Sunday, January 04, 2015

My 10 Favourite Calgary Flames Stories from 2014

Another year is in the books and it was one of the better ones recently for the Calgary Flames, who amassed a 42-35-4 record for 88 points in the 81 games they played in 2014.

Here, in no particular order, are my 10 favourite stories that I wrote for the blog in particular, during 2014. This is a mixture of stories I enjoyed writing and stories you enjoyed reading with most falling into both categories. Most of these stories remain relevant today, or at least are interesting historic footnotes as we look back on them now.

If you missed any of them, now's your chance to catch up on your reading and why not, it's way too cold outside to do much of anything else.

So put the coffee pot on, or make yourself a mug of hot chocolate if that's more your thing, curl up on the couch with a blanket and your tablet and catch up on what you may have missed.

Thank you so much for reading and for either following along (and putting up with my drivel) on Twitter (@DarrenWHaynes) or on Facebook ( Here's to another year of compelling Calgary Flames hockey in 2015.

Just prior to the Olympic break, I sat down one-on-one with Sean Monahan to get his take on his first NHL season and hear not just about life on the ice but more so, how things are going off the ice. e.g. Strange fan requests, his billet situation, what's it's like to be recognized everywhere you go.

2. Penticton 2014: Josh Jooris Makes Impact in Debut (Sept. 13)

On the opening night of the Young Stars rookie tournament, unheralded Josh Jooris stood out, scoring two goals and an assist. He talked afterwards about playing with prospects six younger than him and how time was running out and he had to make the most of his chance this season.

The 20-year journey to the NHL for Derek Wills hasn't been easy. He's been rejected, left on the curb by Claude Julien, and in the early days -- with his Dad and Grandma paying his costs, he resorted to buying his own air time and creating his own play-by-play job. Meet Peter Maher's successor.

These are exciting times in Calgary and my message to all those long-suffering hockey fans is enjoy it, damn it. Sam Bennett, Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan make up the most exciting young forward trio the Flames have had in over 25 years so enjoy it!

The final two-thirds of the 2013-14 season was Mikael Backlund's breakout year. He was Calgary's No. 1 centre, averaged over 20 minutes per night in ice time and he scored at a 25-goal pace. For those credentials, I explain why the soon-to-be 26-year-old RFA was on track to get a $5M contract.

He came out of junior hockey with such acclaim. Yet after so much promise, what has happened to Sven Baertschi? I take a detailed look at seven things that have gone wrong for Sven over the past couple years that has resulted in him tumbling down the depth chart of Flames prospects. 

Calgary's season has been a lot of things but boring hasn't been one of them. A hot start was followed by a cold middle with what's to come next very much a mystery. Remember that in 2004, the Flames nearly missed the playoffs yet went to game seven of the Stanley Cup final. So you just never know.

Selecting a goaltender with pick No. 34 at the 2014 NHL Draft infuriated a lot of Flames fans. Why take a goalie so early? Well, I've done the homework and I will explain to you why it was the smart choice for Calgary at that point in the draft -- regardless of whether or not that pick pans out.

9. From A to Z: A Calgary Flames Draft Primer (Part 1 - June 8, Part 2 - June 14)

Alberta, Button, CBA, Drury, Erixon, Fletcher... it's my A-to-Z look at the Flames not-so-successful but still colourful draft history with some current stuff mixed in that will have you laughing, and sometimes crying. You're guaranteed to learn all sorts of interesting things you never knew before.

How soon we forget that over the final 34 games of the 2013-14 season -- nearly half the season, Calgary was a playoff team with a better record over that span than both the Blackhawks and Kings. Here are 12 things that need to (mostly) happen to repeat that and make the playoffs in 2014-15.


Recent Related Flames Reading
  • Early Spring in Calgary: Playoff Hockey Has Already Arrived - While fans debate whether or not Calgary will make the NHL post-season, Joe Colborne says for the Flames, the playoffs have essentially already begun. Bob Hartley, Curtis Glencross, David Jones and Lance Bouma also share thoughts on the difference it makes and fun you have when you're in contention.
  • Eight From 80 Feet: Gaudreau Top of his Draft Class and More - Among the topics tackled in the latest installment of my eight Flames thoughts is a look at how Johnny Gaudreau ranks in his draft class for goals, assists and points-per-game, a deep dive into Calgary's prowess with the goalie pulled and Jonas Hiller's first period struggles/third period heroics.
  • Entertaining, Compelling, Unexpected: Enjoying the Flames Season For What It Is - Calgary's season has been a lot of things but boring hasn't been one of them. A hot start has been followed by a cold middle with what's next very much a mystery. Keep in mind that in 2004, the Flames nearly missed the playoffs yet went to the game seven of the Stanley Cup final. So you just never know.
  • Bennett Happy With How His Recovery is Going - The Saddledome has turned out to be a pretty exciting workout facility for injured prospect Sam Bennett, who is recovering from shoulder surgery. He spoke about how his rehab is going, his timeline, the excitement around how the Flames are playing and the club's bright future.


  1. My favourite was

    1. Thank you David. That's a great recommendation also. In fact, I really loved that one. Contrasting the Flames line-up and Oilers line-up as the have-not's and the have's when it comes to the pedigree of the players (high draft picks versus late round or non-drafted) and in the context of an 80s John Hughes movie, it was very entertaining for me to write. Glad you enjoyed reading it. Cheers..