Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Been There, Done That: Marty Gelinas Recalls Flames Worst Offensive Skid Ever

As frustrating as this current stretch is for the Calgary Flames – shut out twice in a row and in three of its last six games, this is nothing compared to November 2002.

In a tumultuous seven-game stretch from Nov. 7-21 -- under the guidance of head coach Greg Gilbert (who would be fired less than two weeks after), the Flames were shut out four times and scored one goal in the other three games. A meager output of three goals in seven games stands as the worst stretch of offensive futility this club has ever experienced. Current Flames assistant coach Marty Gelinas, as he not-so-fondly recalls, was on that team having just signed in the summer as a free agent.

(Take a insightful and nostalgic look back at the Flames history of being shut out in consecutive games -- or not being shut out at all for several seasons. Craig Button, Marc Savard, Bill Ranford, Valeri Bure and Miikka Kiprusoff are just some of the names that make an appearance.) 

“When you don’t score goals, you always question your ability,” said Gelinas after Monday’s practice. “But as you get older, there’s one thing that you’ve got to keep doing and that’s getting pucks at the net and crashing the net. It’s simple, it’s basic and if you do that, eventually the odds are on your side that you’re going to get a goal or two. It might not be a pretty goal, but it will be a goal.”

Sixty-Two Minutes From a Team Record

During that offensive skid 11 years ago, the latter set of back-to-back shutouts were both on home ice – a 1-0 loss to St. Louis and a 5-0 setback to Detroit. In total, the Flames went 186 minutes and 39 seconds at the Saddledome without scoring a goal. That is the team record.  Calgary will enter the New Year’s Eve game with Philadelphia having not scored at home in 125 minutes and 5 seconds.

“When you go through a stretch like this. You have to take some ownership on your shoulders as a player and say, ‘I’m going to be the guy that will put the team back on the right track,’” Gelinas said.

The goal that mercifully ended the drought of 2002 came from Czech defenceman Petr Buzek, one of only four goals he scored in two seasons with the Flames. The goal, which came against Tommy Salo and the Edmonton Oilers, was set up by Gelinas and Mathias Johansson.

“Now that was an odd guy to score a goal, wasn't it?” said Gelinas, with a laugh. “But it shows that it doesn’t matter where it comes from. You’ve just got to have everybody in that room wanting to be that guy that will be the difference.”

Many Flames Squeezing the Stick

There are several Flames that are mired in extended scoring funks. TJ Galiardi has no goals in his last 24 games, Joe Colborne has none in his last 15, David Jones hasn’t scored in his last 13. After four goals in the season’s first 10 games, Lee Stempniak has just two goals in his last 22 since returning from injury. The reliable Mike Cammalleri has just two goals in his last 12 and Matt Stajan has no goals in his last 7. Even rookie Sean Monahan has cooled off with no goals in his last six and having mustered just four shots during that span.

“I always said when things are tough, I don’t care how I score. If I have to take the goalie with me, I’ll take the goalie with me,” Gelinas said. “You have to find a way and that’s the nature of this game, you’ve got to find a way and we will.”

Gelinas says for a perfect example of what Calgary needs to get back to doing more of, they just need to look at video of the Edmonton game.

“Sometimes goals come easy but usually it takes determination and takes some kind of desire to get in front of the net and be willing to pay a price. You look at Ryan Smyth’s goal that he scored against us. It hit him in the crest. You have to be in that position to be able to score a goal. You have to be able to screen the goalies,” Gelinas said. “Those little details will eventually get you back on the right track. The work ethic is here, we work, but we have to work smarter and once the puck is there, you’ve got to have that burning desire to want to be the guy that will get the ball rolling.”

Power Play Misses Kris Russell

Gelinas spends much of his time working on the Flames power play. It’s only had three chances to score in these past two games so it’s not exactly the main culprit with the dried up offence but even so, he admits when they do get chances, they need to be better.

“We’ve got to create more on the power play which is a little tougher when you have a lot of pieces that you’re missing -- Glennie is missing, Russell is missing, so we’re putting in some pieces that have never played there. But you have to make it work,” said Gelinas.

In particular, Gelinas acknowledged what a pivotal role Kris Russell played with the man-advantage. Russell is out 4-6 weeks with a sprained knee.

“To me, he was our best defenceman on it,” said Gelinas. “I felt confident whenever he took the puck out from behind the net that we were going to get one. I love him as a player.”

Gelinas offered up an interesting comparable for Russell -- and by comparable, this does not mean they’re exactly similar, but more so have similar qualities.

“To me, I look at him, and I don’t want to put him in that category because he’s not quite there, but he’s a little like a Duncan Keith,” Gelinas said. “Speed-wise, smarts-wise, and defensively, he’s probably one of our best because he’s always got a good stick in a good position and he’s just a small guy.

“That tells you if you have speed, you’ve got hands, and you’re willing to learn the game and play the game the right way. Ijust  think he’s awesome. You wouldn’t know that he’s just a little guy because he’s got a lot of heart and he gives it all the time.”

Flames coach Bob Hartley said his team spent 95 percent of its practice on Monday working on drills around scoring goals. We'll see if it that extra focus pays off.

Calgary could certainly use a goal to kick start an offence that wasn’t shut out at all in the season’s first 33 games. If they don’t score and they’re shut out in regulation again, they’ll close within two minutes of eclipsing that record from November 2002 and making the worst type of history.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Flames History of Offensive Futility at Home

Calgary isn't in unprecedented territory quite yet. Being shut out twice in a row on home ice is something that has happened four times previously before the 2013-14 edition of the Flames completed the feat Sunday night with a 2-0 setback to the Vancouver Canucks.

However, having gone 125 minutes and five seconds since Mark Giordano's dramatic game-tying goal against the St. Louis Blues at 19:55 of the third period in Calgary's 4-3 shootout win on Dec. 23, they're certainly closing in on making some dubious team history.

Longest Stretch Without a Goal at the Dome

The record for offensive futility on home ice is 186 minutes and 39 seconds, a streak mercifully ended by Czech defenceman Petr Buzek on Nov. 21, 2002. As some longtime fans may remember, Buzek beat Edmonton Oilers goaltender Tommy Salo after being set-up on the play by Flames assistant coach Martin Gelinas. It was one of only four career goals for Buzek in his short tenure with the team.

If the Flames were to get shut out in regulation again by the Philadelphia Flyers on New Year's Eve, that would leave them less than two minutes shy of the record. Their chance at making history would then come against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday.

Most Recent Stretch of Two Home Games Without a Goal

Interestingly, this one has a Miikka Kiprusoff angle to it. On Nov. 4 and 7, 2003, Calgary suffered identical 3-0 losses to Detroit and Minnesota. It was nine days after the loss to the Wild that Coach and General Manager Darryl Sutter pulled the trigger on a trade with the San Jose Sharks that brought Kiprusoff to the Flames and ultimately rejuvenated and changed the course of the organization.

At the time of the deal, the Flames were in 14th place in the Western Conference, ahead of only the Columbus Blue Jackets. They ended up sixth to make the playoffs where they beat the Vancouver Canucks to get out of the first round for the first time since 1989, and then went three more rounds before ultimately losing in game seven of the Stanley Cup to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Also notable about that Nov. 7 loss to Minnesota - the last home game before the Kipper era began, was that it was a time when fan interest in the Flames had become dangerously low.

It seems like a long, long time ago given the Flames have been announcing sell-out crowds of 19,289 seemingly forever, but back on that Friday night against Minnesota when Dwayne Roloson shut out Jamie McLennan, the attendance at the Saddledome that night was just 13,839.

Last Time Shut Out Two Games in a Row - Home or Away

These last two games is the first time in five years that the team has gone two games in a row without scoring a goal. The last time the Flames were blanked in consecutive games was Mar. 25 and 29, 2009. Coached at the time by Mike Keenan, both of those games were on the road. A 2-0 loss in Pittsburgh was followed up by a 5-0 defeat in Columbus.

Worst Stretch of Offensive Futility Ever?

Talk about your 'dead puck' era. How about this for a horrible stretch for the Flames. I wouldn't blame long-time fans if they have erased this two weeks from their memory banks. These 15 days of ugliness featured a meager three goals in seven games. It happened during the 2002-03 season with Greg Gilbert as head coach -- although he would be fired 10 days later.

Nov. 7 - 1-0 loss (OT) at NYR
Nov. 9 - 3-0 loss at Fla
Nov. 11 - 2-1 loss at Atl
Nov. 14 - 2-1 loss vs NYR
Nov. 16 - 1-0 loss vs Stl
Nov. 19 - 5-0 loss vs Det
Nov. 21 - 3-1 loss vs Edm

Another historic footnote to this stretch is right in the middle -- on Nov. 15, sandwiched after the loss to the Rangers and prior to the loss to the Blues, Flames General Manager Craig Button traded disgruntled centre Marc Savard to Atlanta for Ruslan Zainullin. Who?  Exactly. Zainullin never surfaced in North America although he will be forever remembered because of this deal in which he was acquired for a player that would go on to score over 500 points for the Thrashers and then Boston Bruins before injuries forced him into early retirement.

Back When Home-Ice Shutouts Were Rare

There's been two shut outs in the span of three days for the Flames. Compare that with the high-scoring glory days for this team in the late 80s and early 90s when in one stretch, Calgary went four full seasons without being shut out on home ice.

After Bill Ranford and the Boston Bruins blanked the Flames on Oct. 26, 1986, Calgary scored at least one goal in 224 straight regular season games at the Saddledome before Dominic Roussel of the Philadelphia Flyers pitched a zero on Feb. 27, 1992.

Recap: Home Ice Futility Streaks

Here is a closer look at the five sets of consecutive shutouts that have happened at the Saddledome, how long the shutout streak was and other pertinent information. Never before have the Flames been blanked in three consecutive games (home or away).

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Season: 2013-14
Dates: Dec. 27 & 29, 2013
Coach: Bob Hartley
Scores: 2-0 loss to Edmonton, 2-0 loss to Vancouver
Last goal before: Mark Giordano at 19:55 of third of 4-3 shootout win over St. Louis on Dec. 23, 2013
Goal that ended it: TBD
Span: Currently at 125 minutes and 5 seconds

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Season: 2003-04
Dates: Nov. 4 & 7, 2003
Coach: Darryl Sutter
Scores: 3-0 loss to Detroit, 3-0 loss to Minnesota
Last goal before: Shean Donovan at 17:41 of third of 3-0 win over Columbus on Nov. 1, 2003
Goal that ended it: Steve Reinprecht at 14:20 of the first in 3-2 OT win over Toronto on Nov. 18, 2003
Span: 136 minutes and 39 seconds

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Season: 2002-03
Dates: Nov. 16 & 19, 2002
Coach: Greg Gilbert
Scores: 1-0 loss to St. Louis, 5-0 loss to Detroit
Last goal before: Jarome Iginla at 19:21 of first in 2-1 loss to New York Rangers on Nov. 14, 2002
Goal that ended it: Peter Buzek at 6:00 of the second of 3-1 loss to Edmonton on Nov. 21, 2002
Span: 186 minutes and 39 seconds
Notes: Gilbert was fired less than two weeks after these two games -- with Calgary on four game-losing streak and having lost 11 of 12 (see above note). He was replaced by Al MacNeil on an interim basis. Later that season, Darryl Sutter was hired.

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Season: 2001-02
Dates: Jan. 24 & 26, 2002
Coach: Greg Gilbert
Scores: 2-0 loss to Colorado, 2-0 loss to Vancouver
Last goal before: Dave Lowry at 12:22 of first in 6-1 loss to Toronto on Jan. 22, 2002
Goal that ended it: Marc Savard at 18:21 of first in 4-3 win over Detroit on Jan. 30, 2002
Span: 185 minutes and 59 seconds

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Season: 2000-01
Dates: Mar. 29 & 31, 2001
Coach: Greg Gilbert
Scores: 1-0 loss to Colorado, 2-0 loss to Dallas
Last goal before: Valeri Bure at 1:30 of the third in 3-0 win over Columbus on Mar. 27, 2001
Goal that ended it: Oleg Saprykin at 15:57 of first in 3-2 loss to Los Angeles on Apr. 7, 2001
Span: 154 and 27 seconds
Notes: Head coach Don Hay was fired in mid-March and was replaced by Greg Gilbert. Gilbert had been on the job for only eights games when these two blankings too place.



Thursday, December 26, 2013

Berra and Ramo are Finding Their Groove

After the Calgary Flames practice last Sunday, I had one-on-one conversations with both Karri Ramo and Reto Berra. It's been three months since the first exhibition game and I wanted to know how the adjustment has been going for the two 'older' goaltenders who had come from Europe. We talked about improvements they've made, what they're still working on, the upcoming Winter Olympics and other things.

Below is a link to the story I wrote for The Canadian Press that went on the wire on Wednesday. It appeared in the sports section of the print edition of Thursday's Calgary Herald.

> Dec. 25, 2013 - Berra and Ramo Starting to Fill Flames Goaltending Void

Meanwhile, here are some other random excerpts that I didn't have space to include but I thought were interesting:

Other Ramo Thoughts on the Finnish Olympic Team

I asked Ramo straight-up who he'd pick if he was selecting the three Finnish goaltenders and legitimately he passed on himself although more than anything, it was almost as if he didn't want to be the guy that had to explain why he passed on one of the big four. "If I was to pick, Rinne’s injured so he’s probably going to be out although I don’t know his situation, but then (Tuukka) Rask, (Antti) Niemi and (Kari) Lehtonen for sure. It doesn’t matter who you put in the net out of those three. It’s who has the best day," Ramo said. "Even if I’m really hot and they wanted to pick me, it would be hard for them to talk to the media and tell them that this guy isn’t going to be there".

Instead, Ramo says his priority is the Calgary Flames. "I’m only focusing on these games. Winning here is more important for me than thinking about the Olympic stuff."

Berra on His Relationship with Ramo

Berra noted he's never had one of those 'bad roomate' scenarios with his goalie partner. "I always have it good with my other goalies," he said. "I've never had a bad guy next to me and Karri’s really nice too." He described their relationship as a "really healthy competition" in which they both want to play but realize that it's the coaches decision so when they're not playing, they support the other. "We both want to play but we help each other out.  I’m not angry when he’s playing or anything like that. The coach makes the decisions and all we can do is give our best and whoever plays plays and that’s it. I really enjoy it and we have a really good relationship with (Flames goaltender coach) Clint Malarchuk also."

Ramo on Adjustments NHL Goalies Need to Make in Sochi

Of the eight goalies invited to the Finnish Olympic Orientation camp in late July, the one advantage I thought Ramo and Blackhawks goalie Antti Raanta might have over most of the others is that they most recently played on an international-sized ice surface having done so up until last season. One other invitee -- Petri Vehanen, is currently playing in the KHL.

However, Ramo says all the goalies have plenty of experience playing on the big rink so it will not be a big factor. "Even if it’s bigger ice, you can’t be so focused on that, you just have to adjust and get into the game," he said. "All rinks are different -- different ceilings, different marks on the boards, different colours, and that’s all stuff you have to adjust to over here."

Ramo did provide a couple tips for the Canadian and U.S. goalies. "It gives the players a little more time to make plays so for goalies, you have to be more patient. You can’t be as aggressive as you can be here because guys can just go around you because they have so much space."

Ramo also pointed out that the Finnish "camp" was more a dinner get-together for the same insurance concerns that kept Team Canada off the ice and resulted in Sidney Crosby and his teammates playing ball hockey.

Berra on Getting Into a New Season

Berra noted he feels he's come a long way since September and said it always takes him some time to settle into a new season. "Always, when you go into the season -- and after the whole summer. For me, at first I feel like shit. I don’t really feel comfortable. You have to practice hard and be focused every shot and then it always comes back over time."

Ramo on the Flames Improved Team Defence

It's something the fans, players, and the media repeatedly heard from Brent Sutter during his entire time in Calgary as head coach, good defence results in improved offence. "Since the start of the year, we’re more focused now on being ready to defend than focused on trying to score a goal,” Ramo said. “That’s also key for us to score a goal. When we’re playing good defence , we limit their chances and we’re going to get more chances. That’s been a big key in our goals against going down and us winning more games.”

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Looking Back on the Return to Calgary of 10 Longtime Flames Greats

Jarome Iginla's return to the Saddledome tonight for the first time since being traded by the Flames last March is being heralded as a really big deal -- and that's because it is. Having played 16 seasons and a franchise-high 1,219 games with Calgary, there has never been a more anticipated return of a former player than for the guy who was the face of the franchise for a decade and a half and is the club's all-time leader with 525 goals and 1,095 points.

Here is a look at how the return night went for 10 of the most notable, longest tenured former Flames players, who began their NHL career in Calgary, eventually left, and then made (or will soon be making) a return to the city and arena they once called home.

While it was a story line at the time, none of these return visits carried anywhere near the hype that Iginla's return has created. In fact, I had forgotten that defenceman Robyn Regehr -- second to Iginla in career games for the Flames, had yet to make a return visit to Calgary despite being traded three seasons ago.

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1. Jarome Iginla - 1,219 games with Flames

How He Left - Traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Ben Hanowski, Kenny Agostino and a 2013 1st round draft pick (Morgan Klimchuk).
Date He Left - Mar. 28, 2013
Date He Will Return - Dec. 10, 2013 (8 months, 13 days later)

How He Fared - TBD
Game Summary - TBD

Iginla Stat Line - TBD

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2. Robyn Regehr - 826 games with Flames

How He Left - Traded to the Buffalo Sabres with Ales Kotalik and a 2012 2nd round draft pick (Jake McCabe) in exchange for Chris Butler and Paul Byron. (Subsequently on Apr. 1, 2013, he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for two 2014 2nd round draft picks.)
Date He Left - June 25, 2011
Date He Will Return - Feb. 27, 2014 (2 years, 8 months, 2 days later)

How He Fared - TBD
Game Summary - TBD

Regehr Stat Line - TBD

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3. Al MacInnis - 803 games with Flames

How He Left - Traded to the St. Louis Blues with a 1997 4th round draft pick (Didier Tremblay) in exchange for Phil Housley, a 1996 2nd round draft pick (Steve Begin) and a 1997 2nd round draft pick (John Tripp).
Date He Left - July 4, 1994
Date He Returned - Jan. 24, 1995 (6 months, 20 days later)

How He Fared - 6-4 Loss
Game Summary - Early in the abbreviated season after the first NHL lockout was finally settled, St. Louis (2-1-0) and Calgary (2-0-1) met in a battle of unbeaten teams. Joe Nieuwendyk had a goal and two assists to lead the Flames to the victory. Phil Housley chipped in with three assists. German Titov had a a goal and an assist and Steve Chiasson had a pair of helpers. Trevor Kidd got the start for the Flames. Esa Tikkanen paced the offence for St. Louis with a goal and two assists. Al MacInnis and Bill Houlder each had one goal and one assist.

MacInnis Stat Line - 1 g, 1 a, minus-3, 5 shots, 0 PIM

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4. Theoren Fleury - 791 games with Flames

How He LeftTraded to the Colorado Avalanche with Chris Dingman in exchange for Rene Corbet, Wade Belak, Robyn Regehr and a 2002 2nd round draft pick (Jarret Stoll).
Date He Left - Feb. 28, 1999
Date He Returned - Apr. 15, 1999 (1 month, 15 days later)

How He Fared - 5-1 Loss
Game Summary - Colorado (43-27-10) was having a superb year but were not very good on this night as they were knocked off by Calgary (30-39-12) in this late season clash. The Flames got two goals from Clarke Wilm, three assists from Cory Stillman and one goal-one assist nights from Valeri Bure and Hnat Domenichelli. In net, Ken Wregget made 24 saves for the victory. The losing goaltender was Patrick Roy, beaten five times on 24 shots. The lone goal for the Avalanche came from Eric Messier.

Fleury Stat Line - 0 g, 0 a, minus-1, 3 shots, 4 PIM

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5. Joel Otto - 730 games with Flames

How He Left - Signed with the Philadelphia Flyers as a free agent.
Date He Left - July 21, 1995
Date He Returned - Dec. 29, 1995 (5 months, 8 days later)

How He Fared - 3-2 Win
Game Summary - This was a mismatch on paper but Calgary put up a good fight, only to lose by one. Joel Otto and Rod Brind'Amour each had two assists to help Philadelphia (22-11-5) to the victory. Pat Falloon, Eric Lindros and Mikael Renberg scored for the Flyers, who were backed by Ron Hextall's 25 saves. Dean Evason and James Patrick replied for Calgary (10-21-7). The Flames got 21 saves from Trevor Kidd.

Otto Stat Line - 0 g, 2 a, plus-1, 0 shots, 0 PIM

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6. Gary Suter - 617 games with Flames

How He Left - Traded to the Hartford Whalers with Paul Ranheim and Ted Drury in exchange for Michael Nylander, James Patrick and Zarley Zalapski. (Subsequently on Mar. 11, 1994, Hartfotd traded Suter, Randy Cunneyworth and a 1995 3rd round draft pick to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Frantisek Kucera and Jocelyn Lemieux.)
Date He Left - Mar. 10, 1994
Date He Returned - Feb. 3, 1995 (9 months, 24 days later)

How He Fared - 4-3 Win
Game Summary - Gary Suter along with fellow American defenceman Chris Chelios each had a goal and an assist to lead the way for Chicago (5-3-0), which had Jeff Hackett in net. Tony Amonte and Eric Weinrich also scored. Calgary (3-3-1) got two goals from German Titov and one from Theoren Fleury. Trevor Kidd had 27 saves for the Flames.

Suter Stat Line - 1 g, 1 a, plus-1, 2 shots, 0 PIM

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7. Jamie Macoun - 586 games with Flames

How He Left - Traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs with Doug Gilmour, Ric Nattress, Rick Wamsley and Kent Manderville in exchange for Craig Berube, Alexander Godynyuk, Gary Leeman, Michel Petit and Jeff Reese.
Date He Left - Jan. 2, 1992
Date He Returned - Mar. 5, 1992 (2 months, 3 days later)

How He Fared - 5-5 Tie
Game Summary - In a battle of sub .500 teams, the Leafs demonstrated who won the controversial deal. Doug Gilmour -- also in that same trade, led the way for Toronto (24-36-7) with a goal and two assists. Wendel Clark and Ric Nattress -- part of the deal as well, each had two assist nights for the visitors. Calgary (25-31-10) got a goal and an assist from Joe Nieuwendyk and two-assist games from Al MacInnis and Gary Roberts. Mike Vernon made 28 saves for Calgary. Rick Wamsley and Grant Fuhr split the Leafs goaltending duties.

Macoun Stat Line - 0 g, 0 a, plus-3, 0 shots, 0 PIM

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8. Gary Roberts - 585 games with Flames

How He Left - Traded to the Carolina Hurricanes with Trevor Kidd in exchange for Andrew Cassels and Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
Date He Left - Aug. 25, 1997
Date He Returned - Oct. 11, 1999 (2 years, 1 month, 16 days later)

How He Fared - 3-3 Tie
Game Summary - In an early season meeting, Sami Kapanen led Carolina (2-1-1) with a goal and two assists. Ron Francis had one goal and one assist and Bates Battaglia had two assists. David Tanabe had the other Hurricanes goal. Cory Stillman paced still winless Calgary (0-3-1) with a goal and an assist. Derek Morris and Clarke Wilm also scored. In net, Grant Fuhr for the Flames and Arturs Irbe each made 26 saves.

Roberts Stat Line - 0 g, 0 a, even, 2 shots, 0 PIM

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9. Joe Nieuwendyk - 577 games with Flames

How He Left - Traded to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Corey Millen and Jarome Iginla.
Date He Left - Dec. 19, 1995
Date He Returned - Jan. 26, 1996 (1 month, 7 days later)

How He Fared - 4-2 Win
Game Summary - In a battle of struggling teams, Dallas (14-23-10) got two goals and two assists from Mike Modano as the Stars scored three power play goals in the victory. Dave Gagner had a goal and two assists and Joe Nieuwendyk had a goal and an assist. Allan Bester made 27 saves for the win. Theoren Fleury had a goal an an assist to lead Calgary (17-23-9). Gary Roberts also scored for the Flames, who had Rick Tabaracci in net.

Nieuwendyk Stat Line - 1 g, 1 a, even, 3 shots, 0 PIM

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10. Mike Vernon - 467 games with Flames (at time of trade, 526 total including his second stint with Calgary)

How He Left - Traded to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Steve Chiasson. (Subsequently on Aug. 18, 1997,  Detroit traded Vernon to the San Jose Sharks with a 1999 5th round draft pick in exchange for a 1998 2nd round draft pick and a 1999 2nd round draft pick.)
Date He Left - June 29, 1994
Date He Returned (and started) - Dec. 1, 1997 (3 years, 2 months, 3 days later)

How He Fared - 3-2 Loss (overtime)
Game Summary - In a showdown between two dreadful teams, Jarome Iginla had a goal and an assist to lead Calgary (6-15-7) over San Jose (9-18-2). German Titov and Jamie Allison also scored for the Flames as Rick Tabaracci outduelled Mike Vernon between the pipes. Murray Craven had both goals for San Jose, Owen Nolan assisting on both of them.

Vernon Stat Line - 3 GA, 25 SV, 28 SA, 61:22 TOI