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Can The New Look Flames Build on Last Season’s Success?

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The 2022-23 National Hockey League (NHL) season is right around the corner, with preseason fixtures taking place in the next couple of weeks and the new regular season getting underway on October 7, when the San Jose Sharks take on Nashville Predators in the NHL’s first-ever fixtures in Prague, Czech Republic.

After topping the Pacific Division by seven points over the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames fans have high hopes for the coming campaign. Could this be the season the Flames navigate their way to the Stanley Cup for the first time since 2004?

Darryl Sutter guided the Flames to their eighth divisional championship last season. The Flames finished with 50 victories from 82 games and a +85 goal difference; only the Florida Panthers (+94) enjoyed a better goal difference in the entire league.

The Flames went on to defeat the Dallas Stars 4-3 in the first round of the playoffs but came unstuck against the Edmonton Oilers, losing 4-1 in the second round. Despite the disappointment of the playoffs and having a new look roster with several comings and goings, the best betting sites price the Flames as sixth favourites for Stanley Cup glory this season. Can they live up to that billing and build on last year’s relative success?

A Handful of Key Players Lost

Let us start with the outgoing players from last season’s roster. Johnny Gaudreau and Erik Gudbranson left for the Colombus Blue Jackets, while Calle Jarnkrok now turns out for the Toronto Maple Leafs. In addition, Matthew Tkachuk put pen to paper with the Florida Panthers. Gaudreau is the most significant loss from that quartet, mainly as the winger contributed an impressive 115 regular season points in addition to 14 more during the short playoffs run.

Everyone at the club wanted Gaudreau to stay as a Flame, and the club offered him a monetary package that would have seen him become one of the highest-paid players in the NHL, but the desire to move closer to his family proved too strong, and Gaudreau left for the Colombus Blue Jackets. Gaudreau signed a seven-year deal with $68.25 million.

Tkachuk is another significant blow to the Flames’ roster. He scored 42 goals and 104 points during the successful regular season last year. Tkachuk refused to sign a new long-term deal with the Flames and was traded to the Panthers with a conditional fourth-round in 2025
in exchange for Jonathan Huberdeau, Cole Schwindt, and MacKenzie Weegar.

Major Signings Incoming

Losing the players mentioned above would hurt any roster in the NHL, but the backroom management staff worked hard behind the scenes to ensure the Flames are still a force to be reckoned with in 2022-23.

Bringing in Huberdau is a masterstroke. The 29-year-old left winger is a former third overall draft pick who has played more than 670 professional regular season games and is two goals shy of breaking through the 200 barrier. The 2022 NHL All-Star averages almost a point per game and was exceptional last year with 115 points on the board, thanks to 85 assists.

Former Maples Leafs and Avalanche center Nazem Kadri is another shrewd signing; Kadri was instrumental in the Avalanche’s Stanley Cup victory in 2022.

How Will The Flames Fare in 2022-23?

Everything points towards another exciting season for Flames fans. In Jacob Markstrom and Dan Vlader, the Flames have excellent goaltenders. Markstrom, in particular, is coming off the back of a career-best season. A solid defensive pairing of Noah Hanifin and Rasmus Andersson should see the Flames remain tough to beat; the Flames had the third-best goals against last year.

The probably starting forward line of Huberdeau, Elias Lindholm, and Tyler Toffoli will need to hit the ground running in this new-look Flames team. Still, even the second line of Dylan Dube, Kadri, and Andrew Mangiapane is enough to cause any NHL opponent plenty of problems.

The Flames should reach the playoffs relatively easily; it is anyone’s game from there. Flames fans have every right to be excited about the upcoming season.

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Wayne Gretzky’s Final Edmonton Oilers Jersey Sets a New Record: Most Ever Paid for a Hockey Jersey

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The sports memorabilia market is heating up at the moment, and the record-breaking amount paid for the last jersey iconic hockey hero Wayne Gretzky wore for the Edmonton Oilers is clear evidence of this.

Even if you don’t have huge sums available to snap up meaningful items once owned by your favorite players, it’s entertaining to see just how much wealthy fans are willing to hand over. Let’s discuss what makes this particular jersey so special, and what else people who are passionate about hockey can do to show their support.

A game-changing auction lot

When the hammer fell on the recent sale of Gretzky’s jersey, a jaw-dropping winning bid of $1.452 million had been made to secure this totemic piece of otherwise standard hockey gear.

This easily toppled the $1.2 million paid for another jersey, this time worn by Paul Henderson, to set a new high watermark for hockey-based auction lots.

This type of sale is always interesting, in the sense that it’s not just the historic value of the lot that’s at play, but also its investment potential. The buyer will no doubt hope that Gretzky’s legendary status will grow with time, along with the value of the jersey.

How to watch the Edmonton Oilers play at home

If you want to catch the amazing Edmonton Oilers in the flesh, you can find a ticket for their next game via the web, and plan your game day visit in advance as well.

There’s something unbeatable about attending a hockey game in person, and the atmosphere is simply not something you can recreate when watching coverage from your own home.

Why this jersey in particular?

There are quite a few genuine Gretzky-worn jerseys out there, so what makes this one so special, and so valuable?

Well, as mentioned, it comes from the last game he played prior to leaving the Oilers in favor of a move to the LA Kings. It also has the honor of being from a Stanley Cup playoff game which actually had to be replayed due to a power cut part way through the first attempt.

Gretzky’s stellar performance was crucial to his team’s victory, and the post-game celebrations included him having champagne poured liberally over his head, which led to stains that can be seen on the jersey that was sold.

Other auction highlights

Any association with Gretzky helps sports memorabilia to sell, and the jersey wasn’t the only item worn by him which went under the hammer.

A little over $204,000 was paid for gloves he briefly used for protection during the aforementioned playoff game, demonstrating that even seemingly anonymous objects can fetch a pretty penny if they’ve got the right pedigree.

Of course even the $1.452 million that the jersey commanded is not even close to being the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia ever sold, when you include items from every sport, and not just hockey.

The Guinness Book of World Records reports that the current frontrunner sold in May of 2022 for a sum of £7.142 million, equivalent to $8.823 million. In this case it was another game shirt, this time one worn by soccer stalwart Diego Maradona during the quarter finals of the World Cup all the way back in 1986.

The particular game in which the shirt got its outing was one between Argentina and England, in which Maradona’s notorious goal put his team on the track to eventually win the whole tournament.

This record will no doubt be broken eventually, although it’s hard to imagine ever being able to justify such an investment.

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Three years into its existence, the Canadian Elite Basketball League includes more teams than the CFL

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Accomplishments of the CEBL

It was three years ago when the CEBL first opened its doors as a six-team enterprise. Upon its first year, the league felt they could add a seventh club, in Ottawa. Then came Covid-19. It could have destroyed the new endeavour, had it not been for the commissioner and former CFL receiver Mike Morreale. In the summer of 2020, Morreale organized a two-week contest in St. Catharines, Ont., to allow CEBL to crown a champion. Thanks to the resulting boost from that championship run, in 2021, the CEBL again had a complete and steady schedule.

In 2022 the CEBL has added the Montreal Alliance, the Scarborough Shooting Stars and the Newfoundland Growlers. Just like that

The league continues to expand.  After the addition of clubs in Toronto, Montreal, and St. John’s, the CEBL locations are now spread from Langley, B.C. to the east of the country. So now it can truly be called a national league. In fact, there are now 10 teams, making the CEBL the largest professional sports league in Canada.  That’s more Canadian based teams than the NHL (7), the NBA (1), and MLB (1) combined!  It also makes the league larger than the CFL. 

The Scarborough (Toronto) Shooting Stars included a rap celebrity. J. Cole (Jermaine Cole) signed a contract with Scarborough, along with former local NBA star Jamaal Magloire as an executive. With J. Cole, there’s a trick component to signing a 37-year-old with insignificant experience consisting of three rounds last year in Rwanda. It is also uncertain how available he is going to be, as the artist has tour dates starting with June 10 — only five games into the season. But his acquisition has already attracted a lot of media attention. You can learn more about players and teams in different kinds of sports, and place bets on them online at https://bookmaker-ratings.net.za/bonuses/ , follow the link to learn about bonuses.  

CEBL lost its Michael Jordan. Three years in a row Xavier Moon earned the CEBL Player of the Year prize. The American guard (Now with the LA Clippers) also directed Edmonton to the title in both of the last two seasons and accepted Finals MVP honours. He’s one of the CEBL players who leaped to the NBA during the last season as it grappled with COVID-affiliated problems. Another one is Lindell Wigginton, the Canadian Player of 2021, who has joined the Milwaukee Bucks upon exiting Hamilton. While losing such stars is sad, at the end of the day it might have a positive effect on the CEBL  as it proves to players and fans the league can serve as a gateway to the NBA. 

A new Moon might be rising. Since the departure of their celebrity, Edmonton may rely more on the forward Jordan Baker, winner of the 2020 Canadian Player of the Year award, who got 14.9 points and 9.4 rebounds on average last season. Kadre Gray is another powerful Canadian, previously a Laurentian U Sports star who averaged 15.3 points last year and 4.6 assists for Ottawa and is now part of the Fraser Valley Bandits. Guelph’s Cat Barber can take over the title, an American guard who averaged 17.6 points last season before getting a short break with the Atlanta Hawks. 

The Elam Ending is still a thing. For years basketball geeks have been telling the NBA to embrace this inspiring way of ending matches. It removes the irritating custom of the losing team purposely fouling when the game is coming to an end. The NBA successfully tried it in 2020 at its All-Star Game, but they have not had the courage to try it in significant games. The CEBL has been doing it since 2020.

 

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