It's probably safe to say that things haven't gone according to plan for the Calgary Flames so far this season. Despite making some major offseason additions, the Flames are second to last in the NHL's Canadian Division and this past weekend's embarrassing 7-1 loss to their arch rival Edmonton Oilers has fans out for blood.
So... what happens now?
Does Flames GM Brad Treliving tweak his lineup? Ship out underperforming players like Sam Bennett and Sean Monahan? Or does he go full fire sale mode and scorch the Earth? Given the contracts handed out to guys like Jacob Markstrom and Chris Tanev this past offseason, it's tough to see the Flames go down the full rebuild mode but one thing is clear: Things aren't right with the Flames.
On his most recent 31 Thoughts podcast, Sportsnet NHL insider Elliotte Friedman reports that Matthew Tkachuk's "puck flipping incident" with Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Muzzin was a breaking point for the team and that Tkachuk's teammates were turned off by his antics.
Check it out:
"Those players look really frustrated," said Friedman on his most recent 31 Thoughts Podcast. "I think Tkachuk was really frustrated by what happened. That whole puck flipping thing led to a meeting that I think just sent them sideways. I think Tkachuk feels that some of the players didn't want him to create something every game and I think he's confused by that. I think he understands only how to play the game a certain way and I think he's questioning it now. "
You know what? If I'm Flames head coach Geoff Ward I'm nipping this issue in the bud today. If anyone on this team has a problem with Tkachuk and the way he plays, there's the door. Nice knowin' ya...
I'd much rather have one Tkachuk on my roster than 10 guys who "don't want him to create something every game." This is hockey... NHL hockey... show some energy for crying out loud!
I might be a bit of a traditionalist, but a guy like Tkachuk can play on my roster any day. And the fact of the matter is that if half of the Flames gave even half as much effort as Tkachuk does every night then they'd be a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. Time to identify and ship out the passengers on this ride...