Flames Training Camp Primer

Ryan Pike
January 13 2013 11:16AM

The CBA is officially ratified and hockey fans can rest assured that we won't ever see another lockout. Well, at least until 2022. In the mean-time, the NHL has released its schedule and the Calgary Flames will begin camp for the shortened 2013 season on Sunday.

The Flames released their camp roster and schedule late Saturday. Here's a quick-and-dirty primer.

THE SCHEDULE

Camp opens Sunday (today) at noon at the Saddledome for a full-practice. There are also practices at the 'Dome every day Monday to Friday at 10:30am. Scrimmages will be part of the practices on Monday and Wednesday, so these are likely the best days to come to see practices. The last day of camp is Saturday at Winsport, with practice starting at 11am.

All on-ice sessions are open to the public.

THE ROSTER

The Flames will have 32 players in camp. 

  • 3 goaltenders: Henrik Karlsson, Miikka Kiprusoff and Leland Irving

  • 11 defensemen: Anton Babchuk, Jay Bouwmeester, Chris Breen, T.J. Brodie, Chris Butler, Brett Carson, Mark Giordano, Steve McCarthy, Cory Sarich, Derek Smith and Dennis Wideman

  • 18 forwards: Mikael Backlund, Sven Baertschi, Steve Begin, Paul Byron, Mike Cammalleri, Roman Cevenka, Blake Comeau, Curtis Glencross, Roman Horak, Jiri Hudler, Jarome Iginla, Tim Jackman, Blair Jones, Matt Stajan, Lee Stempniak, Ben Street, Alex Tanguay and Brad Winchester

 Three of these names should seem unfamiliar, as they are the three try-out players: Steve McCarthy, Steve Begin and Brad Winchester.

McCarthy is signed to an American League deal in Abbotsford and has a long history with new Flames coach Bob Hartley. He played under Hartley both with the Atlanta Thrashers (for parts of three seasons) and last year with the ZSC Lions.

Begin is a former Flame with a fairly long pro resume. He won a Calder Cup with the vaunted Saint John Flames back in 2001 and was the playoff MVP. He has 488 NHL games under his belt with Calgary, Montreal, Dallas, Boston and Nashville. He hasn't played since the 2010-11 season due to a hip injury.

Winchester is a veteran of 390 NHL contests. He's played with Edmonton, Dallas, St. Louis, Anaheim and San Jose. Hardly a massive offensive threat, Winchester is big (6'5, 225) and would bring a physical presence generally missing from the Flames current line-up, outside of maybe Tim Jackman.

THE LOCKS

There are 23 NHL roster spots. Most of them are already spoken for.

The 21 players locked in are Miikka Kiprusoff, Jay Bouwmeester, Mark Giordano, Cory Sarich, T.J. Brodie, Dennis Wideman, Derek Smith, Chris Butler, Roman Cervenka, Mikael Backlund, Jarome Iginla, Mike Cammalleri, Blake Comeau, Matt Stajan, Blair Jones, Curtis Glencross, Lee Stempniak, Jiri Hudler, Alex Tanguay and Sven Baertschi.

That leaves two spots open: the back-up goaltender and the potential 14th forward spot.

ON THE BUBBLE

If 21 of the players in camp are heading in with jobs probably sewn up, that means another 11 guys have to fight for jobs.

Four defensemen will probably get cut, unless the Flames carry 8 blueliners – in which case there is no open forward roster spot. The four defensemen on the bubble are likely Brett Carson, Anton Babchuk, Steve McCarthy and Chris Breen. Breen has impressed for the Heat, but likely has a bit of improvement left to make before he challenges for NHL jobs.

For the back-up goalie position, Henrik Karlsson will try to fend off Leland Irving. Irving impressed in a handful of appearances last season but has struggled this year on the farm. Karlsson had an iffy presence last season and hasn't played at all this year.

And for the prospective last forward position, and the right to sit in the pressbox quite a bit, we'll see five forwards duke it out. Those five are the two try-out veterans, Steve Begin and Brad Winchester, and the two Heat veterans, Ben Street, Paul Byron and sophomore Roman Horak. If you want the winner of this mini-sweepstakes to actually play regularly, Street, Byron or Horak is probably the best bet. If you're fine with them sitting most of the time, you won't harm the development of Begin or Winchester by parking them in the press box.

LOOKING AHEAD

In a week, we'll know the Flames opening night roster. From there, the club plays four games in the first seven days of the regular season.

We had no NHL hockey for awhile, but we're about to get a whole lot of it in a hurry.

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Now in his third full season covering the Calgary Flames and the NHL, Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's trying to keep his head up, his stick on the ice and is giving it 110% every shift. You can also find his work at The Hockey Writers, the Wrestling Observer and Tough Talk MMA.
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#1 bookofloob
January 13 2013, 11:47AM
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I CAN'T BELIEVE AKIM ALIU DIDN'T GET AN INVITE

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#2 Kent Wilson
January 13 2013, 12:31PM
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Lines today:

Glencross-Tanguay-Comeau, Baertschi-Backlund- Cammalleri, Hudler-Stajan-Stempniak, Horak-Jones-Jackman, Begin-Winchester-Byron, Street

Giordano-Bouwmeester, Butler-Wideman, Smith-Sarich, Brodie-Carson, Breen- McCarthy

Looks like Babchuk still isn't in town.

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#4 Marcus
January 13 2013, 05:23PM
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Notes from visiting practice:

- Stajan has a snarl as opposed to being a deer in headlights. - Begin is lightning fast. - Baertchi is the elite talent on the squad until Johnny hockey arrives. - Cervenka big, strong, hands of gold. Very confident. Shucked Winchester to the ice with authority. - Wideman, great first pass, strong on puck, good stick, slow but uptempo type player. - Backlund is more confident and agressive. He's not merely flipping the puck at the net anymore. Hudler hands of gold but no speed. Smith looks like an 7th or 8th defenceman, meaning the rest are done for. Breen looks 90% there. Kioper looked like he was drunk.

Overall... meh. Rusty,. failed to click, moved the puck like an AHL club with no hands or creativity. Hope the rest of the league looks like this otherwise we're in deep trouble or gaining assets via trades and lottery pick.

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#5 Kent Wilson
January 13 2013, 11:33AM
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Greg Nemisz didn't even get an invite to camp.

Another first rounder bites the dust.

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#6 backburner
January 13 2013, 11:48AM
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Feaster has talked about adding some grit to the line up via trade... I wonder if Begin or Winchester or McCarthy qualify as that kind of addition..

I hope to see some infusion of youth this year..

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#7 Kent Wilson
January 13 2013, 12:00PM
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@backburner

Begin and Winchester yes...McCarthy is a little dude on the blueline, so not so much in his case.

I hope the Flames don't move assest to "get tougher". The last time they did that it was a 5th rounder for P3L. What a waste.

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#8 RKD
January 13 2013, 12:27PM
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Tanguay-Cammalleri-Iginla Glencross-Cervenka-Hudler Baertschi-Backlund-Stempniak Comeau-Stajan-Jones

Bouwmeester-Wideman/Butler Giordano-Butler/Wideman Brodie-Sarich/Smith

is how I think the lineup will shape up.

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#9 Reidja
January 13 2013, 12:35PM
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Where's Iggy?

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#10 Reidja
January 13 2013, 12:37PM
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Never mind. He's in a box with Feaster... Wonder what's wrong?

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#11 T&A4Flames
January 13 2013, 12:43PM
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Flames website has Winchester listed with a 60.6% face off win percentage. I'm not sure how many F.O. He took. But, that is needed on our team.

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#12 Franko J
January 13 2013, 12:49PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Greg Nemisz didn't even get an invite to camp.

Another first rounder bites the dust.

First rounders aren't the Flames forte. Rarely do the Flames have a first round pick who lives up to expectation. Ken you might as well place Irving in the same category. Maybe things will change with Baertschi, but things looked promising with Phaneuf as well.

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#13 Reidja
January 13 2013, 12:53PM
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Babchuk's in town. He's sitting with Iggy.

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#14 Kent Wilson
January 13 2013, 12:59PM
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@T&A4Flames

He only took like 20 unfortunately.

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#15 Kent Wilson
January 13 2013, 01:00PM
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@Reidja

Iginla has a tight groin according to Steinberg.

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#16 Franko J
January 13 2013, 01:12PM
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With a shorten training camp with no exhibition games, I'm interested in how long it will take for one of the Flames players to be injured. While injuries are never mentioned as an excuse for not making the playoffs, they really hampered the Flames with the ability to play consistent on a game to game basis.

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#17 backburner
January 13 2013, 01:28PM
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Does anyone know if Cervenka will be skating this week? I was kind of hoping Babchuk would stay in Europe!

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#18 bookofloob
January 13 2013, 01:38PM
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If any of the PTOs make the team, the Flames are truly screwed

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#19 Kent Wilson
January 13 2013, 01:38PM
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@backburner

Hard to say right now.

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#20 Baalzamon
January 13 2013, 01:42PM
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@Kent Wilson

they really seem to like the Baertschi - Backlund combination, don't they?

Honestly, I like the idea of a Giordano - Bouwmeester unit on the back end. It actually looks something like a top pair. If they're going to do the "bury 1 unit" thing again, that would be the best way to do it. Sure, the Butler - Wideman unit would be a bit of an adventure in their own end, but would it be any worse than Giordano - Hannan? At least considering that the first unit had Butler on it?

How does Tanguay look in the middle?

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#21 SmellOfVictory
January 13 2013, 01:43PM
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Franko J wrote:

With a shorten training camp with no exhibition games, I'm interested in how long it will take for one of the Flames players to be injured. While injuries are never mentioned as an excuse for not making the playoffs, they really hampered the Flames with the ability to play consistent on a game to game basis.

Depends whether or not Stajan decides to slash Backlund's hand in practice again.

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#22 Kent Wilson
January 13 2013, 01:54PM
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@Baalzamon

Yeah I have no complaints about either of those combinations. Assuming Backlund isn't going to put in some sort of checking role with Bart (Sven's good, but not ready for that).

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#23 Sincity1976
January 13 2013, 02:02PM
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Butler-Wideman scares me.

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#24 Kevin R
January 13 2013, 02:41PM
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Sincity1976 wrote:

Butler-Wideman scares me.

Yeah me too. I would rather see Gio/Brodie JBO/Wideman & Butler/Sarich or Smith

A lot of teams looking for some bottom pairing dmen, surely we could get a 6th rounder for Babchuk.

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#25 Reidja
January 13 2013, 02:48PM
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I think Brodie will get a chance to crack the top 4 but I see him starting on the 3rd pair. There is no question that the team sees something in Babchuk that a lot of people don't.

Sarich looked feisty out there. He had more contact than anyone else that I noticed (second place to Jones). Maybe because they are bubble guys.

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#26 Jibmeister
January 13 2013, 02:49PM
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Butler and Wideman? Oh crap.

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#27 Kent Wilson
January 13 2013, 02:54PM
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@Sincity1976

You know that pairing costs $6.5M right...

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#28 Kent Wilson
January 13 2013, 04:30PM
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Babchuk is apparently out with a shoulder injury. Three weeks.

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#29 Charleston Kingsley
January 13 2013, 04:35PM
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@bookofloob

I'M IRATE, HE WAS OUR GAME 82 HERO, THIS IS INJUSTICE.

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#30 Charleston Kingsley
January 13 2013, 04:35PM
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@Kent Wilson

I had my fingers crossed that he was simply staying overseas for life.

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#31 Willi P
January 13 2013, 05:12PM
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@Kent Wilson

Kent,

Did Babchuk get injured in the KHL? If so, does this not create a contract issue?

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#32 ChinookArch
January 13 2013, 05:16PM
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My money is n the Flames putting Babchuk through the same waiver process that they did with Hagman last year. There are simply better options than him and for less money.

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#33 Baalzamon
January 13 2013, 05:23PM
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@ChinookArch

What would be the point of that? Babchuk's contract is up at the end of the season, and it's not like the Flames are in a desperate cap situation right now.

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#34 funkyjaman
January 13 2013, 05:42PM
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@Marcus

Cervenka? I thought that he was out still?

First ice time together in almost a year, so I wouldn't put to much into the sloppiness just yet.

Nice to here Stajan has found some snarl!

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#35 JF
January 13 2013, 07:16PM
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@Sincity1976

Nah, that's a perfectly acceptable 2nd pairing. Just glad to see Butler no longer being asked to take on the real heavies alongside Bouw.

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#36 jeremywilhelm
January 13 2013, 07:20PM
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Fingers crossed Stajan doesn't break Backlunds hand again.

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#37 Marcus
January 13 2013, 07:21PM
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funkyjaman wrote:

Cervenka? I thought that he was out still?

First ice time together in almost a year, so I wouldn't put to much into the sloppiness just yet.

Nice to here Stajan has found some snarl!

Cervenka. He's the real deal. I can't believe Calgary got him. He looks like a slick red wing not a Calgary flame. Unlike Jokinen he can shoot and PASS. He has me giddy.

The line featuring cammo, & baertchi was clicking ahead of schedule. Barring injury, this combo could have the most points on the team. That is unless the ageless Iginla decides a contract year and a shortnened season is a good reason to show up when the season begins.

Stajan, no longer the whipping boy? Stay tuned.

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#38 Baalzamon
January 13 2013, 07:27PM
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@Marcus

Cervenka hasn't been cleared to skate with the team yet.... I'm having a hard time deciding who you could have mistaken him for, though. Pretty sure there's only 1 #10 on the roster.

@JF

We don't know that for sure, yet. I'd rather Gio and Bouw took on the heavies, but I'm not as low on Butler as some.

I'd like to ask sincity if he'd rather see either Butler or Wideman playing shutdown minutes, since those are the only alternatives to pairing them up (unless Brodie steps up big time, but putting him with Wideman would have the same problem).

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#39 Marcus
January 13 2013, 07:45PM
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@Baalzamon

It was Cervenka in technicolor.

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#40 Sincity1976
January 13 2013, 07:54PM
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@Baalzamon

Unfortunately there aren't any great options for the Flames. Too many players they want to or need to shelter. But I don't have to like it.

Personally I am hoping they aren't stuck with liabilities like Babchuk on the third pair letting them balance the D a bit better rather then bury two offensively capable D in situations where they can't produce.

If you do that you can put Wideman with either Gio or Bouw. He carried a reasonable load on Boston and still produced.

If you are forced to run Giordano with Bouwmeester I would prefer to see Wideman paired with Brodie. Brodie can act like Schultz and the two can provide dedicated offense. Butler Sarich can carry the leftovers in a dedicated defensive role.

Wideman-Butler does nothing for me. They compliment each other like crap, neither is going to drive the line, and both will likely handicap each other's strength leaving a gaping hole on that pairing. Don't like it at all.

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#41 Marcus
January 13 2013, 07:58PM
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@Baalzamon

I stand corrected. It was Comeau wearing 17 on his lid and looked like a man set on fire out there. Did he go into a strict work out regime? He looked absolutely possessed while poised. I think he may have gotten lazy in NY, fell out of favor and realizes this could be his last contract. Comeback player of the year no question.

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#42 JTBear
January 13 2013, 08:10PM
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Word is out that the Habs are buying out Gomez, who represents the same opportunity for the flames?

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#43 Kent Wilson
January 13 2013, 08:23PM
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@Marcus

I always liked Comeau in Flames colors last year. He wasn't the brightest all the time and he missed a lot of chances, but he was decent overall.

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#44 jeremywilhelm
January 13 2013, 08:39PM
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@Kent Wilson

The hate for Comeau last year was ridiculous, the guy has all the tools and none of the luck last year. Definitely a great middle 6 player.

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#45 Baalzamon
January 13 2013, 09:02PM
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I always liked the Comeau pickup as well. He always seemed like a solid, versitile forward to me. Plus, he has that grit people are always hankering for.

I just can't figure out what his role is going to be with this team, since they signed Stempniak for 2 years. Why did they do that again?

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#46 Marcus
January 13 2013, 09:23PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I always liked Comeau in Flames colors last year. He wasn't the brightest all the time and he missed a lot of chances, but he was decent overall.

Agreed. Looks like a different human being this time around. Hopefully I'm right because if I am he looks poised to be back in 20G territory.

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#47 Kevin R
January 13 2013, 09:30PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

I always liked the Comeau pickup as well. He always seemed like a solid, versitile forward to me. Plus, he has that grit people are always hankering for.

I just can't figure out what his role is going to be with this team, since they signed Stempniak for 2 years. Why did they do that again?

That was the exact same discussion I had with a buddy last night at our hockey pool. Why in heaven did we sign Stempniak when we have some kids that most would really really like to see get a fair shot, Horak, Street, Comeau. Any of these guys could play the 3rd line.

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#48 Kent Wilson
January 13 2013, 10:31PM
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Im okay with the Stempniak signing. It wasn't for much, he was one of the few guys on the right side of possession last year and he can play top-six minutes and on the PP in a pinch. None of Street, Horak or any of the kids can say that.

The dude out of step up front more than anyone is Stajan.

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#49 McRib
January 13 2013, 11:16PM
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Did anyone attending the skates think that Backlund looked like a much more confident player, finally looks like a player that deserved the hype he got from one good World Junior performance. I know he was playing in the Second Tier Allsvenskan in Sweden but his points per game were better than some serious NHL talent. I'm not writing him off yet thats for sure.

Comeau also looked great but he was so snake bitten last season outside of his offensive production, still liked his play away from the puck. Looks like most agree.

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#50 McRib
January 13 2013, 11:27PM
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I know Flames fans are frustrated and rightly so, but everyone's focus this offseason has been so entirely negative that every move we made was looked at for the wrong reason not the right ones.

The most significant example of this was the Roman Cervenka signing. Everyone in the media/fans jumped all over the Flames because of past euro signings not panning out, so they believed he wouldn't pan out. They never mentioned why his style of play would not allow him to be successful, they just stated that it was not going to work. Watching him in the olympics I remember saying multiple times, who is this guy... I don't know maybe just maybe he works out.

Dennis WIdeman has been a plus player on teams not named Florida or Washington.... Hahah. I don't think he is as much of a liability as some think and anyone who can take Bouwmeesters muffin shot off the first unit power play is likeable in my books.

Anyway just glad the season is going again and we can focus on some positives once and awhile. Things got very bleak there. I have a hard time believing any team with Miikka Kiprusoff in goal for a 48 game season is going to finish dead last. Looking forward to seeing the Flames prove people wrong or at least getting some top picks, haha. Well find out fairly quickly now, by the end of month we'll know. Think thats why they are waiting to resign Iggy, if we downright suck think he's gone down the stretch.

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