Flames to keep rookie Monahan for season


The Calgary Flames had a big decision on their hands regarding the future of star freshman Sean Monahan.

On Wednesday, they made it.

The Flames announced they’re keeping the 19-year-old center for the remainder of the season, rather than returning him to his junior club in Ottawa.

Monahan, who sits third among all rookie skaters with nine points in nine games, has been the focus of much conversation in recent weeks. While he’s been an important contributor in Calgary (t-2nd in points) and deserving of his spot in the NHL, arguments have been made suggesting the Flames — not considered to be a playoff contender — should return him to junior and save a year of his entry-level contract in the process.

But, according to Flames GM Jay Feaster, the organization just couldn’t hold the sixth overall pick at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft back.

“We feel good about [Monahan],” Feaster told the team website. “We feel good about the decision we’ve made.

“I think he’s a unique individual… in his determination. He’s a 19-year-old going on 29 years old.”

The argument about keeping Monahan up will likely continue, but it’s important to remember one thing — the Flames made it clear from the onset of training camp that playing time and positions on the team would have to be earned. Telling a player that, then having him earn his spot, then taking it away could send a mixed message, and possibly affect the relationship between organization and prospect.

It’s worth noting, however, that Feaster didn’t rule out the possibility of Monahan representing Canada at the 2014 World Juniors.

“We’re a big believer in the [World Juniors] and what they do for players,” he said.

The ’14 tournament runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Malmo, Sweden.

Video: Dylan Larkin adds to his rookie goals lead

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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.

Latest report leaves Carey Price’s injury timeline fuzzy

Carey Price
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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.)

Lightning lament life as a .500 team

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The Tampa Bay Lightning have plenty of time to rise above mediocrity, yet it still must be deserving to finish at .500 for two straight months.

After last night’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders, that’s exactly where they find themselves:

Record at the end of October: 5-5-2

Record at the end of November: 11-11-3

As of this writing, the Lightning found themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. It all stands as a pretty tough thing for the reigning Eastern Conference champs to swallow.

The uncomfortable-yet-vital question is: can the Lightning break out of this funk?

Looking at their schedule, it won’t be easy, at least not right away.

They crawl through California during a three-game road trip to start December, and they also face six of eight on the road from Dec. 2 – 18.

The Lightning soak up home dates to finish 2015 after that, but what damage will be done by then?

Frankly, the Bolts will need to dig deep to break this pattern. If nothing else, they’ve fought with their backs against the wall before.

Dubinsky won’t change, and he won’t go easy on Crosby


Sometimes a suspension will shame a player, or at least inspire him to change the way he plays.

That apparently won’t happen regarding Brandon Dubinsky‘s one-game timeout session for cross-checking Sidney Crosby.

Dubinsky told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch that he won’t alter his style, whether it’s against Crosby or someone else.

“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”

In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.

One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.

Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?

Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).