Photo Credit: Sergei Belski / USA Today Sports

Klimchuk returned to Stockton, Brouwer activated, Smith traveling

This morning’s optional skate for the Calgary Flames was surprisingly newsworthy, as a trio of inter-related news items dropped simultaneously.

The most newsworthy morsel is likely that forward Morgan Klimchuk has been re-assigned to the American Hockey League’s Stockton Heat, which opens up a spot for Troy Brouwer as he returns from his facial injuries. Goaltender Mike Smith is also reportedly progressing and will be traveling with the team on their two-game road trip to Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Klimchuk made his NHL debut last night against Boston. He played just over seven minutes on the fourth line alongside Matt Stajan and Curtis Lazar. The rookie didn’t stand out one way or the other – he didn’t make incredibly dazzling plays, nor did he fail epically at any of his tasks – but he’s essentially victim of the roster numbers game right now.

Brouwer has been out since suffering facial fractures – damage to his cheekbone, sinus cavity and orbital bone – in a Feb. 8 game against New Jersey where he took a puck in the face, left briefly, but then finished the game. His return likely keeps Ryan Lomberg, a healthy scratch in Boston so that Klimchuk could play, on the sidelines. Brouwer probably slots in with Sam Bennett and Mark Jankowski on the third line (bumping Garnet Hathaway to the fourth line) or with Stajan and Lazar on the fourth line.

Finally, Smith’s been out since being injured in the final seconds of the Flames’ Feb. 11 victory over the New York Islanders with a lower-body injury. He hasn’t skated with the team as of yet and that’s not guaranteed to happen on the road trip, but it leaves that option open. David Rittich will start against Vegas and, while it wasn’t announced, it seems a smart bet that Jon Gillies probably starts the next night in Arizona.

  • Cfan in Van

    I’d rather see Rittich in net vs. Coyotes. I realize that alternating goalies in back-to-backs is usually the best option, but we NEED points, and that’s a pretty large drop-off between Rittich and Gilles.

      • McRib

        Not just Troy Brouwer, Travis Hamonic is on pace for $3, 857, 000 a goal. Michael Stone $1,750,000, Matt Stajan $1,042,000 a goal. We lose every game 2-1 or at the best 3-2 and we can’t understand why we don’t have any scoring depth.

        • CherryIsSenile

          Didnt know Hamonic and Stone were paid to “score”. I was pretty sure guys like that are paid their salaries to play defence, block shots, throw hits, and allow players like Gaudreau and Monahan to use their offensive skills.

  • AngryMontanaman

    I’m not sure what my opinion is yet. I will wait for others to post so I can shoot them down then give my ego a boost with a snarky comment. Then i will copy a random stat if fact from goigle search and pass it off as my own.

  • Mickey O

    Talking of Stockton, it was awesome to see Mr. and Mrs. Stockton’s Finest yesterday. We enjoyed a very good post-game meal, some pops, and many quality laughs.

    The conversation flowed freely about everything hockey and then some. Great people, hopefully a few more FN members can make the Finest’s next trip up north.

      • Off the wall

        No kidding, good on you Mickey.
        We should have a FN get together one day, so we can all shoot the breeze.

        I think next time SF is in Calgary, I’ll make the trip from BC. I’d love to meet some of my fellow FN members ! 🍺

    • KKisTHEproblem

      Agree, cheers to you MO for making it out. Family day kept me with the family. I agree with OTW, an FN get together would be very interesting and a lot of fun. WOuld be wierd actully seeing what people look lie and how old they are etc. Not sure I’m ready for that!

    • Stockton's Finest

      Thanks again Mickey for the after game food, drink, and discussion. Both Mrs. SF and I really enjoyed it.

      Banff and Lake Louise were awesome. A little dinner at Blink on 8th capped off a great weekend.

      We did run into some FN fans at the game as well. Hopefully the hats help spread the word on future Flames.

      Already planning our next visit, extending it by a day or two, and probably early in the season so we don’t freeze 🤤! Once the schedule comes out for both the Flames and Heat, we can finalize dates.

      Go Flames Go and Go Heat Go.

    • Joeyhere

      Well Done – sometimes our passion for this team gets misdirected and some posters turn on others with snarky comments. Thanks for taking the high road and reminding us all that this should really just be about having fun and sharing what we have in common

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    Maybe their rushing Brouwer back so they can trade him at the TDL?? C’mon CHIARELLI We’re counting on You… I think Patrick Maroon & Edmonton’s 2nd this year should cover it? Maybe throw in Bart to clinch the deal!

    • Bob Hartley

      I don’t know treliving has Chiarelli beat I think. Treliving trades all our tips picks away for years to come… for who you might ask. Smiles Lazar, 3-4 man Hamonic and grandpa Smith who’s groin injury is only the beginning as he approaches 40. Maroon would be a good fit rather Brouwer. But we have nothing left to trade.

  • Raffydog

    Was I the only one hoping the Flames would kill it without Brouwer, and show the coaching staff how insignificant he is? However things didn’t really go well, so the coaches will probably believe he’s needed more now then ever before.

      • Chucky

        Brouwer actually hurts the third line because he cannot keep up and does not play at the speed of Jankowski or Bennett. While Hathaway does not seem to help that much at least he plays at roughly the same speed.

        • The Doctor

          This is why I’m reluctantly thinking that we’re still a couple of forwards short on the third and fourth lines from what we need to be real contenders.

          • CherryIsSenile

            The Flames do not have a true second line in my opinion out side of Byng. Backlund is arguably the best 3 rld line centerin the league who can slide up and down when needed. The Flames could slide Byng to a line eith Janko and Bennett giving yhem a legitimate 2nd line. I hardly doubt many goalies or d partners are being kept up thinking of that Backlund line as an offensive juggernaut.

  • Off the wall

    I was thinking about something the other day. We have a great group of players, for the most part, wouldn’t you say?

    Our Goaltending has been strong, we should have a formidable defensive squad and our forward group as a whole is pretty decent. Not perfect, but this should be a great team.
    Why aren’t we? It’s our Management.

    Here’s the thing. I am self- employed. I’m reliant on my name and the quality of work that I do. Everyday. I don’t have the luxury of being mediocre or not giving my best.

    In fact, I often put a clause in my yearly contracts that I can be terminated within 30 days notice, if I fail to meet expectations. Call me stupid if you like, because my competition doesn’t do that.
    They love the luxury of signing yearly contracts, without fear of losing their work. I’ve seen the results of ‘lesser expectations’ and I’m usually cleaning up the mess after their year is done.

    But that’s the point. I am always going to make myself accountable, even if it’s to my possible detriment. I expect my best, my clients should too.
    After all they work hard for their money too.

    Why is it we hand out 3 year contracts to Head coaches without a proven track record?
    Is this being contractually wise?
    Is this a good business practice?

    I know we have to provide some incentive to attract the right candidates, but wouldn’t it make more sense to spend more money and get the best, rather than paying coaches who are going to be eventually “let go” because they didn’t meet expectations?

    First Hartley, still on payroll.
    Now GG will be gone soon and has the security of a years pay for doing absolutely nothing earned.

    This reeks of bad business.
    I call a timeout!

    After our season is done (April 7th under GG) it’s time to get a new reputable, winning coach into our Flames fold. No cost cutting measures please. If it costs us 6 -7M / year to get a coach of this caliber, you do it.
    That’s smart business.

    I love being self- employed, but I also appreciate the risks I take in doing so.

    Maybe we should start making coaches earn their pay and stop handing out contracts to guys like GG who should have been given 30 days notice already.

    Let’s raise the bar in our quest for greatness!

      • Rocket66

        You can’t blame coaching it’s not his fault he sucks. It’s managements fault. How they can sit there and watch some of the stupid moves is beyond me I like this team but not the player placement. So I’m told hartly wasn’t liked by the players Is this because he called them out when they didn’t perform All I know is I liked watching Harley’s flames. I didn’t like the goal tending he had GG has goaltending but I can’t always watch his team

        • Joeyhere

          I remember a game where the fans gave Hartley’s flames a standing ovation even though they lost. It was about rewarding the effort. Now we as fans watch as we aren’t sure who (management coach or players ) are to blame for under performing. But one thing is certain this team can lack passion, fail to show up at the start of a game, or fail to have a killer instinct. I will always think this is a more talented team with a better roster then Hartley had but I sure would love to see some of that “find a way” Flames effort we used to have

          • oddclod

            Agreed. Watching the passion of this team is like eating cardboard boxes for the flavor. We’re westerners we’re stupid. Ownership is betting that we’re not smart enough to figure out the problem is only solved by eastern medicine. Treat the root of the tree not the leaves and branches. Fire the newspaper man (propagandist).

      • Off the wall

        Haha Puck, yes to all 3 questions. I have all my own equipment too.

        It’s weird, but I’m assuming we’re paying Gulutzan about $2Million a year. At 30 days of salary, I’d make $166, 666.67.
        More than I make in a year!

        I’ll make sure my stick gets tossed in the rafters .

        Where do I sign?!

    • BlueMoonNigel

      So if you fail to meet my expectations, I still have to endure 30 days of your bad smell. Nice.

      The idea of a 3-year contract for a coach seems like an industry standard so I doubt that is going to change anytime soon. It also offers some stability to the franchise and its fans.

      Consider Vegas. Let’s say the club wins the prestigious President’s Cup and loses in the cup final. When the 2018-19 season ends, the Rusty Knights finish 31st as their terrible season was delayed a year. Is Gallant brought back for what he did in Year 1 or canned for his work in Year 2? A 3 year contract might make that question academic.

      As for the Flames spending big bucks for a rock star coach, are you nuts? That has never happened in the almost 40 year history of the team in Calgary so why expect it now? I am not sure if this is because ownership refuses to do so or the best coaching candidates bypass Calgary, like many players, as they refuse to work in a remote outpost on the Canadian prairies safe in the knowledge that they will receive offers from places deemed much more suitable.

    • Derzie

      This is a good analogy on the negative side as well. I infer from your post that you are overpaid for the work. Especially if you work in Calgary. You don’t feel you are, but you are. The reason I point that out is if someone perceives that they work hard and they get rewarded with lots of money, they feel the world is all good. Your experience and the hockey world experience have that in common. The wildcard is the real results are not achieved by hard work and money alone. It takes teamwork, intelligence, being humble, not believing the hype and delivering for your customers/end users. GG does deserve to hit the trail but don’t think that everyone is a mis-step or 2 from the same fate.

  • Just.Visiting

    For context on this comment, I think that TB was playing a lot better before his injury. That being said, if GG and Cameron put TB on the first unit PP instead of the current players, I hope BT runs down from the press box and fires them on the spot.

    I hope that GG does use TB’s return to experiment with Byng on the soon to be 2B line with Bennett and Janko, particularly if the game isn’t close. I think it’s prudent to road test that combo as the current lineup is not likely to get beyond the first round unless the goalies have a Conn Smythe winning performance.

    Another thing GG should look at is something someone else on here noted the other day-having the point men on their wrong sides, for better access to the net on one timers.

  • Just.Visiting

    On another topic, am I the only one who feels badly for the lady and her husband who sit in the front row behind GG? That’s a lot of time and money they invest for what they’ve been seeing this year. I don’t think I could mask my frustration nearly as well as they do.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Club has never confirmed it was a groin injury, only lower body. But if it is a groin injury, it absolutely has the potential to be a lingering injury for the rest of this season. Depending on the actual injury itself, the treatment opted for and the person’s lifestyle, it could well be chronic. If you engage in a lifestyle where you routinely have to do the splits and have significant pressure put on one or both legs while in this vulnerable position, the likelihood of additional damage to a groin injury increases significantly. Just to be clear, does Smith have a groin injury and if he does, what is the degree of severity?

    • BlueMoonNigel

      If I were forum moderator, I would have deleted your post and rapped your knuckles for showing insensitivity to the many–possibly some on this site–who as kids were victims of the horrific scenario you described. Being unwanted by ones peers can scar a youngster for life. As I know, it is outlawed in virtually every school district in Canada, and when it happens informally when kids play on their own, it constitutes “aggravated bullying”according to the Canadian Centre for Child Welfare, the Canadian Association of Mental Health and Canadians Against Bullying.

  • oddclod

    Damn. & fire K.K. C.F.S.E is a soulless enterprise. & I Salute Stocktons Finest this is what sport is about. Not these arrogant technocrats in gawdy jerseys in yellow and white piping. Way to go G.G.. You got your lettered Vet bac. I’m sure he’s gonna save your job.