In the beginning, people laughed at us and made fun. Now, they respect the work we do. It been worth it.. So are AHL call ups, which have transformed the face of the Calgary Flames lineup.A full one quarter of the Flames opening day lineup has since been replaced by farmhands who played a role in the seven game win streak pieced together before this week mid season break.It a luxury this franchise hasn had in several decades as it drafted poorly and continually mortgaged the future to try staying competitive.Brad Treliving changed all that by stocking the cupboards in Stockton where the GM has turned repeatedly this year to fill holes in his lineup.Mark Jankowski, Garnet Hathaway and Andrew Mangiapane, who started the year as the AHL top line, played together again Sunday as the Flames third unit.And they played well.Few teams in the league could piece together such a hot streak using raw rookies who are replacing veterans like Kris Versteeg, Jaromir Jagr and Michael Frolik.Marek Hrivik is now finally getting the chance defenceman Brett Kulak has already taken advantage of after three years as a Flames tweener.In goal, David Rittich has made a major impact, spelling off Mike Smith with a 4 1 record and 2.03 GAA, not to mention a spiffy .932 save percentage.It allowed the Flames to jettison failed project Eddie Lack, and gives the coach confidence to be able to give 35 year old Smith the team undisputed MVP more rest down the stretch.That a huge development for this team.Mark Jankowski has turned the third line into a productive unit.Almost as huge is the role Jankowski has played, turning the league most inept third line (scoreless the first 16 games) into a productive unit. Jankowski and Hathaway are now playing prominent roles as penalty killers too, as part of a unit they helped turn around from one of the league worst.It fair to ask, where this club would be without these youngsters?come in and they made a difference, agreed Treliving, whose organization had long done well to escape the injury bug most teams face.all part of the growth here. We came in three years ago and said we wanted young guys in the AHL instead of career AHLers there.
Plus making the job full time with more money isn’t going to automatically raise the level. If anything, it will invite more people who want to do this because it’s a way to make money and then how soon before you have fat cat refs who are happy to collect a paycheck. Suddenly you are creating a whole different problem while possibly lowering those standards as a by product of it..