You’d think that after allowing six goals on 28 shots, Calgary Flames goaltender David Rittich might choose to eat a slice of humble pie. After all, his stick flip at the end of the previous Flames game versus the Oilers was, in part, responsible for the drubbing the Flames received at the hands of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and a number of other Oilers players who wound up with eight goals by the time Saturday’s rematch was over.
Or, if getting eaten alive by the Oilers wasn’t enough, maybe Rittich would take a second and think about what Cam Talbot did for him.
No one should expect Rittich to back down, cower and hide or change his attitude because of one bad game. That said, maybe the idea that Talbot (who’d never had a fight in his professional hockey career) had to answer the bell with one of the league’s most willing goaltenders would tell Rittich not to push the envelope. One could argue, it should have been Rittich fighting Smith since he was the one Smith called out and noted he’d gone too far with his post-game celebration.
Nope, that too wasn’t enough to keep Rittich from talking.
Rittich Firing Back
When Edmonton and Calgary faced off again in a highly-anticipated contest, it was Rittich who got the start. It wasn’t pretty for the often outgoing and demonstrative netminder. He ended up getting pulled, chirped mercilessly on his way to the bench and then had to hear it again on his way back into the net after Cam Talbot was tossed.
With many fans and media looking back and asking if the stick flip was the precursor to Calgary’s ugly loss, Rittich spoke on Monday and said, “We’re not able to celebrate in this league anymore or what?” He told Sportsnet’s Eric Francis, “I didn’t want to do anything more. I just celebrate. Why I should change myself? I’m going to do it (again). I’m that guy who is showing emotions, who is celebrating goals and wins.”
Yes, Please Keep Doing That Rittich
No doubt, when the Flames and Oilers meet again on April 4, Rittich will want the start and a chance to redeem himself. And, that he’s still talking smack is great for the Battle of Alberta.
The reality is, the stick flip wasn’t that big of a deal. But it was enough to keep the animosity alive. We know because the amount the Oilers bench gave it to him during that game proves at least that much. And, for fans who want to see these wars of attrition continue, we can only hope players like Rittich keep talking.
Since Saturday’s game, all anyone keeps saying is how much these two teams need to meet in the playoffs. Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto said “The hate is real” and it’s making for a great hockey.
From our perspective, ‘Don’t stop doing what you’re doing Rittich!’ This about the most we’ve been engaged in a set of hockey games all year.
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