2008–09 Calgary Flames season

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2008–09 Calgary Flames
Division 2nd Northwest
Conference 5th Western
2008–09 record 46–30–6
Home record 27–10–4
Road record 19–20–2
Goals for 254
Goals against 248
Team information
General Manager Darryl Sutter
Coach Mike Keenan
Captain Jarome Iginla
Alternate captains Dion Phaneuf
Robyn Regehr
Arena Pengrowth Saddledome
Average attendance 19,289
Team leaders
Goals Mike Cammalleri (39)
Assists Jarome Iginla (54)
Points Jarome Iginla (89)
Penalties in minutes Cory Sarich (112)
Plus/minus Craig Conroy (+20)
Wins Miika Kiprusoff (45)
Goals against average Mikka Kiprusoff (2.84)
<2007–08 2009–10>

The 2008–09 Calgary Flames season was the 29th season for the Calgary Flames, and the 37th for the Flames franchise in the National Hockey League (NHL). The Flames finished second in the Northwest Division, and qualified for the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs as the fifth seed in the Western Conference, their fifth consecutive appearance in the post season. Their season ended when they were defeated by the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference quarter-finals.

The year began with the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, which saw the Flames select forward Greg Nemisz with their first round selection. The Flames made several trades during the draft, acquiring forward Mike Cammalleri from the Los Angeles Kings as part of a three way trade that saw Calgary deal the 17th overall pick to the Anaheim Ducks. They then sent Alex Tanguay to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for the 25th overall pick, with each team adding lower round picks to the deal. The Flames signed forward Todd Bertuzzi during the off-season, a move that generated controversy amongst a fan base with which he had been previously unpopular. Calgary was also active at the trade deadline, making three deals, including a significant trade to add Olli Jokinen from the Phoenix Coyotes.

Jarome Iginla surpassed Theoren Fleury's franchise record of 830 points during the season, scoring his 831st point on the same night he recorded his 400th goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning as part of his second career five point game. Iginla also scored his 400th career assist during the season, and scored his first all-star goal in his fifth appearance at the 2009 All-Star Game in Montreal. Eight players made their NHL debuts with the Flames in 2008–09.

Regular season[edit]

The Flames began the season with five games against divisional opposition. Despite holding leads in four of those games, Calgary won only one game, lost three in regulation, and a fourth in overtime.[1] Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff became the focus of the team's early struggles, as his play was argued to be a major cause of the Flames' inability to hold a lead.[2] Calgary rebounded with a six-game winning streak, during which Kiprusoff allowed only nine goals on 152 shots.[3] The team again struggled to win games at the start of November, losing five games in seven, including a pair of 6–1 losses to the Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks that led head coach Mike Keenan to cancel a planned mini-vacation for the players.[4] The cancellation appeared to be a turning point in the season, as the Flames recorded a mark of 15–4–3 following the loss, including a dominating 5–2 victory over the Sharks at home.[5] The Flames again beat the Sharks, 3–2 in San Jose, on January 15, to end the Sharks streak of 31 games without a home loss in regulation.[6]

Darryl Sutter presents Jarome Iginla with a silver stick in honour of his becoming the Flames all-time scoring leader.

Rookie Brett Sutter became the 8th member of the Sutter family to play in the NHL on December 23 when he made his debut against the Anaheim Ducks. The son of general manager Darryl Sutter, Brett scored a goal in his first game to help the Flames enter the Christmas break with a one point lead on the Vancouver Canucks in the Northwest Division.[7] Calgary expanded on that lead to five points after both Jarome Iginla and Mike Cammalleri posted career-high five point nights in a 6–4 win over the Edmonton Oilers on New Year's Eve.[8]

The Flames lost one of their original owners early in the new year as Daryl "Doc" Seaman died January 11, 2009. Seaman had been one of the original group of six owners who brought the team to Calgary in 1980 and remained with the ownership group until his death.[9]

Iginla reached numerous personal milestones throughout the season. He recorded his 400th career assist in an early season game against Colorado.[10] He represented the Flames at the 2009 All-Star Game, his fifth appearance, and recorded his first All-Star goal.[11] On March 1, Iginla surpassed Theoren Fleury's franchise record of 830 career points as part of another five point night against Tampa Bay, a game where he also scored his 400th career goal.[12]

Injuries became a serious concern for the Flames entering March, as Mark Giordano (shoulder surgery), Rene Bourque (high ankle sprain), Todd Bertuzzi (knee surgery), Brandon Prust (concussion) and Daymond Langkow (hand) were all on injured reserve to start the month.[13] Looking to improve the team, Sutter completed two significant deals at the March 4 trade deadline, acquiring defenceman Jordan Leopold from the Colorado Avalanche and centre Olli Jokinen from the Phoenix Coyotes.[14] The deals paid immediate dividends, as Jokinen scored twice and Leopold once in a 5–1 victory the next night against the Philadelphia Flyers allowing the Northwest Division leading Flames to move ten points ahead of the second place Canucks.[15]

The Tim Hortons Brier took over the Saddledome in early March, forcing the Flames on a season long, seven-game road trip, during which the team struggled to a 3–4 record that saw them suffer lopsided losses to the Carolina Hurricanes, Atlanta Thrashers and Toronto Maple Leafs; the Flames surrendered 27 goals in the final five games of the trip. Consequently, the Flames saw their lead for the division shrink to five points barely a week after the victory in Philadelphia.[16] Calgary's lead fell to one point following consecutive shutout losses to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets in late March.[17] The Flames and Canucks ended the season in a battle for top spot, as both teams repeatedly took over the division lead heading into the final week of play.[18]

Flames in action against San Jose

Injuries continued to batter the Flames towards the end of the regular season, as defencemen Robyn Regehr (MCL) and Cory Sarich (broken foot) were both lost in early April.[19] The injuries led the Flames to call up rookies Matt Pelech and John Negrin, the latter of whom had just finished his junior season and had never played a professional game, to make their NHL debuts against the Minnesota Wild.[20] The Flames were forced to play their final games of the regular season with as few as 15 skaters, below the normal 18, as the team lacked available salary cap space to call up replacements without sending other players down to their minor league affiliate in Quad City.[21]

Calgary's late season collapse ended with Vancouver winning the Northwest Division in the final weekend of the regular season following consecutive victories by the Canucks over the Flames, Los Angeles Kings and Colorado Avalanche while the Flames lost against Vancouver and Edmonton.[22] As a result, the Flames finished the regular season second in the Northwest Division, and fifth in the Western Conference.

The Flames finished the regular season having allowed the most shorthanded goals in the League, with 15.[23]

Divisional standings[edit]

Northwest Division
GP W L OTL GF GA Pts
1 y – Vancouver Canucks 82 45 27 10 246 220 100
2 Calgary Flames 82 46 30 6 254 248 98
3 Minnesota Wild 82 40 33 9 219 200 89
4 Edmonton Oilers 82 38 35 9 234 248 85
5 Colorado Avalanche 82 32 45 5 199 257 69

Conference standings[edit]

Western Conference
R Div GP W L OTL GF GA Pts
1 p – San Jose Sharks PA 82 53 18 11 257 204 117
2 y – Detroit Red Wings CE 82 51 21 10 295 244 112
3 y – Vancouver Canucks NW 82 45 27 10 246 220 100
4 Chicago Blackhawks CE 82 46 24 12 264 216 104
5 Calgary Flames NW 82 46 30 6 254 248 98
6 St. Louis Blues CE 82 41 31 10 233 233 92
7 Columbus Blue Jackets CE 82 41 31 10 226 230 92
8 Anaheim Ducks PA 82 42 33 7 245 238 91
8.5
9 Minnesota Wild NW 82 40 33 9 219 200 89
10 Nashville Predators CE 82 40 34 8 213 233 88
11 Edmonton Oilers NW 82 38 35 9 234 248 85
12 Dallas Stars PA 82 36 35 11 230 257 83
13 Phoenix Coyotes PA 82 36 39 7 208 252 79
14 Los Angeles Kings PA 82 34 37 11 207 234 79
15 Colorado Avalanche NW 82 32 45 5 199 257 69

bold - qualified for playoffs, y – division winner, pPresidents' Trophy winner
CE - Central Division, NW - Northwest Division, PA - Pacific Division


Schedule and results[edit]

2008–09 Game log

Legend:       Win (2 points)       Loss (0 points)       Overtime/shootout loss (1 point)

Playoffs[edit]

The C of Red prior to game 3 against Chicago

The Flames qualified for the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs as the fifth seed in the Western Conference, and faced the fourth seeded Chicago Blackhawks in the first round. The two teams met four times in the regular season, all of which resulted in Chicago victories.[24] It was the fourth time the two teams met in the playoffs. Calgary defeated Chicago in 1981 and 1989, while Chicago prevailed in 1996.[25]

The Western Conference quarter-final series opened in Chicago; the first Blackhawk playoff games in seven years.[26] The Flames dropped the first two games, each by identical 3–2 scores. In both games, they played strong to start the games, earning 1–0 and 2–0 leads respectively before conceding the advantage.[27] The Flames lost the first game after just 12 seconds of overtime.[26] An angry Flames team returned to Calgary for games three and four, promising to improve their play.[27] They won game three, 4–2, on the strength of Kiprusoff's 36-save performance in goal.[28] The first three games of the series were physically intense and occasionally violent, prompting the league to warn both teams to tone down both the verbal attacks they were exchanging as well as to remain within the rules when engaging in scrums after the play ended.[29] TSN commentator Pierre McGuire, stationed between each team's benches, insisted that Iginla in particular had taken more verbal abuse than he had ever seen.[30] A "fired up" Iginla responded with two goals and an assist in game four as the Flames tied the series with a 6–4 victory.[31]

The series against the Hawks was a physical affair

Iginla and the Flames were unable to maintain their momentum when the series returned to Chicago for game five. Iginla recorded only one shot, while Miikka Kiprusoff was pulled early in the second period as the Blackhawks easily won the game 5–1.[32] Forward Andre Roy missed the fifth game after being suspended and fined $2,500 after he initiated contact with Chicago's Aaron Johnson during the warm-up prior to game four.[33] The Flames' season came to an end in the sixth game as Nikolai Khabibulin's 43-save performance led the Hawks to a 4–1 win over the Flames. It was the first time Chicago had won a playoff series since they last defeated the Flames in 1996.[34]

The Flames revealed the true extent of their injury situation following the loss, noting that Dion Phaneuf, who missed game six, was playing with broken ribs, while Cory Sarich was playing on a fractured ankle. With Rhett Warrener, Mark Giordano and Robyn Regehr all sidelined for the entire series, the Flames had five defencemen either out or playing hurt the entire series. In addition, Craig Conroy, Rene Bourque and Daymond Langkow were all playing despite various ailments.[35] In spite of the Flames' injury situation, the team's fourth consecutive first round defeat led to new demands that head coach Mike Keenan be replaced as the team's head coach.[36] Keenan was fired on May 22.[37]

2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Player statistics[edit]

Skaters[edit]

Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games played in; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; PIM = Penalty minutes; +/- = Plus/minus; PPG = Power-play goals; SHG = Short-handed goals; GWG = Game-winning goals 

Goaltenders[edit]

Note:  Min, TOI = Minutes played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T,T/OT = Ties; OTL = Overtime losses; GA = Goals-against; GAA = Goals-against average; SO = Shutouts; SA = Shots against; SV = Shots saved; SV% = Save percentage;

Regular season
Player GP Min W L OTL GA GAA SA SV Sv% SO
Kiprusoff, MiikkaMiikka Kiprusoff 76 4417 45 24 5 209 2.84 2155 1946 .903 4
McElhinney, CurtisCurtis McElhinney 14 517 1 6 1 31 3.59 280 249 .889 0
Playoffs
Player GP Min W L GA GAA SA SV Sv% SO
Kiprusoff, MiikkaMiikka Kiprusoff 6 323 2 4 19 3.52 164 145 .884 0
McElhinney, CurtisCurtis McElhinney 1 33 0 0 1 1.78 10 9 .900 0

Denotes player spent time with another team before joining Flames. Stats reflect time with the Flames only.
Traded mid-season
Bold/italics denotes franchise record

Awards and records[edit]

Brett Sutter became the eighth member of the Sutter family to play in the NHL when he made his debut on December 23.

Several players made their NHL debuts with the Flames in 2008–09. Adam Pardy began the season with the Flames, while Warren Peters, Brett Sutter, David Van der Gulik, Kris Chucko, John Negrin and Matt Pelech were each recalled from the Quad City Flames during the season. The latter two made their debuts on the same night, April 3, after the Flames lost three defencemen in previous games.[38] 2007 first round pick Mikael Backlund played one game with the Flames after leaving his Swedish team before being sent to the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League.[39]

NHL awards
Player Award
Jarome Iginla First Star of the Week (October 20–26) [40]
Jarome Iginla Second Star of the Week (Feb. 23–Mar. 1) [41]
Olli Jokinen Second Star of the Week (March 9–15) [42]
Jarome Iginla First Team All-Star [43]
Jarome Iginla Mark Messier Leadership Award [44]
Team awards
Miikka Kiprusoff Molson Cup [45]
David Moss Ralph T. Scurfield Humanitarian Award [45]
Craig Conroy J. R. "Bud" McCaig Award [45]

Records and milestones[edit]

Player Milestone Reached
Adam Pardy 1st NHL game October 9, 2008 [46]
Brandon Prust 1st NHL point October 11, 2008 [47]
Brandon Prust 1st NHL goal October 25, 2008 [47]
Adrian Aucoin 100th NHL goal November 1, 2008 [48]
Jarome Iginla 400th NHL assist November 20, 2008 [10]
Cory Sarich 100th NHL point November 25, 2008
Warren Peters 1st NHL game December 7, 2008 [49]
Adam Pardy 1st NHL assist
1st NHL point
December 12, 2008 [46]
Jarome Iginla 800th NHL point December 19, 2008 [50]
Brett Sutter 1st NHL game
1st NHL goal
1st NHL point
December 23, 2008 [7]
Craig Conroy 500th NHL point January 3, 2009 [51]
Mikael Backlund 1st NHL game January 9, 2009 [52]
Adam Pardy 1st NHL goal January 9, 2009 [52]
David Van der Gulik 1st NHL game February 27, 2009 [53]
Jarome Iginla 831st NHL Point (franchise record)
400th NHL Goal
March 1, 2009 [12]
Warren Peters 1st NHL goal
1st NHL point
March 3, 2009 [54]
David Van der Gulik 1st NHL point March 3, 2009 [55]
Kris Chucko 1st NHL game March 5, 2009 [56]
Matt Pelech 1st NHL game April 3, 2009 [57]
John Negrin 1st NHL game April 3, 2009 [57]
Matt Pelech 1st NHL point April 6, 2009 [58]
John Negrin 1st NHL point April 11, 2009 [59]
Curtis McElhinney 1st NHL win April 11, 2009 [59]

Transactions[edit]

Todd Bertuzzi was a controversial acquisition by the Flames.
The acquisition of Olli Jokinen was considered to be one of the most significant moves at the NHL trade deadline.

The Flames made two trades at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, sending forward Alex Tanguay to Montreal and acquiring Mike Cammalleri from Los Angeles in two separate deals. Calgary sent the 17th overall selection in the draft to the Kings, and received the 25th overall pick from the Canadiens as part of the trades.[60]

Todd Bertuzzi was signed by the Flames as a free agent on July 8, 2009.[61] The controversial forward best known for his attack on Steve Moore in 2003–04, had previously been extremely unpopular with Flames fans.[62] Bertuzzi, who had previously been booed by Calgary fans every time he touched the puck was greeted with loud cheers when he was introduced before the Flames' first exhibition game of the season.[63]

The trade deadline on March 4 saw the Flames emerge as one of the most active teams on the day, completing three trades. Calgary acquired defenceman Jordan Leopold from Colorado for Lawrence Nycholat, who was picked up on waivers from Vancouver one day prior and never played with Calgary, minor leaguer Ryan Wilson and a draft pick.[64] General Manager Darryl Sutter then completed what was considered the biggest deal of the day, acquiring Olli Jokinen and a third round pick from the Coyotes in exchange for Matthew Lombardi, Brandon Prust and a first round pick.[14] The Flames then ended the day with a minor move, sending minor-league goaltender Kevin Lalande to Columbus for a fourth round pick.[65]

Trades[edit]

June 20, 2008
To Calgary Flames
Mike Cammalleri
Second-round pick in 2008 draft
To Los Angeles Kings
First-round pick (17th overall) in 2008
Second-round pick in 2009
June 20, 2008
To Calgary Flames
First-round pick (25th overall) in 2008
Second-round pick in 2009
To Montreal Canadiens
Alex Tanguay
Fifth-round pick in 2008
June 30, 2008
To Calgary Flames
Kyle Greentree
To Philadelphia Flyers
Tim Ramholt
July 1, 2008
To Calgary Flames
Rene Bourque
To Chicago Blackhawks
Conditional second-round pick in 2009
March 4, 2009
To Calgary Flames
Jordan Leopold
To Colorado Avalanche
Lawrence Nycholat
Ryan Wilson
Montreal's second-round pick (previously acquired) in 2009
March 4, 2009
To Calgary Flames
Olli Jokinen
Third-round pick in 2009
To Phoenix Coyotes
Matthew Lombardi
Brandon Prust
First-round pick in 2009 or 2010
March 4, 2009
To Calgary Flames
Fourth round pick in 2009
To Columbus Blue Jackets
Kevin Lalande

Additions and subtractions[edit]

Additions
Player Former team Via
Mark Giordano HC Dynamo Moscow Free agency
Curtis Glencross Edmonton Oilers Free agency
Todd Bertuzzi Anaheim Ducks Free agency
Jamie Lundmark HC Dynamo Moscow Free agency
Andre Roy Tampa Bay Lightning Free agency
Lawrence Nycholat Vancouver Canucks Waivers
Subtractions
Player New team Via
Eric Godard Pittsburgh Penguins Free agency
Curtis Joseph Toronto Maple Leafs Free agency
Kristian Huselius Columbus Blue Jackets Free agency
Owen Nolan Minnesota Wild Free agency
David Hale Phoenix Coyotes Free agency

Draft picks[edit]

Greg Nemisz, shown at Calgary's 2008 rookie camp, was the team's top pick, 25th overall.

The Flames entered the 2008 NHL Entry Draft in Ottawa with the 17th overall selection. They dealt that pick to Los Angeles, and acquired the 25th overall selection from Montreal. With that pick, the Flames selected centre Greg Nemisz from the Ontario Hockey League's Windsor Spitfires.[66] Listed at six-foot-three and 197 pounds, Nemisz is described as being a potential power forward who is not afraid of working hard.[67] Calgary drafted six other players, led by second-round selection Mitch Wahl, whom the Flames project to be a potential top-six forward.[68]

Rnd Pick Player Nationality Position Team (league) NHL statistics
GP G A Pts PIM
1 25 Greg Nemisz  Canada C/RW Windsor Spitfires (OHL) 15 0 1 1 0
2 48 Mitch Wahl  United States C Spokane Chiefs (WHL)
3 78 Lance Bouma  Canada C/LW Vancouver Giants (WHL) 121 6 13 19 54
4 108 Nick Larson  United States LW Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)
4 114 T. J. Brodie  Canada D Saginaw Spirit (OHL) 185 8 51 59 44
6 168 Ryley Grantham  Canada C Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
7 198 Alexander Deilert  Sweden D Djurgården Jr. (J20 SuperElit)
Statistics are updated to the end of the 2013–14 NHL season. denotes player was on an NHL roster in 2013–14.

Farm teams[edit]

Quad City Flames[edit]

The Quad City Flames entered their second season in the American Hockey League (AHL) in 2008–09. The team was dogged throughout the season by rumours that the franchise would relocate to Abbotsford, British Columbia in 2009–10.[69] The owners in Quad Cities acknowledged that the Flames had been considering a change, but expected the franchise would remain in Moline, Illinois.[70] Despite these assurances, Calgary confirmed on March 11 that they had reached an agreement with the owners in Quad Cities to end their affiliation agreement after only two seasons, and announced their intent to move into Abbotsford.[71] The proposed relocation was approved by the AHL board of governors on April 29, 2009.[72]

On the ice, Quad City finished with a 36–31–6–7 record, fifth in the West Division, and one point shy of making the playoffs.[73] Quad City played its final game on April 11, 2009 with a 5–3 win over the Iowa Chops. Kyle Greentree led the team in scoring, with a franchise high 76 points.[74]

Las Vegas Wranglers[edit]

The Las Vegas Wranglers remained Calgary's ECHL affiliate for the sixth season, where they finished 2nd in the Pacific division with a 34–31–2–6 record.[75] In the Kelly Cup playoffs, the Wranlgers defeated the Bakersfield Condors and Stockton Thunder in seven games each to reach the National Conference finals.[76][77] The season came to an end against the Alaska Aces, who eliminated Las Vegas in four games.[78]

As part of their affiliation agreement with Las Vegas, the Flames assigned four players to the Wranglers to begin the season: Gord Baldwin, Hugo Carpentier, Kevin Lalande and Dan Spang.[79] Lalande led the team amongst goaltenders with 21 games played, recording a record of 9–8–0–3, while Glen Fisher led the team with 11 wins. Dan Riedel, acquired from the Dayton Bombers during the season led the team with 23 goals and 57 points.[80]

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