39 Days Until the Start of the 2011-2012 NHL Season!

Daymond Langkow of the Calgary Flames

Daymond Langkow - Calgary Flames

 The 2011-2012 NHL season is quickly approaching and I am counting down the days until hockey takes over my life. Yes I said it…I have a hard time avoiding procrastination upon the start of the NHL season. There is something about the game of hockey that fills this empty void in my life that nothing else can fill and I’m sure many fans feel the same way I do. 

Over the course of the last couple weeks, I was contemplating the topic of today’s discussion. I was ecstatic to hear that the Calgary Flames had once again made a HUGE move to improve this team although it did somewhat come at a cost. A little over a month ago, the Flames shook up the core of their team by trading defenceman Robyn Regehr and right winger Ales Kotalik to the Buffalo Sabres for centre Paul Byron and defenceman Chris Butler. The key move here was Ales Kotalik as he failed to live up to expectations last season with the Flames. Another benefit to this trade was the fact that the Flames got a little bit younger as well. I personally thought the Flames were done until the start of the season but I was mistaken. Just yesterday, the Flames requested that Daymond Langkow waive his NTC/NMC clause and accept a trade to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Lee Stempniak. Although I am deeply saddened that Langkow is no longer a member of the Calgary Flames, this was an extremely important move for the Flames. We have now injected our team with youthfulness, skill, and most importantly, have allowed more flexibility when it comes to cap space.

As fans, it is sometimes difficult to look at the bigger picture and realize what is best for a team. Every year, our veteran players get a little bit older and there comes a point where it is difficult to move a player  because they have exhausted their ability to play at a high level on a consistent basis or they succumb to injury. The NHL has progressed so much since the lockout and even since I was a kid growing up watching hockey. The game of hockey is faster and more skilled than it was yesterday. If the Flames are to keep up pace with the rest of the League, then changes are needed. I congratulate Jay Feaster for doing what many people were afraid to do and I very much look forward to this upcoming season for this reason. If the Flames can perform the way they did the second half of last season or rather exceed that, Flames fans may just be surprised at what this team is capable of!

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65 Days Until the Start of the 2011-2012 NHL Season…

It’s that time again! Yes, that’s right. There are only 65 days left until the start of the 2011-2012 NHL season. I can hear all of the NHL fans now as they count down to the first home game of their respective NHL teams.

With the movement of players we have seen over the course of this summer, the upcoming season looks to be an exciting one. For the teams that failed to make the playoffs last season, will we see a changing of the guard or will it end up being an early summer? Only time will tell but all I ask is that the Calgary Flames turn their fortunes around this year and look to complete a long playoff run.

As the NHL approaches Game 1 of the regular season, I will be back to discuss some of the roster changes that the Calgary Flames have undergone over the course of the summer including the re-signing of many of our unrestricted free agents such as Brendan Morrison, Curtis Glencross, and Alex Tanguay. In addition to this, we cannot forget the loss of defenceman Robyn Regehr and Ales Kotalik to the Buffalo Sabres and the arrival of several new members of the Calgary Flames!

Keep checking in as there are more updates to come! Remember, only 65 days left!


2011 Playoff Predictions

Sidney Crosby - Captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins

Well, it looks like I won’t be gunning for the Calgary Flames in the playoffs this year but nonetheless, I am still looking forward to seeing what the team can come up with in the 2011-2012 Season.

So, who I am hoping makes it to the Stanley Cup this year? My second favourite team behind the Calgary Flames is the Pittsburgh Penguins so I’ll be cheering for them first. Although Pittsburgh has managed to make it into the post-season without Crosby, one has to wonder whether they can make it all the way with or without Crosby. It is still unknown as to whether or not Crosby will be joining his team for Game 1 of the Quarter Finals but I’m sure hoping so! If Crosby can make it back quickly and be able to compete as though he never left the ice, well then watch out NHL! You can’t forget the scoring streak that Crosby went on shortly before he was sidelined with a major concussion. GO PITTSBURGH!

Next up, is the Montreal Canadiens. Of course I am rooting for a Canadian team to make the playoffs but i’m not a fan of Vancouver (never will be…sorry guys) so my only other option is Montreal. If Price can put on a show again like he did last post-season, then this should be an interesting run. Here’s hoping that the team remains healthy and do not forget…they are playing the Boston Bruins so you can bet that this is going to be one entertaining series!

That aside, here are my predictions for the first round (…and yes some of them go against who I am cheering for but I’m trying to be realistic here!). Here goes nothing!

Western Conference:

Vancouver Canucks vs. Chicago Blackhawks – Vancouver in 5 games

San Jose Sharks vs. LA Kings – San Jose in 7 games

Detroit Red Wings vs. Phoenix Coyotes – Detroit in 7 games

Anaheim Ducks vs. Nashville Predators – Anaheim in 6 games

Eastern Conference

Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers – Capitals in 6 games

Philadelphia Flyers vs. Buffalo Sabres – Philadelphia in 7 games

Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens – Montreal in 7 games

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning – Tampa Bay in 7 games

Should be an interesting series so let’s see what happens. See you for Round 2 to see how close I got!


Post-Season Fever

The 2010-2011 NHL regular season is slowly dwindling down to its last few games and the exciting news is that the Flames are still within reach of a playoff position. With 5 games remaining in the regular season, Flames fans in Alberta and across the rest of the world are clenching their teeth in what looks to be a rather exciting finish to the season.

On Sunday, the Edmonton Oilers played host to the Flames in what turned out to be one of the most exciting games of the year. Down 4-1 to Edmonton at the start of the third period, it looked as though the Flames season might have come to an end but the Flames did not give up. At 5:55 of third, Jarome Iginla scored his second powerplay goal of the game to get the Flames back within two goals. Curtis Glencross then added to that total by scoring on the breakaway to make it 4-3. Steve Staios topped off the comeback as the Flames tied the game and won the shootout to gain a precious 2 points in the Western Conference. I could not have imagined a more exciting game although I almost had a heart attack when Staios tied it up. They’re not done yet!

In terms of games remaining, the Flames have the following games left to play:

March 30, 2011 – Anaheim Ducks

April 1, 2011 – St. Louis Blues

April 3, 2011 – Colorado Avalanche

April 6, 2011 – Edmonton Oilers

April 9, 2011 – Vancouver Canucks

The Flames next opponent, the Anaheim Ducks, should be an exciting game to watch. With 5 games left to play, the Calgary Flames currently sit in 9th place with 87 points in the Western Conference and Anaheim is in 7th place with 89 points. A win on Wednesday by the Flames in regulation, assuming Chicago and Anaheim lose to their respective teams on March 28th, would put Calgary in 8th place ahead of Chicago and in a tie with Anaheim. The Flames have not had much luck versus the Ducks lately so it will be extremely important that they work hard for an entire 60 minutes and avoid any costly penalties.

Looking forward to a win on Wednesday and one step closer to a playoff position. Go Flames Go!

Heartbreak in Calgary

Well, it looks like my very first blog post is going to be a disappointing one. For those that know me well, you already know that my life revolves around hockey, specifically the Calgary Flames and Pittsburgh Penguins. Every year moreso than the last.

Last night, in game 75 of the 2010-2011 regular season, the San Jose Sharks played host to my beloved Calgary Flames. With 7 games to be played, it was crucial that the Flames win as many games (if not all) in order to secure a spot in the playoffs. Calgary entered the game with 85 points and San Jose with 92.

The start of the game looked very promising as the Sharks and Flames exchanged chances, but the San Jose Sharks drew first blood to make it 1-0 in the first five minutes of the game. As the alert came through on my iPhone, I could only sigh in disbelief and hope that this game was not going to turn out like the last two games in California. After a couple goal exchanges and lots of back and forth hockey, the first period ended with the Sharks up 4-2. Flames were outshot 16-8.

In period 2, the Flames scored first to draw within one goal of the Sharks but at 15:50, Torrey Mitchell scored to regain a two-goal lead for the Sharks. It was at this point where I started to feel my heart break a little bit more. The second period ended with San Jose still in the lead by a score of 5-3.

As the third period started, I was optimistic that the Flames would step up the pace but instead I was disappointed as the Sharks went up 6-3 halfway throught the 3rd period as the Calgary defence collapsed on itself. The Flames simply could not solve Antti Niemi and ended up losing the game. Final Score 6-3 Sharks.

As a Flames fan, I can definitely say that this season was one of the hardest to grasp. The first part of the season was utterly terrible which led to the demise of Darryl Sutter in December. After he was let go, the Flames went on a spectacular run to go from second last in the conference to competing for a playoff position. This surprising run has made this season much more exciting but these past few games are breaking my heart because the effort put forth by the Flames over the last three months is deserving of a position within the playoffs. There are still 6 more games to go and anything can happen…but at this point, it is hard to imagine that enough teams will fail enough to allow Flames to make the playoffs.

If this indeed spells the end to the 2010-2011 season for the Calgary Flames, I’d like to thank them for the pleasure of being able to watch them do well and wish them all the best next season.

Live or Die, I will always remain a faithful Flames Fan.



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