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MILLIONS: Sutter is the old war horse the Flames need

“Some self-proclaimed experts have already predicted failure; that he is a dinosaur and that the game has passed him by. I think those experts may be in for a rude awakening.”

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There have been four coaches in seven years for Flames under GM Brad Treliving, but brother, did he leave the big kahuna for now.

Darryl Sutter returns for his second head coaching stint in Calgary. He’s won two Stanley Cups and arguably should have won another in Calgary back in 2004. He’s won. He knows what it takes. He gets the best out of people, immediately. Whether he can maintain that for the long term is up for debate by some.

Any country club atmosphere within the Calgary Flames locker room has come to an immediate and abrupt end. It’s about time.

Watching this year’s addition of the Flames has been – with the exception of about 3 or 4 games – downright painful. Dreadfully inconsistent, easily satisfied, and at times playing with entitlement, watching the Flames was at times perplexing.

These things can be cleared up with a very simple but hard to achieve message: clarity. If you have had the pleasure of getting to know Darryl Sutter as I have, clarity is insisted. In fact, it’s demanded.

That’s not to say Sutter will be herding his players like cattle. It simply means that he will demand of everyone in the Flames organization the same that he demands of himself: everything. The best you can be each and every day. Perhaps that’s too much to ask of a lot of young people these days – but like it or not – that’s exactly what’s on the menu for the Calgary Flames. 

Like everyone, the man has some flaws. They will no doubt be well defined by today’s touchy-feely media. There will be hurt feelings – and for those not willing to suffer that indignation – some time to contemplate their future. 

But for those Flames that choose to learn and discover what those demands can bring them, it’s a chance to grow. If you are a young man looking to achieve the very best, why wouldn’t you welcome that?

I think that’s exactly why Darryl Sutter has been hired by Treliving. He is going to find out what the organization has. They have more than half a season to dissect the team, and no time to waste. Rest assured, Sutter has no patience for wasting time. 

Some self-proclaimed experts have already predicted failure; that he is a dinosaur and that the game has passed him by. I think those experts may be in for a rude awakening.

Perhaps I’m biased. Out of the 17 years I had the good fortune of working with the Flames while at Sportsnet, five of them were with Darryl in his roles of coach and GM. They were the most fulfilling and interesting years of my career, for a variety of reasons.  

His demeanour and attitude was indicative of people that raised me. The Darryl Sutter I know is both professional and personal. I respect his professional approach. I like the man as a friend. 

His return is indeed fascinating. I can’t wait to see what becomes of Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau. Both are fine young men, but to this point in their careers, they have never played for Darryl Sutter. It won’t be easy for them either. It could very well lead to both moving on to other franchises. But if they listen and learn with respect, it could be a turning point that will propel them both to higher levels.

There are no guarantees, but is that not what intrigues you the most?

Welcome back Darryl. Whether people like it or not.

Roger Millions is the Sports Columnist for the Western Standard

Sports

Alberta lacrosse: A Short History With A Bright Future

“While the book on Alberta lacrosse may be a short one, it’s an exciting one.”

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While Alberta may not have the rich history of lacrosse like B.C. or Ontario does, it’s without a doubt significant strides have been made over the past decade. Alberta has always been the ‘little brother’ of the lacrosse community, but this little brother is starting to grow up.

Alberta is starting to see success at every level of lacrosse at the national stage. In 2017 the Team Alberta Midget team did something that had never been done before — faced off against the top 25 players from each province/territory at the National tournament and against all odds, they made a statement by winning gold. Some skeptics in the lacrosse world might have thought it was a fluke and to make sure those skeptics kept those opinions to themselves, the Team Alberta Midgets did it again in 2018.

However Junior ‘A’ Lacrosse is a bit of a different story. Unfortunately Alberta teams have not had the same storybook ending as the Midget teams did. The Junior A Mounties first made history in 2016 as the first Alberta team to get a win in the Minto Cup against a B.C. and an Ontario team, defeating the Delta Islanders and the Orangeville Northmen in round-robin play. When the Mounties lost to Orangeville in the semi-finals, the dream died.

Fast forward to the 2017 Minto Cup, the Okotoks Raiders had arguably the most competitive National showing Alberta had ever seen. They lost three games straight, but those losses came by a total of four goals, once again showing Alberta is right there knocking on the door, demanding respect from the lacrosse community..

For the most part, it’s clear Alberta’s developing dexterous teams and demonstrating potential throughout the Junior ‘B’ division. Recently, in 2019, the Calgary Shamrocks became just the third Alberta team to ever win the Junior ‘B’ national championship, ending a nine-year winning streak of Ontario teams and taking home the Founder’s Cup.

Last, but not least, is the Edmonton Senior ‘B’ Miners, who I believe to be the most dominant showing of Alberta lacrosse at the national level, based on their players’ attention to detail, and championship culture. Prior to the Presidents Cup tournament getting shut down by the pandemic in in 2020, the Miners won three of the last four years and were well on their way to solidifying themselves as a dynasty.

Lacrosse is a beautiful sport with a rich history. While the book on Alberta lacrosse may be a short one, it’s an exciting one. The game is growing in the mid-west of Canada and with the success as of late, expect that growth to continue. We are seeing more and more prairies players make their way into the NCAA lacrosse, as well as working their way into the NLL. 

Highlighting the successes and achievements of recent Alberta lacrosse teams, players and personnel is crucial in growing the game. The intent of this article, and the ones that follow, is to feature, promote and acknowledge those involved in the continued development of this historic game within the province.

Look out Canada, looks like the little brother of lacrosse just hit puberty.

Jake Foster is a Calgary born athlete and journalist with a passion for sports and story telling 

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News

NHL releases update on rescheduled games

In the Battle of Alberta, the Calgary Flames will see eight home games and two road games pushed back., while the Edmonton Oilers have five home games and four road games rescheduled.

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A comprehensive update to the 2021-2022 regular-season games was released on Wednesday by the NHL.

The Vancouver Canucks have had six home games and one away game rescheduled.

In the Battle of Alberta, the Calgary Flames will see eight home games and two road games pushed back, while the Edmonton Oilers have five home games and four road games rescheduled.

The Winnipeg Jets will see six home games and three away games rescheduled.

The revised schedule includes:

  • New dates for 98 games that had been postponed over the two-month period from Nov. 18, 2021 through Jan. 18, 2022.
  • Date changes to 23 other games to accommodate the new dates for postponed games.
  • 95 games scheduled for the 16-day window from Feb. 7-22, designated previously as a pause to accommodate NHL player participation in the Olympic Games. Games are scheduled on all 16 dates, highlighted by a 10-game slate on Thursday, Feb. 17.

“We are profoundly grateful to our fans for their support and understanding during a challenging time and to our clubs, the NHL Players’ Association and the players for their cooperation in a rescheduling of unprecedented logistical complexity,” said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly.

The complete 2021-22 regular season schedule can be viewed and accessed at www.nhl.com/flames.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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News

NHL postpones another 8 games due to attendance restrictions

The league said all games will be rescheduled for a later date when restrictions can be eased or lifted.

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The National Hockey League announced Friday it has axed another eight games due to COVID-related Canadian attendance restrictions.

The league said all games will be rescheduled for a later date when restrictions can be eased or lifted.

Affected games include:

Monday, January 3
Minnesota @ Ottawa

Wednesday, January 5
New York Islanders @ Vancouver

Saturday, January 8
New York Islanders @ Edmonton

Tuesday, January 11
New York Islanders @ Calgary

Wednesday, January 12
Minnesota @ Edmonton

Friday, January 14
Vegas @ Edmonton

Saturday, January 15
Vegas @ Calgary

Sunday, January 16
Edmonton @ Winnipeg

As well, due to the New York Islanders three other road game postponements, the Islanders-Seattle game on Tuesday, January 4 in Seattle has been postponed.

The league has yet to establish make-up dates for the postponed games.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

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