Category Archives: Calgary Flames Store

Derek Ryan Jersey

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Obviously, I am a big hockey fan. But I try my very best not to be an annoying hockey fan.

Which is why when I met Derek Ryan for the first time, I tried not to talk about hockey. I told myself, surely he doesn’t want to talk about the Calgary Flames all the time. Surely it’s annoying when people only see the hockey player and are not interested in talking about anything else.

Despite the fact that I have been writing about the Flames for a while now, I waited more than a full year before asking him to do an interview. My wife was a bit more courageous, asking him to sign my jersey as a birthday surprise to me not long after he moved here. Which he did. That’s how I came to own a Robyn Regehr jersey with a Ryan signature.

When I finally did ask for an interview, he was very gracious about it. He made time to talk at his house on one of his off nights during that long five-day break in the schedule. His corgi, Bronx, sat under my chair while we chatted.

Ryan says Bronx got his name because of his stout figure and feisty personality, just like the New York City borough. Plus, his fur pattern makes him look like he’s wearing hipster glasses.

I was surprised at how easy Ryan was to talk to. Obviously he’s used to doing interviews just like all players are, so I knew it would be easy for him. But I didn’t know it would be this easy for me. He is approachable and laid back. I can attest that he’s one of the good guys.

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Despite everything else going in Calgary over the last 7 days, David Rittich wasn’t fazed as he took home the NHL’s 2nd Star of the Week honours.

Rittich went 2-0-1, allowing only six goals on 101 shots and helped the Flames pick up 5 out of 6 points against Eastern teams. Rittich had a particularly strong performance against the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday, making 34 saves including a number of highlight-reel ones.

Rittich continues to lead the league in starts with 23 and is carrying a 12-7-4 record on the year. This is David Rittich’s first appearance of his career on the NHL’s weekly star ranking. Flames fans are aware that it is very well deserved, and the rest of the league may be starting to realize just how good he has been all year long for Calgary.

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DALLAS — Five hundred games in the professional-hockey biz.

Calgary Flames sparkplug Zac Rinaldo might be the only person who believed that milestone was within reach.

“Tonight? No sh–?” Rinaldo replied when informed he would hit that nice round number in Sunday’s road date against the Dallas Stars — a combination of 357 appearances in the NHL and 143 more in the minors. “See, I don’t even look at that stuff. But that’s a really, really nice accomplishment. I wasn’t even supposed to get one game, never mind 500. So 500 pro games, it’s an honour to be a part of.

“I’m not supposed to be here right now,” he added. “Not many players like myself who were drafted in the sixth round for their toughness stick around this long, especially in this day and age where the game is changing every day and every year.

“So I’ve had a lot of doubters throughout my whole career and a lot of people that didn’t believe in me. This game is for them, I guess.”

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Sean Monahan collected a goal and an assist while Milan Lucic netted his first goal of the season as the host Calgary Flames scored four straight goals to net a comeback 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.

Goaltender David Rittich made 26 saves for the Flames, who have won three straight games and are on a 4-0-1 run since a six-game losing streak.

With the Flames trailing 1-0, Johnny Gaudreau’s power-play goal with 3:18 remaining in the opening frame tied the game. Shortly after the Sabres wasted a five-on-three power play, Gaudreau worked to the left faceoff dot and ripped a top-corner shot for his first goal in 11 games.

Tobias Rieder made his 400th NHL game more memorable when he tallied a short-handed goal to give the Flames a 2-1 edge just past the midway point of the second period. Derek Ryan forced a turnover at the Calgary blue line that sprung Rieder on a breakaway, which he finished by slipping the puck between Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark’s legs for his second goal of the season at 11:18 of the middle frame.

Monahan made it a 3-1 game with five minutes left in the second period. After leading the rush up ice, Monahan worked a give-and-go with Mikael Backlund and ended it with a one-timer from the bottom of the right circle.

Lucic then snapped a 27-game drought to make it a 4-1 affair. Lucic finished a three-way passing play that included Ryan and Dillon Dube to record the eventual game winner at 3:58 of the third.

To their credit, the Sabres pushed to the final buzzer. After Jake McCabe made it a 4-2 game with less than three minutes remaining, Jack Eichel scored on the power play with 47.4 seconds left on the clock. Eichel’s goal extended his point-scoring streak to 11 games, during which he’s collected 10 goals and 10 assists.

Sam Reinhart opened the scoring with Buffalo’s first shot on goal. Reinhart was in the slot when he redirected Rasmus Ristolainen’s point shot at the 3:29 mark for his 10th goal of the season.

Ullmark made 25 saves.

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Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and two assists as the Calgary Flames scored three power-play goals and a short-hander in defeating the host Dallas Stars 5-1 on Sunday.

Sean Monahan had a goal and an assist and Andrew Mangiapane, Mikael Backlund and Derek Ryan also scored for Calgary, which snapped a three-game winless streak and improved to 8-2-1 under interim coach Geoff Ward. Elias Lindholm added three assists and goaltender David Rittich made 26 saves while also being credited with his first assist of the season.

Denis Gurianov scored for Dallas and goalie Ben Bishop stopped 25 of 29 shots. The Stars are to 14-5-3 in their past 22 games against the Flames.

Calgary opened the scoring at 12:11 of the first period. Tkachuk and Lindholm sent the puck back and forth behind the Dallas net before Lindholm found Mangiapane open in the slot and his one-timer beat Bishop.

The Stars responded quickly, with Gurianov tying the score 38 seconds later by taking a pass from Justin Dowling and beating a defender down the boards on the right before cutting in front of the net and scoring past Rittich.

Monahan and Tkachuk scored power-play goals 1:53 apart in the second period as Calgary broke the 1-1 tie.

Tkachuk’s wrist shot from the top of the right faceoff circle at 12:28 of the period, off a pass from Lindholm, made it 2-1.

Monahan scored at 14:21, taking a pass from Tkachuk in the low slot and beating Bishop.

The goals came after hooking penalties against Dallas’ Corey Perry and Jamie Benn.

Backlund scored on a power-play goal at 10:21 of the third, finding his own rebound sitting in the crease and poking the puck into the net.

Ryan capped the scoring with a short-handed, empty-net goal at 17:56.

Dallas’ Tyler Seguin had his five-game point streak (four goals, three assists) snapped.

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Milan Lucic says he’s more interested in the main event points race in the first Edmonton-Calgary meeting which comes halfway through the season, than the individual undercard: the goal battle with James Neal

But, they’re both good stories.

“I’m excited to be coming back to Edmonton but more so I’m looking at what the game means in the standings,” said Lucic, who spent three years in Edmonton and was traded this past summer to the Flames for Neal, two players spinning their wheels. “It’s a rivalry game but it’s also a competitive game.”

Arizona and Vegas are tied for top in the Pacific with 46 points. Calgary and Edmonton have 44. Vancouver has 42. It’s the 41st game for the Oilers on Friday night, the 40th for the Flames.

“As you know when I was in Boston and played Montreal, those games were also very competitive games and we played each other four times and that ramped up the rivalry,” said Lucic.

“This division is tight … if you lose two games, you’re almost out of a playoff spot, and if you win two or three, you’re back in the mix. Vegas, Arizona, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, all five of us are battling for maybe four (playoff spots).”

Lucic says having Calgary and Edmonton playing first at the halfway point is strange stuff. The Oilers are finished with Vancouver, playing four times, but haven’t seen their main rival.

“It is kind of odd but when I played in LA we didn’t play Anaheim for the first time until January,” said Lucic. “With the Oilers I think we play four times in the next six weeks, though. We’re going to get to know each other well.”

The dichotomy between Lucic and Neal is hard to ignore. Neal has 16 goals, in the first month he was the NHL’s hottest player. Lucic has three goals in 50 shots and eight points this year, but nobody’s complaining because he’s keeping the flies away from Johnny Gaudreau. He skates hard, provides fuel to the fire and he’s a fan favourite in Calgary.

If Neal scores at least 21 goals and the difference between the two at least 10 goals, the Oilers give Calgary a third-round draft pick. But that’s for the rival GM’s to consider.

“I’ve maybe only watched five Oiler games this year, but you always pay attention to the guy you’re traded for. I won’t lie to you there,” said Lucic. “At the start it was like ‘Holy Smokes, he’s really doing well and nothing much is going for me’ but I’ve moved on from that.

“I’m not the type of guy who wishes bad on others. If the other guy is playing well and you’re not, you create negative energy and you drive yourself crazy. You turn it into a pity party for yourself. It’s not a healthy way to live. I’ve never been like that. If somebody’s doing well whether you like or hate the guy or got traded for him, I believe in the ‘he’s doing well, good for him.’ Just go about your own business.”

Lucic seems to have found a regular line with Derek Ryan and Dillon Dube. They’ve been together for 10 to 12 games.

“If you look at goals and assists you can say it’s not going well, but I’m playing better, more to the way I can play, in the O-zone, creating scoring chances, providing energy. The way the last 15 games have gone, I could easily be at the 10-goal mark but it hasn’t gone in for me,” he said.

Lucic had 23 goals in 175 shots (13.1 shooting percentage) his first Oilers season after they signed him as a free-agent in 2016, but couldn’t find the net the next two with 10 and six goals when his shooting percentage was 6.8 and 8.1.

Even with his troubles, the fans refused to get on him.

“The Edmonton fans were good to me from start to finish and I appreciated that. Even when times were tough they never turned on me, they never booed me, which I was appreciative of,” he said.

Lucic hasn’t had a lot of angry games in the Battle of Alberta. There was the Lucic scuffle around the crease with then Flames goalie Mike Smith in Calgary.

“The first time we played them last season they (Flames) were going after Connor (McDavid) and I had a big hit on Gio (Flames captain Mark Giordano), too. That was a pretty ramped up game,” said Lucic. “That’s why I’m excited about this one (Tuesday). We know what this game means in the standings.”

It will be strange for Lucic to be going against McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

“The first time I did it was my year in LA and it was Connor’s first season and Leon’s second. Seeing how good they were was a big reason why I decided to come to Edmonton. I saw how good Connor was as an 18-year-old,” he said. “I’m very interested to see how good they’ve gotten because when you play with guys you appreciate how good they are but when you play against them you see how hard it it.”

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-We’ve Got A First: It took 27 games on the season, but Oliver Kylington scored his first goal on the season, which gave the Flames a 3-2 lead in the third period.

-Still Close: Despite losing three straight the Flames are still within striking distance of the Pacific Divison’s top spot. Getting a point out of last night’s 4-3 loss was key as the Flames are still only three points out of first place.

-No So Friendly Confines: The Flames have now lost 5 of the last 6 times the Canadiens have paid them a visit.

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Throughout December, the NHL is spotlighting players and alumni of indigenous descent. We asked these men and women to reflect on how their indigenous heritage has influenced their identity within hockey.

Today, Calgary Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic, who is of Metis descent, discusses how he and his wife were inspired by Gord Downie, the lead singer of The Tragically Hip who died in 2017, to start The Northern Project.

Like millions of Canadians, I have always been a fan of Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip.

Their songs have been staples in locker rooms and arenas all across our great nation for decades and the band has been able to give their fans a unique sense of Canadian pride thanks to their incredible songwriting and passion for our country.

However, being Metis, it was the work Gord did in his final few years that really resonated with me.

He dedicated himself to working alongside the Canadian indigenous community, using his platform to give a voice and bring awareness to issues he felt were important for Canadians to understand.

That work inspired me and my wife Stephanie to start the Northern Project. It is an initiative that provides indigenous children from the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon the opportunity to come to Calgary, go behind the scenes with me in the ‘Saddledome, and take in a game. We started the program with the hopes of reaching and connecting with communities in the North and putting a program in place that can unite all Canadians.

Working in partnership with Hockey North, coaches, volunteers and teachers are encouraged to nominate children who they feel are deserving of this experience. Stephanie and I then work with the Flames Foundation to select recipients and get to work, getting them airfare, hotels, and spending money so they can have a stress-free weekend and truly enjoy the city.

Being able to bring these children and their families to Calgary is an absolute joy for my family and we hope it provides them with light and hope for the future.

Hockey is important — I’ve been blessed to be able to play it for a living and I take that opportunity very seriously — but life is a lot bigger than hockey. Being able to give back to my community and help others who may be going through tough times puts so much into perspective. I’m a firm believer that you get so you can give, and The Northern Project is a way for my family to give back to our roots.

I am so proud of my Metis heritage and my family, and I look forward to continuing The Northern Project throughout my career.

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The Battle of Alberta finally gets underway for the 2019-20 season, and both teams are hungry for a win.

The Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers reignite their decades-old rivalry in Edmonton on Friday, after each entered the short Christmas break with a loss on the road. The Flames were shut out 3-0 by the Minnesota Wild on Monday, while the Oilers dropped a 4-2 decision to the Canucks in Vancouver.

Both teams are struggling to find the consistency they need to inch up the Western Conference standings.

Oilers head coach Dave Tippett had some harsh words for his crew following Monday’s loss.

“It’s the details of winning,” he said. “If you’re not willing to do them enough, you’re going to lose some games, and that’s what happened tonight.”

The Oilers held a 2-1 lead going into the third period with goals from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Oscar Klefbom, but gave up three unanswered goals to hand the victory to the Canucks.

It was Edmonton’s 13th game in 24 days, and Connor McDavid, the league’s top point-getter who was held to one assist in Monday’s affair, was looking forward to the few days off for Christmas.

“It’s been a tough stretch of games, honestly,” McDavid said. “Guys are tired, and this break comes at a good time.”

The Flames also needed the break, dropping four of their last five overall and finishing the stretch to the holiday with two games in two days on the road. They beat the Dallas Stars 5-1 on Sunday, but couldn’t muster a single goal against the Wild.

Flames forward Derek Ryan got the puck behind Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk, but video review determined he kicked it into the net.

“Everyone plays back-to-backs,” said Cam Talbot, the Flames goaltender who faced 33 shots overall and saw his record drop to 3-7-0 in 11 games this season. “If you’re not feeling it, try to make the easy play, the smart play and get it deep.”

But the Flames aren’t getting consistent production from some of their top guys, like Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. Gaudreau and Monahan combined for 181 points last season but are on pace for 124 this season.

“We were trying to generate offense,” defenseman and team captain Mark Giordano said. “It seemed like (the Wild’s) back pressure was really good, and we couldn’t get pucks through like we should. So we’ve got to work on that, generate more at their net. We’ll take our break here and go from there.”

The NHL’s best power play will be facing one of the top penalty kills.

The Oilers are 29.8 percent effective on the man advantage, while the Flames rank third at 84.8 percent in killing penalties. The Oilers aren’t too far behind on the PK at 83 percent, while the Flames are in the middle of the pack on the power play at 19.7 percent.

Special teams will only get you so far, though.

When asked recently about his team’s success on the power play, Klefbom told the Edmonton Journal the Oilers have to be better at even strength.

“Obviously our power play has been really effective, but you can’t expect to score every game that way,” Klefbom said. “It’s been our strength … we’re in the top (seven) in PP and PK, but to be a consistent playoff team, going against a heavy team like a St. Louis, Boston, they’re so good five-on-five.”

Klefbom and the Oilers will have the fans behind them on Friday. The Canadian provincial rivals split the season series last year, 2-2, and Calgary holds the all-time regular-season edge at 119-101-18.

–Field Level Media

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A week ago, Austin Czarnik capped a three-game conditioning stint in the minors with an end-to-end rush and a glove-side snipe for an overtime winner.

His next action will also come with the American Hockey League’s Stockton Heat … unless he is snatched by another organization.

Czarnik was available Wednesday on the NHL waiver-wire, a necessary step for the 27-year-old right-winger — recently returned after a six-week layoff due to a high-ankle sprain — to be demoted to the farm club.

“He’s now ready to play and needs to play, that’s really it,” said Flames general manager Brad Treliving. “We made the decision here to put him on (waivers) and if he goes through, he’ll go down and play some games, which he needs to. He’s been off an awful long time. Those are difficult injuries to come back from.

“Quite frankly, we had a couple last year and they’re long and frustrating. So he needs to get back up to speed.”

One way or another, Czarnik will be on an outbound flight shortly after Thursday’s 10 a.m. MT waiver deadline.

There were reportedly 20-some teams showing interest when he signed with the Flames as an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2018, so it wouldn’t be a shock if he was claimed by another club. His contract comes with a salary-cap hit of US$1.25-million.

The brass at the Saddledome would probably prefer to keep Czarnik, but he’s been leapfrogged by others on the forward depth chart. Interim head coach Geoff Ward confirmed as much prior to Tuesday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, telling reporters he had a meeting with No. 27 and explained, “he just has to be better than one of the 12 that are in.”

It’s certainly a good sign for the Flames, who cap a four-game homestand with Thursday’s matchup with the Montreal Canadiens (7 p.m. MT, Sportsnet West/Sportsnet 960 The Fan), that there isn’t an obvious candidate to come out of their lineup.

Dillon Dube has made the most of this latest call-up, looking like a guy who is now in the big leagues to stay.

Michael Frolik just finished a three-game goal-scoring spurt, while fellow fourth-liners Mark Jankowski — scratched against the Penguins — and Tobias Rieder are valuable pieces on the penalty-kill.

Zac Rinaldo was reassigned Wednesday to the Heat, although Treliving hinted he could be back very soon.

Czarnik’s most recent outing in the Flaming C was back on Oct. 24 — he scored that evening, stretching his point-spree to three straight games.

After Tuesday’s morning skate, not quite 24 hours before he learned he had been placed on waivers, the undersized speedster admitted he was frustrated by his spare-part status but vowed to continue to push for another opportunity.

“I have to take every day and just work my hardest,” said Czarnik, who has three points — two goals and one helper — in eight appearances with the Flames this season and posted the same number in his hat-trick of twirls with the Heat during his conditioning stint. “I obviously wanted more when I came back but I’m just trying to be positive and do the right things every day. And when my time is called, I’m going to try to make the most of it. For now, I’m just getting good hard work in and making myself ready for whenever they need me.

“It’s just a waiting game now. All I can do is prepare the way I can and hopefully it sets me up to be successful whenever I’m back in.”

That waiting game could continue in Stockton.

Unless, that is, another club claims him instead.