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

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.

Just Posted

Growing drug-fuelled emergencies at Red Deer’s Buffalo transitional housing complex

City council approves two additional mental health staffers at complex

Climate change, receding glaciers increase landslide risk on B.C.’s Mount Meager

VANCOUVER — Climate change is causing glaciers atop Mount Meager in British… Continue reading

China, US discuss plans for trade talks

BEIJING — China’s economy czar and U.S. trade envoys discussed plans for… Continue reading

‘We’re going to have a deal very soon’: Staff briefed on possible ServiCom buyer

SYDNEY, N.S. — The sudden closure of a Cape Breton call centre… Continue reading

Equalization protests from Alberta likely pre-election talk: Quebec minister

OTTAWA — Quebec’s finance minister brushed off complaints from Alberta on Monday… Continue reading

Sebastian Giovinco, Jonathan Osorio and Adriana Leon up for top CONCACAF awards

Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco and Jonathan Osorio are up for CONCACAF male… Continue reading

Huitema, Cornelius named 2018 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

TORONTO — Canada Soccer has named striker Jordyn Huitema and defender Derek… Continue reading

Review: Too much Spider-Man? Not in the Spider-Verse

You might be forgiven for feeling superhero overload this holiday season. Had… Continue reading

‘Modern Family’s’ Sarah Hyland had second kidney transplant

LOS ANGELES — “Modern Family” star Sarah Hyland says she had a… Continue reading

Orlando SC acquires Canadian Tesho Akindele in trade with FC Dallas for cash

ORLANDO, Fla. — Canadian forward Tesho Akindele was traded to Orlando City… Continue reading

Koskinen notches third shutout, McDavid gets winner as Oilers blank Flames 1-0

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers appear to have shored up their defence… Continue reading

Beyonce performs at pre-wedding party in India

Beyonce brought her star power to a pre-wedding party for the daughter… Continue reading

Kirk Douglas celebrates 102nd birthday

LOS ANGELES — Actor Kirk Douglas got to celebrate his 102nd birthday… Continue reading

Most Read