Puckdoku is the trivia game sweeping the hockey world. It’s the NHL equivalent of the “Immaculate Grid“, a three-by-three fill-in-the-blank puzzle which originated as an MLB game but quickly spawned variants for all kinds of other sports leagues.
The concept is simple: for each square, try to think of a player who fits into the criteria established by both the corresponding X- and Y-axis labels. For example, Ray Bourque would fit perfectly into a Boston Bruins/Colorado Avalanche square. Patrick Roy would do just fine for Colorado/Montreal. You get the idea.
Of course, it goes a little deeper than that. Sometimes, instead of teams, Puckdoku uses statistical thresholds (“200+ goals”) or career achievements (“Olympic gold medallist”) as categories. Also, if you want to use a Minnesota North Stars player for the Dallas Stars or an original Winnipeg Jets player for the Arizona Coyotes, you can.
Naturally, some players are more useful for Puckdoku than others. Someone like Maurice Richard, who spent his entire career with the Montreal Canadiens, is pretty much useless for the game unless a Habs label happens to intersect with the right statistical category.
On the flip side, players who spent time with several NHL teams are among the most valuable for Puckdoku purposes. And the more obscure the player, the lower (and better) your “uniqueness” score will be. Both Jarome Iginla and Blake Comeau are valid answers for Calgary/Pittsburgh, but one is a little less well-known than the other.
Over the next few weeks, we’re going to spend some time here at Daily Faceoff highlighting three players connected with each NHL franchise who are particularly useful in games of Puckdoku. We’ll continue today with the Calgary Flames.
Teams: Los Angeles Kings, Calgary Flames, Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, Edmonton Oilers
In his playing days, Mike Cammalleri was best known for his blistering one-timer, which he’d drop down on one knee to successfully execute, and his postseason heroics as a member of the 2010 Montreal Canadiens. Since retiring in 2018, Cammalleri has retained a prominent position in the hockey world as a co-founder of BioSteel, a sports drink company that has transcended the NHL to garner endorsements from the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Alphonso Davies, and Brooke Henderson (as well as Connor McDavid and Connor Bedard, of course).
Cammalleri, who has ulcerative colitis, helped develop BioSteel during the mid-2000s with the goal of creating a sports drink without sugar and artificial flavors. At the same time, the five-foot-nine winger was putting up big numbers in his early years with the Los Angeles Kings. Cammalleri topped out with 36 goals and 80 points with the Kings in 2006–07 before being traded to the Calgary Flames in 2008.
In Calgary, Cammalleri became the first player in the better part of a decade to usurp Jarome Iginla atop the team’s goal-scoring leaderboard, tallying a career-high 39 to Iginla’s 35 in the 2008–09 season. He also reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in his career. But he left Calgary after just one year due to the team’s salary cap constraints and signed a hefty five-year deal with the Canadiens.
After a strong first season in Montreal, Cammalleri took another step forward with 13 goals and 19 points in 19 games during the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He and Jaroslav Halak drove the bus as the Canadiens stunned the hockey world by making it all the way to the Eastern Conference Final, ultimately falling in five games to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Canadiens suffered a first-round exit in 2011, which would mark Cammalleri’s final playoff appearance in the NHL.
Cammalleri returned to the Flames in 2012 by way of a bizarre mid-game trade. He spent parts of three seasons as a fan favorite on a mediocre Flames team before signing with the New Jersey Devils in 2014; then, after being bought out by the Devils in 2017, Cammalleri split one more NHL season between the Kings and Edmonton Oilers before retiring as a player in 2018. He finished his career with 294 goals and 642 points in 906 games.
Teams: Chicago Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers, Philadelphia Flyers, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils
Usually, to make your keep as an NHL journeyman, you need to have one exceptional attribute that allows you to stand out from your peers. For Dean McAmmond, that attribute was his speed. He was never the biggest or most skilled player, but he could keep up with the best of them, and that was often enough in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
McAmmond’s finest years came as a member of the Flames in the 2001–02 and 2003–04 campaigns, although he missed out on participating in the team’s memorable run to the 2004 Stanley Cup Final due to a back injury he sustained late in the regular season. He spent considerable time on the top line with Jarome Iginla and Craig Conroy during his time in Calgary and racked up a career-high 51 points in 73 games during the 2001–02 season.
The Chicago Blackhawks originally selected McAmmond in the first round (No. 22 overall) of the 1991 NHL Draft, but he appeared in just five games with the team before being traded to the Edmonton Oilers in 1993. The Grande Cache, Alberta product would go on to appear in parts of six seasons with the Oilers, putting together a 50-point season in 1997–98, before returning to the Blackhawks in 1999. He’d make a brief pit stop with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2001 before arriving in Calgary for the first time.
Between his stints in Calgary, McAmmond appeared in 41 games with the Colorado Avalanche. After the 2005 lockout, he’d go on to play with the St. Louis Blues, Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders, and New Jersey Devils, with his stint in Canada’s capital sticking out as the most memorable of the four. McAmmond spent parts of three seasons in Ottawa, collecting eight points in 18 playoff games as the Senators made it to the 2007 Stanley Cup Final; the following preseason, he was the victim of a leaping hit by Steve Downie that resulted in a 20-game suspension for the Flyers rookie.
McAmmond dealt with numerous injuries late in his career but still made it within four games of reaching the 1,000-game threshold in the NHL. He retired in 2010 with 186 goals and 448 points in 996 games with nine different teams.
Teams: Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Washington Capitals
Curtis Glencross is more of a trailblazer than most hockey fans realize. Back in 2007, he became the first alumnus of the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Brooks Bandits to play in the NHL, indirectly paving the way for the likes of Chad Johnson, Ty Rattie, and NHL 24 cover athlete Cale Makar to do the same in subsequent seasons.
Glencross’ No. 17 hangs from the rafters in Brooks — Makar’s No. 8 will surely join it there someday — but he never ended up wearing that number for any of his 507 NHL contests. He donned No. 20 for all but 20 games of his career (he wore No. 46 for his two games in Anaheim and No. 22 for 18 games in Washington). And it was with that number on his back that he reached the 20-goal plateau twice during his tenure with the Calgary Flames, with whom he spent seven seasons and established himself as an impactful player.
After playing two NCAA seasons with the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves, Glencross turned pro in the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim organization in 2004. He finally made his NHL debut with the Ducks at age 24 in 2007 before being traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets less than two weeks later. Glencross then split the 2007–08 season between the Blue Jackets and Edmonton Oilers, scoring 15 goals and 25 points in 61 games; Edmonton opted not to retain Glencross’ services as a pending UFA, but he managed to remain in his home province of Alberta by signing a three-year deal with the Flames.
Glencross emerged as a dangerous goal-scorer in Calgary, topping out with 26 in 67 games during the 2010–11 season. He was eventually named an alternate captain with the Flames and was recognized by the club as its 2012 recipient of the Ralph T. Scurfield Humanitarian Award, presented annually to the player who best exemplifies perseverance, determination and leadership on the ice, combined with dedication to community service off the ice. Over his seven seasons in Calgary, Glencross scored 114 goals.
Despite occupying an unlikely playoff position down the stretch, the Flames sent Glencross (a pending UFA) to the Capitals at the 2015 trade deadline. Glencross struggled to make an impact with the Capitals in the postseason and ultimately found himself without a contract through the first two months of unrestricted free agency. He eventually signed PTO deals with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche on the eve of the 2015–16 season but failed to make either team, ending his NHL career. Glencross retired in 2015 at age 32 and has been an active member of the Flames alumni association ever since.
Daily Faceoff Puckdoku series
Anaheim Ducks (08/10) | Arizona Coyotes (08/11) | Boston Bruins (08/12) | Buffalo Sabres (08/13) | Calgary Flames (08/14)