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Roger Millions on The Calgary Flames Start

"He's the ultimate leader." - Roger Millions, today on Marek vs Wyshynski when discussing our captain and god-king Mark Giordano. I've transcribed most of the interview for readers who might not have time to listen to all of it.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Today on Marek vs Wyshynski (minus Jeff Marek today), Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo Sports/Puck Daddy had Sportsnet and Calgary Flames commentator Roger Millions on to discuss the Calgary Flames and the miraculous start they've had this season. You can check it out here and on iTunes.

We know they're playing with their heads above water right now thanks to an inflated (and unsustainable) PDO as our great pal Ryan Pike, managing editor of Flamesnation points out:

With that in mind, we know some difficulty will come for the team. Most likely during this month with a stretch of games starting at home on the 18th against the currently first-place Anaheim Ducks. With games against the Blackhawks, Ducks again, and the Sharks as well. Even though the Flames stole one against Chicago on October 15th with the 2-1 OT win, they can't rely on Hiller to steal every game.

The interview on the November 5th episode starts around the 13:15 minute mark and covers a variety of topics. Below is some great quotes from Rog on the Flames and some further perspective of how accurate he is on the season so far:

"Well that's a really good question, the obvious answer is they work hard and they never give in - that kind of stuff. But I think that they've made some major strides in a couple of areas. First of all: Jonas Hiller has been fantastic, his numbers bare that out. When you have goaltending in this league you can cover up a lot of  things or give you time to develop things to become a winner."

This is a fantastically accurate. Roger is and has been one of the best guys in the NHL media to follow the Flames. It also speaks volumes of what we know statistically about the team currently (see Ryan Pike's tweets above). They're well above where many (myself included) expected them to be.

Continuing with the hot goaltending from Ramo and Hiller:

"...but that's allowed this team, in spite of a lot of injuries [like everybody else has] veteran guys like Raymond and Stajan and Colborne, and Backlund to develop some young talent that really surprising. When you combine all those things that's why they're off to a good start."

Rog goes on to mention a key fact in the Flames performance this far that fans are/aren't paying attention to:

"They haven't played a lot of Western Conference teams so far. We'll learn a lot more about the Calgary Flames, just seeing where they are; because I think that's the ultimate test."

The discussion continues with discussion of Gaudreau playing against the West and his skills:

"He might. We'll see what he does. He's a unique talent he has an ability that a lot of players don't have in that he sees the game a little bit differently. He sees it quickly and allows himself the opportunity for people to kind of come at him and dish it off. Because he sees the game well, he has some success..."

The discussion shifted to Giordano with Greg stating how he felt our captain was shafted on Norris consideration due to the injury last season in what was Gio's best campaign so far. Roger definitely had some great quotes that may resonate with fans nicely.

"Fantastic. Better than that, I think he's in the top five in defencemen."

"When you couple him with what I think is an emerging superstar in TJ Brodie who was a fourth round pick [sic] he's just been terrific -- he gets the new contract. Giordano has been everything."

This might be one of the more important things mentioned in the interview. There has been some chatter online and consideration as to what will happen at the end of Giordano's contract after next season. Gio will be 32 and if he continues to be one of the league's best, he is worth of a pay raise. However, being 32 it's a concern of how long he'll play at peak form before regression sets in.

"The Flames WILL extend him when they get the first opportunity..." He continues to state: "...he means that much. He's a terrific player..." and more importantly for intangibles followers: "...he is the heart and soul of this organization."

On Hiller and the impact he has had on the team so far:

"He's given them confidence. He's allowed Giordano and Brodie maybe a little more latitude to be a better pairing."

"Hiller has been good but he's also allowed others to mature and play their game well."

He would also give some praise to Kris Russell who he feels has become one of the better blueliners in the league. He also added some interesting remarks about Wideman as well.

"In fact, even Dennis Wideman who people have questioned for many, many years - to be frank with you, he's an interesting case having getting to know him if after the last three years. He's been better because of Kris Russell."

The discussion continued with how good the top-four have been, allowing them to win some games. Which is true, the dependency of the scoring and play from our back-end has been crucial in the early success this season.

The topic shifted back to off-season expectations as Greg asked Rog where he thought the team would be this season. Roger did mention he thought the team would be getting a lottery pick and see more a focus on the standard rebuild model. It's great to see that honesty in the media, as we've mentioned Roger is a guy who is pretty honest and on point.

On the topic of Josh Jooris and his performance this season:

"Wow, that kid's got five points in like seven or eight games played. He can play any role - last night he sets up Sean Monahan for the game-winner with just a perfect pass..."

"Seems to have nerves of steal" and "...he's come out of nowhere."

Roger also doubts that Jooris will be sent down at all now based on his play this season. We here at Matchsticks will agree. The kind and positive words continued for Markus Granlund too.

"This kid's good, I don't know whether he'll be sent back to American league either."

Additional notes and remarks from the interview:

  • Rog commented on the closeness and chemistry of the team. They stand united and are more of a family than a team. He cited this being the closest he's seen the team since the cup run in 2004.
  • He noted that in years past, he'd seen a prevalence fractured team with individual groups breaking off during dinners and note being as cohesive. It's good to see that Hartley and the leadership have the team united through the rebuild. Especially with this being the second year of it and the necessity to be a family.
  • Greg Shannon of Sportsnet Vancouver noted as comparing Gaudreau to Cliff Ronning. I can see a slight similarity there and it's a great comparison based on the type of player Ronning was.
  • Roger spoke about his interest in "new media" which includes social media and blogging on sports.
Definitely check out the interview from Roger, he's loved by us here and fans in the Flames fan-base. Thanks for giving us some amazing perspectives and opinions, Mr. Millions!

Hopefully I transcribed all this properly. Flames take on Tampa tomorrow at 5:30 PM MST!