Will the Flames have another burnout season?
The Calgary Flames begin with series of upset losses
By Nathan Woolridge, Staff Writer
Our beloved Calgary Flames did not start the season on a flashy note — the squad lost both opening split-squad games against rival Edmonton Oilers on Sep 18, 2017.
Shaky start to season
In Calgary, the Flames lost 5-4 and the second split squad in Edmonton dropped their game 5-2.
Newly acquired goaltender Mike Smith allowed in four goals in his home debut while the other new goaltender Eddie Lack, who is expected to back-up for Smith, allowed three of the goals in his Flames debut.
TSN reported that Flames coach Glen Gulutzan was not quick to blame goaltender Smith. “I’m not going to judge … it’s really early,” Gulutzan said. “It’s a little different for goalies. They see three practices, and if you think of all of their skates in the summer, it’s pretty tough for them when guys are playing shinny hockey … so it’s good to get them minutes.”
Calgary matched up against the Canucks dropping that decision 5-2, allowing four unanswered the goals to a surging Vancouver squad.
On Sept. 22, the Flames picked up their first unofficial win of the season, beating Smith’s former Arizona Coyotes squad 4-2.
Two days later, the Winnipeg Jets hosted the Flames handing them a 5-2 loss.
But, it is still early in the preseason. As the team plays a few more games, maybe there will be more insight on how they will perform in the regular season.
The Flames and Oilers will meet again for the regular season opener in Edmonton on Oct. 4.
Gaudreau having some issues?
Many people seem to be highly praising the elite Johnny Gaudreau, who at the beginning gave some hope and promise to the team, but lately he has been outscored and outperformed by his teammates.
Gaudreau scored a mere 18 goals while dishing out 43 assists last season.
Monahan and two-way forward Mikael Backlund outshined the goal total with 27 and 22 respectively.
Other players, even defenders, almost had as many goals as Gaudreau; such as captain Mark Giordano who had 12 marks and Dougie Hamilton with 13.
It seems that Gaudreau has not reached his full potential that we know he has.
The kid is very fast and quick with his hands. What seems to be holding him back is his fancy stickhandling and inability to get the puck up the ice with far too many turnarounds in the neutral zone.
It was evident last season that he has a tough time deciding between passing the puck when the shot is available, and vice-versa.
The team really needs to find their groove early on in the season and start winning games. For the most part, the team is similar to the team we saw last year; who made playoffs.
But, they did get knocked out of the first round without winning a game. Hopefully they turn that series loss into motivation.
With the recent acquisition of the second all-time leading scorer in NHL history of the aged wonder Jaromir Jagr, the Flames will now be adding an asset on the offensive end.
Jagr is a prolific scorer and his experience will certainly rub off on the youngsters such as Johnny Hockey and Monahan.
Former 1998/1999 League MVP played for the Pittsburgh Penguins winning the Cup with them twice and was a five-time scoring champion in his time with the Steel City.
Czech olympian also has a gold medal to his name in the 1998 Nagano games and a bronze at the 2006 games in Turin. Jagr has also suited up for the Washington Capitals, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Dallas Stars, Boston Bruins, New Jersey Devils and the Florida Panthers.