Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/15/13
Ryan Getzlaf. Joe Thornton. Logan Couture. Anze Kopitar. Mike Richards. Jeff Carter. Jarret Stoll. A hockey equivalent rollcall of the Rack the Judas Chair the Stocks and Heretic’s Fork (a particularly nasty bit of business involving well-sharpened pincers engraved with the word “abiuro” Latin for “I recant” and hanging suspended from a hook . . . well you get the idea). Torture. Utter torture. “If you’re going to win the Masters” reasons boss hog Bob Hartley “you’d rather do it paired with Tiger on Sunday afternoon right?” With a call on his 2013-2104 future fast approaching 19-year-old Calgary Flames’ whiz kid Sean Monahan packs his Coppertone and prepares to face a California Inquisition. A formidable gauntlet of sizable savvy uber-competitive centremen. Among the finest in the trade. “It’s going to be a good gauge” agrees Hartley. “A bit unfair maybe but that’s because of Monny. Because of the way he’s played so far the way he’s opened so many eyes making so many NHL plays. “For someone so young he’s been all we could’ve asked for.” And more. It’s all happened so quickly. In mere weeks Monahan has transformed himself into that shining beacon of the future the Flames prayed so hard for this off-season — six points including four goals in a 3-0-2 start that’d make Mr. Ripley scratch his head in disbelief has far outstripped anyone’s expectations. In doing so he’s managed to capture the public’s imagination put an uplifting spin on what promised (and still promises no matter how blissfully bright the beginning) to be an arduous rebuild and helped the big team in this town win hockey games to boot. Given his seismic start the shine the city has taken to him people hereabouts would at the moment anyway consider the option of sending Sean Monahan to junior as no option at all; as nothing less than madness heresy. Yet the Flames are obliged to make a call on his turning pro or heading back to the OHL Ottawa 67s after Game 9 which if he remains a fixture in the lineup means prior to the Oct. 24th date at Dallas the game that happens to close out this five-game junket. That call won’t be as straightforward as the local citizenry might believe. So how he fares over the next week the three California appointments quarrelling over the faceoff dot with Stoll trying to somehow push past Thornton’s Jumbo backside as the big lug shields the puck waiting to make that trademark killer pass coping with Getzlaf in full swoop will doubtless factor into the final call. With rival tacticians Bruce Boudreau Todd MacLellan and the inimitable Jolly Rancher Darryl Sutter having last change on home ice it’s certain the kid i s certain to spend much of those evenings out against out the top guns. There’ll be no hiding Mr. Monahan not that that’s Hartley’s style anyway. “They’re obviously big guys” Monahan is saying following Monday’s Thanksgiving practice at the Scotiabank Saddledome. “But they’re smart players first and foremost. They play more of a mental game than a physical one I guess. Sure they’re strong on their sticks and tough to play against in that way but it’s the way they think the game the plays they make that makes them all great players. “Growing up Thornton was one of my favourites. So it’s gonna be pretty cool I guess to go out there against him. Obviously though once you step on the ice it’s just a hockey game. You’re competing in the game to win the game.”
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