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.