What a week in the NHL. The Vadim Shipachyov saga has finally concluded with his repayment of his $2M signing bonus and a “voluntary” retirement from the NHL. His frustration and apparent feud with the Vegas Golden Knights is unlikely to blow over just yet, however. After returning to Russia, Shipachyov sounded off about how any Russian players should think ten times about leaving the KHL for the NHL in the future. Could this mark the return of the Russian Factor to the draft? Elsewhere, Jason Zucker has emerged as the unexpected saviour for the Minnesota Wild, scoring a hat trick and seven points in four games last week. The Washington Capitals seem to be returning to form which should be interesting for a struggling metropolitan division; they could challenge for their third straight Presidents’ Trophy. Jordan Eberle scored a goal in his first game against the Edmonton Oilers since being traded in the offseason. The biggest, and most unlikely headline though, is that the Golden Knights seem to be regressing to what we all expected them to be at the start of the year. This could be the week that sees them take a tumble down the standings. Last week was capped with the league-wide honouring of troops who serve and veterans who served their nations. We salute you and thank you for your service. Lest we forget.
Calgary Flames Recap
The Flames played just two games last week and split their contests 1-1. The ice was tilted in both matches, with the Flames dominating the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday and getting outplayed by the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. Because hockey is weird and unpredictable, they ended up winning against Detroit and losing to Vancouver. The Flames finally received some secondary scoring in latter game, with Mark Jankowski scoring his first NHL goal off a feed from Jaromir Jagr. Jankowski’s goal marked the 20th first career goal that Jagr has assisted on in his illustrious career. His first such assist was on the first goal of the now retired Martin Straka all the way back in 1993. Jankowski wasn’t even born yet. Jagr also scored his first goal as a Flame off a beautiful feed from Johnny Gaudreau on a 2-1 rush. It was beautiful.
In other news, Flames goaltending prospect Tyler Parsons is now engaged, and he proposed in the best way possible.
Games to Watch
Three games you should tune into because they will be fun and interesting. Take our word for it.
1. Calgary Flames at Philadelphia Flyers: November 18, 2017
Johnny Gaudreau faces his hometown Flyers. Gaudreau has returned as one of the best offensive players in the league and will undoubtedly be subject to Johnny to Philly rumours. It should be fun watching him go to work in this one.
2. Chicago Blackhawks at Pittsburgh Penguins: November 18, 2017
Remember that 10-1 spanking the Pens faced back in October?
3. Dallas Stars at Tampa Bay Lightning: November 16, 2017
With how unbelievably good the Lightning have been this year, it seems like one of their games is featured here every week. With the offensively laden Stars coming to town, this has all the makings for a high scoring tilt.
Players to Watch
Three players to keep an eye out for this week.
1. Johnny Gaudreau
Gaudreau remains one of the most exciting and dynamic players in the league. Currently fourth in overall scoring, Johnny Hockey is proving to be an elite NHL talent.
2. Connor McDavid
McDavid and the Oilers have started to heat up with two overtime wins last week. Watch for McDavid to continue to roll and start piling up the points.
3. Blake Wheeler
Wheeler has been filling the score sheet lately and is third in overall league scoring. With 15 points in his last seven games, he’s entered the Art Ross conversation.
Calgary Flames Preview
The Flames face the St. Louis Blues tonight at the Saddledome. They have won five of six over their season long home stand, and look to cap off this stretch with a win against the top team in the Western Conference. The Blues are not an easy out, and beat the Flames 5-2 on October 25th. The Flames will welcome Travis Hamonic back to the lineup, so expect to see Rasmus Andersson reassigned to Stockton later today. Hopefully the third line of Sam Bennett, Jankowski, and Jagr can continue to produce. The Flames then head out on the road to being a six game stretch away from the ‘Dome. Their first game is in Detroit on Wednesday, and second in Philadelphia on Saturday. The Flames are lucky to have had their games spaced out fairly well to begin the season and have used Mike Smith in net almost exclusively. As the schedule wackiness starts to factor in, Eddie Lack will need to make more starts, possibly as early as next week. Hopefully the Flames can build on their momentum from a successful home stand and keep improving on the road.