ONE BIG TEAM, TWO GROUPS SKATE
After a four point night in two games for the Flames over the Canucks in both barns last night, both groups re-joined and were separated again for today’s practice. The first group made up of mainly veterans, worked on power play drills for a good chunk of time. As we’ve seen already in last night’s game, the power play unit showed Alex Tanguay and Olli Jokinen on the points with Iginla centered and Jay Bowmeester down low in front of the net as well as Ian White.
Missing from practice today was Matt Stajan who left the game against Vancouver last night with a shoulder injury. Daymond Langkow did skate this morning before the first group came out however did not skate with the team. He has not yet been cleared to play. John Armstrong who took a puck to the face is still waiting for a final report from the medical team and Niklas Hagman was also not in attendence as he has been off and on with flu-like symtoms. Additionally Matt Pelech (D) and John Negrin (D) missed practice today for general maintenance resulting from recent training and competition.
SPOT TO FILL WITH STAJAN OUT?
When Stajan got injured last night in Vancouver, head coach Brent Sutter had to be quick with his decision making and shuffle up the lines. He gave Mitch Wahl the head nod to step up to the top line and show what he is capable of. He did just that by picking up a pair of assists for the Flames.
“When Stajan got hurt I put (Mitch) Wahl up with Bourque and Hagman just because of his skill level and he can make plays and sees the ice well,” said Sutter. “I moved him up there and I thought he responded to it very well. He has such a good knowledge of the game and thought he handled it well.”
Wahl not only got the chance to play on the top line but was also able to contribute and demonstrate his skills on the power play.
"It was my first pro experience at the NHL level and I was able to play on the top line," said Mitch Wahl of his game last night. "Unfortunately Stajan got hurt but it enabled me to come up and play with Hagman and Bourque so I got to play and got to play on the power play, so I got right in there and I had a lot of fun."
With Stajan out indefinitely, a door of opportunity opens for a couple other strong centremen such as David Moss and Mikael Backlund who are looking to find which line they will fit with best.
“You don’t ever like seeing injuries but they do happen and it’s part of the game,” said Sutter. “You have to diversify and go with what’s there. It’s always nice to have centre-ice men (Backlund) that you can move up who can play on your first line, play on your third line or play on your fourth line because they are talented and skilled enough to do so. Mikael will get that opportunity now to play with Rene Bourque and see how it goes.
“As for David Moss, from what I have heard was very solid with where he was at so we’ll continue to move forward with that process. Now it’s just up to them to see who’s going to scratch and claw to still be on our team come the first day of the regular season.
FLAMES TRAINING CAMP INJURY REPORT
Calgary, AB – The Calgary Flames would like to provide the following update regarding injuries to players participating in training camp.
Daymond Langkow (C) – Neck – Indefinite
Matt Stajan (C) – Shoulder separation – Indefinite
John Armstrong (C) – Face – waiting on final report from medical team
Additionally, Niklas Hagman (LW), Matt Pelech (D) and John Negrin (D) missed practice today for general maintenance resulting from recent training and competition.