Call it youthful enthusiasm, or straight naivete — whatever the case, Flames rookie Sean Monahan is talking playoffs.
“We’re going to push for a spot to get in the playoffs and we think we can do it,” Monahan told the Calgary Sun. “We’re going to push every game and see what we can do.”
The Flames sit second from last in the Western Conference at the time of writing, 13 points shy of Dallas for the last wild card playoff spot. According to Sports Club Stats, Calgary has a zero percent chance of making the postseason.
So yes, Monahan’s view of his team’s chances seems ambitious.
But it’s easy to see the big picture here. Head coach Bob Hartley was hired to teach his young team, and he sees a learning opportunity on the horizon. If he can get his players to buy into the theory they still have a chance at the postseason — and treat pending matchups against teams jockeying for postseason position like playoff games — the Flames stand to gain something from these final 24 games. More than they would by simply playing out the string, anyway.
“We told the players that we’re entering playoff mentality,” he explained. “You’ll see it in practices where our entire environment will be around playoffs. Just like we’re going to approach every game like a playoff game.”
Derek Roy has finally found work — but it’s not in the NHL.
Roy, who spent the entire preseason in Washington’s camp on a PTO, has signed with SC Bern of Switzerland’s National League A, the club announced on Friday.
The news comes after Roy narrowly missed out on making the Caps roster, and just one year after he had something of a bounce-back campaign in Edmonton, scoring 22 points in 46 games while developing chemistry with young winger Nail Yakupov.
A 12-year NHL veteran, Roy is one of the more prominent names to be squeezed out of work this season, and head overseas. The 31-year-old has scored over 500 points in 738 career contests, and has twice represented Canada at the World Hockey Championships.
With Bern, Roy will play on one of Switzerland’s stronger teams, alongside a trio of ex-NHLers: Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ebbett and Cory Conacher.
Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.
Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.
When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.
“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”
It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.
While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.