The Calgary Flames 2010-11 season was a rollercoaster ride for players, coaches, staff and fans alike. A slow start that saw the team fall to 14th place in the Western Conference had the city on edge but a miraculous comeback that began near the end of December helped the team climb back into contention for a playoff spot, missing the postseason by a mere four points.
Throughout the up-and-down journey, milestones were reached, highlight-reel plays were made, players set new personal bests and a few prospects made their NHL debuts. Whittling down 20 moments was a tough task but we've managed to put together a list we think encompasses the 2010-11 campaign.
Craig Conroy knew there was no guarantee he'd play to the end of the 2010-11 campaign when he signed a two-way deal with the Flames last summer but he was adamant in his insistence of sticking with the club . He ended up playing 18 games for the Flames before being put on waivers. At a crossroads, Conroy opted to retire after 14 seasons in the NHL. The team offered the always-affable Conroy a position in hockey operations which he accepted. He now acts as the special assistant to the general manager, a job he's thrilled with. During the off-season, he was offered the head coaching job at his alma matter, Clarkson University, but ultimately decided he wanted to stay in Calgary, stating his heart is here. Saying goodbye
4. THE COMEBACK KIDS
Dec. 23, 2010 vs. the Dallas Stars
Near the middle of December, anyone watching the Flames had already declared the team was destined to finish near the Western Conference basement. They, to put it bluntly, looked dead on their feet. At one point, the only team below them in the conference was the Edmonton Oilers and they showed no signs of life. Then, on December 23 in a game against the Dallas Stars, the Flames came back late in the third period and were able to win the contest in a shootout. The victory seemed to flick a switch in the boys and all of the sudden, they were the hottest team in the League. Their record from their win in Dallas to the end of February? A staggering 18-5-6. Their metaphorical rising from the ashes even saw them sit in fourth in the West for a period of time. Ultimately, their resurgence came too late and they missed the postseason by just four points but their ability to claw themselves back into the equation deserves all the credit in the world. Never looking back
3. AN UNBELIEVABLE RETURN
Apr. 1, 2011 vs. the St. Louis Blues
On March 21, 2010 during a game against the Minnesota Wild, a split second play nearly cost veteran pivot Daymond Langkow his career. Checked in front of the net right as teammate Ian White let a slap shot go, Langkow was struck with the puck and suffered a fractured vertebra. His recovery was slow and many concluded Langkow would never see another minute of NHL action again. His determination, however, could not be deterred. He pushed through and on April 1, he was able to return to the lineup. His first game wasn't limited to easy minutes and a couple shifts either. He put in 13:40 of ice time and had an assist on the tying marker in the second period. "Incredible," defenceman Cory Sarich said. Incredible indeed. Getting back into the game
2. A HISTORIC EVENING
Feb. 20, 2011 vs. the Montreal Canadiens
Outdoor hockey games are becoming a staple for our American neighbors but until this February, Canada only had the privilege of hosting a single outdoor game. When the NHL announced it would hold the Heritage Classic at McMahon Stadium, the buzz around the city was immediate and deafening. Everyone wanted tickets despite the fact we all know Calgary in February can be absolutely bone-chilling. 41,022 people came out to McMahon Stadium on the evening of February 20 - some paying upwards of $500 a ticket from scalpers - and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who left without a smile on their face. The event itself was extraordinary but to be able to beat the Habs 4-0 and have Kipper record the first shutout at an outdoor game? Priceless. Worthy of a post-game handshake
1. 1000 SHADES OF GREATNESS
Apr. 1, 2010 vs. the St. Louis Blues
There's no question Jarome Iginla has done a lot in his career. But reaching the 1000 point mark is a step above his other accomplishments. When he skated towards the Blues net on a partial breakaway and sent a wrist shot underneath Jaroslav Halak's pad, he didn't just score the game-winner. He pushed himself into an elite category of players. He's just the 77th player in the history of the NHL to hit 1000 points and the 34th to do it with a single team. The ever-modest Iginla deflected praise when questioned about his remarkable career, saying "I've definitely been fortunate so far to play with as many good players and still have opportunity. It just makes me think back and I definitely feel blessed and fortunate."1000 reasons to celebrate