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.
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.
For those who decry the decline in fighting – in “blood and guts” hockey – Tuesday presented a bloody moment, one fairly high on this season’s Muta scale.
Also, for some, seeing it happen to Tom Wilson specifically may provide additional pleasure.
Anyway, as you can see in the video above, Minnesota Wild winger Chris Stewart bloodied the Washington Capitals pest in a fight. Whether you’re for, against or neutral toward Wilson, it’s quite the sight.
Wilson may be hurt, by the way. He missed some time but returned later in the contest.
Auston Matthews likely ranks as the top reason that many Toronto Maple Leafs are starting to get the same feelings they had in better times, so it only makes sense that he broke a beloved Buds’ record on Tuesday.
With his 35th goal of a potential Calder season – but a brilliant debut either way – Matthews passed Wendel Clark for the Maple Leafs’ rookie record for goals in a season.
That goal was also meaningful for William Nylander, as he extended his point streak to 12 games with an assist. This team, fueled by young players, just keeps shattering first-year marks:
Leafs rookie record watch:
GOALS – 35 Matthews ASSISTS – 40 Marner tied with Bodnar POINT STREAK – 12 games Nylander SHG – 3 Hyman
The U.S. women’s national team voted in favor of accepting USA Hockey’s deal, so they’ll participate in the world championship tournament. USA Hockey recently made the news official with this press release.
The press release confirmed a report that the contract will last four years, while financial terms were kept confidential. (Team members had been seeking a living wage to represent USA Hockey.)
“Our sport is the big winner today,” Team captain Meghan Duggan said. “We stood up for what we thought was right and USA Hockey’s leadership listened. In the end, both sides came together. I’m proud of my teammates and can’t thank everyone who supported us enough. It’s time now to turn the page. We can’t wait to play in the World Championship later this week in front of our fans as we try and defend our gold medal.”
As much as many of us suffer during a trip to the dentist, few can fathom the horrors hockey players often go through when a puck, stick or fist finds their teeth/mouths. Consult this vintage PHT post from 2010 if you want to cringe, a lot.
Couture, Wilson said, did not need to have his jaw wired shut after a deflected puck caught him in the mouth on Saturday when the Sharks played the Nashville Predators.
“Hey, he can speak and eat … and his jaw isn’t wired shut!” Yeesh.
To little surprise, Couture isn’t playing on Tuesday. As far as the Sharks next three games (Thursday, Friday and Sunday), that remains to be seen.
As an aside, consider this: on the same day Jonathan Drouin‘s celebrating his birthday after helping the Lightning win, Couture is lucky if he can force down some birthday cake. Life: it isn’t always fair.