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Flames make whack of cuts; Granlund joins injured brigade

- September 27th, 2014

RANDY SPORTAK
Calgary Sun
Josh Jooris didn’t even know he’d survived the axe which went through the Calgary Flames dressing room.
The forward was more focused on preparing to suit up for Sunday’s pre-season game in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche.
“I told myself that whatever happens, I’m just gonna keep going and know the organization has a plan and not get too high or too low. If I get sent down, it’s not the end of the world. I’ll go there, learn and compete and try to get back up here,” Jooris said.
“I’ve come to realize that work ethic and compete here outweighs talent. That goes a long way in this organization, so I’ll keep doing those little things and keep working on the details.”
The Flames dispatched a dozen players on Saturday. Keegan Kanzig, the 2013 draft choice, was sent to the WHL’s Victoria Royals, while 11 were assigned to the AHL Adirondack Flames.
Goalies Doug Carr and Brad Thiessen, defencemen Curtis Gedig, Dustin Stevenson and forwards Mathieu Tousignant, Trevor Gillies, Kenny Agostino, David Wolf, Bryce Van Bradant, Ben Hanowski and Garnet Hathaway will report to Glens Falls, NY, for the AHL team’s training camp that opens Monday.
The Flames have 45 players remaining in camp.
“It’s a sad day. You saw the camp and there are no disappointments there,” head coach Bob Hartley said.
Sad for some. Happy for others, Jooris being one of them.
“He’s been a great story,” Hartley said. “I felt that in Sylvan Lake, he was probably one of our best players. In OT, we were still on four-on-three penalty killing and I put (Joe Colborne) and then I put Jooris on the ice. I felt he was skating very well.
“He’s skating right now with confidence, he’s creating, he’s on the puck. Right now, he’s pushing.”
Lofty praise for a young player in his second pro season.
“When you get noticed, especially by the head coach, it’s nice to hear,” said Jooris, who admittedly had an up-and-down 2013-14 season in the AHL. “It give you an extra jump in your step. It’s better to hear those things than not hear those things.”
There weren’t any surprises among the cuts. Even some given the bad news left feeling good about their performance.
For example, Garnet Hathaway – the Brown University grad who is signed to an AHL deal – opened camp being named the fittest prospect and turned plenty of heads.
“He basically came out of nowhere and caught our attention. That’s what you need,” Hartley said. “There’s many Garnet Hathaways playing in the NHL today. They had to spend a year, two years, three years in the AHL, but they kept pushing and kept believing and made it. I believe he’s one of those guys that sooner or later could play in the NHL.”
Hathaway could parlay his degree in business entrepreneurship and economics into the real world but wants to first chase his hockey dream.
The winger whose father owns a lobster processing business in Maine and opened his own pushcart selling lobster rolls while in college, left the Saddledome knowing he’d made big strides.
“My goal coming in was make it difficult for them to cut me. I have an AHL contract, so I wanted to get noticed, turn some heads, and I think I did that,” he said.
Hathaway, who joined the AHL Abbotsford Heat last season and suited up in nine games, also left with an understanding of how much he must learn.
“You see how guys are moving and where guys are going to be, and you understand the mindset of how to anticipate things. I think that’s the biggest thing,” he said. “You have to know the next play and you pick up on those things.”
randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca
On Twitter: @SunRandySportak

RANDY SPORTAK
Calgary Sun
The good news for the Calgary Flames with their list of wounded players is that most of them are skating, albeit not all-out.
The bad news is that list appears to be growing daily.
Centre Markus Granlund is now on the shelf due to a head injury suffered in Friday’s 3-0 pre-season loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
“I think it could be a concussion,” head coach Bob Hartley said Saturday.
As well, right-winger David Jones was supposed to play Sunday’s pre-season game in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche but left the ice early in Saturday’s practice and is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
On the positive side, defenceman Ladislav Smid was skating with the injured crew.
Smid had an infected tooth worsen to the point he needed a few teeth removed.
“There was serious infection,” Hartley said.
Centre Mikael Backlund (abdomen) also was on the ice with the injured crew, although he was taking things easy.
A few days ago, Hartley seemed worried Backlund’s issue was serious.
“It’s encouraging,” Hartley said. “Right now he’s so far behind, we’re going to ramp him but, but at the same time, we’ll be careful with him. We’ll try to get him ready for Game 1. We got some good news and you should see him (practising fully) soon.”
LW Morgan Klimchuk (sprained wrist), RW Emile Poirier (off-season shoulder surgery) D Corey Potter (off-season shoulder surgery) and D Tyler Wotherspoon (off-season shoulder surgery) also were on the ice after the healthy players practised.
“Potts and Wotherspoon are cousins right now,” Hartley said. “We could see them back together basically at the same time. It’s a matter of days.”
Klimchuk, likely headed to the WHL’s Regina Pats, is expected to miss a few weeks, while Poirier is still about a month away from action.
LW Mason Raymond (suspected groin) is expected to be skating again in the next couple of days.
randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca
On Twitter: @SunRandySportak

Flames Stempniak joins Giordano on the shelf

- October 26th, 2013

Capitals (5-5-0) at Flames (4-4-2)

TIME: 8 p.m.

TV: CBC

RADIO: Sportsnet Fan 960

THE MAIN STORYLINE: After starting the season with a 3-0-2 mark but then winning one of five games on their recent road trip, life doesn’t get any easier when the Washington Capitals come to town. The Caps have won four of their last five games.

LINEUP NOTES: Now the Flames will be without RW Lee Stempniak, who’s been their most consistent veteran this season, due to a lower-body injury. He’s joining D Mark Giordano (lower body) on the shelf, which means the the club’s most consistent forwards this season are out of action.

LW Sven Baertschi will return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch last game.

The Flames have summoned D Derek Smith from the minors. He played one AHL game but no NHL clashes this season.

Kari Ramo will start in goal.

The Capitals don’t look like they’ll make any changes to their lineup, and for good reason. They’re rolling and even Mikhail Grabovski has been lighting the lamp of late.

Unfortunately, that means Calgary product Jay Beagle won’t draw back into the lineup.

Braden Holtby, who was hooked in the Flames season opener in Washington, will get the nod in net for the Caps.

BURNING QUESTION: Can the Flames stem the tide and prevent their first three-game losing streak of the season?

PLAYER TO WATCH: Capitals RW Alex Ovechkin. So good he was named a first-team all star as a right winger and second-team all star on the left wing. He has 10 goals in 10 games this season and will shoot from the parking lot if need be.

FAST FACT: In seven career games against the Flames, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin has amassed eight goals and 15 points.

“It’s a big opportunity and I take it very serious. I want to make sure I leave everything on the ice so the next time, when we have a full, healthy lineup, it’s not going to be me out. I want to make sure next time we have a full healthy lineup, ‘He’s good to go. We can’t take him out of the lineup.’ ” – Sven Baertschi after missing last game

Projected Flames Lines

FORWARDS
Curtis Glencross-Matt Stajan-David Jones
Sven Baertschi-Sean Monahan-Jiri Hudler
Michael Cammalleri-Mikael Backlund-TJ Galiardi
Lance Bouma-Joe Colborne-Brian McGrattan

DEFENCE
TJ Brodie-Chris Butler
Kris Russell-Dennis Wideman
Derek Smith-Shane O’Brien

GOAL
Joey MacDonald
Karri Ramo

INJURED: D Mark Giodano (lower body), RW Lee Stempniak (lower body)
SCRATCHES: RW Tim Jackman, D Chris Breen

Flames ready to raise the curtain at the Saddledome

- October 6th, 2013

Canucks (1-1-0) at Flames (1-0-1)

TIME: 6 p.m.

TV: Sportsnet West

RADIO: Sportsnet Fan 960

THE MAIN STORYLINE: The Flames skate in their home opener, looking to build on a successful two-game road trip in which they fell to the Washington Capitals 5-4 in a shootout and beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3. The Canucks arrive in the Stampede City after thumping the Edmonton Oilers 6-2 at home late Saturday night.

LINEUP NOTES: Calgary will ice the same lineup as in Columbus, including having Joey MacDonald in goal. MacDonald almost appeared to fall to No. 3 on the depth chart during training camp, but by coming up with the win against the Blue Jackets gets another shot. This will be the home debut for 2013 first-round draft choice Sean Monahan, who is skating on a line with Sven Baertschi – also Calder Trophy eligible and technically a rookie – and veteran Lee Stempniak. It’s also the home debut for a couple of Calgary products in TJ Galiardi and Joe Colborne.

LW Michael Camalleri (hand) and C Matt Stajan (leg) are both on the shelf.

For the Canucks, all their big guns got it going in their shellacking of the Oilers. Henrik Sedin collected three assists, Daniel Sedin netted one goal and one assist and Ryan Kesler scored once while registering nine shots on goal. Jannik Hansen is skating on a line with the Sedins while Alex Burrows is on the shelf with a foot injury and Zack Kassian is serving the third game of a five-game suspension for a pre-season incident.

The Canucks will turn to Eddie Lack in goal. Lack, the 25-year-old netminder from Sweden, will make his NHL debut.

BURNING QUESTION: Can the Flames keep the Sedins in check?

Historically, the top Canucks have feasted on Calgary. In 71 career games versus the Flames, Daniel Sedin has collected 25 goals and 73 points, while Henrik has netted 12 goals and 66 points in 73 games.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Flames C Joe Colborne, who was acquired via trade from the Toronto Maple Leafs on the eve of the season, was expected to be a third- or fourth-line player. Due to Stajan’s injury, he’s skating on a top line with Curtis Glencross and David Jones. Colborne, who admitted he was nervous in his Flames debut, his 17th career NHL game, has never played in a game at the Saddledome and expects about 50 friends and family at the game.

FAST FACT: The Flames are on a two-game losing streak in home openers, and have a 2-1-2 record when facing the Canucks in a home opener, with the most recent of those encounters a 5-3 win over Vancouver to kick off the 2009-10 season.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s very exciting. The crowd’s going to be awesome. Usually they’re going against me, so it’s going to be fun to have them behind me.” — Flames forward TJ Galiardi.

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SunRandySportak

Flames Lines

FORWARDS

Curtis Glencross-Joe Colborne-David Jones

TJ Galiardi-Mikael Backlund-Jiri Hudler

Sven Baertschi-Sean Monahan-Lee Stempniak

Lance Bouma-Ben Street-Brian McGrattan

DEFENCE

TJ Brodie-Mark Giordano

Kris Russell-Dennis Wideman

Chris Butler-Shane O’Brien

GOAL

Joey MacDonald

Karri Ramo

INJURED: C Matt Stajan (leg), LW Michael Cammalleri (hand).

SCRATCHES: RW Tim Jackman, D Derek Smith

Canucks Lines

FORWARDS

Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Jannik Hansen

David Booth-Ryan Kesler-Chris Higgins

Dale Weise-Mike Santorelli-Brad Richardson

Tom Sestito-Zac Dalpie

DEFENCE

Dan Hamhuis-Kevin Bieksa

Alexander Edler-Jason Garrison

Ryan Stanton-Christopher Tanev

GOAL

Eddie Lack

Roberto Luongo

INJURED: RW Alex Burrows (foot), C Jordan Schroeder (ankle).

SCRATCHES: D Andrew Alberts

SUSPENDED: Zack Kassian

Time for Flames hopefuls to ace the test

- September 25th, 2013

Final exams.

Those are months away for university students.

For the Calgary Flames hopefuls, the time has come to ace the test for a crack at the NHL roster with Wednesday’s pre-season clash against the Phoenix Coyotes at the Saddledome (7 p.m., TSN, FAN 960).

“Not too many players, not too many coaches, in this business is your job guaranteed,” head coach Bob Hartley said after the morning skate. “You have to do it for your team, you have to do it for yourself. That’s our job. Being a professional, you have to be the best you can be, show your abilities and come in with a good working habits and playing a good game.

Bob-Hartley

“For Sven (Baertschi), for Corban Knight, for (Sean) Monahan, for all those kids playing, it’s the same rule. There’s no one rule for one guy and different rules for others.”

The Flames are icing a veteran lineup, but those aforementioned players, as well as Ben Street, will be given a last look. Whether one game can make that big of a deal in the coach’s mind remains to be seen.

“It can influence it. I don’t know if it can change it,” Hartley said. “We will do what’s best for the Calgary Flames. At the same time, dealing with young players, if you can be in the top 20 players and play on a regular basis, here’s one situation, but is it better to keep a young player as our 21st, 22nd, 23rd, player on not playing him? That’s something we’ll have to look at. I’m not a big fan.”

The Flames forward lines are:

Mikael Backlund-TJ Galiardi-David Jones

Curtis Glencross-Sean Monahan-Lee Stempniak

Sven Baertschi-Matt Stajan-Ben Street

Lance Bouma-Corban Knight-Tim Jackman

On defence:

Mark Giordano-TJ Brodie

Kris Russell-Dennis Wideman

Chris Butler-Shane O’Brien

Reto Berra is due to start in net and play the whole game.

The interesting twists are Backlund playing on wing and Knight, who was always considered a centre, finally skating in the middle in a pre-season game.

“I think it’s a great experience for Backs,” Hartley said. “I said, ‘Don’t get nervous. It’s another page in your book. By playing left wing, you will see the game from another vision and it’s gonna give you a chance to maybe be a better centreman.’ ”

As for the Coyotes, veterans of note who’ll be playing include Shane Doan, Keith Yandle and Mike Ribeiro.

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SunRandySportak

Flames hopeful Gordon shows he’s got heart

- September 17th, 2013

The all-clear couldn’t have come at a better time for Coda Gordon.

The Calgary Flames prospect (drafted in the sixth round in 2012) was on the shelf through the first week of the main training camp because a test of his heart showed some irregularities the doctors wanted checked out.

He was given the OK Monday night and received a tap on the shoulder to skate in Tuesday’s split-squad pre-season game against the New York Islanders.

“It’s exciting, especially after the little break I had in camp, not sure if I was going to play or not,” Gordon said after the morning skate. “To get the OK and news I was going to play is pretty cool.”

Gordon, 19, who skated in the Young Stars Tournament, was kept off the ice for a few days while awaiting more tests.

“Nothing was out of the ordinary and nothing was too bad,” the product from Cochrane said of the final tests done Monday. “Once the Flames found out the news, they had me go to the Saddledome and work out. I thought I’d have a chance to play and found out today.”

The afternoon meant some quick calls to spread the word he’d play the game and then attempt to nap.

This was likely the last reasonable chance to give Gordon – who netted 17 goals and 59 points last season for the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos – a shot at pre-season action.

The Flames have two more pre-season games and are expected to assign a big group of players to the minors or their respective junior teams on Wednesday. The AHL Abbotsford Heat will open their camp Friday.

Here’s the lineups scheduled to play at the Saddledome…

Calgary
Forwards:
Curtis Glencross-TJ Galiardi-Lee Stempniak
Paul Byron-Ben Street-Tim Jackman
Turner Elson-Markus Granlund-Coda Gordon
Lance Bouma-Roman Horak-Zach McKelvie

Defence:
Mark Giordano-Chad Billins
Derek Smith-Dennis Wideman
Kris Russell-John Ramage

Joey MacDonald is slated to play the whole game in goal, with Laurent Brossoit serving as backup.

As for the Islanders, who practiced in Regina before traveling to Calgary Tuesday, here’s the roster they’ve announced.

Forwards:
Josh Bailey-Frans Nielsen-Kyle Okposo
Michael Grabner-Peter Regin-Cal Clutterbuck
John Persson-Riley Wetmore-Chris Bruton
Kirill Kabanov-Jason Clark-Justin Johnson

Defence:
Andrew MacDonald-Matt Donovan
Griffin Reinhart-Ryan Pulock
Calvin de Haan-Matt Carkner

Goal:
Kevin Poulin
Anders Nilsson