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Handshake Line: Farewell Flames

Next in line to give credit where it's due to the Calgary Flames as they head off into the sunset.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

First and foremost, I have to thank the entire Calgary team for making me look like a total jackass, yelling, screaming, laughing, pounding on tables and walls at a local establishment when they officially knocked the Kings out of playoff contention.  I was even accused of being a Canadian by some lady who seemed vaguely interested in the Kings at best.  It was fun, and it's worked out pretty much as I hoped it would (if not better) on that day.

Youthful Exuberance: Holy crap, the last three series the Ducks have won all have one thing in common, young, exciting, up and coming opponents that are simply a lot of fun to watch, and the Flames are no exception.  The only downside is that it makes these already repetitive handshake posts even more so, but in comparison to Dallas and Winnipeg, Calgary takes it up a notch.  Between Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan (not as boring as one might think) and Sam Bennett, i would say Calgary's young guns have more growth potential than those of the Jets, Stars, or even Colorado and Edmonton.  So that will be fun to watch, especially since they are backed up by a much better blueline than any of those teams (except maybe Winnipeg).

Karri Ramo: A .907 save percentage, while not awful, doesn't necessarily say star of the series (for a losing team).  However, if you remove Game 1 where neither he nor Jonas Hiller had any help whatsoever you get a respectable .914.  Whittle it down even further to the Games 2 and 5 where he was the difference between Calgary getting destroyed again and relatively close games (including one that went to OT) and you get a very good .938.  In a series where most of the Flames couldn't get much going for long stretches, Ramo was what allowed them to start getting their feet under them, especially in Anaheim.  Also, super sweet Tim Burton mask, dude.

Jonas Hiller: We've come a long way, haven't we?  From playoff heroics against San Jose, to vertigo, to you shaving during the Kings series last year and now, three goals on 14 shots in 22 minutes.  I just want to say that I wasn't a fan of how many Ducks fans treated you going into this series, although I may have joined in on one round of HILLLLLLLL-ERRRRRRRR chanting after that Getzlaf goal in Game 1, and the "We Want Hiller" thing was cruelly funny.  I'm still very much grateful for what you brought to the Ducks in your time here, and the drama of how it ended or the super quick fizzling of that storyline in this series will never take away from that.  Thanks bud, best of luck against 28 teams in the future.

Brian Burke: Along the same lines, as much as everyone else shits all over you for grit and truculence, your "relationship" with the media, arbitrary moral code of managing a team, ties and hair (but seriously dude, what's up with that hair?)  You'll always be the guy who brought the Cup to Anaheim.  The league is more fun and interesting with you in it, and these Flames are a great testament to that.  Sorry that this had to come at your expense.

C of Red: Finally, after all the gushing love over the Winnipeg whiteout, I have to give major props to the fans in Calgary who have a serious dress code as well.  The thing that the Flames definitely have over the Jets though, is that the C of Red is not just a playoff thing.  Check any game in Calgary, playoff, regular or probably even pre-season and, a couple stragglers aside, EVERYONE has a red jersey on.  Not only that, I would venture to guess that 95% of them have the black C, Alberta and Canadian flags, which kicks major ass BTW, as to make them roughly indistinguishable from the current home jersey.  Getting people to dress up like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man for one game is something, but getting that many people to wear the same thing ALWAYS is something else entirely and it's always cool to see.