clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Last Week from the AHL

Sven Baertschi has big week, as Flames go 2-2 to wrap-up 2014

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The Flames concluded a challenging month of December this week with an exciting 3-2 overtime win over the Toronto Marlies in front of a sell out crowd at the GFCC.  The team finished the 14 game month of December 8-5-1 and remain in fourth place in the Western Conference.  The large number of games, combined with a very long road trip has eaten into their practice time this month - a comment made by both players and the coaching staff.  Coach Huska commented that there has been some sloppiness in their play of late - something that the team will need to correct during a much "friendlier" January schedule.  The Flames play nine games this month, all but two at home (and the road games are in Utica and Rochester).

A few observations from the last week of action:

I have been a bit critical of Sven Baertschi's play this season, but the 22-year-old winger had a good week and hopefully is finding his game.  Last Saturday, he had a goal and three assists in a 5-0 win at Hamilton.  Then on New Year's Eve, he controlled the puck in the offensive zone and made a beautiful pass to Bill Arnold for the overtime winner.  He still seems to struggle at times with some defensive assignments and he has missed some scoring opportunities, perhaps pressing, but this week is the best I have seen the former first rounder play this season.

Emile Poirier had a big game in Hamilton as well, scoring two goals and adding an assist - he continues to lead the team in scoring with 19 points in 26 games.

With Corey Potter back in Calgary, I have noticed John Ramage gaining additional minutes.  He seems very comfortable in his assignments, and has added seven assists in 20 games.  The backbone of the defense continues to be veteran Nolan Yonkman and 21-year-old Tyler Wotherspoon.  Wotherspoon had two assists this past week, and is playing very well defensively.  Ryan Culkin also had two assists this past week, has been solid in his own end and has quietly become tied for third on the team in scoring (1G, 14A in 26 games).

It was good to see Corban Knight return from a thumb injury Wednesday night.  He scored the tying goal on a penalty shot against Toronto, and the team missed his faceoff prowess.  Taylor Vause had been on a tryout contract since being called up from Colorado until last week - being formally signed to a player contract by the team on Christmas Eve (deservingly so).

With some players returning from Calgary and from injury, the press box is getting a bit full with scratches.  It will be interesting to see if the team plans any player movement in the coming weeks to allow for added playing time.

The Flames are home Friday and Saturday, against Utica and Rochester respectively.