The Calgary Flames played their first game of the regular season against the Colorado Avalanche. The lost 5-3, and one of the Avalanche players most responsible for beating them was Mikko Rantanen. Rantanen missed training camp and preseason, but he flew more than 8000 kilometers just to be a pain in the Flames’ net.
Rantanen played well, even after a summer where he stayed home in Finland until his contract signing had been finalized and his restricted free agency ended. Less than a week after he signed, without much practice, he scored two goals.
In this post, we at NHLTradeTalk.com want to share the rest of the Calgary Flames news. It will be at least a once-a-week feature.
Item One: Milan Lucic Flexes Flames’ Muscle
New Flames forward Milan Lucic came into game one ready to rumble. Here’s the fight card: 17 penalty minutes of penalties including an instigator minor, a fighting major and a 10-minute misconduct.
Obviously the refs didn’t agree with his rationale for forcing the Avalanche’s Nikita Zadorov to fight late in the second period. Lucic was clear why he fought, noting that Zadorov laid a dirty hit on Austin Czarnik.
As Lucic noted, “He takes a run at one of our guys and sometimes you have to win the game within the game and you have to show team toughness.”
Lucic added, perhaps seeking to reconcile his own egregious behavior, “I also felt like our game got better after that moment. It’s just unfortunate we weren’t able to find the back of the net.”
Hard to say how much his penalties spurred his team because the Avalanche scored on one of the penalties.
Item Two: Flames General Manager Brad Treliving Signs a Multi-Year Extension
The Flames announced Thursday they had re-signed general manager Brad Treliving to a multi-year contract extension. It’s his sixth year as the club’s general manager. Congratulations Brad.
Item Three: Johnny Gaudreau Starts Where He Left Off
Johnny Hockey had a career season in 2018-19, coming just one point short of 100 points (36 goals, 63 assists, and 99 points in 82 games). He and Sean Monahan have chemistry, and his first two points of the year both came on the power play when and he and Monahan set up each other’s power-play goals.
An interesting statistic that I wouldn’t have guessed is that Thursday’s game marked Gaudreau’s 100th multi-point game. I still think of Gaudreau as a young guy, and it’s hard to think he’s starting his seventh full season with the Flames.
Item Four: Happy Birthday Mark Giordano, Too Bad No Gifts
It was Mark Giordano’s birthday, but the game wasn’t much of a birthday gift. However, he did score a goal in the 5-3 loss to the Avalanche. Giordano was 36 years old on Thursday, but perhaps his birthday present came during the offseason when he was “gifted with” the Norris Trophy.
He had an amazing season in 2018-19, scoring 74 points, which broke his previous career-high of 56 points. Giordano is a great defenseman and team captain. It would be a bit of a surprise if he were to score over 70 points again; however, he can still make great contributions to his team with his all-around play. He’s a top-notch offensive defenseman almost regardless of his point total – I say “almost.”
Item Five: Great New “Throw-back” Uniforms for 2019-20
If you read hockey commentators at CBS Sports, they might disagree over the best players or teams, but they all seem to believe the Calgary Flames new throwback uniforms are amazing. They’re speaking about the Flames new heritage jerseys, which are similar to the team’s 1980 jerseys.
Last season, the team wore their red throwbacks as their third jersey and as the team’s home playoff jersey. This season the team brought out a white version especially for the Heritage Classic. (As a note, this season will be the NHL’s fifth Heritage Classic. It will be held on October 26, 2019, in Winnipeg where the Jets will host the Flames.)
As you can see in this tweet, the jersey is beautiful. I’m sure Flames fans will want to see it more often than just a single game – let’s hope that happens.
What’s Next for the Calgary Flames?
On Saturday evening October 5, the Vancouver Canucks skate into the Scotiabank Saddledome to play the Flames. Both teams are coming off losses.
The Flames also give out their team awards for last season prior to the puck drop to start the game. It will be interesting to see who will win these awards. I’m a Giordano fan – and I would be surprised if he didn’t win something.
My prediction for the game 4-2 – Flames over the Canucks.
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