INSIDE HOCKEY » Calgary Flames Get Inside! Sat, 20 Sep 2014 02:40:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Depleted Devils Fall Short Against Flames Wed, 09 Apr 2014 16:51:38 +0000

NEWARK, N.J. – It was another injury-depleted night for the Devils.

Once again the Devils dressed 11 defensemen and had Eric Gelinas play left wing. Once again the Devils were without Patrick Elias, Adam Henrique and Jacob Josefson.

But after winning two games in a row with a depleted team, this time the Devils couldn’t find a win as their season winds down, falling to Calgary 1-0 on Monday night.

In the first period, it appeared as if the Devils took the 1-0 lead. The goal horn went off, but the referees immediately waved Ryan Carter’s attempt off. Although it appeared Carter, who initially kicked the puck with his skate, knocked the puck in with his stick, the referees ruled it a no goal.

“They looked at carefully, I can’t argue with the decision on the call,” Peter DeBoer told reporters after the game. “I mean I thought it was inconclusive so the call on the ice stands.”

The Devils controlled the puck for most of the game, finishing with 31 shots. New Jersey allowed 22, but gave up the game’s only goal to Mark Giordano 23 seconds into the third period.

Schneider finished with a few key saves, including a stop on New Jersey native Kenny Agostino, who was alone in front of the goalkeeper.

“It’s tough to give that one up starting the third period and put us behind,” Schneider said. “But again we just couldn’t find a way to get that one.”

For two periods of scoreless play, Karri Ramo stopped everything New Jersey tossed his way. He benefitted from some luck, as a few times New Jersey couldn’t capitalize on any scoring chances.

“It wasn’t for effort or even execution,” DeBoer said. “We generated probably twice as many opportunities as they did. We didn’t stick it in the back of the net and it’s a common theme. When you don’t score easily like we haven’t all year, you’re at the mercy of games like this. Your margin of error’s very small.”

With Elias, Henrique and Josefson out, Travis Zajac logged 23:17 minutes, Jaromir Jagr finished with 22:36 and Dainius Zubrus recorded 21:10.

In the first period, it appeared Ryan Carter scored. Carter had kicked the puck, but he seemed to redirect the puck into the net with his stick. After a review, the referees ruled no goal.

The Devils came close to scoring in the second as well, when the puck deflected off Calgary’s Chris Butler. It rolled along the goal line until Kris Russell cleared the puck.

In the third period after they were trailing 1-0 Carter had a backhand chance around 17 minutes but hit the side of the net.

“I think that kind of sums up our year,” Carter said. “Sometimes you outwork teams and you don’t get the result you want and that’s the tough reality of it.”

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Photo Gallery: Flames vs Flyers (02/08/14) Sun, 09 Feb 2014 15:48:58 +0000

The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the visiting Calgary Flames by a score of 2-1.

1st Brayden Schenn (#10 PHI)
2nd Andrej Meszaros (#41 PHI)
3rd Ray Emery (#29 PHI)

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Flyers douse Flames; win 2-1 Sun, 09 Feb 2014 04:04:42 +0000

On the last day before the NHL breaks for the Olympics, two of the league’s hottest teams faced off in Philadelphia. Coming into today, the Flyers had won four of their last five games including three straight while the Flames were looking for a seventh victory in eight games. The Flyers outplayed Calgary all game and now head into the Olympic break on a high note, winning 2-1.

The Flyers are continuing to streak as they win their fourth game in a row. This also marks the fourth game in a row in which Flyers’ captain Claude Giroux added another point to his season total. (Giroux had a slap shot redirected into the net by teammate Scott Hartnell four minutes into the 3rd period.) After a slow start to his season, Giroux is now one of the hottest players in hockey and currently leads the NHL with 37 points in last 29 games.

Giroux’s hot play adds a bittersweet element to the Flyers recent success. Although Giroux has been the driving force behind the Flyers’ hot steak, he’ll have to watch his Canadian Olympic team on television like the rest of us as he was not selected as a member of Team Canada for the second straight Winter Olympics.

Flyers owner and Chairman Ed Snider was outspoken earlier this week about his captain not being selected to the team:

“Well, it’s a farce. He’s one of the best players in the league. It’s ridiculous. He’s better than half the guys on that team.”

Snider continued to air his frustration after Giroux wasn’t even added as a replacement for injured Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos. (Stamkos was replaced by teammate Martin St. Louis.)

“Anybody that thinks that Claude Giroux doesn’t belong on the Canadian team, they don’t know anything about hockey as far as I’m concerned. But it’s politics to a certain degree. He had to pick his own guy, and his own guy is good, but Claude is better.”

It’s worth noting that Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman is also Team Canada’s GM.

Giroux was asked about his feelings not being added to the team. He was obviously disappointed:

“I’m just going to relax mentally and make sure I’m ready for the second half.”

The Flyers will have a total of 5 players representing their country in Sochi:

1)      Michael Raffl: 25, Austria; his first Olympics

2)      Mark Streit: 36, Switzerland; his fourth Olympics

3)      Jake Voracek: 24, Czech Republic; his first Olympics

4)      Kimmo Timonen: 38, Finland; his fifth Olympics

5)      Andrej Meszaros: 28, Slovakia; his third Olympics


Heading into the break, the Flyers currently sit as the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference after their hot stretch of games.

The Flyers recent success can also be attributed to their strong goalie play over the past six games. Starter Steve Mason has won four of five starts while recording two shutouts and a .955 save percentage. He was given a well deserved rest after a stellar last couple of games and backup Ray Emery didn’t miss a beat.

Emery stopped 32 of 33 shots, allowing only one goal by Flames’ Matt Stajan with two and a half minutes left in the game. Coach Craig Berube gave high praise of his backup goaltender after the game:

“He’s a winner and he knows how to play the game,” Berube said. “He’s been around a long time. He works hard, practices hard and stays sharp. He goes in there and he’s a fighter in there. A winner.”

Flyers’ center Brayden Schenn scored the game’s first goal 8:04 into the 2nd period on a beautiful one-time pass from Wayne Simmonds.

The NHL will break until Tuesday February 25th and the Flyers will look to resume their current hot streak when they take on the visiting San Jose Sharks at home on Thursday February 27th. It will be tough for any team to regain momentum after a three week layoff, but in the ever changing Eastern Conference standings, the Flyers can’t wait until these Olympics end so they can continue their winning ways.

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Wolves Acquire Cundari, Trade Locke Fri, 24 Jan 2014 16:41:35 +0000

Thursday afternoon, the Chicago Wolves announced that six-time AHL All-Star Corey Locke had been traded to the Abbotsford Heat in exchange for defenseman Mark Cundari. Locke, who has played for five teams over his  nine-year AHL career, has tallied 545 points over 609 games. A 2013 AHL All-Star, Cundari has recorded four goals and six assists over 32 games this season with Abbotsford.

Locke is tied for the team lead in points this year with 25 (6 G, 19 A) in his first season in Chicago. He also was named the AHL’s most valuable player in the 2010-11 season while with Binghamton.

Cundari, a native of Toronto, won two Memorial Cups with the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL before debuting in the AHL during the 2010-11 season with the Peoria Rivermen. In his AHL career, he has notched 83 points (24 G, 59 A) over 207 games.

Both players have had playoff experience, with Locke totaling 60 points (25 G, 35 A) over 58 games and Cundari one assist in three games.

Cundari is expected to help improve a struggling Wolves power play unit, which has been dismal this season. Chicago has converted on just 21 of 189 power play chances this season, or 11.1%.

The Wolves will continue on a five-game road trip Saturday afternoon against the Toronto Marlies. Abbotsford will play host to the Utica Comets Friday night as they begin an eight-game home stand.

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Karri Ramo and Flames Blank ‘Canes Tue, 14 Jan 2014 13:16:42 +0000

Karri Ramo earned his first career NHL shut-out tonight as the Calgary Flames beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0. Calgary center Mikael Backlund scored the eventual game winner in the second on a power play. The goal marks the first time this season he has scored in consecutive games. Sean Monahan added the clincher in the third and that goal moved him to third among NHL rookies with 13.

Carolina has now been shut out 2 consecutive games. The first time that has happened since the 11-12 season. Carolina, who struggled early in the season to find the net had gotten hot of late scoring 20 goals in their last five games. Friday night in Columbus the Hurricanes, who played well, ran into Sergei Bobrovsky. Tonight they made Karri Ramo look like Sergei Bobrovsky.

The Hurricane offense never got on track against a Calgary team struggling to score goals. How badly have they struggled? On the power play with less than two minutes remaining Carolina pulled goalie Anton Khubodin to even the skaters.  Calgary had three wide open looks at an empty net and completely missed two and one went off the post.

Carolina now has four days off before back-to-back home games against Florida and Tampa.

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Chara Guides Bruins Through Injury Storm Wed, 18 Dec 2013 17:19:00 +0000

It’s not always easy for Bruins fans to understand why Zdeno Chara is captain of the Bruins. The 6-foot-9 Slovakian is rarely seen motivating his team on the bench the way Shawn Thornton does, and while he is one of the team’s best defensemen, he does not have the same aura on the ice as a Patrice Bergeron. Chara was named captain before playing a single game for the Bruins, a move which can make it seem as if a player was handed a leadership role rather than earning one.

But Chara proved he is very much deserving of the C on his sweater by potting both Bruins goals in Tuesday night’s 2-0 win over the Calgary Flames.

The Bruins entered the contest in a rough state. The team has been decimated by injury, as Loui Eriksson (concussion), Chris Kelly (broken leg), Dougie Hamilton (lower body injury) and Adam McQuaid (lower body injury) are all on injured reserve while Daniel Paille was a scratch with a concussion, Shawn Thornton remains out of the lineup while he appeals his 15-game suspension, and recently called up forward Matt Fraser was scratched for unknown reasons. The team was also attempting to rebound from a 6-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks in which Tuukka Rask was pulled for the first time since the 2011-12 season after allowing four goals on 23 shots.

So the Bruins desperately needed someone to step up Tuesday night, and the captain was the one to do it.

Chara was gathering himself on the bench in the second period after taking an uncalled high stick to the face when Calgary forward Lance Bouma high-sticked David Krejci. The Bruins got the call on that one and Chara deemed himself healthy enough to take the ice for the resulting four-minute power play. The captain got his revenge 2:15 into the power play when he slapped a one-timer past Calgary goaltender Reto Berra to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead.

Chara’s second tally of the night came on another power play resulting from a Bouma high stick. When Calgary pulled its goalie with 2:16 left in the game, Chara had a chance to earn a natural hat trick with an empty net, but he said it was never his intention to go for the personal accolade and instead remained focus on setting up his teammates and shutting down Calgary’s offense.

While goals alone do not necessarily prove a captain’s mettle, Chara’s poise and focus Tuesday were an example of one of the ways he serves as a leader for the Bruins. His strong game will not fix all of the problems the Bruins currently face, but it was a good dose of medicine for a battered team trying to stay afloat until its roster heals.

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Photo Gallery: Flames at Bruins (12/17/13) Wed, 18 Dec 2013 03:04:27 +0000

The Boston Bruins beat the Calgary Flames 2-0 Tuesday night in Boston. The Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara scored both goals.

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Lundqvist, Rangers snap losing streak Mon, 16 Dec 2013 05:05:00 +0000

NEW YORK – Henrik Lundqvist outstretched his arms, looking past the famous spoked ceiling, all the way to the heavens. Like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders.

The Rangers home losing streak was over, and while it was about as difficult to kill as could possibly be, all that mattered was that it was over.

“It was just a big relief to finally get two points,” Lundqvist said of his post-game exultation. “I had a chance to close it out twice [in the shootout], and I didn’t do it. Then I just had a feeling if we don’t win this one, I’m not going to be a happy guy. Finally we ended the game.”

Despite trailing 2-0 in the first period and 3-2 in the third period, the Rangers rallied twice, eventually edging the Calgary Flames (13-15-5) in a seven-round shootout, 4-3, at a sold-out Madison Square Garden.

It’s just the middle of December, but the way the Rangers (16-17-1) have been playing, it felt like a far more important game on the schedule. Considering the Rangers had started this franchise-record nine-game homestand with a record of 0-3-1, it just seemed like one they had to have.

“I think the past few games, we’ve kind of been right there,” said Chris Kreider, who was often the best player on the ice Sunday night. “Down a goal, we get a lousy bounce or just one play and all of a sudden it’s in the back of the net. It was just a matter of time. The team showed a lot of character, a lot of resiliency tonight.”

Despite allowing the game’s first goal, despite allowing a go-ahead tally in the third, the Rangers clawed back. Kreider stuffed in the rebound of Derek Stepan’s shot with 7:53 left in the third, tying the game at three, and sending the Garden crowd to one of its’ loudest yelps of the season.

“It wasn’t pretty,” said Ryan McDonagh. “We knew it wasn’t going to be pretty to get us off this streak, but it’s a great character win.”

“We need it,” said Carl Hagelin. “There’s no doubt about it. If you want to be successful in this league, you need to win at home. Today, we showed character. Even though we were down, we came back and got two points.”

The Rangers had still more adversity to battle through, even after tying the game. When they failed to score on a five-on-three power play inside the game’s final four minutes, Kreider took a double minor for high-sticking Chris Butler with just under two minutes left. The Rangers had to kill four minutes of Flames’ power play time, stretching into the first two minutes of overtime.

But kill it they did. And rally they did in their long-awaited first shootout of the season. Mats Zuccarello’s goal to open the skills competition was equaled by Joe Colborne. Brad Richards scored in the fourth round, but Lee Stempniak kept the game alive by wristing one past Lundqvist.

Dominic Moore went blocker-side on Karri Ramo (29 saves), only for Paul Byron to go five-hole on Lundqvist (19 saves). But when Benoit Pouliot slid the puck past Ramo, Lundqvist (45-30 all-time in shootouts) made one final stop on Mikael Backlund. The Rangers had the win, and their goalie reacted with nothing short of gleeful relief.

“I just wanted to win. I was a little disappointed, obviously, I had two chances to close it out. I’m just happy we managed to get the two points,” Lundqvist said. “Baby steps right now. Don’t look too far ahead, we know we’re a little bit behind right now. We can only take it 20 minutes at a time and try to improve.

“It was our first shootout of the year,” said Derek Stepan. “A lot of guys showed they’re good in the shootout. If we can’t get two points after [65] minutes, we should go to shootout.”

“There were quite a few moments that tested us,” said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault. “We’re down by two early, we had a kill to make at that critical time. Found a way twice to come back in this game, something we haven’t done very often this year. So, there’s quite a few elements that hopefully we can build on and bring this to where it needs to be.”


Lundqvist’s 45 all-time shootout wins rank him second all-time behind Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller.

Ryan McDonagh played 31:01, just the third time in his career he’s played over 30 minutes in a regular season game.

The Rangers improved to 2-15-0 when allowing the game’s first goal.

This was the latest the Rangers have ever gone into a season without a shootout, surpassing their previous team record of 24 games in 2010-2011. The shootout has only been used in NHL games since the 2005-06 season.


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Flames Friday Black Sat, 30 Nov 2013 14:09:28 +0000

I know what the mall is like on Black Friday. I went there a year ago when there was an NHL lockout on. Big mistake. Couldn’t park even in the remotest satellite lot. That’s bad, because while I normally do park there (car guy—gotta keep the wheels away from the plebes who ding the doors), even that part was full-up.

So I did what any sensible Canadian would do in the face of the monolith of American capitalism. I gave up and went home.

This year, no such decision was needed. The Anaheim Ducks rescued me from that by staging their traditional 1pm Friday game. It was against the Calgary Flames. That bunch hasn’t celebrated Thanksgiving in November since 1980, so they weren’t carrying around turkey weight like Anaheim probably was. (You get that, right? In 1980, the Atlanta Flames moved to Calgary.) But being lean and mean, if that’s what the Flames were, didn’t help them.

Coming into the game, the Flames were skidding, sliding, and recovering from a loss against the Blackhawks. Of late, they have not done as poorly as they had earlier in the year, with a record of 2-1-1 in the past four games. But they were still in sixth place in the Pacific, and despite the fact that the records of most Western teams would put them amongst the top in the East, even that was not true for the Flames. They had 20 points, and would have been respectively seventh and last in the Atlantic and Metropolitan Divisions.

Meanwhile, their opponents the Ducks had lately fallen from their perch atop the Pacific and the West. They were sporting a total of 37 points, fourth in the conference and even worse taking into account that their schedule has had them playing more games than anyone in the league, at 27 (excepting the Jets).

On the ice, the Ducks are a somewhat changed lot at the end of the week. A week ago, my column here at IH detailed some of the multiple injuries the team has sustained and the resulting lineup switch-ups. They are too many to quickly review once more. Now, there are some other additions and subtractions to report.

The team is short of defensemen, which is what prompted them to bring Nolan Yonkman up from Norfolk. He has been in pro hockey for more than a decade, but has less than a season’s worth of games under his belt (76 after Friday) and has scored one goal in that time. His NHL debut came during 2001-02 with Washington. His career then continued through a tour with Phoenix and Florida, and now sees him with the Ducks. He debuted with Anaheim at Dallas mid-week, logging fifteen minutes. He improved his life total of eight points by one early on Friday, getting the second assist on the team’s second goal, a pass along the blueline to Lovejoy, who slapped it toward the net and saw Corey Perry tip it on the way in. The tally came less than a minute after the team had notched the first goal.

Another lineup change to note is that defenseman Alex Grant was recalled from Norfolk. He is a scoring defenseman who stands near the AHL lead in points among blueliners. He was born in 1989 and has, thus far, played entirely in the minor leagues. He was not in the lineup against Calgary, however.

The Ducks have also demoted two players this week, youngsters Devante Smith-Pelly and Emerson Etem. In their places as forwards are Patrick Maroon, the returned Koivu, and Beleskey, now back for six games. Maroon has been with the big club all year, playing in many games but sitting nine thus far. He found himself sitting once more on Friday, actually.

Why did these young guys go down? Smith-Pelly had played 16 games with eight points (one goal). Etem had gotten into 24 games, with ten points on six goals. Do the math, and you get the former with a 40-point campaign and the latter with about thirty. Not bad, but not up to their potential. As LA’s Nick Nickson said on a recent radio broadcast, it’s fine for a young player to start out well, but it’s how he ends up that matters, and the tendency for a rookie or early career guy is to wear down under the grind of the number of games the NHL season features. Wear down, that is, both physically and mentally. What I heard talking to people close to the Anaheim team is that the team simply wants to send Smith-Pelly and Etem a motivational message, and that the demotion is supposed to smart a little.

The Ducks, having returned Koivu to their fold, now feature first and third lines that are entirely familiar. That’s Perry-Getzlaf-Penner; and Cogliano-Koivu-Winnik. Their second line, always an experiment that tries to maximize the talents of Selanne, is now that player plus Mathieu Perreault and Beleskey. The other two guys have the speed to keep up with Selanne, and to feed him the passes he needs to break in on the wing and score, and you could see Beleskey looking for exactly that play on several occasions against Calgary, a team that doesn’t tend to play as much defense as they could. (That and the aforementioned sucky goaltending could have something to do with the 87 goals they had allowed coming into Friday, second only to Edmonton in the West, and the league).

The fourth line for Anaheim, to round out that discussion, is a catch-all of Bonino, Tim Jackman, and Kyle Palmieri. What’s their identity? Beats me. They’re sort of fast (Bonino and Palmieri) and sort of tough (Jackman). One thing you can say—they didn’t play much on Friday, with Jackman netting under ten minutes while Bonino led the line with about 15, five of which came on the power play.

Of note though of no immediate consequence is that Bonino signed a three-year extension with the Ducks this week. He has played about 140 games with the team to date, and stands among the team’s leaders this year in points, with 16 coming into Friday (7-9-16). The money side of the deal, according to local press reports, amounts to $5.7 million over the term.

Jackman, of course, was lately a Flame. He played most of the last three seasons there after an up-and-down career that saw him spend at least equal games in the minors as in the NHL. His former teammates were more than complimentary to him in the press coming into the game. The best line about his departure from Alberta came from the Calgary Herald’s George Johnson: “The departure . . . didn’t exactly create a frothing tidal wave of controversy around [this town].”

Why’d the Ducks pick him up? Simple, again from Johnson: “Jackman alone wore the tin star ‘round these parts, was left to keep the peace, stand up for the citizenry.” To the moment he was traded, he had played in ten Calgary games and notched one goal and 41 PIMs. He’s listed at 6’4” and 220, and it’s a chiseled 220 pounds of nasty.

But to focus on the more significant parts of the Ducks’ offense on this afternoon, the biggest cheer during introductions was reserved for Saku Koivu, returning from a concussion that put him out of the game for fifteen contests. The cheers got louder mid-way through the first period, when he assisted on the Ducks’ first goal. It was started on an aggressive drive into the Calgary zone. The pass went from down low up high to Vatanen, who took a slapshot into a half-open net. Why? The Calgary netminder, Reto Berra, dove out to his left to stop what he thought was going to be a shot by Cogliano. One thought immediately came to the sell-out crowd: “It’s not soccer, dude. You can wait to see where he shoots it.” Berra is relatively new to the NHL, having played in eleven games now. He came into the afternoon with a .890 save percentage and a 3.31 GAA. You read that right, and no, life hasn’t flashed back to the 1980s somehow. But you might think so looking at the Flames’ other goalie’s record, which shows a .882 save percentage and a 3.59 GAA.

Anyway, the fans cheered Koivu, and he expressed his feelings about being back in comments he made after the game. “I felt, physically, surprisingly good. Coming back from a concussion, this was the first time for me, and I was a little hesitant in the first period. Then in the second half, I felt a little more confident. . . . Tonight I felt fine.”

Sometimes shots on goal can be a misleading stat. Numbers, or volume, not telling the tale. But in period one of this game the Ducks dominated after a brief early flurry by the Flames. Granted, the Anaheim team had the advantage of two power plays, but even when each side was skating five plus the keepers, the Ducks were better. The shots were 14-6, but the play was almost all in the Calgary end. When the Flames did get the puck in, they penetrated mostly with one player, and the chances were quickly broken up. The Ducks, by contrast, held the puck in the zone, cycled it back to the defense, and putting it either on net or into the area high in the slot that Calgary seemed willing to concede to them.

Aside from Vatanen’s goal from the defense and Koivu’s, the Ducks got three more by the end. Penner had two of them, one on the power play, and Cogliano had the other. The home squad dominated in the game with the exception of brief flurries by Calgary. The Flames could never get the game closer than 4-2 towards the eventual 5-2 end. The shots ended 42-21, but that was only because the Ducks started to drop back and play some defense in the third period, and thus limited their own chances. Hartley did pull his netminder after goal five. After the game, he said after that his team just couldn’t counter the big bodies of Getzlaf’s line up front.

The Ducks summed the game up in the fashion you might expect. Penner will often bust out something that is not a cliché, but on this afternoon, there was no detail in his comments. Witness this: “We want to get some confidence to take into the next week. We face some pretty stiff competition, and we need the team feeling as confident as possible.” Regarding his goals, he said, “It’s been a while since I had output with any consistency.” He then moved on to the fact that he’s always had the same mindset. He then talked about Koivu, and finished with “It’s huge when you can roll four lines and score one on the power play.”

Getzlaf said, “We were in a position when we needed a rebound game. They’re a good hockey team. They come out and skate hard, but we just had to get back to our game at home.” He didn’t say much about his line until the end of his comments. “Dustin’s playing great. He’s put the work in. When he came here, he wasn’t necessarily ready to start the season, and he knows that. He’s done everything he’s needed to do to play his twenty minutes a night. He’s playing properly, and we’re working really well.”

They got on a plane late Friday afternoon to San Jose, where they play on Saturday. Then it’s the Kings in Anaheim on Tuesday night. The only break—LA will have played Saturday but also Monday night.


Please buy my new book, Pond Hockey, a novel, for your hockey-loving friend this Christmas.  Here’s a quick overview:

A middle-aged man moves back to his hometown in rural Quebec because of his mother’s illness. While there he is drawn to the pond where he first learned to play hockey. He remembers Robert, a retired NHLer, who taught him and his friends the rules of the game and by extension, the rules of life. Robert has since passed on, and the pond where they played and the shack where they warmed their frozen hands is derelict. The story is peppered with facts about the development of the pond hockey movement in North America.

I’m on twitter @growinguphockey.

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Ducks’ Black Friday by the Numbers Sat, 30 Nov 2013 13:59:41 +0000

Just as everyone has their Thanksgiving traditions, many people have their own Black Friday traditions as well. Black Friday is typically viewed as a “shopping holiday” and for many Americans, it means lining up for hours at the crack of dawn just to score an amazing deal on retail. For the Anaheim Ducks, it’s hosting their annual Black Friday matinee matchup. Every year since 2002, the Ducks have hosted a game at 1:00PM (Pacific) on the day after Thanksgiving; at the very least, it’s a great way to work off feasting that took place the night before.

Ducks forward Dustin Penner teased, “It’s amazing! It’s so different than any other game.”

Since the tradition began, the Ducks have a 5-2-2 record, keeping in mind, of course, that the NHL lockout of 2004-2005 and partial-season lockout of 2012-2013, prevented them from playing in this game. Prior to this year, the Ducks had only played five different opponents in this traditional game. They hosted the Chicago Blackhawks in 2003 and 2008-2011. This year however, the NHL changed up the tradition this year, giving the Ducks their first new Black Friday opponent since 2007, the Calgary Flames.

The last time the Ducks and Flames played each other on Black Friday was on November 24, 2000 in Calgary. That game resulted in a 2-2 tie after the overtime period. Remember there was no shootout back then and a tie was actually possible!

However, if this were Las Vegas and you wanted to bet on the game, the numbers would tell you to bet on the Ducks. Not only do the Ducks have a winning record in the history of this Black Friday game (as previously mentioned), but the Ducks entered this year’s contest having won their last seventeen home games against the Flames.

Coming into this game the Flames were 4-7-1 on the road and the Ducks were 9-0-1 at home. Creating an even more uphill battle for the Flames on Friday was the loss of rookie centerman Sean Monahan, who was injured two days prior in a game against Chicago. At nineteen, he had previously played in all twenty-four of the Flames’ games this season and had tallied nine goals and six assists already.

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said of the Calgary roster, “They’re hurting pretty bad right now as far as injuries to main players go.”

Could the Flames beat the odds that were stacked against them? Or would knowing the Flames’ number give the Ducks the advantage and the win?

The Ducks started off strong. They had fourteen shots on goal in the first period, and scored two goals less than a minute apart in the middle of the period. The goals were scored by Sami Vatanen and Corey Perry.

The second period was filled with a couple pairs of goals traded by the two teams. The first was shot by Penner and a few minutes later, Ladislav Smid retaliated for the Flames. Later in the period, Andrew Cogliano (Ducks) knocked one in as he was falling to his knees, but a few minutes later the Flames got one from David Jones.

Penner, who tallied only two goals with the Los Angeles Kings last season, scored his eighth of season in the second period. He stated, “I still have the mindset I’ve had for the past few years, I’m just getting more opportunity now.”

Penner added another goal in the third, his ninth, giving the Ducks a 5-2 victory.

The Ducks next four games are against top 6 league-ranked opponents, starting Saturday night against the San Jose Sharks.

Other Numbers of Note:

The game’s attendance was announced as a sellout of 17,174.

Andrew Cogliano’s second period goal was his 7th of the season. He also wears #7. He also had an assist on Vatanen’s goal.

With two assists tonight, on the Vatanen and Cogliano goals, Saku Koivu is now 12th on the franchise’s all-time assists list.

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