February 25 2014 03:00PM
The Flames practiced today after an off-day, and the Abbotsford Heat practiced on the Lower Mainland of BC, so we have a few bits and bites of information as we inch towards Calgary's game with Los Angeles on Thursday night.
Once again, Karri Ramo (knee), Curtis Glencross (ankle), Brian McGrattan (upper body) and Lee Stempniak (personal) didn't practice with the main group. In fact, I don't recall seeing Stempniak in the building. Coach Hartley wouldn't tip his hand regarding the line-up for Thursday - potentially involving the NHL debuts of Joni Ortio and Markus Granlund - partially because he's expecting an update on the status of his injured and absent players tomorrow.
Lines shook down like this at practice:
Galiardi - Backlund - Hudler
Cammalleri - Monahan - Colborne
Bouma - Stajan - Jones
Granlund - Byron - Westgarth
Giordano - Brodie
Butler - Russell
Wideman - Smid
If I were a betting man, I'd wager that Berra starts against the Kings and Ortio gets to make his NHL debut on Saturday against the Oilers. Ramo's likely a ways away from playing, so Ortio will probably get a game in somewhere. Not sure about Granlund, as his status is dependent on the other three guys (Stempniak, Glencross and McGrattan), but I think he'll get his NHL debut in this week.
A lot of discussion revolved around some comments Brian Burke made on Sportsnet 960 radio this morning about Mike Cammalleri. Basically, the club offered Cammalleri a deal - one that he's obviously not agreed to as of yet, because they haven't announced an extension. Now, before everyone gets all atwitter about the merits of signing or trading Cammalleri - and my gut says he's gone on March 5 - bear in mind that most clubs chat with their pending free agents about an extension prior to the trade deadline. We don't know anything about the offer other than it exists - it could've been a token deal for league-minimum, for all we know - so rushing to judgment on something based on a comment is a bit short-sighted.
Down in Abbotsford, they're getting a bit healthier. According to Mike Cadarette (@MCaddd on Twitter, who follows the Heat for the Flames site), goalie Joey MacDonald, blueliner Kane LaFranchise and forward Blair Jones participated in full practice this morning. The injured Heat players include: Patrick Sieloff (infection recovery), Corey Locke (undisclosed), Ben Street (undisclosed), Michael Ferland (knee), Trevor Gillies (undisclosed) and Adrian Foster (undisclosed). They're hopeful that Locke and Street will be ready to go for Friday's game against Grand Rapids.
In terms of a healthy body breakdown: 2 goalies (MacDonald & Roy), 8 defensemen (Lamb, Wotherspoon, Breen, Ramage, Arsene, Billins, LaFranchise & O'Brien, though Lamb played wing on the weekend) and 13 forwards (McKelvie, Street, Knight, Elson, Jooris, Trupp, Jones. Locke, Reinhart, Hanowski, Bancks, Baertschi & Olson). Obviously, things get a bit hairy if neither of Street or Locke can go on Friday, as that means either a recall from Alaska or the team uses Brady Lamb as a 4th line winger again. Expect the Heat to potentially get even thinner after the trade deadline. But after mid-March, when the junior and college playoffs start, they should get some reinforcements - albeit banged-up bodies that don't know their systems.