By Donna Spencer in Dallas
Closing out an NHL playoff series to advance to the next one has a way of accelerating a player’s maturation.
The Calgary Flames may have been the higher seed heading into their conference quarterfinal against the Dallas Stars, but the Dallas lineup is deep in players who know what it takes to advance deep into the post-season after a run to the Stanley Cup Final two years ago.
“You want to break that down just (compare) the two lineups and see who has played in more winning-series games,” Flames head coach Darryl Sutter said.
“It’s not something that’s easy to accomplish.”
The first round of the 2022 NHL playoffs challenged Calgary to transfer what gave them a division-topping 50-21-11 season into the playoffs.
The Flames failed that test in 2019. Calgary finished first in the Western Conference, but was swiftly ejected in five games by the wild-card Colorado Avalanche in the opening round.
“It’s always hard to win the last game no matter what sport you’re in,” Sutter said. “You’re not a proven playoff team until you make it several years in a row and then you have some success, if you look at the history of champions.
“Guys are still learning. I’ve said it after every game. It’s a process for our younger players.”
Forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Mikael Backlund are the only holdover Flames from the 2015 edition that clinched a first-round series in Game 6 against the Vancouver Canucks.
It was a wild finale with Calgary overcoming a 3-0 deficit to win 7-4.
“It’s hard to end a team’s season,” Gaudreau said. “A lot of guys haven’t been to a point like this in their career. It’s exciting.”
Calgary was bounced in the second round that year by the Anaheim Ducks in five games.
The Flames beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-0 in Game 4 of a best-of-five qualifying round in Edmonton’s playoff bubble in 2020 to advance.
But Calgary squandered a 3-0 lead in Game 6 of their first-round series against the Stars to fall 7-4 in Edmonton and drop out of the playoffs.
The majority of Flames lacked successful playoff reps, which the addition of two-time Stanley Cup winners Blake Coleman and Trevor Lewis, Cup winner Tyler Toffoli and finalist Calle Jarnkrok over the past 10 months was designed to remedy.
“We’ve brought in some guys this year who’ve had a lot of success in the playoffs and then we have some guys who haven’t had a lot of success,” defenceman Noah Hanifin said.
“Having some of those older guys kind of brings that calming presence whether we’re down or up it’s just ‘hey, like we’re good, just keep playing our game’ and I think that’s been a huge addition for us this year.”
The Flames are playing post-season games in front of rabid fans both at home and away for the first time since 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic had them toiling a lot in empty arenas.
“It’s exciting because there’s fans, right? That’s the best part,” Sutter said. “I don’t care if they’re throwing beer on you or calling you whatever.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 13, 2022.
‘Cautiously optimistic’: Lawyer for trucker in Broncos crash waiting on Federal Court
By Bill Graveland in Calgary
A lawyer for a former truck driver who caused the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash says he’s cautiously optimistic that he will get the chance to argue against his client’s possible deportation before Federal Court.
In 2019, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu was sentenced to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm in the Saskatchewan crash that killed 16 people and injured 13 others.
The Canada Border Services Agency recommended in March that Sidhu be handed over to the Immigration and Refugee Board to decide whether he should be deported to India.
Michael Greene, Sidhu’s lawyer, said if the Federal Court decides not to hear the case, the deportation process would continue.
He said all written arguments with the Federal Court were filed in July, adding that no news can be good news when waiting for the court to make its decision.
“I’m cautiously optimistic, but I know enough not to get cocky about something like that,” Greene said. “Usually when it takes time, it means you’ve got an arguable case.”
It is also a high-profile case, so a judge might want to be extra careful, he said.
Court was told that the rookie Calgary trucker, a newly married permanent resident, went through a stop sign at a rural intersection and drove into the path of the Humboldt Broncos bus carrying players and staff to a junior hockey league playoff game.
The Parole Board of Canada granted Sidhu day parole in July for six months. He can get full parole after that if he follows conditions, including not contacting the families of the victims.
“Day parole means he is at home. He’s with his wife and I can’t tell you how happy that makes them,” Greene said. “They’re trying to get back to some sense of normalcy.”
Greene said even if he is granted permission to appeal before the court and is successful, the matter would be sent back to Canada Border Services Agency for another review. He said the original officer put all the weight of his decision on the gravity of the harm caused.
“You can’t get your hopes up too high,” Greene said.
“Sometimes the judge will make comments in their decision that will give some guidance to the (CBSA) officers.”
An online fundraising page set up to raise money to help keep Sidhu in Canada has reached more than $42,000.
A message from Sidhu’s wife, Tanvir Mann, a Canadian citizen, said her husband made a “tragic mistake.”
“When confronted by the unimaginable magnitude of the consequences of his mistake, he did everything he could to make things better,” Mann writes.
“I pray that there are people out there who don’t believe that Jaskirat should be deported and are willing to contribute to my fight to be able to live out our lives in Canada.”
The Canada Border Services Agency has previously declined to comment on Sidhu’s case, but said there are multiple steps built into the process to ensure procedural fairness.
Greene said he understands that several of the victims’ families are still angry.
“It’s completely understandable. It is,” he said. “Everybody deals with grief and loss in their own way.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2022.
Local moving company donating 101 moves to support vulnerable Canadians this holiday season
Submitted by Two Small Men with Big Hearts Moving
Two Small Men with Big Hearts Moving is moving joy, one community organization at a time
This holiday season, Two Small Men with Big Hearts Moving (“Two Small Men”) is spreading joy, seeking to donate 101 moves to community organizations that support at-risk individuals. With inflation at an all-time high and the higher stresses that come with the holiday season and colder weather, Two Small Men is looking to give back to the local markets they operate in during this time of need. This marks the third year for this initiative, which Two Small Men was inspired to launch in 2020, following the hardships of COVID-19. The campaign has grown year-over-year, from 25 donated moves in 2020, to 80 moves in 2021, and now with a goal of 101 moves for 2022.
Two Small Men has a long history in Red Deer having supported the Red Deer Food Bank, Bridges Community Living, and the Alberta Motor Association in past years. They are also always actively searching for new community organizations to partner with to support with donated moving services.
This holiday season, Two Small Men will be helping organizations that support vulnerable communities with everything from moving mass amounts of food to local food banks, to supporting shelters with moving individuals into new homes, to moving toys for underprivileged children.
Two Small Men’s community-first mindset is a key part of its identity. Written right into the name, it is a moving company with a big heart, that cares deeply about giving back. Two Small Men has developed a robust community giving program that supports a variety of non-profit and charitable organizations with in-kind moving services, donation collection initiatives, and other financial contributions. Each year, the business redirects 10 per cent of its annual profits to community giving and other charitable operations. In 2022, Two Small Men projects this will translate into a donation fund of $200,000, with the goal of growing to give $750,000 annually in the next 10 years.
“Moving people’s possessions is our business, but the heart of what we do is really all about supporting the people who make up our communities,” says Addison Parfeniuk, CEO, Two Small Men Big Hearts Moving. “We know that the winter season can be an especially challenging time for many people, and it is our hope that by partnering with local organizations such as the Red Deer Food Bank, we will be able to fill the real needs of real people in the Red Deer community.”
Charitable and non-profit organizations are encouraged to submit their moving needs for consideration in this year’s Season of Giving campaign.
For more information, please visit https://twosmallmen.com/about-us/giving-back/.
About Two Small Men
Two Small Men with Big Hearts Moving is a Canadian moving company focused on supporting customers through every stage of their move, big or small. Founded in 1982, the company has 25 offices across the country with major operations in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Kelowna, and Winnipeg, and a fleet of more than 100 moving trucks. Committed to giving back to their communities, they donate 10 per cent of their profits each year to relevant charities and organizations that are serving the community.
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