It wouldn’t be another start to the season if it wasn’t for Calgary stumbling out of the blocks. This time around, fans sound serious about worrying that the inevitable complete fall from grace is coming. Stars Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff are 34 and 35 years-old respectively and Roman Horak and Mikael Backlund represent their only youthful players. With everyone else being in their late-20s or their 30s, the future is bleak in Calgary.
While Calgary has nearly been a playoff team the last two years, they’ve fallen short and with the team aging not-so gracefully (they’re the second-oldest team in the league behind Detroit) it might be time for GM Jay Feaster to find a way to blow things up and start anew.
One way they could get a head start on that would be to find a way to land disgruntled Coyotes restricted free agent Kyle Turris. Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald posits that while others will be in pursuit of Turris, Calgary gunning for him could be the right move to help the Flames get younger and talented.
Trades don’t come without risk, but with just Horak and Backlund to look at as definitive positive prospects, the Flames are in a bad way. With 11 unrestricted free agents after this season, trading away talented guys with extended deals like Alex Tanguay and Rene Bourque might not be the best thing to do in the short term, but to get what they want that might be the only option they have to clean house and start over.
With Phoenix and Calgary already having history this year when they swapped Daymond Langkow and Lee Stempniak, reestablishing that connection to do a deal may not be too hard to do. If Don Maloney gets off his stance in saying he absolutely will not trade Turris, it’s hard to imagine Jay Feaster not being the first guy to call him.
Brian Campbell doesn’t score as many points as he used to, but he came up with a huge goal against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.
With the game tied, 1-1, in overtime, Campbell skated into the slot and beat Petr Mrazek with a perfect wrister to end the game.
It was also a pretty nice passing play between Jussi Jokinen, Jonathan Huberdeau and Campbell.
Dylan Larkin opened the scoring in the second period before Reilly Smith leveled the score with just over five minutes remaining.
The Wings have blown a lead in three straight games.
Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in their last game, against Edmonton, before they finally closed the game out with an overtime goal by Niklas Kronwall.
They weren’t so fortunate against the Bruins on Wednesday, as they lost 3-2 in OT after leading 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in regulation.
This was the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Florida, but they’ll see each other three times between Feb. 4 and Mar. 19.
You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.
With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.
Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).
In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:
Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.
Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.
So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.
The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.
No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.
He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.
There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.
So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.
Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.
(But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)