Originally written on Beyond The Benches  |  Last updated 6/8/14

DALLAS - NOVEMBER 04: Center Craig Conroy #24 of the Calgary Flames at American Airlines Center on November 4, 2009 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
#482028941 / gettyimages.com With nine regulation wins in the first 50 games of the 2013-14 season, the Calgary Flames solidified their fifth straight season without playoff action. In the final 32 games, they managed 10 regulation wins and proved they could finish strong. In his first season as General Manager, Brad Treliving was quick to take the reins on the rebuilding club. On Friday, the Flames named Craig Conroy and Brad Pascall as Assistant General Managers. Conroy and Pascall join Michael Holditch in the position. Additionally, Troy Crowder joins the Flames in player development. Despite finishing the first year of their rebuild as one of the bottom four teams, the organization managed to sell out every single game. With money to spend, the Flames have currently committed $38 million for 2014-15 based on one-way contracts and those virtually locked into the NHL roster. That leaves 10 spots and roughly $15 million minimum that the team is required to spend to hit a forecast $53 million cap floor. Treliving’s plan for the team aligns with Brian Burke’s, President of Hockey Operations. At his introductory press conference on April 28, Treliving told NHL.com, “I think the style of play, people talk about big and whatever word you want to use, I think you need to have heavy teams now. I think you have to play a heavy game.” Thursday at a Calgary Chamber event, Burke discussed the kind of heavy game the Flames are looking to bring to compete in the Western Conference: “People here like black-and-blue hockey and that’s what we play. If you watch the playoffs, you see that size and hostility have a premium in our league right now. We started that arms race in Anaheim when we won (the Stanley Cup) in 2007 with a big, ugly team. Now, if you’re not big and ugly, you can’t win in the (Western Conference). I think the New York Rangers are finding out the hard way that they’re not big and ugly enough. That’s our goal this summer — to increase our hostility quotient.” The Flames will also be looking for a goaltender to back up Karri Ramo. Last season, Ramo and Reto Berra competed for the starting job. When Ramo claimed the spot, Calgary traded Berra to Colorado for a draft pick and welcomed Joni Ortio to the backup position in which he made his NHL debut while Ramo was injured. This year, Ramo will return to his starting job and Ortio will most likely start in the AHL to gain more experience. Picking fourth in this year’s draft, the Flames face a decision with a list of forward heavy top 10 prospects that features zero goalies. At this year’s NHL Entry Draft, Calgary should be looking for players of size that can bring high caliber, black-and-blue hockey. However, according to Burke, we could be seeing the best-player-available philosophy thrown out in Philadelphia and teams opting to draft particular types of players.   Hillary McLeod is a soon-to-be public relations graduate and future sport management student. You can follow her on Twitter @hillary_mcleod. The post Black and Blue Hockey a Focus for Calgary Flames appeared first on Beyond The Benches.
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