New year, new Flames?
The Calgary Flames are scorching hot heading early in 2018
By Nathan Woolridge, Staff Writer
Calgary Flames’ head coach Glen Gulutzan was infamously filmed losing his temper during a practice on Jan. 5. He shouted multiple F-bombs all in a rage and threw his stick up into the Saddledome seats.
Since then, Calgary have gone on a five game winning streak and are currently in second place in the Pacific Division.
The meltdown caught the attention of social media users and sports websites.
Sportsnet talked with Flames players about their coaches behaviour.
“He deserved to be upset,” Matthew Tkachuk told reporters in Calgary. “We weren’t very good at practice. We need to be better. We need to have better jump and better energy. We were kind of going through the motions early, but after that we picked it up.”
The rage seemed to be effective as the Flames have been undefeated in 2018 so far. To top of the undefeated stretch in the early weeks of the year, on Jan. 11, the Flames defeated the league leaders, the Tampa Bay Lightning, 5-1. They continued to keep the heat on opponents as they defeated the Florida Panthers the next night and followed up by beating the Carolina Hurricanes to extend their streak to seven games.
Sean Monahan is nineth in the league for scoring with 21 goals so far this season. Linemate Johnny Gaudreau is tied for second-place as of Jan.16 with 54 points.
Gaudreau’s play-making and assists have helped the top line with Monahan and Ferland producing goals as Ferland is on pace for a career year with 19 goals already.
The team is beginning to become more well-rounded and produce points and get the necessary jobs done to win games. It seems as though recent changes have been working for the squad.
Left-wing Andrew Mangiapane has started to show sparks of effectiveness over the past few games. He has yet to score but seems to be fitting in well and should be getting things going shortly. Mangiapan came awfully close to scoring his first NHL goal against the Lightning in the dying minutes of the third period.
Dougie Hamilton has even came up strong for the team scoring two game-winning goals back-to-back early on in 2018. Hamilton has eight goals in the season and seems to be heating up.
The Jagr exit
A downfall to the season is the rumours that Jaromir Jagr and the Flames are working on ‘an exit.’ The popular 45-year-old NHL legend has only one goal this season after dealing with weeks and weeks of injury. Although this may be upsetting to many fans, it is probably the best option at this point.
A player who is not playing is taking up roster space that can be used on the Flames’ long list of players they can use.
It will be sad to see Jagr go and for him to (possibly) end his career like this, but if he’s so injury-prone it may be time for an exit.
Rest of season
With a win streak early on in the year, the Flames have climbed up the standings and has earned a spot in the middle of the league. Hopefully, they will continue to have streaks in the next few months and continue to climb. It won’t be enough to just stay where they are.
The Flames have conference rivals Winnipeg Jets stop by into town and later, host east-coast Buffalo and L.A. before hitting the road to have big divisional games against the Edmonton Oilers and the first-placed Vegas Golden Knights to close out January.
Calgary has a chance to turn this season around and become an underdog story with plenty of hockey left to play. The players are there and now the production is starting to come, they just have to keep this pace going for the remainder of the season.