Training Camp Wrap: Day 2

The Calgary Flames completed their third day of training camp on Monday, and it ended with a pretty fun scrimmage between the two game groups for Tuesday’s preseason opener.  Jarome Iginla was the focus once again, as he did not skate for the second straight day.  Jarome continues to battle back spasms, which forced him out of practice after about 15 minutes on Saturday morning.  He updated his situation today, and the feeling is things aren’t overly serious.

The Flames will open their exhibition schedule in split-squad fashion against the Vancouver Canucks tomorrow, with games at 7 pm at and 8 pm in Calgary and Vancouver respectively.  Iginla won’t be playing in either game, as he will instead take some time to recover.

"I’m not far off, but it’s preseason and start of training camp," Iginla told us today.  "Just to get fully healthy, if it was a different timetable it might be more aggressive, but right now with the way it works I have an opportunity to make sure and I get the proper healing time."

Head Coach Brent Sutter didn’t seem all that worried about it either, so my take would be not to be too concerned about the situation.  The Flames are going about it the right way, whether it’s Iginla or anybody else.  It’s the start of training camp, and there’s no sense in risking something more serious, even if the risk is very slight.  The important games start in October, so having Iginla ready for then is the main focus.

There was a group of players on the ice early, the group that won’t play in the split squad game Tuesday, and likely featuring a number of the first assignments back to junior and the American Hockey League.  John Armstrong, Stefan Meyer, Bryan Cameron, John Negrin, and Mitch Wahl were among those names in the early group.

The scrimmage pitted Team Black against Team White, with the latter squad prevailing 3-2 thanks to a couple goals from Mikael Backlund.  Backlund played between Sven Baertschi and Niklas Hagman, and they had some nice shifts and were pretty consistent.  Jay Bouwmeester scored the other goal for team white while Rene Bourque and T.J. Brodie had the markers for Team Black.  Lines and pairings were as follows, first for Team White:

Curtis Glencross-David Moss-Patrick Holland
Sven Baertschi-Mikael Backlund-Niklas Hagman
Michael Ferland-Roman Horak-Quintin Laing
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond-Carter Bancks-Guilluame Desbiens

Chris Butler-Jay Bouwmeester
Derek Smith-Anton Babchuk
Clay Wilson-Joe Piskula

Was good to see Moss and Glencross together, because as we’ve talked about numerous times here, they have a proven connection together, and there’s no reason not to have them together this season.  Butler and Bouwmeester is an interesting combination, and it raises an interesting question which I’ll touch on a little later.

Team White has Leland Irving and Joni Ortio as their goaltenders, but it sounds like Irving will get all the action.  The White squad will head to Vancouver to play the game at Rogers Arena, while Team Black will play at the Saddledome with Miikka Kiprusoff and Henrik Karlsson.  Kiprusoff will get the start, but looks to only play half the game before being relieved.

Alex Tanguay-Paul Byron-Rene Bourque
Lee Stempniak-Matt Stajan-Turner Elson
Ryan Howse-Lance Bouma-Tim Jackman
Tom Kostopoulos-Olli Jokinen-Greg Nemisz

Scott Hannan-Mark Giordano
Brendan Mikkelson-Jordan Henry
T.J. Brodie-James Martin

Nice to see the coaching staff give Byron a real shot up front on the "top line" of this squad, as I’m really excited to see him in action at the ‘Dome tomorrow.  He’s quick, smart, and is good with the puck, and seeing him in game action for the first time will be very helpful.  Mark Giordano and Scott Hannan were the top D pairing, which leads me to that aforementioned question.

Do the Flames split up the unquestioned top two blueliners in Giordano and Bouwmeester?  Or do they put them as a pairing together, and go for a different second pairing.  It’ll be all be predicated on what the likes of Butler, Hannan, Sarich and Babchuk are able to do, but I’m thinking it’s likely we’ll see Gio and Bouwmeester split up to start the season.

FGD is back tomorrow…we’ll see if we can’t get some lines from the Canucks to see who the heck they’re bringing to Calgary, and who’s staying on the west coast.

    • the forgotten man

      Is that a good thing? Cause if you didn’t notice him maybe he wasn’t making mistakes? I can hope all I want that Stajan becomes a productive player, however it’s more realistic to hope that he makes a lot less mistakes.

      • A veteran should be standing out like pretty consistently in this sort of format. Baertschi and Backlund were far more noticeable (for the right reasons).

        Obviously a practice scrimmage is no final word on Stajan’s upcoming season or anything. The guy is starting way back of the field in the coach’s (and fan’s) eyes though. He’ll have to start impressing sooner rather than later.

        • I agree that eventually he has to set himself apart for the right reasons and get himself noticed and back in the coaches good books.

          After his TERRIBLE finish to last season, his diminished role, I don’t think its to bad to see that he can at least keep up with everyone else and not make himself look terrible.

          For now I am okay with a mistake free and decently playing Stajan. How much worse would it be if he stood out in the scrimmage because of turn overs, couldn’t keep up with the play(poor conditioning) or just an overall lack of motivation.

          I expect Baetschi and Backlund to standout, they were both highly touted skilled first round picks that could both be first liners. I don’t expect that at all of Stajan, the fact that Stajan is setting himself up to be more than a 4th liner by not making big mistakes makes me happy, cause that means he can move up the depth chart and may eventually be trade bait if he plays with consistensy and doesn’t screw it all up, all the time like last year.

      • Vintage Flame

        I don’t think that could ever apply for Stajan. Matt has a lot to prove to the organization this year. He can’t be a guy that goes about his game and can go unnoticed as long as he doesn’t make any mistakes.

        He has to be the guy that DOES stand out and shows that he’s ready to take his job seriously this year and that he deserves to stay.

        Gotta think this also applies to Hagman.. and even to a certain degree Bourque.

  • Abecedarian

    I think Gio and Bouwmeester will be split EV. It will keep one of them on the ice for a majority of the game.

    Another interesting question. If Baertschi makes the club are they planning on splitting Tanguay and Iginla? I really doubt it, but they were split on day one and the lines haven’t changed since (granted, with Iggy off the ice).

    Could you see a Baertschi-Backlund-Iginla and Tanguay-Byron-Bourque top 6? What does that do to Jokinen, Stajan, Stempniak, Hagman, Moss, and Glencross who are also trying for the top 6?

    It is doubtful Baertschi makes the club let alone replaces Tanguay on the top line. But it is interesting anyway.

  • Abecedarian

    First goal was a one-timer by Baertschi off a cross crease saucer from Backlund. Thought that those two showed good chemistry and were enjoyable to watch. Both made a few slick defensive plays as well to strip guys on the backcheck or in the corner. Byron also caught my eye as well, as he played pretty well with two veteran top-sixers.

  • SmellOfVictory

    If Baertschi were to make the club I presume he’d end up on the 2nd or 3rd line. It’s pretty safe to assume that Tanguay and Iginla will be nigh inseparable.

  • Abecedarian

    No big deal in Iggy sitting out, gives us a look at some of these kids in a top line scenario. Great impression for them once they are sent down to work toward getting back. Any word on the injury that Reinhart has that’s keeping him out? Too bad, was looking forward to seeing how he fairs with NHLers. Baer & Backlund together is quite intriguing (Calgary’s B & B) & I think Backlund is ready for some top line duty with Tangs & Iggy.

    • the forgotten man

      14 regular seasons…1106 regular season games. Also of note is that a good majority of those games are “hard mileage” minutes and not the Gretzky “coast around the center line/hover behind the net” type minutes.

      Speaking from a Health Care field, the fact his back is spasming before his Skates even got wet is disconcerting to say the least, especially when you are dealing with a guy who is 34 going on 35 in a faster moving, young man’s NHL. Having worked with elite sport athletes (admittedly not NHL players), even the smallest muscle imbalance or restriction can make a world of difference in Iginla powering past a defender or his reaction time around the net. At any Pro level it is always a matter of seconds and inches.

      This team is still structured to live or die around Iginla, which I think is pure insanity given his age and mileage…even if the Flames make it to the second round, Hesketh will have to slip a “Hot Shot” into Iginla’s jock just to keep him upright on the ice…

      …that is unless the Flames can afford to rest him at times during the regular season (sarc off)

      • You’re scaring me now. Have some hockey pools coming up & I just got a bad feeling about taking Iggy too early. Health issues with Iggy would be disastrous on many levels, Flames performance and marketabilty.
        The only thing is I dont think the last 3 years have been exactly hard mileage for Iggy, especially because we saw no playoff action the last two years. Just by the way he plays, he floats a lot more than he used to but he is as dangerous as ever when he has his shot going & picking his spots well. I was hoping for at least an 80 pt season this year to give us some excellent options going forward (depending on team performance).

  • skiing

    Is John Negrin the forgotten man on defence? Not playing in either of the games and might be one of the first guys cut? I thought he was the best d-man in the prospects tourny. Yet I have never heard Feaster or anyone mention him at all.

    • I thought Negrin was awful in the third game, and regressed after the good first two periods he had to start. I wonder if the injury issues he’s had in the past have made him a little tentative, because he certainly looked that way to me.

  • RKD

    Hopefully it isn’t too serious. Iggy’s logged a lot of game miles, over 1000 and is 34 years old. However, he is really well-conditioned and I don’t see this hampering him too long.

  • On Baertschi, two things at work for me.

    First, lets see him in some preseason games to see how he hacks it against real competition in a true competition. That’ll determine whether he gets up to 9 games in the regular season to start.

    Second, I just don’t see any way it makes sense to play him in the NHL this year. Unless he’s going to be at the same level of Skinner or Hall a year ago, there’s no sense in starting the clock ticking on his entry level deal now.

  • icedawg_42

    Nice to see that Stajafail cant even step it up in a shinny. Looking forward to more greatness from him this year. Im actually more curious to watch the team that will be in Vancouver in action, than the guys at the dome, but whatever – Hockey is back…FINALLY!

  • Jarom

    I agree. Considering where the team is at right now, there’s no real need to have Baertschi’s contract start this year. I would like to see him get 9 games and then go back to develope some more with meaningful situations and minutes.

  • mayhemsince1977

    Baertschi should play one more year in Junior. He needs top line minutes this year. If he takes another step forward I can forsee a Baertschi-Backlund-Bourque top line in two years time.

  • I think if Baertschi can make an on the ice case that he makes the team better then they do keep him. I still think he has a long ways to go before he makes that case. I also think he does end up in juniors.

    But if he keeps producing at the rate he does then he is going to create a boardroom meeting or two.

  • Is Chris Breen practicing with the 3rd group? Or is he still sitting out with that injury from Prospect camp? I was really looking forward to seeing how we would perform in some NHL (albeit preseason) action

  • I understand the excitement on Baertschi but based on play at the prospects tourney (didn’t see yesterday) I think the play was primarily driven by his linemates Reinhart and Holland while Baertschi was noticable as a finisher. I think reinhart and Holland would be closer to being NHL players at this point but Baertschi probably has greater potential. A player like him is best suited as top 6 and I don’t think he would be near ready as a top 6 for 82 games.

    Let him play Junior, Worlds etc and see if he can he is top end at that level and maybe next year.

    I did like all of the above and also liked what I saw of Ferland who is a bit unpolished but showed some skill with the puck for a large body.

    it will be interesting to follow their progress in Junior this year.