With the coronavirus halting play for all NHL teams, it’s a time when teams look back at the season to assess how their season went as well as for individual players to heal – just in case the season begins sometime in the future.
Thus, in this post, I want to help keep Calgary Flames fans more up-to-date about what’s happening with the players on their team. And I have to extend our thanks at NHLTradeTalk.com to Wes Gilbertson from the Calgary Sun for his extensive reports on the team. In this post, I will summarize his reporting in case Flames fans might have missed it.
Item One: David Rittich Has Recovered from His Elbow Injury
In a recent article in the Calgary Sun, Wes Gilbertson wrote both about the Flames David Rittich and Johnny Gaudreau and what they’ve been doing during the team’s suspended play. He reported that Rittich returned home to the Czech Republic and Gaudreau went to his parents’ home in New Jersey. (from “Flames superstar Gaudreau piling firewood during NHL pause,” Wes Gilbertson, Calgary Sun, 03/04/20)
Rittich spent the first part of the NHL suspension recovering from his injured elbow and only this past week was able to begin working out. Rittich noted, “One day before leaving (Calgary), I had gotten plasma injection into my elbow that had been bruised and I had some stretched tendons there.” As a result, Rittich reported that he “could not do anything for a week … This week, I started to exercise a bit and recover.”
Rittich’s record during the 2019-20 season was 24-17-6, with a goals-against-average of 2.97 and a .907 save percentage. He started 48 games for the Flames and obviously was their number one goalie for the season.
Item Two: Johnny Gaudreau’s Been “Living Like a Lumberjack”
In the same article, Gilbertson reported that Gaudreau had returned to his parents’ home which, Gaudreau noted, is “out in the middle of the country here in New Jersey.”
There he’s been riding the bike a lot and reported that his dad has “me and my brother outside chopping trees down.” How’s that going? Well, Gaudreau thinks that “we have enough firewood to last us for four years.”
He added, “We’ve been staying active for the most part, for not being allowed to go anywhere or do anything. But it gets a bit old after a while. I wake up every morning hearing the chainsaw and I’m like, ‘Yep, better get outside or else dad is going to be inside pulling me out of bed.’”
When he’s not helping his dad chop lumber, Gaudreau’s been exercising and “killing time” playing video games and cards. He notes that spending time with his family is great, but he hopes the NHL season will resume soon.
Item Three: Mark Giordano’s Looking Forward to the Playoffs
Mark Giordano is optimistic. Although he’s not sure the playoffs will happen, he believes that if they do happen they’ll be some of the best playoffs ever. And he has a good point – at least on one hand.
As Giordano sees it, “If we can ever get back to playing, I think this is going to be one of the best playoffs ever because every team is going to have all their guys healthy and ready to go. You’re truly going to be playing the best version of every team, I think.”
The counter-argument to his point is that, for sure, the players will be healed but they might rusty because they haven’t played much. Still, as he suggests, most will have recovered from the typical bangs and bruises (and even worse) that happen regularly during a long and difficult season.
As a fan, you have to feel as if most NHL players have the funds to have home gyms and the desire to remain in shape, so NHL players should be in some semblance of good shape although perhaps not “game shape.” However, skating’s another deal and probably very few have the means to skate regularly.
It should be interesting if the playoffs happen. As Giordano notes, the players will mostly be healthy and rested, but the games might also become sloppy. Still, that in itself would make it an incredibly interesting set of playoff games for fans to watch. It also suggests that, at least among what’s reported from within the Flames organization, the players are ready to go. (from “Flames captain Giordano holds out hope for ‘one of the best playoffs ever’,” Wes Gilbertson, Calgary Sun, 27/03/20)
The Bigger Picture
More to the point, if there are playoffs that means North America has reached a point where it’s safe to gather in groups once again. That’s the place where we hope to reach sooner rather than later. Having NHL playoffs during 2020 is great, but really it isn’t the most important thing – the health of humans is key.
With that note, stay safe and be well.
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