Flames Camp News and Notes, January 15 2013

The high-tempo practices continued at the Saddledome on Tuesday. The club was missing some familiar faces but kept at it with another lengthy on-ice day. Here’s what went down.


The Flames confirmed this morning that Jiri Hudler’s father has, in fact, passed away in the Czech Republic. No word on if he managed to get home in-time, although given the lengthy travel needed to get to Prague. Condolences go out to the whole Hudler family.

Not on the ice with the main group for the third consecutive day were Jarome Iginla (groin), Roman Cervenka (clotting) and Anton Babchuk (shoulder), although all three skated with coaches prior to the main group. Iginla’s being held out as a precaution, so don’t panic.

Once again, Craig Conroy joined the “official” coaching staff on the ice. The Sun’s Eric Francis had a chat with Conroy, who will be helping out Bob Hartley’s staff this year.


Once again, it was a long and up-tempo day. The first half of the session was devoted to break-outs and odd-man rushes. The lines broke down like this:

  • Glencross – Tanguay – Stempniak
  • Baertschi – Backlund – Cammalleri
  • Horak – Stajan – Comeau
  • Begin – Jones – Jackman
  • Winchester – Byron – Street
  • Giordano – Sarich
  • Bouwmeester – Wideman
  • Butler – Smith
  • Brodie – Carson
  • Breen – McCarthy
  • Kiprusoff
  • Karlsson
  • Irving

Notable, once again, is the persistence of the Baertschi/Backlund/Cammalleri combo, which has been kept together for a third day. Presume Stempniak drops to the Horak position when Iginla returns (and Horak perhaps to the Begin position) and these look like probable opening-game lines.

In the second half, the teams came out in two jerseys – red and black – effectively splitting the group into the power-play (red) and penalty-kill (black).

Wearing red: Glencross, Tanguay, Stempniak, Baertschi, Backlund, Cammalleri, Horak, Stajan, Comeau, Jones, Giordano, Bouwmeester, Wideman, Smith and Brodie. And black had Byron, Street, Begin, Winchester, Jackman, Sarich, Butler, Carson, Breen and McCarthy.

I’d expect things to shuffle around a bit as Hartley and his staff experiment a bit. The morning ended with shootout practice. Leland Irving was notable for letting a few goals in, while Mikael Backlund scored a few.

The tempo was a bit lessened in the second half, likely because the players had been on the ice for almost six hours over the past couple days and probably were losing their legs a bit. Either way, execution suffered a little bit.


The Flames are back on the ice at 10:30am on Wednesday for a practice and a scrimmage. As per usual, it’s open to the public, so come on down.


  • beloch

    Brodie is really starting to look special. He has amazing control with the puck on his stick. Nice shootout goal as well, but that was one of what seemed like ten in a row Irving let in. Wideman looked much better today, probably because it was mostly PP. He looked horrid yesterday. Overall, I went away much more encouraged by today than yesterday.

  • beloch

    My condolences to Jiri Hudler. I hope he takes all the time he needs to be with his family. Hockey can wait.

    Re: Gio-Sarich

    Are any of the rookie D’s playing opposite to their shot/natural-side in a way that suggests they’re trying to compare pairs directly to see who gets sent down, with the winner taking Sarich’s spot?

    Re: Irving vs Karlsson

    Is there any pressing need to send somebody down to the Heat by the weekend? Both are on two-way contracts, so I assume neither would have to pass waivers. Since it’s not like either would be playing for the Heat anytime soon, might the decision be deferred until the first back-to-back game they can drag Kipper out of net for? Even if Irving looks clearly worse now, a couple extra weeks before crushing his ego further might give him enough time to pull himself together and shape up.

    • beloch

      Let’s take a moment to be fair to Stajan.

      Most fans seem to take issue with Stajan for his lack of offensive production. Sh% fluctuates wildly from season to season, so we’ll ignore that. His shots/TOI haven’t really dropped off since his time in Toronto. It’s just his TOI that absolutely cratered under Butter. If a player isn’t on the ice much he can’t shoot much, so Stajan’s lack of offensive production is pretty much entirely explained by how he’s been used, or rather, *not* used.

      His defensive stats are another story. He went from playing on the top line to the fourth line and didn’t really eat the nobodies alive the way he really should have. That might be partially pinned on his line-mates, but not completely. If you stick a $3.5M/yr contract on the bottom line you expect that player to embarrass the occasional pugilist. Stajan never really did that.

      If he receives more TOI we can expect Stajan to return to offensive mediocrity. He might be a defensive liability though, unless he elevates his game. Stajan’s cap hit is slightly above average for both the league and Flames, but his current salary is actually below average. He’s probably still a tad overpaid, but not as outrageously overpaid as when his contract was freshly inked.

      Bottom line: I don’t think buying out Stajan’s contract is a no-brainer. Until Cervenka is ready, Calgary will need every natural center they have. If Stajan earns a role above the fourth line he will actually be an average value for his salary of $2.5M. The only way I see him being bought out in the short term is if Feaster manages to acquire another center but needs cap-space to do it.

      • beloch

        I agree. I don’t think that Stajan really is as bad as he’s showed the Flames organization thus far. He played mostly 4th line minutes last year, so he wasn’t gonna score too many points. Still, players have to show the coaching staff that they’re deserving of more minutes/better linemates with their play, and Stajan hasn’t done that. If he can start getting pucks to the net, some are eventually gonna go in for him, at which time Hartley may decide to bump him up in the lineup.

  • ‘Dolences to Hudler’s family. Perhaps some good will come of it, by way of a fire lit under his ass and a great season?

    Baertschi/Backlund/Cammy seems like a great line. Backlund will help move the puck north then dish it out to the two pure scorers. Sounds good to me!

    How has Steve Begin been playing? I was absolutely appalled they were bringing him in on a PTO. Hey, at least we didn’t sign up a bunch of Oiler D-men castoffs!

  • McRib

    @FireOnIce “Oiler D-men castoffs”

    Are we talking about the Canucks inking Jim Vandermeer, Haha. Talk about dead weight. Honestly it wouldn’t suprise me if the Canucks drop down the standings this season with Keslers injury and all.

    People are talking about Calgary being in dinial with a team past its prime. But Mike Gillis is doing a great job in Vancouver, destroying a team created by other people (Nonnis/Burke).

    They haven’t drafted a player outside of Cody Hodgson in five years that has played,(Hodgson went two picks earlier than Tyler Myers and five picks earlier than ***Erik Karlsson).

    Last years draft was a fiasco they took Brendan Gaunce who cannot skate and is already a bust and in the second they took Alexandre Mallet a 20 year old that had one good year of Junior. Passing on 18 year olds Tim Bozon and Damon Severson. Bozon two years younger than Mallet had only ten less points and this year will blow away those totals.

    I also love how they are saying Jordan Schroeder is going to play second line. An undersized centre that has put up very minimal points in the AHL… I doubt if he ever plays Patrick White 2.0. So in FIVE years they have Nicklas Jensen who may or may not pan out.

    At least Fester and more importantly John Weisbrod are getting us some good young players after decades of doing what Vancouver currently is. We will see Vancouver sinking like a rock past us in a year or two when we are back on the way up.

  • McRib

    ***My above comment on Erik Karlsson going 15th, got me thinking everyone wants Calgary to tank the season, as finishing every year in 9th is bad for drafting. Here is a list of some NHLers who went 11-20, since 1995:

    J.T. Miller, Sven Baertschi, Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, Zack Kassian, Peter Holland, Nick Leddy, David Rundblad, Cam Fowler, Chris Kreider, Michael Del Zotto, Tyler Myers, Erik Karlsson, Kevin Shattenkirk, Ryan McDonagh, Jonathan Bernier, Marc Staal, Anze Kopitar, Devan Dubnyk, Drew Stafford, Ryan Getzlaf, Zack Parise, Brent Seabrook, Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter, Dan Hamhuis, Ales Hemsky, Alex Tanguay, Daniel Cleary, Marian Hossa, Derek Morris, Dainius Zubrus, Jarome Iginla, Jean-Sebastien Giguere

    Personally outside of the Top 2 picks the 11-15 range seems to be better than the 5-10. NHLers more than 11-20. So here’s to finishing close to or in the playoffs!!! Honestly look at two of the best teams in the league NYR & LA (Miller, McDonagh, Staal, Kreider, Del Zotto) and LA (Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter)

    • supra steve

      Granted, many good to great players are taken later in the draft. However, it is only easy to see those great “value” picks several years down the road. Here are the Flame first rounders from ’95 to present:

      Gautier (20), Morris (13), TKACZUK (6), FATA (6), Saprykin (11), KRAHN (9), Kobasew (14), Nystrom (10), Phaneuf (9), CHUCKO (24), PELECH (26), IRVING (26), Backlund (24), NEMISZ (25), Erixon (23), Baertschi (13), Jankowski (21).

      You can score big (as you have pointed out) or you can totally throw your choice away (as the Flames have often pointed out). Picking in the 5-10 range has been tough on the Flames for sure, but I would take a 5-10 over an 11-15 any day of the week. Even a blind dog finds a bone from time to time.

      • T&A4Flames

        We should never be allowed to pick 6th (trade down) or 26th (trade up). We apparently don’t do very well. And 24th is still in question.

        The Calgary Flames have never picked in the top 5. I sure wouldn’t mind having one this year. I want this team to win but I want it for long term.

        That said, I have gained confidence over the last 2 drafts with this new regime running things, to find some talent with later picks. I wish we sould stop trading away our 2nd’s because we seem to do quite well with those picks we’ve had (Wotherspoon, Granlund, Sieloff).

        • supra steve

          I agree, drafting seems to have improved recently (though time will be the ultimate judge). That’s why those that are calling for Button’s head seem so crazy to me. Yes, he has responsibility for several duds (though it seems D Suter had a lot to do with several failed picks) but look at 2011 alone (Sven, Granlund, Wotherspoon, Gaudreau, Brossoit), not a dud amongst them (so far).

          The #6 did get us Stillman in ’92, not all that you could hope for that early, but much better then a lot taken before and after him.

        • T&A4Flames

          I too have always been annoyed by the constant flipping of 2nd round picks (as an aside, how did Sutter manage to never pick in the 2nd round even though he traded down in EVERY draft?), but the facts remain as they are (for now).

          1. Feaster has never been without a 2nd rounder come draft day as the Flames’ GM.

          2. Feaster has made more 2nd round picks in the last 2 years (3) than Sutter did in his ENTIRE run as the Flames’ GM (2).