In this edition of Calgary Flames News & Rumors, Chris Tanev has now missed four straight playoff games with an undisclosed injury, and there has been little talk on when he may return. Meanwhile, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety (DoPS) announced on Monday that Milan Lucic will not be suspended after receiving a five-minute major for charging after delivering a hit to Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith.
In other news, despite the hatred in the Battle of Alberta, Matthew Tkachuk sent a heartwarming video to Oilers fan Ben Stelter this past week. Last, but certainly not least, the Stockton Heat’s relocation to Calgary for the 2022-23 season is now official.
Tanev Injury Status Remains Unknown
After missing Game 7 of their first round series vs. the Dallas Stars, Flames fans were hopeful that Tanev would be able to return for the beginning of the second round against the Oilers. Unfortunately, that has not been the case, as the 32-year-old has missed the opening three games of this current series due to an undisclosed injury.
If there is any silver lining here, it is that he has been participating in practices with his teammates. However, he has been known throughout his career to play through fairly significant injuries, so one would imagine that even if he is able to return he would be playing at far less than 100 percent. It is a very frustrating situation for both him and the team, as head coach Darryl Sutter could really use him to match-up against Connor McDavid right now.
Lucic Avoids Suspension
Late in the third period of Sunday’s 4-1 loss to the Oilers, Lucic received a game misconduct after appearing to run Smith into the boards. As bad as it looked originally, however, the replay told somewhat of a different tale. While the Flames forward certainly could have done more to prevent himself from making contact with the Edmonton netminder, it wasn’t malicious enough to warrant the five-minute major.
The NHL’s DoPS clearly agreed that it wasn’t as bad as originally thought, as it was announced on Monday afternoon that Lucic would not be fined nor suspended for the incident. The Flames winger also spoke with media on Monday, and let it be known that he did not intend to run into Smith. Nonetheless, many on the Oilers side weren’t happy with the incident, which should add even more excitement to Game 4 on Tuesday night.
Tkachuk Sends Well Wishes for Ben Stelter
Earlier this season, Oilers players were able to meet Ben Stelter, a five-year-old battling glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer. Since meeting the team, he has been to several games and is viewed by many as a good luck charm, as the Oilers rarely lose when he is in attendance. As you can imagine, his love for the Oilers means that he is not a fan of the Flames. He showed just that recently by playfully firing a nerf gun at a picture of Tkachuk. The Flames’ star forward got a good laugh from the video, and was quick to respond.
This is a great reminder that despite the rivalry between these two clubs and their fanbases, there are situations in life that far outweigh sports. Similar to what Tkachuk said, everyone is behind Ben and supporting him through his very courageous battle.
Heat Headed to Calgary
It had been rumored in recent weeks, and was confirmed on Tuesday, that the Flames’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate in the Stockton Heat will be relocating to Calgary for the 2022-23 season. Where in Calgary they will play has yet to be announced, but regardless, this is very beneficial for the organization as players being called up/sent down will not have to travel at all, and will quickly be available for either team whenever needed.
The Heat moved to Stockton in 2015-16 after relocating from Adirondack. They were one of the best teams in the AHL this season with a 45-16-7 record, and are currently in the second round of the playoffs after sweeping the Oilers’ affiliate Bakersfield Condors.
Up Next for the Flames
As mentioned previously, the Flames are preparing for Game 4 in Edmonton on Tuesday night. For the second straight series, they find themselves trailing 2-1, but have a chance to even things up on the road. If they are not able to do so, they will be on the verge of elimination in a year where many touted them as Stanley Cup contenders.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.