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Posted On Monday, 03.24.2014 / 3:25 PM

By Aaron Vickers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sharks can clinch; McLellan wants focus on Flames

CALGARY -- The San Jose Sharks hope to clinch a 10th consecutive Stanley Cup Playoff berth when they play the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday.

The Sharks need a single point against the Flames to earn their way in.

San Jose would also clinch if: the Phoenix Coyotes lose to the New York Rangers in regulation; the Winnipeg Jets defeat the Dallas Stars in regulation; or both the Coyotes and Stars lose in overtime or a shootout.

"You like to see that little 'x' beside your name in the standings," Sharks forward Patrick Marleau said. "We need to play well, but we also need to get that next win to get that."

Posted On Friday, 03.21.2014 / 3:45 PM

By Aaron Vickers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Flames' Agostino, Predators' Jarnkrok set for debuts

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames and Nashville Predators will get a chance to glimpse parts of their respective futures when Flames forward Kenny Agostino and Predators forward Calle Jarnkrok make their NHL debuts Friday at Scotiabank Saddledome.

"I'm feeling great. I'm excited," said Agostino, who capped his career at Yale University with 14 goals and 32 points in 33 games. "I'd be lying if I said I probably won't have some nerves that first shift. Everyone's been telling me, the coaches, players, it's just hockey. Have fun. Enjoy it."

After his four-year collegiate career with Yale ended last week, Agostino signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Flames on Monday.

He joined the team Tuesday and has spent the week practicing with the club in an attempt to bring the 22-year-old up to speed to face the Predators.

Posted On Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 3:39 PM

By Aaron Vickers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sabres' Lieuwen makes first start in familiar territory

CALGARY -- Buffalo Sabres goaltender Nathan Lieuwen should feel right at home at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Lieuwen will make his first NHL start Tuesday against the Calgary Flames in the same building he made his junior debut for the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League as a 16-year-old almost seven years ago. The 6-foot-5, 186-pound goalie played his first junior game with the Ice against the Calgary Hitmen, stopping 28 of 33 shots in a 5-1 loss Sept. 24, 2007.

He'll look for a more favorable first start with the Sabres.

"This is a great place [for him]," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. "He sees the Hitmen here. He's played in this rink before. He's played in the West before. It's a good place to have his NHL debut as a starter."

Posted On Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 3:17 PM

By Aaron Vickers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Flames' Stajan eager to return after personal tragedy

CALGARY -- Calgary Flames center Matt Stajan is ready to take a step forward.

The Flames will welcome Stajan back into the lineup Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres after he missed the past eight games to be with his wife, Katie, following the loss of newborn son Emerson on March 3.

"Obviously you realize what the most important things are in life, and that's family," Stajan said following practice Monday, his first with teammates since leaving the club. "This is like my second family coming here. Everybody's been so great and helpful.

"Going on the ice, it's a nice place for any player to get skating and clear the mind. It's been refreshing the last couple days on my own skating. And to get back on the ice skating, it's another step. It's exciting for me to move forward here.

"I want to play. You've got to keep taking steps forward. I want to get right back into game action. That's what hockey players want to do. That's the plan and I'm excited to get right back at it."

Posted On Wednesday, 03.12.2014 / 3:44 PM

By Aaron Vickers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Flames' Glencross to return against Ducks

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames will have forward Curtis Glencross in the lineup when they play the Anaheim Ducks at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday.

Glencross hasn't played since sustaining a high ankle sprain in the first minute of a 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 21, a span of 29 games.

"Anytime you come back you want to start right back up where you left off," Glencross said. "Things were just starting to get rolling again when I got hurt there in Pittsburgh. Hopefully it doesn't take too long to get back the timing. Hopefully we can get the bugs out of the way early and hopefully get better and better as we go on."

Posted On Monday, 03.10.2014 / 3:39 PM

By Aaron Vickers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Kings hope to keep momentum going in Calgary

CALGARY -- The Los Angeles Kings hope to keep their post-Olympic roll going when they visit the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday.

The Kings have won seven straight dating to their final game prior to the Olympic break, the fourth-longest stretch in club history and longest since establishing a new franchise mark at nine from Jan. 21-Feb. 6, 2010.

"I think we're just back playing with confidence," said Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. "We had a little bit of a down slope right before the Olympics. The guys really took it upon themselves to turn things around. We were drifting out of a playoff spot. We need to get back into that. We know how good this team can be when we do get into the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs."

The stingy Kings have allowed 10 goals during the streak. More surprisingly, Los Angeles has had an offensive outburst, finding the back of the net 22 times during the run.

The spike in offense, much like the Kings' turnaround, isn't much of a surprise to coach Darryl Sutter.

Posted On Friday, 03.07.2014 / 2:56 PM

By Aaron Vickers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Wotherspoon latest Flames player to make NHL debut

CALGARY -- As Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley said, one's misfortune is another's opportunity.

With injuries plaguing his roster, Hartley will ice a lineup Friday against the New York Islanders that will feature eight rookies, the most first-year players to skate in a single game for the Flames since Dec. 10, 1996.

"Injuries, we can talk about them all day," Hartley said. "There's nothing we can do about this. We don't like it. You never want to see guys laying down on the table in the medical room. But at the same time we're playing a contact sport. It [injuries] opens doors to younger players to come in and grab ice time, grab roles, grab responsibility and fulfill their childhood dreams. I think it's great."

Hartley has had to juggle his lineup substantially of late with Kevin Westgarth, David Jones, Jiri Hudler and Dennis Wideman all sustaining injuries in the past week. He hasn't had Matt Stajan either due to personal reasons.

It's bred plenty of opportunity for Calgary's prospects.

Posted On Wednesday, 03.05.2014 / 5:25 PM

By Aaron Vickers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Hemsky debuts with Senators; Knight up for Flames

CALGARY -- Two new faces will be featured as the Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators get set to meet at Scotiabank Saddledome following Wednesday's NHL Trade Deadline.

Ales Hemsky is expected to make his Senators debut while Corban Knight, summoned by the Flames from the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League, will play in his first career NHL game. Hemsky, acquired from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a third-round and fifth-round draft pick, scored two goals and was named the first star Tuesday in a 3-2 win against the Senators.

Jason Spezza, who could center the 30-year-old against the Flames, was pleased to hear about the addition and what it means for the direction of his team as they try to chase down a third consecutive playoff appearance.

"You're never sure who's going to play with who, but if he does, he's a guy that has excellent individual skills and passes the puck really well and he skates well and has good hockey sense," Spezza said. "You obviously hope that he fits in well with our group.

"We know as the games tick by we can't afford to lose hockey games and it's encouraging to see [general manager] Bryan [Murray] trying to add somebody to help us get that push towards the playoffs. We're right in the thick of things right now."

Posted On Thursday, 02.27.2014 / 2:51 PM

By Aaron Vickers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Finnish Flames set to mark debuts against Kings

CALGARY -- Sleep, Joni Ortio admitted, wasn't a problem.

Set to make his first career NHL start against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, the Calgary Flames goaltender admitted he had no problem getting in a good snooze on the eve of the game.

"Good (sleep)," Ortio said. "Excited. I can't wait for tonight."

If the 22-year-old is nervous about marking his debut against Los Angeles, he's doing an exceptional job of masking it.

Posted On Tuesday, 02.25.2014 / 4:45 PM

By Aaron Vickers - Correspondent / - 2014 Trade Deadline blog

Flames offer Cammalleri contract extension

CALGARY -- Calgary Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke might take his biggest bargaining chip off the table.

Burke, doubling as general manager of the Flames, told Sportsnet 960 The Fan on Tuesday that the club has offered pending unrestricted free agent forward Mike Cammalleri a new contract in advance of the NHL Trade Deadline.

"We've offered him an extension," Burke told the radio station. "We have not gotten a deal done. We will continue to talk and a trade is a possibility, no question about that, but re-signing him is a possibility too. I would not predict how that will come out. We'll see.

"We have not set a drop-dead date. We have not set that date. We have had discussions with Mike and with his agent, both in person. The last meeting I had was with Mike and his agent. Mike has been great for us. He's been a disciple of what we're trying to do. He's been good with the young kids. He's worked his tail off."

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