Tyler Wotherspoon

Diaz to make postseason debut for Flames in Game 3


Calgary will make a switch on defense tonight as Raphael Diaz will play for the first time this postseason when the Flames host the Ducks in Game 3 of their second round series.

Diaz, 29, missed the final four games of the regular season and all eight of Calgary’s playoff games thus far with a lower-body ailment. Prior to getting hurt, he’d appeared in 56 games, scoring two goals and four points while averaging 12:01 TOI per night.

It looks as though the Swiss rearguard will replace Tyler Wotherspoon on the back end. The move could be for Diaz, an offensive defenseman, to try and spark the Flames a bit; they scored just one goal through the first two games of the Ducks series.

In other news, forward Micheal Ferland is a gametime decision after sitting out Game 2 with an injury.

Feisty Flames dump Canucks, win first home playoff game in six years


Prior to tonight, the Saddledome faithful hadn’t seen postseason hockey since 2009.

They, and their Flames, savored the return.

And what a return it was, as the Flames rode a wave of emotion — and some gritty, physical play — to a 4-2 victory over Vancouver in Game 3 of their Western Conference first round matchup.

“It really helped us out tonight,” Flames center Sean Monahan said of the fan support.

“They were unbelievable,” added fellow forward Michael Ferland.

With the win, the Flames took a 2-1 lead in the series.

That win was also Calgary’s first in the playoffs at the Saddledome since defeating Chicago 6-4 in April of 2009. Back then, Mike Keenan was the coach and Jarome Iginla was the club’s veteran leader — a far cry from tonight, which further illustrated that Calgary’s youth movement isn’t just underway.

It’s thriving.

Sam Bennett, the 18-year-old playing in just his fourth NHL contest, scored what proved to be the game winner just 2:14 into the third period. Bennett, the fourth overall pick at the 2014 draft, notched his second point in three playoff games and helped solidify himself as a major contributor for a Calgary team that received plenty of support from the kids tonight.

Monahan, 20, scored an insurance marker for his first goal of the series. T.J. Brodie, 24, led the Flames with two points (1G, 1A). Ferland, 22, led all skaters with a game-high nine hits.

“They had a good forecheck. That’s the bottom line,” Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins said. “They got on our D. I thought they played physical all night. We turned over the first goal on the wall, where we couldn’t get it out. They did a good job on us.

“We have to be better. We weren’t good enough. We know that.”

Ferland’s ferocity embodied how the Flames played for most of the evening. They out-hit Vancouver 33-18 on the night and seemed to feed off a frenzied home crowd. They also carried over the emotion from the end of Game 2, when a wild brawl ended with over 130 minutes in penalties; Kris Russell squared off with Alex Burrows late in tonight’s third period, followed by a tilt between Ferland and Kevin Bieksa.

(Burrows was given an instigator penalty for his antics with Russell, and could be subjected to further discipline from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. Dan Hamhuis could also be getting a call for a headshot on Bennett in the third period.)

As for Vancouver, tonight might prove a wake-up call. The Canucks controlled proceedings at Rogers Arena on Friday night but were unable to do the same this evening, and often looked to be the older, slower and less energetic team. If there was a bright spot, it was that some secondary scorers — Shawn Matthias and Jannik Hansen — scored their first goals of the series.

But that might be it, as far as silver linings go. Sunday night was all about Calgary.


The Flames made a pair of lineup changes tonight: Tyler Wotherspoon drew in on defense for Corey Potter, while Mason Raymond played up front in place of Markus Granlund… Eddie Lack stopped 23 of 27 shots for Vancouver, Jonas Hiller stopped 23 of 25 for the Flames… It was another busy third period for the scorekeepers tonight, as the two teams combined for 57 PIM in the final frame.

Flames sign Diaz for one year deal reportedly worth $700K

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The Calgary Flames appear ready to hand defenseman Raphael Diaz a one-year contract worth $700K according to various sources including Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.

Early on, the reception among Flames fans and observers has been pretty positive, and it’s easy to see why at such a reasonable rate. Diaz, 28, has 145 regular season games of experience to his name, most of which came with the Montreal Canadiens. He bounced between the Habs (46 games), Vancouver Canucks (six) and New York Rangers (11 regular season plus four postseason contest) last season, putting up some very respectable possession numbers considering the circumstances.

Obviously, this isn’t a huge deal for Calgary; Diaz likely slides into a sixth or seventh defenseman spot.

Still, he seems to be steady and solid enough to help the Flames absorb an injury here or there on the blueline, and may in fact be worthy of regular work.

Defense could be a relative strength of this team considering Mark Giordano’s Norris-level work in 2013-14 and up-and-comers such as T.J. Brodie (not to mention strong two-way work from Mikael Backlund, assuming he’s healthy).

Diaz is unlikely to stand out among such a group of players, yet he probably won’t drag things down when he’s out there. You can’t ask for much more than that from a depth defenseman.

The Detroit Red Wings extended Diaz a professional tryout, but he ended up going to Calgary’s training camp instead. That plan seems to have worked out for him, although he might miss the postseason after appearances in the last two playoff years with the Rangers and Canadiens.

Tyler Wotherspoon was assigned to the AHL to make room for Diaz.

Flames sign Potter to one-year, two-way deal


The Calgary Flames found some defensive reinforcements for the upcoming season.

The Flames signed former Oilers and Bruins defenseman Corey Potter to a one-year, two-way deal. Last season, he spent time with both the Edmonton Oilers and Boston Bruins playing in a total of 19 games with both teams.

Potter, 30, joins a Flames team in need of solid defensive help. With Mark Giordano leading the way, the rest of the blue line corps is a bit dicey. Ladislav Smid, T.J. Brodie, Kris Russell, Dennis Wideman, and Deryk Engelland round out what would appear to be Calgary’s top-six on defense.

While that crew could use more help, the thing they need most is depth and Potter will help out there especially with the rest of the depth hopefuls being young like Tyler Wotherspoon and Patrick Sieloff.

Potter’s best season came with the Oilers in 2011-12 when he had four goals and 21 points in 62 games. He’s played in 52 total games in the two seasons since then.

Flames re-sign Cundari to one-year deal


It’s the signing you’ve all been waiting for this summer.

The Calgary Flames announced they’ve re-signed depth defenseman Mark Cundari to a one-year two-way deal. He appeared in four games for the Flames last season just as he did the season prior. In eight career games in the NHL, he has a goal and two assists.

Cundari, 24, was acquired from the St. Louis Blues on April 1, 2013 in the deal that sent Jay Bouwmeester out of Calgary. He’ll compete against Tyler Wotherspoon for a shot at the Flames opening day roster, but the 5-foot-9 200 pound blue liner is expected to spend most of next season in Glens Falls, NY with the Adirondack Flames.