The 12 Flames of Christmas

Pat Steinberg
December 24 2016 10:05AM

I can't think of a better way to celebrate the holiday season than to take a beautiful Christmas song and use it as the motivation to write a whimsical, slightly lame article with a yuletide theme. But because I lack originality and yet also want to bring Christmas cheer, I present the 12 Flames of Christmas... a holiday wish-list for 12 members of your favourite team.

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DeBrincat and Makar and Vinnie—Oh My!

Curtis LeBlanc
December 24 2016 09:00AM


It's Christmas eve and rosters have been set for the only international tournament I care about. A welcomed break from the measured, defensive hockey of the modern NHL, the annual U-20 World Junior Championships is a hormone-fueled ice battle between teenagers fighting to improve their draft stock on the world stage and I personally can't wait.

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I Was Wrong, And How: Matthew Tkachuk

J.D. Burke
December 23 2016 03:00PM

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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski - USA TODAY Sports

The Canucks never had serious interest in taking Matthew Tkachuk with the fifth overall selection in last year's draft. It was a two-horse race between Pierre-Luc Dubois and Olli Juolevi. When all was said and done, fate forced their hand, and they plucked the Finnish blue liner with their first pick.

For some, that was an egregious misstep. Tkachuk's counting stats were in line with what we'd expect from a first overall selection and he'd played a starring role on the CHL's top line with the London Knights. What's not to like?

I counted myself among those less convinced, though. Whereas the final consolidated 2016 Draft rankings had Tkachuk as the fourth best player available, I had him tenth on my board. Tkachuk, taken sixth overall by the Calgary Flames, has six goals and is playing on the Flames first line. These are early returns in a small sample, but I think we're at a point where I have to take the proverbial 'L' on this one.

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Tyler Pitlick Done for the Year

baggedmilk
December 23 2016 10:12AM

Pitlick Stock

This morning, it was announced that Pitlick is done for the year with a torn ACL in his left knee. If Pitlick didn't have bad luck he would have no luck at all.

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Calgary's special teams are covering up some uninspired even strength play

Ryan Pike
December 23 2016 10:00AM

Back in mid-November, the Calgary Flames went back to basics. They began to play a tight-checking, road style of hockey even before Johnny Gaudreau was injured (but ironically really started to embrace that grinding style in the same game he broke a finger in on Nov. 15). That simplistic "box 'em out" style of play really helped them survive Gaudreau's absence.

When I looked at Calgary's underlying numbers since Nov. 15, two things jumped out at me:

  • Man, their special teams are a lot better than they were (in terms of on-ice results).
  • Holy cow, they're lucky their special teams are a lot better because they're not generating very much at all at even strength.

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