Hobbled Flames go out of playoffs the same way they came in

CALGARY — The battered Calgary Flames limped down the home stretch of the regular season and they hobbled out of the post-season Monday night in much the same way.

Chicago Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin shakes hands with Calgary Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff following in Calgary on Monday. The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Calgary Flames 4-1 to win the best of seven series.

CALGARY — The battered Calgary Flames limped down the home stretch of the regular season and they hobbled out of the post-season Monday night in much the same way.

The Flames were eliminated from their opening round Western Conference series with the Chicago Blackhawks, losing Game 6 4-1 in home ice.

Without defencemen Robyn Regehr (knee), Dion Phaneuf (broken ribs) and with Cory Sarich playing with a fractured foot, the Flames could not keep up with the young, exuberant, skilled Blackhawks team that finished just eight points back of the perennial Central division-winning Detroit Red Wings.

“Say what you want, these players tonight worked as hard as they could but two things happened, the attrition erodes your confidence a little bit and they’re smart, bright people. They know there’s a difference (missing your top players),” said Calgary coach Mike Keenan. “No disrespect to the players coming in but you’re talking about significant players in this league, not just this team.”

Although the separation between Calgary and Chicago during the regular season was a mere six points and they were even with 46 victories apiece, the playoff series proved another story.

While the injuries were piling up in the Flames training room, Chicago iced the same line-up for all six games with the exception of game three when Patrick Kane sat out with the flu.

“This was a close series and if we have Robyn Regehr in this series and Cory Sarich healthy — he played with a fractured foot, and now Phaneuf. That’s three top defencemen out. Take three, or even two of their top defenceman — take (Duncan) Keith and (Brent) Seabrook out, and it’s a different series,” Keenan said.

“Attrition is part of playoffs and it’s just unfortunate that we got very bad breaks in that we literally ended up with breaks.”

Also injured for Calgary was Daymond Langkow, who entered the playoffs nursing one bad hand that cost him nine games late in the season. Then, in game four, he took a shot off the other hand.

Rene Bourque’s health was also questionable after he missed game four after aggravating a sprained ankle that cost him the final 24 games of the regular season.

“It’s cliche to say there’s no excuses but sometimes there’s a reason,” said Keenan.

Not being able to see his club at its full potential goes down as Keenan’s biggest regret.

“It’s really disappointing because I thought we had a lot of positive growth with our players during the regular season. Then the final three weeks of the season, we really got decimated and the attrition grew as the playoffs went on in terms of healthy people,” he said.

In 19 seasons since hoisting its only Stanley Cup in 1989, Calgary has reached the second round only once — a run to the Stanley Cup final in 2004 when it lost to Tampa Bay in game seven.

The other 10 times they’ve reached the post-season, they haven’t got out of the first round including first round exits each of the past four seasons to Anaheim, Detroit, San Jose, and now the Blackhawks.

Just Posted

UPDATED: Officials tour Hwy 2/Gaetz Avenue interchange

Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman and local MLAs visit construction site

Bike thefts becoming ‘significant problem’ in Red Deer

Residents are sounding the alarm on the growing problem of bike theft… Continue reading

Red Deer approves 10 cannabis retail stores

Locations approved around the city

One trillion litres of sewage leaked into lakes and rivers over last five years

OTTAWA — Last Wednesday, a team of people from the Lake Ontario… Continue reading

Woman bitten at Red Deer dog park

Dog owners reminded to control their pets

WATCH: A horse was neglected by its owner. Now the horse is suing

ESTACADA, Ore. - Justice is an 8-year-old American quarter horse who used… Continue reading

Red Sox old-timer’s memorabilia going up for sale

BIDDEFORD, Maine — Some items belonging to one of the Boston Red… Continue reading

Rival Korea leaders to meet in Pyongyang in September

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — The rival Koreas announced Monday that North… Continue reading

Charlottesville anniversary: Peaceful protests, few arrests

WASHINGTON — Thousands of people wanting to send a message that racism… Continue reading

‘I believe music heals people’: 12-year-old records tribute for shooting victims

YARMOUTH, N.S. — Twelve-year-old Josh Cochrane of Yarmouth, N.S., watched the news… Continue reading

Fallen officers’ families gather with Justin Trudeau after tragedy

The prime minister laid flowers at the growing memorial to the four victims of Friday’s violence

Fallen officers’ families gather with prime minister after tragedy

FREDERICTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with families of fallen Fredericton… Continue reading

Liberals showcase benefits of billions spent on infrastructure projects

OTTAWA — Little more than a year before the next federal election,… Continue reading

Fredericton parade ‘a way to celebrate even in the midst of this grief’: mayor

FREDERICTON — Two days after four people were gunned down in a… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month