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FLAMES REWIND - 30.10.17

Jankowski gets a shot, Red Rally a huge success, Flames split week 2-2

by AARON VICKERS @aavickers / calgaryflames.com

It's the attitude you'd want out of a 23-year-old.

Cut in just his second pro camp, Flames forward Mark Jankowski wasn't the least bit pleased.

"Definitely when I got the news I was frustrated, and absolutely I was (ticked) off," Jankowski said last Monday. "I wanted to be here like anyone would. I felt like I had a good training camp. But the biggest thing for me is I wanted to get back here as soon as possible.

"I knew if I sulked and didn't play as well down there it would delay the process a little bit.

"I just wanted to force their hand as quick as possible."

Jankowski did.

He channeled the energy the proper way, and after a quick start in the minors he was summoned from Stockton of the American Hockey League in the wake of a lower-body injury to Jaromir Jagr. 

"I think the message was to just go down there and don't sulk," said Jankowski, who led Calgary along with Sean Monahan with three goals in five September skates before netting five goals and eight points in six minor-league skates.

"I had a pretty good preseason, but I went down, and you have to go down the right way and go down and dominate and I felt I was trying to do that every shift, trying to just be the best player on the ice every time I could. That was the message, and they said, 'force our hand to bring you back up.'"

Jankowski has skated in each game since the call-up.

And he's been tasked with a challenge.

"He's here for a reason," Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan said last week. "We want him to be the player he was through training camp and in the American league and that's the freedom part. The other part is recognize now that there's other big boys here and you have to be tight and hard defensively."

Challenge accepted.

"I know at this level you have to play a great 200-foot game because if you make one mistake it's usually in the back of your net with the skill of the players in this league," said Jankowski, who had 27 goals and 56 points in 64 games as a rookie in the AHL last year. 

"Just being able to play that 200-foot game and being used in all situations is great for my confidence."

So too should his latest NHL experience.

ONE-TIMERS

Snap up some tickets for Uncorked For ALS, if you haven't yet. Great cause organized by Frida Engstrom and Mikael Backlund . …Any arguments against Mike Smith as team MVP to this point? Didn't think so. … Don't look now, but Andrew Mangiapane leads the American Hockey League with 10 assists and 15 points. …Garnet Hathaway  is fourth with 12 points …How about Adam Ruzicka? Eleven goals and 11 assists in 14 games played with Sarnia has him fifth in Ontario Hockey League scoring. …Not to be outdone, Matthew Phillips anyone? Thirteen goals and 32 points in 16 games with Victoria of the Western Hockey League. That's third-best …Ovechkin and Crosby in the same week? Yes, please.

SNAP SHOT

If you missed Red Rally and the NHL's Centennial Fan Arena, then you missed a great day. Red Rally gave fans the opportunity to participate in interactive games, an open practice with coach Glen Gulutzan mic'd up, and autograph signings with the players. The Centennial celebration brought a 53-ft. museum truck, and features interactive displays, original video content and historic hockey memorabilia. Another trailer provided a video screen, and overlooked a pop-up ball hockey rink. "It's always nice for the fans to come around and see the players, especially the young kids that watch so closely and idolize a lot of these guys," forward Kris Versteeg said. "For them to meet guys on a personal level is probably big for them and it's big for us to show our support to the community that gives everything they have to us." The Red Rally also featured Harvey the Hound meet and greets, and a chance to snap a picture with Lord Stanley's Cup. "I know as a kid I never really got the experience," Versteeg said. "The Lethbridge Hurricanes were like my NHL team, where every time I got to meet them I was awestruck. As a kid for me, it was big to have role models and guys to look forward to and look up to. I think it's big for these kids too, especially little hockey players."

BACKHANDS

TUESDAY: The Flames won 3-2 at the Nashville Predators, courtesy a shootout winner by Matthew Tkachuk, who also scored in regulation.

WEDNESDAY: Calgary fell 5-2 at the St. Louis Blues. Mikael Backlund scored twice, and Eddie Lack stopped 24 shots in the loss.

FRIDAY: The Flames lost 2-1 at home against the Dallas Stars. Johnny Gaudreau had the lone marker, and Mike Smith finished with 22 saves.

SUNDAY: Monahan scored his fourth game-winning goal of the season and Gaudreau picked up two assists as the homeside kept the high-powered Washington Capitals offence in check en route to a 2-1 victory.

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