Mike Smith activated from IR, Jon Gillies sent to Stockton

Ladies and gentlemen, he’s back.

After being day-to-day with a lower-body injury for 28 days, Calgary Flames goaltender Mike Smith has been activated from the injured reserve. In a corresponding move Jon Gillies, with the Flames on an emergency recall, has been re-assigned to the American Hockey League’s Stockton Heat.

Smith suffered his lower-body injury in the dying seconds of the Flames’ victory over the New York Islanders back on Feb. 11. While subsequent medical assessments revealed nothing structurally wrong – meaning surgery wouldn’t be required – Smith took awhile to be pain free and then awhile longer to be able to move in his crease in practice with confidence.

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In Smith’s absence, the team relied upon Gillies and NHL backup David Rittich. Both had their moments, but Gillies seemed noticeably shakier in net – not surprising given his age and that he’s played less pro (and NHL) hockey than Rittich. The team went 5-6-2 with Smith on the shelf. Gillies returns to a Stockton team desperately needing a goaltender with Mason McDonald and Tyler Parsons dealing with injuries.

Four weeks later and against the same team he played when he was originally injured, Smith returns to the Flames crease. He’s expected to start tonight’s game. With the Flames in a fevered battle for a Western Conference playoff spot, Smith’s return couldn’t come at a better time.

  • Kzak

    Sad to hear former Flame Ken Houston passed away today. On a personal note, he’s from my hometown of Dresden (the first of two Flames players from there) and was the reason I like the Flames as 5/6 year old.

    • The Doctor

      Part of the original from-Atlanta team that played in the Stampede Corral until the Saddledome got built. I used to go to games then and NHL hockey in that small building was fun. You could hear Willi Plett trash talking Gretzky.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Kenny Houston is a lock to make the Flames’ all-time All-Star Tough Guy team. His hands were enormous and man could he punch! Used to hire out his fists in the offseason to do demo work around town.

  • Stockton's Finest

    Which means Faragher will get one more start today and will back up Gillies this coming week. It may be hard to pull Faragher out of the crease though, as he is 3-1 in 4 starts (and a relief appearance) with a .950 save percentage and a 1.44 GAA. He has not allowed more than 2 goals in any game he has been in.

    I know, I know, you have to go with your year-long starter. And I hope Gillies brings his month long experience back with him to bolster the Heat’s chances for the playoffs. But the way Huska rides the hot goalie, you never know.

    • deantheraven

      Hope you keep us in-the-know as Gillies makes his return to Stockton, Mr. Finest.Also hoping Gillies continues to progress.He may have posted better numbers than Rittich when he was up, but it looked to me he was above his pay level while here.Big matters less if you let yourself get out of position, or can’t track the puck.
      Does the Heat employ a goalie coach?

      • Stockton's Finest

        Yes, Colin Zulianello. I will keep you guys updated on how he is playing. I hope he comes back with confidence like the others that have returned to Stockton this year has.

  • MontanaMan

    Reality is, Smith’s injury really highlighted the need for him between the pipes. The Flames would not make the playoffs with the combination of Rittich and Gillies so they desperately need Smith back if they are to have any chance at the post season.

  • Lazarus

    Well done JonBoy. You and Rittich did just enough in the last month to give the team a shot coming down the stretch. No one thought Smitty would be out this long and they are still within hailing distance of the dance