MOST MEMEORABLE FORWARDS
My favorite Flame player is Hakan Loob. He was the first Swedish born player to score fifty goals in the NHL. He had speed to burn and quick a release on his wrist shot.
The second forward I would like to mention is Joe Nieuwendyk. He was the best rookie the Flames had, scoring fifty goals in his first year. Joe could deflect any shot from the blue line, had amazing quick reflexes, and he got a lot garbage goals - meaning he got goals from in front of the net.
Joe and Hakin were deadly together in the 1987-88 season. They buzzed around the net constantly. The thing I like about both of these players is that they were so durable, and very good athletes. Hakin had one fifty-goal year while Joe had two consecutive fifty-goal seasons.
I would like to share one story with you about “Newy” (Nieuwendyk’s nick name). During one shift of a game against the Oil, he got a high stick in the mouth and then went in front of the net and got hit in the ankle on a slap shot from Al MacInnis. Being the tough player he is, Newy never missed a shift.
Joe Mullen was one of the classiest players in the league. The fans adopted him once he came in Calgary.
He had terrific vision as he was always aware of what was going on around him. His fifty goal year in 1988-89, his only fifty goal season, was a major cog in the Flames winning the cup.
The last forward I want to mention is center Doug Gilmour, who was the heart and soul of the Flames before he got traded. Gilmour was one of the best soft passers in the game. He had perfect vision as he knew where his line mates were and he was always got the puck to his line mates at the perfect time.
Doug played with a chip on his shoulder and always stuck up for himself. He scored the game winning goal in Game six against the Montreal Canadiens the year the Flames won the Stanley cup.
Neil Sheehy constantly aggravated the Oilers. It was his job to hassle Gretz as much as he could. I would constantly see him sneak a shot in when the ref was not looking. Sure enough, the ref would turn around right in time for the retaliation. Sheehy reminded me of Calvin, in Calvin and Hobbs.
The next one on my list is Jim Peplinski, who would get his nose into all the corners. He was constantly getting in the Oilers’ faces and sticking up for his teammates. Jim’s nickname was Pepper and he was on a great leader on the team.
The last disturber that I am going to mention is Joel Otto. Joel’s assignment was to stick to Gretzky or Messier like glue. The battles between Messier and Otto were Classics. Otto was almost as strong as Messier on the face off battles. The game between those two mammoths alone was worth the price of admission. They battled it out in the face-off circle, where most of the time it ended in a draw. But when Messier did win, Otto did a great job of tying up Messier to make sure he would not get to the net.
Al MacInnis was probably one of the best defenseman to play in a Calgary Sweater.
Al was known for his big booming shot. He was always near or a top of the Flames’ leading scorers. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy in the Flames’ 1988-89 Stanley Cup championship season. It would end up being Macinnis’s only ring.
The second defenseman I want to mention is Jamie Macoun. He was a solid stay at home defenseman who would contribute with the odd goal once in while. Jamie was solid at blocking shots as he always got in the way of the shot, helping his goalies out tremendously.
The third Defenseman on my list is Ric Nattress. He was another stay at home defenseman who was known for his work on the penalty kill. He stood there in front of his own net clearing it out so that his goalies could see the shot.
Mike Vernon was a Calgary native who I think the fans were very hard on.
The Calgary fans are always very hard on their native sons. Mike really got the Flames the cup when his team eliminated the Canucks. Without his glove saves in Game seven, there would have never been a championship. Vernon had three rings two more in Detroit after he was traded. Vernon had a great glove hand and quick reflexes, which made up for his lack of size.
Reggie Lemelin, who spent nine seasons in Calgary, was the other goalie. He was a solid goaltender whose best year as a Flame was in 1984-85, which saw him win 30 games and lose only 12. Reggie was a great goalie who was known for his quick pads and he had some good years in Calgary. He ended his career in Boston.
Terry Crisp - How could I not mention him? He was in Calgary for thee years and coached the Flames to two Presidents Trophies and one Stanley Cup. I remember how upset I was when they fired him. He was a great coach but more importantly, he was a great person.
Crisp had a positive attitude and always wore his heart on his sleeve. I didn’t know anyone that did not like Terry. He was a class act here in Calgary and he will be always welcomed here.
There you have it: Part 2 of the Civil War in Alberta the Calgary Flames.