Tag:Jarome Iginla
Posted on: October 4, 2011 1:11 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2011 1:29 pm
 

Flames' Backlund out 2-6 weeks (broken finger)

By Brian Stubits

The Flames are going to be missing center Mikael Backlund for the first two-to-six weeks of the season, and they'll really be missing him. The team confirmed the news to the Calgary Sun.

Backlund, who was in the rotation to anchor the Flames' top line, will instead be sidelined after a slash in practice broke a finger and required surgery. Now he joins Brendan Morrison, the other player in the mix to lead Calgary's No. 1 unit, on the injured list. At least Morrison is practicing and could possibly play, but he's dealing with a knee injury and there's no telling how ready he'll be.

As a result, the Flames are likely left with Matt Stajan or Olli Jokinen taking the opening faceoff and joining Jarome Iginla's scoring line. Let's just say Stajan doesn't exactly scream top-line center and Jokinen seems destined to fit elsewhere with Calgary this season. It will also give prospect Roman Horak a chance to show what he can do. The 20-year-old Czech played well enough this preseason to earn himself a spot on the roster.

It's a bad break (no pun intended) for Backlund, who started to come on strong near the end of last year playing with Iginla and Alex Tanguay. In 73 games, his first full NHL season, he had 10 goals and 15 assists with 10 of those points coming in the final 17 games.

Here's what Backlund had to say on his Twitter account: "I'm very sad and disappointed... But I'll work hard and be back soon to help the team to make the #playoffs!!"

The Flames could obviously use Backlund on the ice as soon as possible as he seems primed for a breakout season. Hopefully for Calgary, he isn't out long, because the Flames can ill-afford to fall behind the Canucks early in the Northwest Division and Western Conference races.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: September 30, 2011 6:44 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2011 7:02 pm
 

Northwest Division Preview: 'Nucks still own it

NW1

By: Adam Gretz

This was the only division in the NHL last season to produce only one playoff team, and that was the Western Conference champion Vancouver Canucks, the team that's won the division three years in a row.

Playoff teams have been difficult to come by in the Northwest in recent years, as Colorado and Calgary are the only teams other than Vancouver to reach the postseason over the past three years; and they only managed to qualify once each. You have to go back to the 2007-08 season to find the last time more than two teams went to the playoffs in the same year out of the Northwest, and it's probably not going to happen this year.

Once you get past Vancouver, the Flames are probably the best bet to reach the playoffs, and even they're not a lock, having failed to qualify two years in a row, and then there's a steady dropoff to a pair of rebuilding teams in Colorado and Edmonton, and a team in Minnesota that seems to be stuck somewhere in the middle between being in contention and in a  rebuilding phase.

The Northwest Division (In predicted order of finish):

CanucksVancouver Canucks: The Vancouver Canucks reached the Stanley Cup Finals for the third time in franchise history last season, losing to the Boston Bruins in seven games. After jumping out to a 2-0 series lead, Vancouver went on to lose four of the final five games of the series. And they not only lost, they were absolutely dominated, losing by a combined score of 21-4. Even with that disappointment in the rearview mirror, the Canucks are bringing back a roster that remains loaded from top to bottom, and is one of the top two or three cup contenders in the league.

Strengths: Just about everything is a strength for the Canucks. They're deep down the middle with Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler and the underrated Manny Malhotra at center, and even with the loss of Christian Ehrhoff, they have an excellent defense led by Alex Edler, Dan Hamhuis, Keith Ballard, Kevin Bieksa and Sami Salo. Roberto Luongo is still one of the best goaltenders in the NHL, and Cory Schneider, his young backup, could probably start for quite a few teams as well. They have quality depth up front with wingers like Daniel Sedin, Alex Burrows, Mikael Samuelsson, Jannik Hansen and Maxim Lapierre, and they excel on special teams, finishing with the top power play in the league last season and the third best penalty kill.

Weaknesses: It's really difficult to find one. Is there one? An obvious one? The Canucks are as deep as just about any team in the NHL at forward, defense and goaltender and have outstanding special teams. Where is the weakness?

FlamesCalgary Flames: A slow start that resulted in just 11 wins in their first 27 games put the Flames in a hole that was simply too deep to dig out of in the Western Conference, missing the playoffs by just four points. It's actually the exact opposite path they followed the previous season when they opened the with a 17-6-3 mark, only to completely fall apart over the final four months of the season and missed the playoffs by five points.

Strengths: Jarome Iginla is simply fantastic. He hasn't missed a game in four years, has scored at least 32 goals in each of those years, and managed to put in 43 during the 2010-11 season. Rene Bourque, Lee Stempniak, Curtis Glencross and David Moss is a solid group of forwards to put around Iginla, and all have the ability to score somewhere between 20 and 25 goals. A lot of other teams teams can -- and will -- do worse up front.

Weaknesses: How much does Miikka Kiprusoff have left in the tank? He's declined in recent years and his workload might be catching up with him and Henrik Karlsson could (and perhaps should) be getting a bigger role this season. Losing Robyn Regehr could be a significant loss on the blue line, and Jay Bouwmeester's first two years in Alberta have to be considered a tremendous disappointment. In his final three years with Florida he scored 12, 15 and 15 goals. In his two years with the Flames? He's scored seven. Total. And he's taking up over $6.6 million in cap space to be an offensive-defenseman. That's not going to work.

WildMinnesota Wild:  Mike Yeo takes over a team that hasn't made the playoffs in three years, hasn't won a playoff series since it went to the Conference Finals nine years ago, and he's introducing his version of the neutral zone trap (insert your own "it's boring hockey" comment here). Actually, it's pretty similar to the system the Penguins run -- the team Yeo was an assistant with for a number of years -- and is a bit more up-tempo than the Jacques Lemaire trap Minnesota fans witnessed all those years.

Strengths: Yeo is pushing for Mikko Koivu to win the Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward, and he's definitely a worthy player to put on your early season watch list. An excellent two-way player that makes an impact in all three zones and all phases of the game. Dany Heatley, acquired from the Sharks over the summer, is coming off a down year (by his standards) in the goal-scoring department but possesses the best natural goal-scoring ability of any player on the roster and is a legitimate 40-goal threat.

Weaknesses: With Brent Burns no longer on the roster Minnesota has a bit of a hole on its blue line when it comes to providing offense. Marek Zidlicky, who was limited to just 46 games a season ago, was the only other defenseman to register at least 20 points. The 13th ranked power play in the league a season ago lost its top-three power play goal scorers (Burns, Antti Miettinen and Andrew Brunnette). Heatley should be able to help in that area, but will he be enough?

How good is Niklas Backstrom? He hasn't approached the numbers he put up the first three years of his career while playing under Lemaire, and his backups have pretty consistently put up similar save percentages in recent years. Was he a product of the system or is he set to play like one of the best goalies in the league again?

FlamesColorado Avalanche: Their decision to trade a first-round draft pick to the Washington Capitals for goaltender Semyon Varlamov was panned over the summer, as most observers are expecting Colorado to once again finish near the bottom of the NHL's standings, meaning that pick could turn out to be a lottery selection. The jury is still out on that trade, obviously, but there's no denying the Avalanche needed a significant upgrade in net after a disappointing season from Craig Anderson helped put the Avs at the bottom of the NHL in save percentage last season.

Strengths: The 1-2 punch of Matt Duchene and Paul Stastny down the middle is the foundation of this team, and they picked up another top young forward prospect back in June when they selected Gabriel Landeskog at the top of the draft.

Weaknesses: The Avalanche bulked up their defense this summer by putting an emphasis on adding size to their blue line, but will it result in a better product? Erik Johnson, acquired in last season's blockbuster trade with the St. Louis Blues, has the most potential of the group and is still only five years removed from being the No. 1 overall pick in the entire draft. Even with the addition of Varlamov, goaltending remains a question mark, especially since he's had problems staying injury free throughout his career.

The Avs had the worst penalty killing unit in the league last season. Can a full season of Jay McClement to go along with Daniel Winnick help improve that area?

OilersEdmonton Oilers: It's another rebuilding year, but they're getting closer, slowly but surely, to making an impact. And they might be the most entertaining -- and exciting -- non-playoff team in the league with an impressive list of young forwards led by last year's top pick, Taylor Hall.

Strengths: Even if No. 1 overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins doesn't spend the entire season in Edmonton, the Oilers still have some outstanding young talent up front. Ales Hemsky is one of the NHL's most creative players with the puck and a tremendous playmaker, typically averaging near a point-per-game. The biggest flaw in his game, unfortunately, is that he tends to miss at least 10 games (or more) per season. Getting him for a full season would be a welcome change. Hall looks to be a star in the making, and players like Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi and Sam Gagner are loaded with potential and should make the Oilers worth watching every night, even if they don't win a ton of games.

Weaknesses: Defense. Goaltending. Goaltending. Defense. After Ryan Whitney it's a very thin team on the blue line, and additions like Cam Barker aren't likely to help that. Their defense and goaltending, led by Nikolai Khabibulin and Devan Dubnyk, will keep the Oilers at the bottom of the division, as well as the Western Conference, for at least another year.

NHL season preview schedule
Wed., Sept. 21: Step-back players Tues., Sept. 27: Atlantic Division
Thur., Sept. 22: Breakout players Wed., Sept. 28: Central Division
Fri., Sept. 23: Southeast Division Thur. Sept. 29: Northeast Division
Mon., Sept. 26: Pacific Division Fri., Sept. 30: Northwest Division

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: August 2, 2011 5:32 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2011 7:24 pm
 

Ryan Kesler has hip surgery, could miss 12 weeks

Kesler

By: Adam Gretz

On Tuesday the Vancouver Canucks announced center Ryan Kesler underwent successful hip surgery and could be sidelined for as long as 10-12 weeks.

Said general manager Mike Gillis, “After consultation with our team physicians following the playoffs, it was deemed that Ryan would require a procedure on his hip. We expect a full recovery and determined this procedure would best serve both Ryan and the team’s long term goals.”

Assuming the timeline of 10-12 weeks is how long it will take for a complete recovery, it will force him to miss all of training camp and the preseason, as well as the start of the regular season. Kesler is coming off a sensational 2010-11 season with the Canucks where he scored a career high 41 goals while also taking home the Selke Award, which is given to the NHL's best defensive forward. He had been a finalist the two previous seasons, having finished second in 2010 and third in 2009.

The 26-year-old Kesler, who was a first-round pick by the Canucks in 2003, has been one of the best defensive forwards in the NHL for a couple of years now, while also being able to chip in around 20 goals on the offensive end. This past season the goal numbers skyrocketed to the point where he finished fourth in the league, trailing only Corey Perry, Steven Stamkos and Jarome Iginla.

His teammate, Daniel Sedin, was tied with him for the fourth spot in the league and the top spot on the team.

He's one of Vancouver's best all-around players and missing him for any point of time is a large blow to the team.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: July 7, 2011 4:13 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2011 5:11 pm
 

Flames' Iginla grants a wish for teenager

By Brian Stubits

Is there a more gracious superstar in hockey than Jarome Iginla? The Flames forward has spent his entire career in Calgary, all the while establishing himself as one of the most charitable and grounded athletes in the game. Heck, one of the most charitable and grounded in all of sports.

I am trying to avoid the hyperbole here, but you truly will have a hard time finding a player as well-respected as Iginla. He donates $2,000 for every goal he scores. He operates the Jarome Iginla Hockey School in Calgary. There is the great story of how he put up fans who were sleeping in their car at the 2002 Olympics in a hotel. On and on it goes.

So why do we bring this up now? As you could probably guess, Iginla did something charitable again.

This past season, Iginla helped the Flames grant the wish of a 15-year-old boy named Mark through the Make-A-Wish Founrdation. Mark took a tour of Calgary via limousine and stayed at the Westin Hotel (where a Flames cake with Mark's name on it was waiting). The highlight, however, was a meeting with his hero Iginla in the locker room.

In true Babe Ruth fashion, Iginla scored two goals on the night. After the game he signed his jersey and stick, both of which he gave to Mark. A great ending to what will be a day Mark will never forget.

Photo: Make-A-Wish Foundation

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Category: NHL
Posted on: March 9, 2011 4:41 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 6:01 pm
 

Playoff Watch: Flames aim for Stars sweep



Calgary Flames (35-24-9) at Dallas Stars (36-23-7)


American Airlines Center, 9 pm ET

SEASON SERIES: Calgary 3-0-0; Dallas 0-2-1

IMPLICATIONS: Three teams -- Dallas, Phoenix and Calgary -- enter tied with 79 points in the tight Western Conference Standings. Either Calgary or Dallas will sit alone in fifth place since Phoenix is idle or, if Chicago loses to Tampa Bay, the winner of this contest would move to fourth. For our playoff tracker, click here

BREAKDOWN: The Flames won the first three meetings by a combined score of 14-8. But Calgary will be without Brendan Morrison, the center who scored the game-winner in a 7-4 win over the Stars on Jan. 21, for the rest of the regular season with a knee injury. (Morrison told reporters Tuesday that he hopes to be back for the playoffs.) Meanwhile, the Stars will get center Brad Richards -- out with concussion-like symptoms since Feb. 13 -- back for tonight’s contest. 

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Calgary RW Jarome Iginla vs. Dallas LW Jamie Benn. Iginla, who became the 10th player to score 30 or more goals for 10 consecutive seasons earlier this week, enters on a four-game goal streak. Benn also enters the same goal streak, the longest of his young career, and has two assists this season against the Flames. 

KEY STAT: 13. The number of goals Mike Ribeiro has scored when the Stars were trailing by a goal or tied. 

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: March 7, 2011 1:47 am
Edited on: March 7, 2011 1:53 am
 

Morning skate: Don't four-get Pacific Division




The Pacific Division could be very well represented when the playoffs commence next month. 

Four teams would currently get berths if the playoffs started this morning: San Jose Sharks, Phoenix Coyotes, Dallas Stars and Los Angeles Kings. Had the Anaheim Ducks not dropped a 3-0 decision to the Vancouver Canucks Sunday night, they would have booted the Kings out of the eighth seed. 

No other division has more than three teams in contention at the moment. Here’s a look again at our playoff tracker.

The Pacific has placed four teams in the playoffs twice since the current division system was established before the 1998-99 season. (The Northeast leads the way, placing four teams in on four occasions.) The Pacific has only had fewer than three teams in the playoff mix only three times and two Pacific teams skated with the Stanley Cup --- Dallas (1999) and Anaheim (2007) -- during that span.

How tough would it be for all five to make it in, something that hasn’t happened in the division era?

It would take a freefall by the Calgary Flames (3-2 winners Sunday over the Nashville Predators) or the Chicago Blackhawks -- two of the hottest teams in hockey. The fourth-place ‘Hawks are riding an eight-game winning streak and the fifth-place Flames are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games.

Making the chances even more remote is the fact teams typically face only other division opponents in the closing weeks of the season, meaning it’s very difficult to make up ground in the conference standings without darkening a division foe’s chances.

Not that it enters into the equation this time of year. 

DEAL NOT SO SUITE: An opinion page columnist at The Washington Post called for Capitals and Wizards principal owner Ted Leonsis to take back the two luxury boxes at Verizon Center donated to the city by previous ownership. The suites were a gift to city hall after D.C. approved a $50 million upgrade to the arena in 2007 and the boxes that cost as much as $175,000 annually for everybody else are meant for “economic development purposes.” Colbert I. King wrote that it’s unclear whether the two free suites are actually being used in that manner.
So taxpayers don't know whether the luxury suites have been used only to promote the city or whether they have been used to reward campaign contributors and volunteers, to curry favor with special-interest groups, to entertain family members and friends, or for the officials' personal enjoyment.


COYOTES' LOSSES MOUNT: The Chicago investor seeking to take over the Phoenix Coyotes and Jobbing.com Arena told The Arizona Republic this weekend that the team has already lost $40 million this season --- $10 million more than a season ago. The NHL, which has run the team since its previous owner filed for bankruptcy protection two years ago, still expects to sell the team to Matthew Hulsizer without losing money, a price that currently sits at $210 million. 

The Coyotes, who enter action Monday sixth in the Western Conference, have shown signs of life financially, according to team president Mike Nealy.

Despite ownership uncertainty and the NHL tightening the team's front-office budget this season, the Coyotes made gains in ticket sales, ticket revenue and overall revenue per game, according to league statistics dated last month obtained by The Republic.
Nealy said at the end of the season, with lucrative sell-outs and a potential playoff run this spring, he expects losses to drop below last year.


The long-running ownership drama took another turn when ESPN.com reported that the City of Glendale is expected to file a lawsuit today against Goldwater Institute, a watchdog group opposed to a bond sale that would help finance the sale. 

Confused? TSN.ca has created its own Jets Meter.   

LINE CHANGES: Marian Gaborik, out the last two weeks with a concussion, returned to the lineup for the Rangers’ 7-0 rout of the visiting Philadelphia Flyers. In 14 minutes, 28 seconds of ice time, he had four shots and two penalty minutes.  . . . Jarome Iginla became the 10th NHL player to reach 30 goals in 10 consecutive season as he netted a second-period tally in the Calgary Flames’ victory over the Nashville Predators on Sunday.  . . . . For a complete look at Sunday’s action, click here

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: March 6, 2011 1:46 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2011 2:04 pm
 

Playoff watch: Flames eye season sweep of Preds



Nashville Predators (33-23-9) at Calgary Flames (34-24-9) 

Scotiabank Saddledome, 8 pm ET

SEASON SERIES: Nashville 0-1-2; Calgary 3-0-0

IMPLICATIONS: The Predators' first victory – combined with an Anaheim Ducks loss – over the Flames would move them into the eighth and final playoff slot in the west. (Both Anaheim and Calgary start the night even in points, 77, and games played, 65, but the Ducks have the edge in wins.) The resurgent Flames could move up to fifth in the West with a victory. Here's a look at our playoff tracker

BREAKDOWN: The first three games of the season series have been close with one going to OT and another won via a shootout. But Nashville is coming off one it's most impressive victories of the season, a 3-0 decision over league-leading Vancouver.  Predators rookie Blake Geoffrion, the first NHL player from Tennessee who was recalled Feb. 26, has scored in back-to-back games. Youngsters like Geoffrion will be key down the stretch as Steve Sullivan (groin), Francis Bouillon (concussion) and Marcel Goc (shoulder) have gone down with injuries in recent weeks. Flames captain Jarome Iginla (above), who already reached the 25-goal mark for the 12th consecutive season, has scored at least three points in each of Calgary's last two games. Flames forward Alex Tanguay enters on a seven-game points streak. 

PLAYER vs. PLAYER:  Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff  vs. Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne. This is expected to be Kiprusoff's 20th consecutive start and and he enters with a 13-2-3 record over his last 19 starts.  Rinne has entered the Vezina --- maybe even the Hart --- conversation. The Preds which are the fourth-lowest scoring team (2.45 goals per game) in the league are mostly in the playoff hunt because of Rinne, who is second amongst NHL goalies with 10 or more games in goals against (2.08) and save percentage (.929). The two played no bigger role in the season series than in their first meeting on Oct. 19 when they were prefect through regulation. 

KEY STAT: 491. That's Calgary defenseman Jay Bouwmeester consecutive game streak, the longest in the NHL. It began exactly seven years ago today.

Photo: Getty Images
 
 
 
 
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