Camp primer: Things to watch as the Flames get rolling
Friday is the deadline for club to submit 23-man roster
A FIVE-POINT PRIMER FOR THE CALGARY FLAMES’ TRAINING CAMP
1. Happy Campers
On the premises are 32 players, including the injured trio of RW Jarome Iginla (groin), C Roman Cervenka (blood clot), D Anton Babchuk (shoulder). By Friday at 1 p.m., the Flames have to submit their 23-man roster to the National Hockey League.
No cut-down days have been announced.
“None of these guys will be going back for their mid-week (AHL) games,” said GM Jay Feaster, “so we’ll see what happens, who makes the team, how it all shakes out Friday.”
2. Meritocracy Rules
There is one battle for backup netminder. There is another to land the seventh and eighth defencemen jobs. There is a pile of forwards trying to land contracts, trying to stay in Calgary, trying to move up the lines.
In other words, plenty is at play. Which is how it’s supposed to be.
“(Coach Bob Hartley) met with the veterans this morning and said, ‘There are young guys in here looking to steal your jerseys. Don’t let them,’ ” said Feaster. “And he told the kids and the new guys, ‘It’s your job to steal a jersey.’ That’s what we want to foster here in camp. We want competition. We want to put the best team out there that we possibly can and keep the best 23.”
3. Training Camp Schedule
Monday — 10:30 a.m. at the Saddledome
Tuesday — 10:30 a.m. at the Saddledome
Wednesday — 10:30 a.m. at the Saddledome
Thursday — 10:30 a.m. at the Saddledome
Friday — 10:30 a.m. at the Saddledome
Saturday — 11 a.m. at the WinSport Ice Complex
Fans are welcome. And they should expect lots of game simulation.
“Originally, I planned scrimmages for Monday and Wednesday — and we’re going to be adding one Thursday also,” said coach Bob Hartley. “By Thursday, we’ll have covered most of our system. Then we’re going to use Friday and Saturday to try to make a couple of adjustments and work on different things.”
4. Sunday Combinations
Not skating — Babchuk (shoulder), Cervenka (blood clot), Iginla (groin)
5. Centre Stage
With Roman Cervenka sidelined indefinitely, GM Jay Feaster was asked about his plans for centre.
“The fact that he’s not able to be with us (on the ice), we don’t feel that it’s a train wreck at the centre-ice position,” said Feaster. “We certainly have enough guys to step in there.”
Two candidates, in particular, stand out.
* Mikael Backlund — “I go back two years ago, to the end of the 2010-11 campaign,” said Feaster. “I really thought that Mikael Backlund came on strong. I thought he was playing really well down the stretch, then he went and had a really good world championship. So we were excited. When he came into camp last year, I thought he looked good. Then a couple days in, he breaks his (pinky) — I don’t think he ever recovered from that. Now all the reports we’ve gotten from our pro scouts who have seen him play over in Europe are very, very positive. He’s a wildcard. What’s he going to do? And where can he slot in?”
* Matt Stajan — “I talked to the group this morning and I said, ‘The great part about where we are right now is, everyone has a clean slate. Today is the first day of the rest of our careers. No matter what you’ve been thought of before . . . or what the coaching staff may have thought of you, it’s all fresh,’ ” said Feaster. “One guy that has come in, in really good shape . . . is Matt Stajan. I know that Matt wants to rebound from a disappointing year. With Bob and a new staff, this is the opportunity to do that."
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