And We're Back

Ryan Pike
February 24 2014 10:59AM

200mW_at_Josef_Odlozil_Memorial_in_Prague_14June2010_064
(courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

After basically two weeks without National Hockey League action, the games begin again in drips and drabs over the next couple days, then in earnest on Thursday with 12 contests - including the 59th game of the season for the Calgary Flames as they host the LA Kings.

For the Flames, Thursday night kicks off a section of the schedule - the final section, mind you - that features 24 games in 46 days. There will be four sets of back-to-backs in that schedule, and by sheer coincidence there are 12 home games left and 12 road games. It's a veritable sprint to the finish.

In terms of roster stuff, Lee Stempniak is away for personal matters - I haven't heard much in the way of specifics, other than it was expected, which makes me think it's nothing terrible - but I'd imagine he'll be back for Thursday. Ben Hanowski's return to the AHL is probably a sign that Stempniak will be back soon. Curtis Glencross and Brian McGrattan are skating alone, but not yet back in practice. Karri Ramo isn't yet skating. In terms of availability for Thursday, I wouldn't expect them to be in the line-up (especially Ramo), but we'll know more Tuesday as things firm up for the stretch run.

As it stands now, the Flames roster is at 23 (3 goalies, 7 defensemen and 13 forwards) but neither Ramo or McGrattan are on the IR. If the Flames feel it necessary to bring up another forward, they'll probably place Ramo on the IR - he's been hurt long enough that it won't tie the team's hands if he's ready to return quickly.

Looking ahead, we've got lots of trade deadline stuff coming your way, including coverage on deadline day itself. Who's Calgary shopping? Who are they likely to be trying to target, if anybody? (Spoiler: young and cheap or somebody that gets them over the cap floor are your big clues.)

We'll also be looking ahead a bit, as I'm sure Flames management is from time-to-time, with peeks at who's going to be available in the 2014 NHL Draft in June, as well as discussion about the cavalry - in the form of Calgary's junior and college prospects, as many as nine of whom could become pros in 2014-15.

Let us know what you want to see between here and April 13th - other than a few Flames wins - in the comments.

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Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's covered the Flames and the NHL since 2010. His work can also be found at The Hockey Writers and The Wrestling Observer.
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#1 TriPPinVdUb
February 24 2014, 11:08AM
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I'd like to see Granlund, Johnny Hockey and Knight each in a flames jersey for at least a couple of days. Cammy traded for future pieces or resigned. The oilers continue to loose and the Nucks to miss the playoffs :)

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#2 vowswithin
February 24 2014, 11:33AM
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I missed you NHL

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#3 Glenn
February 24 2014, 12:02PM
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I was certainly impressed with Mikeal Granlund from Team Finland at the Olympics.

Does Markus have as much upside? I know the scouts weren't as big on the younger brother, but his AHL numbers as a rookie look VERY good. Can we get an update on how things look for his future?

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#5 mk
February 24 2014, 01:28PM
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Ryan Pike wrote:

Markus has been excellent in Abbotsford. By all accounts, the difference-makers down in Abby have been him, Knight, Reinhart, Ortio and occasionally guys like Brett Olson.

This is a nice change from the difference-makers all being AHL vets who are past making the big show. Actual prospects? Crazy - yay!

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#6 Byron Bader
February 24 2014, 01:29PM
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Markus' scoring in Abby isn't too far off Mikael's AHL performance (he only played 29 games in the minors). Very excited to see a look from Markus with the Flames before the season's over.

Interesting. Sven has the exact same points in 26 games in Abby as he did in 26 games with the Flames. Disappointing to say the least. He seems to be starting to find his way of late though, hopefully he gets going in a big way.

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#7 Stajus
February 24 2014, 01:56PM
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Byron Bader wrote:

Markus' scoring in Abby isn't too far off Mikael's AHL performance (he only played 29 games in the minors). Very excited to see a look from Markus with the Flames before the season's over.

Interesting. Sven has the exact same points in 26 games in Abby as he did in 26 games with the Flames. Disappointing to say the least. He seems to be starting to find his way of late though, hopefully he gets going in a big way.

Hartley broke the kid's confidence, playing him so little/only praising his linemates, that's why its taken so long for him to get going again.

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#8 Monaertchi Gaudnett
February 24 2014, 04:34PM
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@Byron Bader

Kent tweeted or posted on here a while ago (just before the break maybe) that Sven and Sean had the same number of points in the same number of NHL games in their careers.

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#9 T&A4Flames
February 24 2014, 04:35PM
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Stajus wrote:

Hartley broke the kid's confidence, playing him so little/only praising his linemates, that's why its taken so long for him to get going again.

Baertschi needs to find his inner 'f(rea)ck you!'

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#10 T&A4Flames
February 24 2014, 04:36PM
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mk wrote:

This is a nice change from the difference-makers all being AHL vets who are past making the big show. Actual prospects? Crazy - yay!

I'd still have to say that Street has been a huge help as well. So, not all prospects.

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#11 Fire It Up
February 24 2014, 05:10PM
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Nice picture Pike. It's snowed about 6 inches so far here in Vancouver, and it's supposed to keep going.

This is nothing compared to when I lived in Alberta, but everything in Vancouver shuts down...

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#12 coachedpotatoe
February 24 2014, 05:34PM
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TriPPinVdUb wrote:

I'd like to see Granlund, Johnny Hockey and Knight each in a flames jersey for at least a couple of days. Cammy traded for future pieces or resigned. The oilers continue to loose and the Nucks to miss the playoffs :)

Sorry to burst your bubble but the chances of seeing Johnny are slim and none as the Frozen Four does not end until the end of the Flames season.The way BC is playing ranked 1 in the NCAA it is likely he is playing for the national championship. As for the other two thats up to Burke and Hartley.

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#13 Tony
February 24 2014, 05:43PM
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Flames have recalled Markus Granlund from the heat. Hope he gets to play this time.

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#14 coachedpotatoe
February 24 2014, 05:45PM
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Tony wrote:

Flames have recalled Markus Granlund from the heat. Hope he gets to play this time.

Me too, a 5 game audition would be just right and well deserved.

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#15 coachedpotatoe
February 24 2014, 05:45PM
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Tony wrote:

Flames have recalled Markus Granlund from the heat. Hope he gets to play this time.

Me too, a 5 game audition would be just right and well deserved.

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#16 MontanaMan
February 24 2014, 08:24PM
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WIll be interesting to watch the callups in anticipation of possible moves. Winger gets the call - who's leaving?

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#17 Jeff In Lethbridge
February 24 2014, 08:38PM
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There's just one thing I can't figure out...

wait nevermind, I figured it out.

And welcome back NHL

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#18 Byron Bader
February 24 2014, 10:31PM
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@Monaertchi Gaudnett

Ya I remember when Kent brought that up...found that be a really interesting point. Sven's NHL production wasn't actually too bad. It was right where he was expected to be based on his NHLE. His Abby performance thus far has been a little overwhelming was what I was referring to. Hopefully he finds that confidence again.

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#19 JayD54
February 24 2014, 11:44PM
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Don't know where the 'trade Baertschi' crowd finds their rationale. This is a 21 year old still finding his way in pro hockey.

As for Burke, didn't he draft some guy named Kadri who was up and down to the AHL for a couple of seasons before he made the full time transition. With Hartley, I think he has expectations for his charges to play in all three zones and Sven still has to work in the defensive side. Mr. Ward in Abbotsford will work with Sven and I expect we will see a more mature young Swiss in camp next September.

I do expect a number of the young guys from Abbotsford to make their NHL debuts between now and the end of the schedule. Happy to see Granlund up and hope he gets a chance to play. Would also like to see Knight and Wotherspoon get the chance to play against NHL competition this year, if nothing else, just to gauge where they are in their development.

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