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TKACHUK MAKING BIG IMPACT

Youngster sits second in team scoring - not too shabby for a rookie!

by AARON VICKERS @aavickers / calgaryflames.com

Who could've predicted, on June 24, 2016, the impact that rookie Matthew Tkachuk would have on the 2016-17 Flames.

And who could've guessed that, through the opening 59 games of the regular season, that Tkachuk would be in sole possession of second in team scoring.

Him.

Sort of.

"I think that I was a competitive guy back then and a driven kid," said Tkachuk, the No.-6 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. "I wanted to make the NHL and have an impact."

He has.

Ahead of the 19-year-old's 37 points is only Mikael Backlund's team-leading 39. Behind Tkachuk is the rest, including Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. No one has more than his team-leading 26 assists, either, and only Mark Giordano at plus-11 has a more positive rating than Tkachuk's plus-9.

He's first in penalty minutes and second in points-per-game, too.

All while playing on Calgary's most productive line alongside Backlund and Michael Frolik.

"The young gun," goaltender Brian Elliott said. "He brings an energy to the rink. He's always smiling and always willing and wanting to learn. He's always asking questions and things like that. That line has been kind of on fire this year.

"We kind of let them do what they do and he's definitely a big part of that."

And now a look at the week that was.

OVER THE BOARDS:

No bluffin'. Hats off to the Flames and The Calgary Flames Ambassadors. The 12th annual Flames Ambassadors Celebrity Poker Tournament raised $415,000 for the Calgary Flames Foundation on Thursday, bringing the total raised through the event to $4.3 million in 12 years. The last Flames player standing was Dennis Wideman , who made it to the final table and finished eighth overall. …Shout out to Canada's 10 newest citizens, who were sworn in at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday, and backed up anthem singer George Canyon in an extra-special rendition of O' Canada. …Congrats to Adam Fox, who notched a goal and an assist in Harvard's 6-3 win against Boston University to help the school capture its first Beanpot title in 24 years.

OVERTIME:

It's not always easy to talk, be open and share. But it's becoming increasingly important. According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Canadian Mental Health Association and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, one in five Canadians will experience a mental health problem or illness in their lifetime, directly affecting or indirectly affecting all Canadians through a family member, friend or colleague. "I think everybody in here deals with injuries, deals with mental health and we all seek help in different ways," goaltender Chad Johnson  said. "We're all different as human beings, but we all deal with the same issues. I think the key is knowing that there's always help in regards to anything … injuries, mental health. There's help there and we all deal with it. You should feel comfortable seeking help. For us here we're always encouraged to seek help in any way that we can to get better." The Flames drove that point home on Wednesday against the Philadelphia Flyers in hosting their fifth annual Hockey Talks game. Hockey Talks is part of a collective effort with all seven Canadian NHL teams dedicating one game to help bring awareness to the issue in an attempt to alleviate the misconceptions and stigma that have been associated with mental illness. "We're in a position where we can create awareness and make people aware of a lot of things that are going on in this world and mental awareness is a big one we're talking about now," forward Matt Stajan said. "With us being in the position we're in we should make sure that we're doing our part to create awareness for everybody and I think we're doing a good job of that and we've got to continue to do so."

 

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