Baertschi likely scratched, Hudler-Cervenka to face Oilers

- January 25th, 2013

This is the 411 after Flames practice Friday, written up by Ian Busby.

I can’t help but think sitting out Sven Baertschi when the young Oilers come to town won’t go over big in the C of Red.

IAN BUSBY
Calgary Sun
The Edmonton Oilers are bringing all their young guns down the highway this weekend, but it looks like the Calgary Flames are keeping their only one in the holster.
During Friday’s practice at the Saddledome, Bob Hartley did a line shuffle with Jiri Hudler and Roman Cervenka available for the first time.
Pushed back into a fourth line rotation, 20-year-old Sven Baertschi looks like he will be the scratch for a tilt Saturday night against the Oilers on CBC.
Baertschi was the last Flames skater off the ice on Friday, a telltale sign he isn’t going to dress, but the 2011 first-round pick hopes the roster isn’t set just yet.
“Maybe he changes his mind tomorrow,” Baertschi said Friday about Hartley’s decision.
“I hope to play because my family is here now (his mother and brother are due to arrive later Friday from Zurich). I was really looking forward to it. I don’t want to be sitting in the stands with them.”
Baertschi has no points in three outings and is a minus-1 with four penalty minutes. He’s fired three shots on goal, but had a defensive zone giveaway in Vancouver during the third period of Wednesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Canucks.
Hartley could just be playing coy, and he could just be tinkering with line formations, but he was noncommittal about whether Baertschi would play or not.
“We have two extra guys right now. We have a healthy lineup up front,” said Hartley, confirming both Hudler and Cervenka will both dress.
“It’s gonna be a competitive lineup. Everyone has to fight for his ice time. Whether it’s Jarome Iginla, whether it’s Alex Tanguay, whether it’s Sven Baertschi, this is the NHL and only one thing matters, it’s to win hockey games.
“We will make the decision (Saturday) what is best for he hockey club.”
This could be just sending a message to the youngest player on the team that some of his rookie mistakes won’t be tolerated.
But in a high-profile game against the Oilers?
“It’s his decision and I have to take it,” Baertschi said. “Maybe he’s right and I looked at it wrong. He has a really good feeling for the game. If he sees a bunch of things, maybe I will see it too on a second look. Maybe he’s right.
“It’s been a long long time. I can’t remember. The only time I haven’t dressed is because I was injured.
“I would love to play. This is my game. If it gets taken away from me, I’m going to work to get back on track. I will go out there and compete and be back in the lineup as soon as I can.
“I’m a competitive guy and I’m going to compete. That’s the way it is. There are a lot of young players in here. Maybe they played better than me and that’s what happens. If you play well, then you play. If you don’t play well, you aren’t playing.”
Baertschi was looking forward to facing the Oilers, who are bring first overall picks Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov and Taylor Hall, rookie blueliner Justin Schultz and rising star Jordan Eberle into the Dome.
The only Flames youngster that could even reasonably compare to that quintet is Baertschi.
“I wanted to play them,” Baertschi said. “That’s what you are looking for as a young player. They have so many players my age. It’s a really young team.
“This would be a chance to see where I’m at. I know I can compete with them. I know I can beat some of them. It would be a great chance for me. I hope I’m going to be in the lineup tomorrow.”
“I just have to make sure in the next couple of days, the next couple of weeks, that no one steals my jersey.”
ian.busby@sunmedia.ca
On Twitter @SUNIanBusby

Day 1 with happiness but injury news

- January 13th, 2013

There were a couple hundred people in the stands waiting.
The fans cheered when the first wave of Calgary Flmaes players hit the Saddledome ice.
The next applause happened when top prospect Sven Baertschi emerged from the tunnel.
Then came more when the likes of Miikka Kiprusoff and Alex Tanguay made their presence felt.
Yep, the Flames were back and Day 1 of training camp was mostly high times.
“It almost felt like a big game day,” said Flames head coach Bob Hartley. “This is great.”
The news wasn’t all great, though.
Flames captain Jarome Iginla didn’t skate due to a groin issue (“tightness”) he said happened Tuesday when he tried to ramp up his skating.
“I would love to be out there with them, but hopefully it’s one more day, day-to-day and never look back,” said Iginla, who went through a worse situation at last year’s camp with a back issue.
The Flames opened camp Sunday with 32 players and must be at a 23-man roster by Friday.
Newcomer Roman Cervenka won’t be on the ice for a spell. He will need to see a specialist in regards to the blood clot-issues caused more than a month ago while playing in the KHL.
Flames GM Jay Feaster reported Cervenka no longer has a blood clot in his leg, but the team wants him to receive the all-clear after being on blood thinners. He won’t be in action until there’s no extra risk if he’s cut or bruised.
As well, defenceman Anton Babchuk, who played in KHL during the lockout, has a shoulder injury expected to keep him out three weeks.
Still, when the nearly two-hour session ended, the fans cheered and the players gave them a salute.
“It’s nice to see some fans out here,” said forward Alex Tanguay. “I know they’ve been very patient with the situation we’ve been in and they have the right to be frustrated.
“I remember in 1994-95, I was a fan of the (Quebec) Nordiques and I remember how I felt, not being able to cheer for the team I liked.
“We’ve got a great fan base in Calgary and … we’re going to try to put together something exciting for them.”

Farewell to a friend

- September 7th, 2012

Day 7
Sept. 8, 2:30 a.m., Yaroslavl
I’m not sure whether it was the busy schedule or the lack of somebody to actually go for a drink with, but until now I haven’t had any vodka in Russia.
And that’s despite being in the country since Sunday.
For some reason, it seems the time is right.
After a day covering the one-year anniversary of the Yaroslavl Lokmotiv disaster, it feels like the right thing to do — enjoy a shot of a drink synonymous with Russia.
It’s not because of the emotional gamut which comes with talking to widows and children of those lost.
It’s not from having witnessed memorial events with so much sadness. (Although, after this much time away, I always REALLY miss my beautiful wife, Michelle, and our suddenly older-than-they-should-be children.)
No, it’s time because it’s one way I know to say goodbye and farewell to Brad.
Brad McCrimmon was an assistant coach of the Calgary Flames for the first two-and-a-half seasons I covered the team.
I was told his nickname was Beast. It should be Teddy Bear.
Underneath that big exterior was a heart of gold, with a quick wit and an quicker laugh.
I can’t recall a conversation without Brad that I didn’t walk away with at least a smile, usually a laugh.
It seems right to give him a toast right now.
Cheers Brad.
I’m sorry. But I don’t know it in Russian.

You know that’s Wayne Gretzky, right?

- September 4th, 2012

Day 4
Sept. 4, 10 p.m. in Moscow
The applause was muted. It makes you wonder whether the fans at the KHL’s season opening game between Dynamo Moscow and Avangard Omsk really understood who had stepped on the ice.
Before the puck dropped on the clash between last year’s champions (Dynamo) and Omsk at the Megasport Arena, Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Brett Hull, Ken Dryden and Mike Keenan stepped onto the ice, along with a handful of Russian greats.
The reaction from the crowd was at first subdued, almost in disbelief those players were indeed real.
It really shouldn’t come as a big surprise. It was not well advertised those famous players and coach from the NHL were in town, let alone going to be at the first game of the KHL season, now known as the Lokomotiv Cup, in honour of those who died in the plane crash nearly one year ago.
Prior to the game, photos of all those who perished in the disaster were shown on the big screen, and those in the crowd were urged to hold their cell phones aloft with the light to serve as candles.
Now, it’s off to St. Petersburg for the first of the two games players on this tour are partaking.
To get there, yours truly will discover a truly Russian experience. I’ll be getting there from Moscow on an overnight train, departing at 1 a.m. local time and arriving around 8:30 a.m.
Wish me luck.

Moss to the Phoenix Coyotes

- July 1st, 2012

For a few moments, it appeared yet another Flames player would return to the team.

Reports circulated David Moss signed a two-year deal with the only NHL team he’s known, but Moss has officially left the club after inking a two-year pact with the Phoenix Coyotes.

Moss scored 20 goals in the 2008-09 season, but has struggled with injuries in each of the last three seasons, which limited him to 154 games in those years and 17 goals.

The Flames did make “serious offers” according to Moss’s agent, Howard Gourwitz.