The Calgary Flames have decided to keep Sean Monahan around. This choice elicited two different kinds of responses around the league, but there’s one thing that everyone seems to agree on: the rookie will hit a rough patch eventually. The goals have been coming easy for Monahan and the Flames in general, but this is still the same team that wasn’t supposed to make much noise coming into the season.
While it’s pleasant that they have surprised, there are 82 games in the grueling regular season. Calgary could see stretches where they don’t win for four or five contests in a row. Flames fans will be prone to overrating during these rougher times, and they might even be tempted to dump on Monahan a bit.
They should resist that urge at all costs.
Calgary’s media may see fit to grill the kid after his first six-game pointless streak. They should fight that urge too. Shoving a mic in his face isn’t going to fix anything or help Monahan grow as a player or a person. Patience will, and there’s no need to chase him off or down into a fourth-line hole with a brutal string of questions during medic scrums.
It’s not like he’s joined the ranks of Mikhail Grigorenko. Not even close. He won’t ever, because he works too heard.
The Flames will slow down—and so will Monahan—but No. 23 has given fans at the Saddledome hope and something to cheer about for years to come. When watching him play, keep in mind that he’s not here to do a massive amount of damage in 2013. He’s here for the long haul, so treat him like part of the solution. Not part of the problem.