Welcome to the Preseason Fire Drill, for this, Calgary’s second warmup-season game on September 17, 2009.
We all know that tonight is the first night we’ll see a largely NHL-laden Flames roster, including the debuts of several new additions, but we also know that none of that matters, because none of them won a Stanley Cup in 1989 like some people I can think of.
Yup, it’s the first actual game of Theoren Fleury’s comeback attempt and I for one am somewhat excited. Having grown up with the Flames as my favorite team, there was something romantic about a guy that was 5-foot-6 and something like 180 pounds of speed, skill and, to borrow a Brian Burke term, pugnacity. It’s also nice that, as an adult, I can see a Calgary Flame that’s shorter than me.
Far better writers than me have written on the importance — or lack thereof — of Theo’s comeback; how it’s a wonderful chance to, if nothing else, ameliorate some of the tension that is obviously felt between him and the current Flames ownership group and maybe take another step toward retiring his number along side Lanny MacDonald’s and Mike Vernon’s (though I’d say Al MacInnis deserves to go first, but that’s just me. I’ll leave that to them.
All I’m hoping for is that the guy at least doesn’t embarrass himself and maybe wins a roster spot in Abbotsford. If nothing else, it’ll move some tickets.
So in the interest of familiarizing everyone with these rosters, comprised almost entirely of kids, at least for tonight, let’s get into this: “Better Know a Prospect (or whatever)!”
Meet the Centers
Mikael Backlund —There’s a real good chance this kid’s a top-six forward for the Flames this year, considering the last few things I read about camp had him on a line with Olli Jokinen and Jarome Iginla. I assume that line is gonna roll tonight as well, and it’ll be interesting to see how the kid does.
Greet the Wings
Nigel Dawes — You saw him the other night in a supporting role (something like 16 minutes of ice time). He didn’t look out of his depth or anything like that, from what I understand.
Theo Fleury — Never heard of him. AHL guy for sure.
Jason Jaffray — This is a signing that at once improves the farm team (Jaffray scored just over a point a game over the last two AHL seasons) and gives the Flames a not-terrible emergency callup in case of extreme injuries.
Freddy Sjostrom — Pretty decent chance at making the team in a complimentary role. There was a little talk that he’d compete for a top-six spot but I’ve seen the kid play and he really won’t at all.
Colin Stuart — Played the other night, picked up a minus-2 and four penalty minutes for a high sticking double minor. Yikes.
Brett Sutter — Daddy Darryl’s li’l boy will have fun in Abbotsford this year I bet.
David Van der Gulik — Not bad for a seventh-round pick. Not good for an NHL player.
Step right up and meet the D
Keith Aulie — The only defenseman playing tonight that probably hasn’t made the team if you’re counting Giordano as a no-doubter, which I am, albeit grudgingly. He’ll get one of Jay Bouwmeester, Robyn Regehr, Dion Phaneuf, Cory Sarich or Giordano (probably that last guy) as his pairing mate, and what the hell, it’ll be fun to see this kid pummel John Tavares.
Mark Giordano — He’ll probably make it in Calgary, not that I’m all that happy about it.
(Also there are some goalies)
Dave Shantz — I don’t know anything about this guy. He won’t make it with the AHL or NHL teams, so why bother?
Oh and hey, feel free to chit chat in the comments section about the live stream being featured on calgaryflames.com tonight. It’s only available if you’re in Western Canada, I think, so feel free to keep me apprised of whether or not Theo Fleury gets in a fight (God I hope so).