Jason Brough

CALGARY, AB - JANUARY 7: Johnny Gaudreau #13 (L) of the Calgary Flames confers with his teammate Sean Monahan #23 during a break in play against the Detroit Red Wings during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on January 7, 2015 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
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The numbers are ugly for the Calgary Flames

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When Glen Gulutzan took the job in Calgary, he called the Flames a team “on the cusp.”

Fourteen games into the season, however, and it’s clear the new head coach still has work to do. The Flames fell to 5-8-1 after a very tough weekend in California. They got stomped, 5-0, by the Kings on Saturday, then dropped a 4-1 decision to the Ducks on Sunday.

“Obviously we’re not generating (offense), but it’s the goals against that’s a concern,” Gulutzan said, per the Calgary Herald. “The last two games, that’s the biggest concern for me.”

The Flames haven’t been all bad this season. Two weeks ago, they won back-to-back in Chicago and St. Louis, then got back to .500 with a third straight victory over Ottawa.

But they weren’t able to sustain that form. Four losses in their next five followed, and the numbers after 14 games paint a pretty ugly picture:

Goals for: 22nd.

Goals against: 28th.

The power play: 28th.

The penalty kill: 29th.

Brian Elliott: 3-6-0 with an .887 save percentage.

Johnny Gaudreau: minus-11.

Sean Monahan: minus-10.

Gaudreau and Monahan each have just one assist in their last five games, so expect them to go even further under the microscope. Those two are getting paid big money now; they’re supposed to be Calgary’s version of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.

As for Elliott, he strung together a few solid outings at the end of last month, but it’s going to take a lot more than that before his numbers are back to respectable.

None of the above is to say Gulutzan was wrong about the potential in Calgary. Gaudreau is only 23, Monahan 22. Beyond those two, Sam Bennett is only 20, Matthew Tkachuk just 18. There is definitely potential.

But there is also urgency. The Flames’ best defenseman, Mark Giordano, turned 33 last month, and that’s not exactly young. True, T.J. BrodieDougie Hamilton, and Jyrki Jokipakka are still in their mid-20s, but unless you believe it’s one of those three, there is no future No. 1 defenseman who can replace Giordano. (Calgary has not chosen a d-man in the first round since Tim Erixon in 2009.)

It begs the question: how long can Giordano maintain his high level of play? For comparison’s sake, Zdeno Chara was 34 when he won his first Stanley Cup in 2011. He remained among the NHL’s best for a couple of more years, but alas, even the greats slow down with age.

The Flames have a few days off before the Dallas Stars pay a visit Thursday. They’ll want to make hay with four home games in their next five, because a six-game road trip is looming at the end of the month.

Ladd drops to Isles’ fourth line

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 26:  Andrew Ladd #16 of the New York Islanders skates against the Montreal Canadiens at the Barclays Center on October 26, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Canadiens defeated the Islanders 3-2.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New York Islanders have a great opportunity to get a win when the imploding Vancouver Canucks pay a visit to Barclays Center tonight.

A loss, however, and things will only get dicier for coach Jack Capuano and his struggling crew. The Isles (4-6-2) have just one victory in their last six games, and for the next 4-6 weeks they’ll be without one of their best defensemen, Travis Hamonic.

On top of the Hamonic injury, there’s a daunting schedule. The rest of the month includes one trip to Florida and another to California, with home games against the likes of Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh (twice) mixed in.

Capuano is expected to roll out new lines against the Canucks. Most notably, big free-agent signing Andrew Ladd has reportedly been bumped all the way down to the fourth line to skate with Casey Cizikas and Nikolay Kulemin. Ladd has just one assist in 12 games, and that assist came on an empty-netter.

Related: No production from Ladd among many concerns for Isles

Ladd has spent most of the season on a line with top center John Tavares. But against the Canucks, Tavares will again be with Josh Bailey and Cal Clutterbuck. That same trio was together for Saturday’s shootout loss to the Oilers.

The other two Islanders lines will have Ryan Strome between Shane Prince and Alan Quine, and Brock Nelson centering Anders Lee and Jason Chimera.

On defense, Hamonic’s spot on the top pairing with Nick Leddy will be taken by AHL call-up Adam Pelech.

“We’re going to have to make the best of it,” Capuano told Newsday on Sunday. “Travis was playing power play, first-unit penalty kill, 21-plus minutes a night, alternate captain. Pelly can do the job when he comes up. It’s the same as always when we lose someone. It’s an opportunity for other guys to step up.”

From worse to even worse: Canucks put Hansen on IR

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Things went from bad to worse for the Vancouver Canucks when they had to play the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday without their two top defensemen, Chris Tanev and Alex Edler.

Now they’ve gone from worse to even worse with the announcement that winger Jannik Hansen has been placed on injured reserve.

Hansen reportedly hurt his shoulder when he was hit hard by Toronto’s Morgan Rielly in the third period of Saturday’s 6-3 loss to the Maple Leafs. Seconds later, Hansen went after Nazem Kadri, who’d controversially hit Daniel Sedin. The speedy winger was given 17 minutes worth of penalties for the altercation with Kadri and did not get to take another shift in the game.

Hansen’s injury is another big blow to a Vancouver side that’s lost eight straight heading into tonight’s game against the Islanders in Brooklyn. The Canucks (4-7-1) have recalled Michael Chaput from AHL Utica. Loui Eriksson will apparently take Hansen’s spot on the top line with the Sedin twins.

Tanev is also on injured reserve, while Edler may get back in the lineup tonight after missing Saturday’s game with an upper-body injury.

The Canucks have three games left on their six-game trip. They play the Rangers tomorrow, then finish it off Thursday in Detroit.

Related: Canucks ‘disappointed’ with NHL’s decision to not suspend Kadri

Report: Jets are ‘gauging trade interest’ on Burmistrov

Alexander Burmistrov
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The Winnipeg Jets are “gauging trade interest” on forward Alex Burmistrov, according to a tweet by TSN’s Gary Lawless.

Lawless didn’t share anything more than that, but the trade rumors should come as no surprise. Burmistrov, 25, has no goals and just one assist in 10 games this season, and his average ice time (11:28) is way down compared to last season (16:10), when he finished with just seven goals in 81 games.

Burmistrov has an interesting history with the Jets franchise. He was the eighth overall draft pick in 2010, when the team was still in Atlanta. He played three seasons in the NHL before returning to the KHL for two years. He then came back to the NHL, on a two-year, $3.1 million contract that expires after this season.

Perhaps the Jets believe Burmistrov may return to the KHL once again.

Or perhaps he just isn’t a fit anymore, on a team that’s added highly touted wingers Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor to the lineup.

Related: Cheveldayoff hasn’t budged, still calls Jacob Trouba a ‘big part’ of the Jets

There will be no outdoor game on Parliament Hill

OTTAWA, ON - JULY 01:  Soldiers in bearskins march during Canada Day Celebrations as they wait to catch a glimpse of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive at Parliament Hill for Canada Day Celebrations on July 1, 2011 in Ottawa, Canada. The newly married Royal Couple are on the second day of their first joint overseas tour. Ottawa is the start of a 12 day visit to North America which will take in some of the more remote areas of the country such as Prince Edward Island, Yellowknife and Calgary. The Royal couple will be joining millions of Canadians in taking part in today's Canada Day celebrations which mark Canada's 144th Birthday.  (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
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The Ottawa Senators wanted to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday by playing an outdoor game on Parliament Hill.

Today, however, their hopes were dashed by the federal government.

As reported by the Ottawa Citizen’s Don Butler, the proposed game “was not deemed feasible and is no longer one of the options being considered” as part of the year-long celebrations, said an aide to Mélanie Joly, the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Joly’s department would have been responsible for staging the game, which the Sens had hoped to play in December of 2017.

From CBC.ca:

One of the major problems surrounding the hockey on the Hill proposal is the amount of time it would take to set up a temporary arena for 30,000 spectators. Julian wouldn’t say how long it is expected to take, but other sources have told the CBC it could be as long as 16 to 18 weeks.

That means the parliamentary greensward would be under construction for most of the fall of 2017, when tourists are expected to be visiting the capital during the sesquicentennial. 

The Sens said in September that Parliament Hill was the only location that was being considered for an outdoor game.