Report: Mike Smith didn’t travel with the team to Detroit

Folks, it sure sounds like the Calgary Flames will be beginning their six-game road trip without one of their best players. As reported by our friends at Sportsnet 960 The Fan and discussed by Pat Steinberg on The Big Show on Tuesday afternoon, goaltender Mike Smith – who left the Flames’ 7-4 victory over St. Louis on Monday night after the first period – did not travel with the team to Detroit.

There has been no official announcement of an injury or its severity by the Flames, nor has Smith been placed on injured reserve. It was mentioned during the radio discussion that Smith may still rejoin the team at some point during the road trip.

Before 3 p.m. MT tomorrow (when rosters are logged by the league for cap compliance purposes), the Flames will recall a goaltender from the AHL’s Stockton Heat: either Jon Gillies or David Rittich. Gillies has played more than Rittich, but Rittich has better numbers so far this season. The Heat have been operating under a 1A/1B scheme this season, so either guy would be a justifiable recall based on usage and performance.

  • Gillies is 4-3-1 with a 2.50 goals against average and .918 save percentage this season; he has one NHL game under his belt (a win last season against Los Angeles).
  • Rittich is 4-1-0 with a 2.20 goals against average and .928 save percentage; he has one NHL period under his belt (in relief in a loss last season against San Jose).

Under the terms of the CBA, since the Flames won’t have two healthy goaltenders they aren’t required to place Smith on the injured reserve to open a roster spot because they’re technically under emergency roster conditions.

If Smith’s injury is short term, they can bring up Gillies or Rittich on emergency recall and return them to the AHL whenever they need to. If Smith is placed on the IR, it’s an indication that perhaps his injury will linger for longer than a week – but there’s no requirement to do so and since Smith will be on the salary cap either way, there’s no real benefit to placing him on the IR.

    • Stockton's Finest

      Rittich played the 3rd period of the final game of the season and stopped 9 of 10 shots. He then went back to Stockton and went 1-1 against the Barracuda. He held them scoreless in the 1st period of Game 5 before getting sick and being removed for Gillies (who went 1-2 against SJ). Rittich also took the crease from Gillies and led the Heat to a playoff berth.

  • BringtheFire 2.0

    I’m not concerned…yet.

    But I think the road would be less pressure on Lack, and at least now he can get mentally prepared for starting a few because he knows they’re coming. Ideal conditions for a backup to shine, actually.

  • The Doctor

    Btw off topic, but I see the Oilers have acquired ex-Flame Mike Cammaleri for Jussi Jokinen. I have no idea why. Although to this point in the season, Cami is having a more productive season than Jussi.

  • Justthateasy

    Vegas is on the board yay!
    Bored out of my skull tuning into this coiler game. Now they are talking about the greatest hockey team of all time; of course it’s a coiler team. Sickening. I should be able to find some nice documentary to watch.

  • Stockton's Finest

    Rittich is so much more active in net than Gillies. He is by far the better goalie when it comes to controlling the puck and not allowing rebounds. He plays a closer game to Smith than Gillies.
    Hopefully the trip the Calgary brass took a few weeks back down to Stockton, where they witnessed first hand Rittich’s 2nd shutout of the season, may have changed their mind on the 1st goalie that gets the call up.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      It would send the wrong message if Rittich was not brought up. They have anointed Gillies the starting job but Rittich has outplayed him. You can tell the organization wants Gillies to succeed.

  • Intercourse the Penguins

    when we all wanted Janks to start with Calgary to start the year I believe he benefited from his time in Stockton. He gained a little more confidence and I think he benefited from the short wait. I will respect the Tree’s decision on which keeper to bring up (or neither if circumstances dictate).

    • Oil consuming Flames

      this decision should be based on which goalie gives the Heat the best chance to win by staying with the Heat and getting games. Whichever one joins the Flames will be watching from the bench. Goalie call-ups are different than position player call-ups.

  • freethe flames

    Rittich should be the guy called up but it is not like Gilles has been bad. I fully expect it to be Gilles not because of play but because of organizational priorities. The best case scenerio is Lack does the job but if one of the kids gets a chance they prove to be n NHL goalie; thereby allowing BT to use our perceived depth in net as an asset if needed. By the end of the season one of Lack, Gilles, Rittich needs to be traded for an asset.

  • Cheeky

    I have a feeling they are waiting to see if it’s long term. Thinking if its short term Rittich comes up to sit on bench but if longer term they will probably call up Gillies (after all these yrs investing in him I think they need to see that investment through – right or wrong)…