn’t as what I was used to.
“No excuses, I have to be better. But it was a weird day.”
One can certainly understand where he is coming from, as he would’ve had the stress of not only having to miss that game, but perhaps several more in what is a breakout season for him. After many questioned whether or not he would even make the team this season, he was not only able to do that but has been one of their best defencemen. In 27 games, he has three goals and 15 points.
Up Next for the Flames
As mentioned, the Flames’ next game on the schedule for now is against the Blue Jackets on Saturday. Of course, that could change depending how their COVID-19 situation shakes out. If it does remain the same, they will have another relatively quiet following week as well, as they are only set to play in two games on Tuesday and Thursday vs. the Anaheim Ducks and Seattle Kraken.
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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.