In this edition of Calgary Flames News & Rumors, Darryl Sutter was not happy with his team’s blowout loss to the Vancouver Canucks, and had a simple, yet effective message for what they need to work on moving forward. In other news, Russian defencemen Nikita Zadorov made it clear he is not in support of his home country’s invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, the Flames announced that they have hired former Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray as a scout. Last but not least, Elias Lindholm was named the NHL’s first star of last week.
Sutter Looking for More Grit
On Thursday, the Flames had a chance to set a franchise record with 11 straight wins. It wasn’t meant to be, however, as they were not only defeated, but crushed 7-0 by the Canucks. The main takeaway from this game was that they spent far too much time in the penalty box, but Sutter saw something else that he wasn’t impressed with.
“You gotta get more gritty, not that pretty stuff,” Sutter said.
Perhaps the biggest thing he has changed in this roster since becoming head coach is developing more of a hard-working approach, rather than just relying on skill, so this comment doesn’t come as a major surprise. The Flames were able to take the advice of their coach in a positive way, as they defeated the Minnesota Wild 7-3 just two nights later.
Zadorov Calls for Peace
With the ugly situation we are seeing unfold between Russia and Ukraine right now, many are speaking out and condemning the actions of Russia and Vladimir Putin, including some athletes. One of the athletes who spoke up on what is transpiring is Zadorov, who was born in Moscow. The 26-year-old took to Instagram Friday with a simple, yet effective message that read “No War”.
It is great to see Zadorov and others speaking up on this horrible situation, as it creates more awareness, and perhaps even some pressure on the Russian government to rethink what it is doing. Hopefully for all, this can come to an end sooner, rather than later.
Murray Hired as Scout for Flames
Back in November, Murray resigned from the Ducks after an internal investigation by the club revealed improper professional conduct. It ended his 14-year tenure in the position with the team, and he said shortly after his resignation that he would be entering an alcohol abuse program.
By the sounds of things, he is doing better now as the Flames chose to hire him as a scout this past week. According to Sportsnet’s Eric Francis, his duties will primarily be to scout on the West Coast.
Lindholm Voted as First Star of the Week
The NHL announced on Feb. 21 that Lindholm had been voted as the league’s first star of the week. It was a terrific week for the 27-year-old, who recorded four goals and four assists in three games, all of which were wins.
It was well deserved for Lindholm, who is having yet another fantastic season in Calgary. The underrated centerman is up to 23 goals and 51 points in 51 games, and has a great chance to surpass his career high in goals (29) and points (78).
Up Next for the Flames
Saturday’s game against the Wild was the Flames final contest of the week. They will see the Wild soon again, however, as the two are set to face off at the Saddledome on Tuesday night. They will then see the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, a team who has made significant improvements since bringing in Martin St. Louis as their head coach. The toughest of all will come on Saturday, when they face who most consider to be the top team in the Western Conference in the Colorado Avalanche. That game will be a great measuring stick to see just how good this Flames roster truly is.
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.