Team Profile: The Calgary Flames

I personally find the Flames to be a fun team to watch. They are brimming with young talent. Sure they missed playoffs this season, but I think this year they will be a contender.

  • Located in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference
  • Founded in 1972 (as the Atlanta Flames)
  • Located in Calgary, Alberta
  • Arena: Scotiabank Saddledome
  • Owner: Calgary Sports and Entertainment
  • GM: Brad Treliving
  • Head Coach: Glen Gulutzan
  • Captain: Mark Giordano
  • Minor League Affiliate: Stockton Heat
  • Stanley Cups: 1

Here’s some facts/history:

After hastily granting a franchise to the Islanders, the NHL needed another team to balance the schedule out. The new franchise was granted to the Atlanta based group that owned the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. The name Flames comes from the fire resulting from the March to the Sea in the American Civil War by General William Tecumseh Sherman, in which Atlanta was nearly destroyed.

Despite some relative success on the ice, due to financial issues the franchise was sold to former Oilers owner Nelson Skalbania, who relocated the team to Calgary. He kept the name Flames since it fit with the oil town of Calgary.

The new team was embraced by fans and found some success, qualifying for the Stanley Cup Championship in their first season in Calgary. They ended up losing to the Minnesota Wild in Round 3.

In an effort to compete with their neighbors, the Oilers, the Flames scouted talent in new areas not commonly used by other teams. They were among the earliest teams to draft more American talent, as well as European players.

Due to the rivalry with Edmonton, their matchups are known as the Battle of Alberta.

The Flames would always meet the Oilers in the first round of playoffs, meaning that one or the other would usually end up representing the division.

In 1983 the Flames introduced Harvey the Hound. They became the first NHL team to have a mascot.

In the 1986 playoffs, the Flames upset the Oilers in seven games, the only time that the Flames defeated the Oilers in a playoff series during the decade. The series-winning goal came when an errant clearing attempt by Steve Smith ricocheted off goaltender Grant Fuhr’s leg and into his own net. The goal remains one of the most legendary blunders in hockey history.

They won the Stanley Cup in 1989, defeating the Montreal Canadiens in 6 games. This would be the first time an opposing team defeated the Canadiens to win the Stanley Cup on Montreal Forum ice. It also allowed Flames co-owner, Sonia Scurfield to be the first and only Canadian woman to have her name engraved on the Stanley Cup.

The Flames were among the first teams to sign Soviet players. As a result, Sergei Makarov joined the Flames that season and, though already in his thirties, became the fifth Flame to win the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s Rookie of the Year. The selection would prove controversial, prompting the league to amend the rules to exclude any player over the age of 26 from future consideration.

The Dallas Stars traded Jerome Iginla to the Flames in exchange for Nieuwendyk. He of course was an integral part of the Star’s Stanley Cup run, meanwhile Iginla still currently holds most franchise scoring records.

Most recently they missed the playoffs despite having made a good run the season prior.

Notable Players:

  • Joe Nieuwendyk
  • Theo Fleury
  • Jarome Iginla
  • Mark Giordano
  • Sean Monahan
  • Johnny Gaudreau
  • Sam Bennett
  • Dougie Hamilton

Recently they have seen the emergence of stars like Sean Monahan, Sam Bennett and Johnny Gaudreau, and with the addition of Brian Elliott, there is no doubt the Flames will be challenging for playoff spots in the West.

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Johnny Gaudreau and Jakub Voracek during the 2015 All-Star Skills Competition 

Game 50: Not today, Johnny Hockey

 

The Calgary Flames have not been nice to us this season. The most memorable game between us ended in an overtime shootout loss for us on December 1st. We blew a three goal lead in the third period that allowed the Flames to tie it up with less than three minutes left in the game. What made this particularly painful is that we had done the exact same thing to Minnesota on November 28th. So suffice it to say, Caitlynn was a little paranoid going in. What we knew about Calgary at the start: Sam Bennett got the first hat trick of his career against the Panthers (three goals in the first period, and then a fourth later in the game), Johnny Gaudreau (aka Johnny Hockey) is dangerous when in possession of the puck, and they only had 45 points going into the game. (The Pacific Division this season has been particularly weak, barring the Kings, of course.)

Overall, we were hoping for a strong showing from our team, and thankfully, they delivered! Here is a break down of some of our (totally professional) observations:

Positive occurrences:

-We won (2-1)!

-We maintained a two goal deficit until the third period, and only allowed one in the third.

-Solid defensively.

-Limited opportunities for the Flames. They only had 3 shots in the first period. (24 total in the game)

-Niemi looked strong, made several impressive saves.

-Penalty kill very much improved.

-Eakin was a surprisingly physical presence on the ice (in one particular instance he delivered an open ice hit followed immediately by a check into the boards on two different players).

 

Negative occurrences:

-Still some slip ups defensively that allowed Calgary some good scoring opportunities, but fortunately Niemi pulled up strong for us.

-Took some poorly timed penalties (Jokipakka was the most reluctant visitor to the penalty box and it broke our hearts).

-Roussel roughing minor…. Not that it was surprising, but we prefer him out on the ice causing trouble not sitting the box.

-Janmark was the filling in a goalie-defenseman sandwich behind the Flames net. While quite funny looking, it caused Italia some distress.

 

Neutral occurrences:

-Janmark and Roussel preformed a nice tag-team check. While this is just another day in the office for Roussel, it is unusual to see Janmark on the delivery side of a check.

-Stick threaded through Spezza’s skate this time, though he was easily able to shake it off (we find this interesting because it happened two games in a row).

-Eaves was on the top power play unit; the top power play unit also contained two defensemen this time.

 

Overall, the game was pretty solid. Everyone played well. It’s nice to head into the All-Star break with a win. Especially because February looks like it might be rough. (Winnipeg, Colorado, and Chicago all in the first week. Plus Washington looming in the distances. Maybe they’ll get snowed in before we have to worry about it.)

 

Our in-depth analysis and the counts that matter:

Klingberg turnovers: 2

Janmark falls on his own accord: 2

Val hits: 1

Niemi out of net: 1

Eaves stretches to keep the puck in offensive zone: 1

 

Stay tuned for our next in-depth, super serious and totally accurate analysis of the Dallas Star’s games.

-Caitlynn and Italia