Top 5 Flames Locker-Room Stories This Season
There were some big moments in the Calgary Flames locker-room as well as on the ice this season. Here’s a list of five of the most entertaining stories this year.
The first few months of the 2022-23 NHL season have provided some interesting Calgary Flames locker-room moments, including another comical Darryl Sutter highlight reel that can't possibly be squeezed into this. There have been ups and downs, plenty of speculation and ultimately a team that's difficult to define.
Are the Calgary Flames any good? We'll find out in the second leg of the season with a game against the Vancouver Canucks to ring in the new year Saturday night.
These may not be the most popular stories of the season so far but they're the ones that stand out when I reflect on what we've seen from a human interest perspective.
Here's to a happy and prosperous 2023 for all Calgary Hockey Now readers!
5. The Huberdeau (and Weegar) Homecoming
This might rank higher if it didn't take place so far away. One of this year's most massive stories in the NHL was the summer blockbuster trade sending Matthew Tkachuk from the Calgary Flames to the Florida Panthers. The haul was huge, too, with Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar coming back. Plus the first-round pick and prospect Cole Schwindt, too.
It was an emotional lead-up to the game, especially for Huberdeau and Weeger. Tkachuk faced his former club for the first time but tried to shrug it off.
In the end, the Calgary Flames won it for their guys.
4. Sean Monahan's teary return to Calgary
In order for the Calgary Flames to land Nazem Kadri in free agency, they had to move Sean Monahan's big contract. The longtime Flames centre gave (almost literally) every part of his body trying to win with the Flames. His injury plagued seasons left him in unimaginable pain. You knew he was going to get a hero's welcome when the Montreal Canadiens came to town.
Sutter talked about how he was captain material.
Monahan teared up while thanking Calgary Flames fans.
And in the game itself, Monahan was a star — assisting on both goals in a 2-1 Habs victory.
3. Jacob Markstrom says he "sucks at hockey"
When a Vezina runner up says he sucks at hockey, the world takes notice. That's what happened after the Montreal game.
Thanks mostly to a poor decision that led to a goal seconds into the game, things spiralled for Markstrom.
He's much better lately, though.
2. Sutter's potty mouth creates total sh!tstorm around Huberdeau
The stories speak for themselves. Calgary Flames coach Darryl Sutter suggested Johnathan Huberdeau's absence in the first period of a Battle of Alberta clash was due to urgent bathroom needs.
The blunt comment was rumoured to have gone over badly in the locker-room, specifically with Huberdeau. That sparked talk of the relationship between the team's biggest name and the bench boss.
Huberdeau has vowed to be better repeatedly this season but certainly is coming around the past month.
1. Tkachuk You — Flames Fans Boo Matthew
The much anticipated return of Matthew Tkachuk was an incredible experience for anyone at the Saddledome. The fans both showed him all the love for his efforts over six years with the team that drafted him. But as soon as that video tribute and standing ovation ended, it was all boos. Every time Tkachuk touched the puck.
The Johnny Gaudreau Reunion in Columbus
Johnny Gaudreau broke the heart of nearly every Calgary Flames fan when he chose to join the Columbus Blue Jackets in free agency. Although his return to the Saddledome in January will be one of the most anticipated games of the year, the first clash against his former club was up there, too.
But as Gaudreau's quotes about it being "quiet" suggest, things didn't go well for the Flames. Sutter was livid with the effort after the players popped in on Gaudreau socially the day before.
Nazem Kadri's Toronto Return
There was a helluva hockey game in Toronto when the Flames battled in a high-scoring overtime loss. But the anticipation ahead of time was the focus of Nazem Kadri going back for the first time as a Stanley Cup champion.
There may be no greater joy than teammates chirping each other. For Nazem Kadri and Johnathan Huberdeau, the muffin talk was a treat early in the season.