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In praise of the Calgary Flames

Mar 24, 2014, 2:07 PM EDT

Kevin Westgarth, Brian McGrattan, Oscar Klefbom AP

We haven’t written much about the Calgary Flames this season. They weren’t expected to be very good in 2013-14, and for the most part they’ve lived up (or down) to those expectations.

But it’s only fair to point out that Calgary — the team that so many predicted would finish dead last in the NHL — is actually playing pretty well lately, with a 13-8-0 record in its last 21 games.

On Saturday, the Flames went into Edmonton and embarrassed their provincial rivals, 8-1.

“What a great game,” coach Bob Hartley said. “We wanted to redeem ourselves from (Friday’s 6-5 loss to Nashville). I could see that the boys were not very impressed with the performance from last night. We just worked very simple, we were very effective and we scored some great goals.”

By all accounts, Hartley has the Flames playing hard, which may be the most the fans can hope for given the dearth of top-end veteran talent on the rebuilding club.

From the Calgary Sun:

After years of talking about being tough to play against, the Flames have become exactly that. The talk now is coming from opposing head coaches, who almost always mention their tireless work ethic when asked about the crew from Calgary.

The Flames won’t make the playoffs for the fifth straight time this season, and they’ll almost certainly be long shots to make them next season. But with a bigger and better crop of prospects, and with the current players buying in to what Hartley’s selling, there’s more hope for the future today than there has been in quite some time.

Related: Numerous challenges await Burke in Calgary

  1. qauzaq - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    A good work ethic is extremely important. The Calgary Flames have proved they have it and because of that, their season has been decent(for them). Hopefully they can add a couple more pieces in the off season to add some skill. Their future is looking pretty good though I’d say.

  2. valoisvipers - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:20 PM

    Hey Jason, how about an article explaining the playoff format for each round?

    • killhowe - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:44 PM

      Round #1: Intra-division.

      Division Leader with most points vs. Wild Card with least most points.
      Division Leader with least points vs. Wild Card with most points.
      2nd and 3rd teams in Division #1 vs each other.
      2nd and 3rd teams in Division #2 vs each other.

      Round #2: Divisions no longer apply.

      1st seed vs 4th seed.
      2nd seed vs 3rd seed.

      Next round is final teams in Conference Finals with winners advancing into the Stanley Cup Finals.

      • valoisvipers - Mar 24, 2014 at 3:01 PM

        Thanks for the info!

  3. djshnooks - Mar 24, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    It’s mind-blowing that Paul Byron is having even limited success with them.

    Who would have thought, Sabres fans?

  4. govtminion - Mar 24, 2014 at 4:03 PM

    Amazing, what happens when you bring in a good coach, get rid of a bad GM, and let a few high-priced veterans leave to bring in young talent. If only Feaster had done all this rebuilding three years ago, when it was obviously needed, he might still be employed.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Mar 24, 2014 at 5:37 PM

      I’m not a big fan of Jay Feaster but he does deserve credit here, the majority of the young players who look like they’re developing into something here were acquired by him, he hired Hartley (I was dead against it at the time) and Troy Ward who’s the head coach in Abbotsford where the kids seem to be maturing.

      It’s probably best that he’s gone, but he did get things going forward after the Darryl Sutter scorched earth disaster!

      I’m excited to see who Burke brings in as the new GM, I’m hoping for Ron Hextall who lived here after he retired and started out for the Flyers by scouting games in Western Canada (Calgary).

      • govtminion - Mar 24, 2014 at 8:56 PM

        Oh in that regard I’ll absolutely give Feaster credit where due. That said, imagine where they’d have been if he’d stopped trying to hang on to guys like Iginla and Kiprusoff as long as he did. Sometimes a GM has to do the tough thing and get rid of fan favorites in order to rebuild a team, and Feaster just either couldn’t or wouldn’t do it.

  5. wishingtonredslur - Mar 24, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    Forty-three one goal games.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Mar 24, 2014 at 5:32 PM

      Yep, lost in the backhanded compliment of “playing pretty well lately” is that outside of a 3 week span in late December/early January (where they were dreadful), the Flames have played pretty well all year. Yes the results are lacking overall but young teams have to learn how to win, and I think that’s what the Flames have been going through.

      Look at the young players they have who are playing well: Forwards: Monahan, Colbourne, Backlund, Byron, then in spot duty Knight, Granlund, Hanowski, and Agostino have played well. Add to that they have Poirier, Klimchuk, Baertschi, Gaudreau all still to come.

      On D: Giordano (one of the best contracts in hockey), Brodie, Russell are all young and look like a solid 3 to build around, Wotherspoon looks like a solid defensive defenseman, plus Ramage and Sieloff.

      In net Ramo looks like he could be something and they’ve got Gillies plus another goalie who’s name escapes me at the moment playing well in NCAA this year.

      They still need to add talent but there’s plenty to be excited about here…except for the weather!

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