The Calgary Flames are playing hockey again but won’t be back home for a game until Jan. 13 at the earliest. So far, the contest at the Saddledome against the Ottawa Senators has remained intact. But the road trip ahead is a long and challenging one. Meanwhile, COVID-19 continues to play havoc with the league’s rosters and schedule.
After their game with the Chicago Blackhawks, the Flames visit the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Carolina Hurricanes. Those are some of the Eastern Conference’s elite teams.
“If I’m just looking at teams, Florida and Tampa are probably the best two teams other than Washington in the east,” said Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter. “We’ve got our hands full there, then go to Carolina. It’s not easy.”
Neither is the uncertainty of when they’ll return home for a game. As of now, the Jan. 13 game against the Ottawa Senators remains on the schedule, but Flames d-man Erik Gudbranson says the team is prepared for whatever comes.
“We’re prepared for it. We’re going to pack a little heavier,” he said, also weighing in on the quality of competition they know they’ll be up against over the next week.
“They’re very good teams. They’re teams that are dominating the east. It’s an exciting challenge for us. This is going to put our team to the test.”
NHL News & National Hockey Now
Sportsnet: Sportsnet is tracking the league’s COVID cases and postponed games and more than 110 players, coaches and staff members are on the COVID list. Calgary Flames winger Brett Ritchie is among them. The NHL and the players want to play an 82-game schedule, but it won’t help them if the league’s revenue isn’t what it should be.
Pittsburgh: The Calgary Flames shouldn’t be overly confident just because Omicron ripped through pretty much the entire roster. Once they start testing again, more positives are possible. Penguins forward Jeff Carter is on the COVID-19 protocol list for a second time. Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser has also had COVID twice.
Detroit: The Red Wings’ Top 10 Moments of 2021 starts with the arrival of super rookies Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond.
Boston: The Bruins have a date for the retirement of Willie O’Ree’s No. 22. It will be Jan. 18 during a game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Also, the Bruins are shaking up the forward lines as we start the new year. Their next game is against the Buffalo Sabres
Florida: No matter who is playing or missing, it’s still a big win when the Panthers beat Tampa Bay.
New York: Hockey Now’s Stefan Rosner says Adam Pelech is the Islander to watch against the Oilers.
San Jose: This was a parents’ worst nightmare: Former Shark Patrick Marleau’s son was almost kidnapped during a family vacation.
Vancouver: Rob Simpson explains how important it is for the Canucks to take down the Kraken.
Toronto: As COVID-19 only continues to get worse, several Canadian teams have reduced the number of fans in attendance. The Toronto Maple Leafs are not expected to have fans for the next three weeks.
Vegas: The Golden Knights rang in the new year with a key win over the Anaheim Ducks.