Flames’ season reduced to steam, ashes

Change is coming on a Calgary Flames team built to go deep into the playoffs, but didn’t.

Chicago Blackhawks’ Brian Campbell

Chicago Blackhawks’ Brian Campbell

CALGARY — Change is coming on a Calgary Flames team built to go deep into the playoffs, but didn’t.

Head coach Mike Keenan has one year remaining on a three-year contract with the club. His future with the team is unclear because more was expected of a club that spent right up to the US$56.7 million salary cap to create a Stanley Cup contender, yet exited in the first round for the fourth straight year.

“You know changes are forthcoming,” captain Jarome Iginla said following Monday’s 4-1 loss to Chicago in Game 6.

“It’s always tough to take at the end of the year when you don’t win your last game and you don’t move on from the first round.

“I’m not sure what their plan is but as players here, we know we were given every opportunity and we didn’t get it done.”

The Flames will clean out their lockers and conduct season-ending medical testing Wednesday.

The main argument against a Keenan dismissal was he had no control over a rash of injuries that began in February, when they were leading the Northwest Division, and continued into the playoffs.

Defenceman Mark Giordano underwent season-ending shoulder surgery Feb. 23.

Winger Rene Bourque suffered a high ankle sprain Feb. 19 that both sidelined him for the last 24 games of the regular season and limited his effectiveness in the playoffs.

Second-line centre Daymond Langkow missed 10 games with an injured left hand suffered Feb. 17.

He took a slapshot off his right hand in the fourth game of the playoffs and couldn’t shoot the puck.

Those injuries in February contributed to the erosion of what had been a 13-point cushion at the top of the division in January.

That drop ultimately cost Calgary home-ice advantage for the playoffs.

The Flames’ top three defencemen were either missing or injured in the post-season, which severely compromised their ability to hold back the speedy Blackhawks.

Robyn Regehr (knee) did not appear.

Dion Phaneuf played his usual big minutes, but wasn’t fully functional because he played with broken ribs and was scratched from the lineup Monday after a hard check in Game 6. Cory Sarich played on a fractured foot.

But Iginla said during the season this was the deepest the Flames had ever been during his 11-year tenure.

The depth Calgary paid so much money for to cover off shortfalls down the stretch and into the playoffs did not show itself in the playoffs, particularly on offence.

Mike Cammalleri was acquired from Los Angeles last year at the draft to draw pressure away from Iginla. He had a career-best 39 goals during the regular season, but just one in six playoff games.

Cammalleri also scored a team-leading 19 power-play goals during the regular season, but had none in the playoffs. Calgary went 2-for-18 on the power play.

“It feels like a lot of hard work through a season can end pretty quick,” Cammalleri said after the game. “It’s definitely a lesson to be learned. I just wish we were still playing, that’s for sure.”

Centre Olli Jokinen ran hot and cold after the Flames acquired the Finn at the March 3 trade deadline to be their first-line centre alongside Iginla. He scored eight goals in his first six games as a Flame, but didn’t score again until Game 4 of the playoffs.

The 30-year-old played in the post-season for the first time in his career with Calgary. Jokinen was impact player in Games 3 and 4, with two goals and an assist in the latter, but didn’t produce in any other post-season game.

“This is going to be the longest summer ever,” Jokinen said.

He has one year remaining on a contract that will pay him $5.25 million next season.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Alberta vaccine rollout expanding to front-line health-care workers

More than 240,000 eligible health-care workers can begin booking vaccine appointments starting… Continue reading

File photo
The Red Deer Rebels will have three new assistant coaches when the WHL regular season starts on Friday. Brad Flynn (left), will be on the bench alongside fellow assistant Ryan Colville (right) head coach Brent Sutter (middle). (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Sutter steps down as Red Deer Rebels head coach

Red Deer Rebels Owner, GM and head coach Brent Sutter has stepped… Continue reading

Premier Jason Kenney announced $200 million more money that will benefit seniors living in continuing care on Wednesday. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta’s in-school rapid screening test program expanding

Alberta’s in-school rapid screening test program will expand to as many as… Continue reading

Parents and students learned Tuesday what the coming school year will look like. It's pretty much back to business as usual, said Education Minister Adriana LaGrange. School precautions include frequent cleaning, keeping students in the same groups where possible, planning the school day to allow for physical distancing and staying home when sick. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta’s largest school board says no to United Conservative draft school curriculum

CALGARY — Alberta’s largest school board says it will not use the… Continue reading

Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan is among those who have signed an open letter criticizing the government’s return to stricter health measures. (Advocate file photo).
Updated: Kenney tells UCP caucus COVID-19 dissent OK, breaking health rules means expulsion

15 MLAs released letter on Wednesday critical of new health restrictions

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau watches a speaker appear by videoconference during a news conference in Ottawa, Friday, April 9, 2021. Grassroots Liberals have overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution calling on the federal government to develop and implement a universal basic income — despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's apparent lack of enthusiasm for the idea. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau winds up Liberal convention with election campaign-style speech

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau wound up a three-day Liberal convention Saturday with… Continue reading

Team Canada skip Brendan Bottcher makes a shot against Italy at the Men's World Curling Championships in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, April 6, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Men’s world curling championship in Calgary in COVID limbo

CALGARY — The men’s world curling championship in Calgary remained suspended Saturday… Continue reading

Pipes intended for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline are shown in Gascoyne, N.D. on Wednesday April 22, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta
Non-profit Quebec law centre to aid environmental group targeted by Alberta oil firm

QUEBEC — The Quebec Environmental Law Centre is coming to the aid… Continue reading

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservatives cite empathy, relationships as ways to help expand their movement

OTTAWA — Conservatives should show empathy with Black residents who say they’ve… Continue reading

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. New Democrats are reconvening for the second day of a three-day policy convention as they look to push past the glitches of the virtual event's opening sessions and rally around keynote speaker John Horgan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
New Democrats reconvene as hiccups, frustrations plague national policy convention

OTTAWA — New Democrats reconvened Saturday for the second day of a… Continue reading

FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 23, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a joint statement with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Former President Donald Trump plans to affirm his commitment to the Republican Party — and raise the possibility that someone else will be the GOP's next presidential nominee — in a closed-door speech to donors Saturday night, April 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
Trump in 2024? He says only that ‘a Republican’ will win

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Former President Donald Trump plans to affirm his… Continue reading

A cruise ship sits docked waiting for passengers to be evacuated in Kingstown, on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent, Friday, April 9, 2021 due to the eruption of La Soufriere volcano. (AP Photo/Orvil Samuel)
Ash-covered St. Vincent braces for more volcanic eruptions

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — People who ignored an initial warning to evacuate… Continue reading

Owner of 4 Point Taekwondo Kevin Mejia holds a board as organizer and martial artist Kevin Olsen breaks it in Edmonton on Friday, April 9, 2021. One hundred martial artists from around the world, will be breaking a board for an event called "Break for a Breakthrough." The idea is for martial artists to unite and re-engage with the arts because they may have drifted away or lost enthusiasm as a result of the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Break for a Breakthrough: Canadian hosts international martial arts demonstration

EDMONTON — Whether he’s breaking a wooden board, a clay tile, cement… Continue reading

Most Read