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Posted On Tuesday, 01.24.2012 / 1:52 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Flames likely to get Tanguay back after long absence

CALGARY -- After a 15-game absence from the Calgary Flames lineup, Alex Tanguay is set to return to action tonight against the San Jose Sharks.

At least, that’s what it sounds like from the update of a jovial Brent Sutter.

"He slept well last night, he had a good breakfast this morning, he came to the rink and he was good this morning, so all likelihood he will play tonight," the Flames coach said.

Tanguay was a little more direct in regards to his status.

"I think I'm going to go tonight, that seems to be the plan," Tanguay said. "I'm looking forward to it. It's been a while. I'm anxious to get back and just try to work my hardest and try to help the team keep going."

Out with a neck injury since Dec. 22, Tanguay admits he's eager to return despite not being completely healthy.

"I'd be lying to you if I said I was 100 percent," Tanguay said. "I'm anxious to be back. I'm just going to do as much as I can and help the team and we'll see where that fits in."

Matt Stajan, who left practice yesterday after falling hard to the ice, is not expected to be in the lineup. Nor is Lance Bouma, who blocked a shot with his foot in Saturday's win over the Edmonton Oilers.

Here's the Flames' projected lineup for tonight's game:

Michael Cammalleri - Mikael Backlund - Jarome Iginla
Blake Comeau - Olli Jokinen - Lee Stempniak
Alex Tanguay - Blair Jones - Tom Kostopoulos
Brendan Morrison - Roman Horak - Tim Jackman

Chris Butler - Jay Bouwmeester
Mark Giordano - Scott Hannan
TJ Brodie - Cory Sarich

Miikka Kiprusoff
Leland Irving
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.24.2012 / 1:47 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

No Burns for Sharks

CALGARY -- After suffering an injury to his leg last night, the San Jose Sharks will be without defenseman Brent Burns tonight against the Calgary Flames.

Burns suffered the injury after taking a hit from Ales Hemsky in the Sharks' 2-1 shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Hemsky was assessed a major penalty and a game misconduct for kneeing.

Though Burns won't be playing, there is a silver lining.

"The injury is not as severe as we originally thought," said Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "The good news is it isn't a knee, it's more of a charley horse situation. He'll need some treatment beginning today and hopefully when we get through the All-Star break he'll be ready to play."

McLellan has some options to replace Burns. The team has been carrying eight defensemen since activating Jim Vandermeer off injured reserve; Vandermeer had missed 20 games with an upper-body injury.

"We do have some options," McLellan said. "We'll make some decisions at game-time."

However, it will be tough for the Sharks to replace Burns, who has averaged 22:25 of ice time per game while playing in all 46 games.

"There is a large portion of our back end that we rely on that comes through Brent Burns," McLellan said. "He plays a lot of minutes in every situation. He can be physical and skate the puck out of trouble. There are a lot of assets he has that we need on a nightly basis.

"That being said, we aren't the only team with bumps and bruises this time of year."

Without Burns, here's the lineup the Sharks likely will use tonight:

Andrew Desjardins - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Benn Ferriero
Jamie McGinn - Michal Handzus - Torrey Mitchell
Brad Winchester - John McCarthy - Andrew Murray

Dan Boyle - Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Douglas Murray - Justin Braun
Colin White - Jason Demers

Antti Niemi will start in goal, with Thomas Greiss the backup.
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Posted On Saturday, 01.14.2012 / 3:42 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Sutters signing same tune on game day

CALGARY -- Just hours before puck drop between the Los Angeles Kings and Calgary Flames -- better billed as Sutter versus Sutter -- both Darryl and Brent didn't waver.

The game isn't about them.

Despite it being the first time the two brothers have faced each other from behind the bench, coupled with the game being Darryl's first in Calgary since leaving the Flames organization in December 2010, Brent reiterated that there is no storyline from a family perspective.

"That's the neat thing about it," Brent said. "It's not even an issue with us. It is for everyone else, but not for us. It's LA versus Calgary. I haven't given it much thought. It's not the first time brothers have coached against each other and it won't be the last. It's not that big of deal, it really isn't."

In short, it isn't a story.

"We've done it our whole lives," Darryl said.

It was tough for Kings forward Colin Fraser to disagree.

"They grew up together, probably beating each other up their whole lives," said Fraser, who was coached by Brent as a member of the Western Hockey League's Red Deer Rebels.

Brent isn't rushing to get the game over with. He knows the questions about Darryl will continue to come long after Los Angeles departs for Sunday's game against Edmonton.

"Someone will ask the question again, I know (the media) well enough," Brent said. "It's not that big of a deal, it really isn't."
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Posted On Saturday, 01.14.2012 / 3:28 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Kopitar ready to go after leaving previous game

CALGARY -- There is no doubting the participation of Los Angeles Kings forward Anze Kopitar in tonight’s game against the Calgary Flames, according to coach Darryl Sutter.

In fact, despite taking a hard hit from Brendan Morrow that forced Kopitar out of the game in the Kings' 5-4 shootout loss against the Dallas Stars Thursday, Los Angeles' leading scorer would've been ready to return had there been more time on the clock.

Kopitar had a goal and two assists before being crunched by Morrow with just 7:48 left in the third period. He missed both overtime and the shootout.

"By the time we left the Staples Center he was ready to play," Sutter said. "I think if we would've played two that night he would've been back for the second one."

Which means Kopitar will be at Sutter's disposal when he returns to the Scotiabank Saddledome for the first time since Dec. 2010 when he left the organization after an eight-year tenure, first as coach and then general manager.

"(It's) nice to come see lots of people working in the building that you spent early morning and late days with," Sutter said. "I came here in a tough situation in every area, on and off the ice. It was one of the most successful on-and-off the ice teams in the NHL for a long time. That's pretty good."

KINGS
Dustin Brown - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Dustin Penner - Mike Richards - Jarret Stoll
Brad Richardson - Andrei Loktionov - Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford - Colin Fraser - Trent Hunter

Rob Scuderi - Drew Doughty
Willie Mitchell - Slava Voynov
Jack Johnson - Matt Greene

Jonathan Quick
Jonathan Bernier
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Posted On Saturday, 01.14.2012 / 3:14 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Cammalleri to debut with Stempniak, Backlund

CALGARY -- Taking line rushes with Mikael Backlund and Lee Stempniak, newly acquired Michael Cammalleri has found a line, at least temporarily, with the Calgary Flames.

After a hectic 48 hours, Cammalleri wasn't made available to the media after the game-day skate. That didn't stop Stempniak from showing his excitement to play with the Flames newest forward.

"Obviously he's a great offensive player," Stempniak said. "He has a great shot and good offensive instincts. It should be a good fit. Hopefully we can get some goals and get going right off the bat. It should be fun."

Stempniak shouldn't necessarily get too comfortable with Cammalleri, according to coach Brent Sutter.

"I guess we'll get a feel," Sutter said. "I'll get a feel for it from a game and see how it goes and where it's at and whether it's the right center or right winger there. I just have to see it. I don't really have a feel for it right now."

Despite past success between Cammalleri and Calgary captain Jarome Iginla, Sutter wasn't tempted to put the two together immediately. The move would force Sutter to split up Iginla, Olli Jokinen and Curtis Glencross, one of the hottest trios in the league.

"Olli, Glennie and Jarome have been one of the best lines in hockey for the last six weeks," Sutter said. "We're excited to have Cammi come to our hockey team but because you acquire someone you don't shake up your team for one individual. Cammi understands it."

FLAMES
Curtis Glencross - Olli Jokinen - Jarome Iginla
Michael Cammalleri - Mikael Backlund - Lee Stempniak
Lance Bouma - Blair Jones - Blake Comeau
Tom Kostopoulos - Roman Horak - Tim Jackman

Jay Bouwmeester - Chris Butler
TJ Brodie - Cory Sarich
Mark Giordano - Anton Babchuk

Miikka Kiprusoff
Leland Irving
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Posted On Friday, 01.13.2012 / 2:07 AM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Jones knows Ramo well

CALGARY -- Goaltender Karri Ramo contacted former teammate Blair Jones a few days ago to congratulate him on Jones' trade to Calgary. As fate would have it, Jones will have to return the same email.

Six days after the Calgary Flames acquired Jones in a trade with Tampa Bay, Ramo -- a former Tampa Bay Lightning prospect now playing in Russia -- was packaged with a fifth-round pick alongside and forward Michael Cammalleri and sent to Montreal in exchange for Rene Bourque, Patrick Holland and a second-rounder in 2013.

"He actually just congratulated me on the trade to Calgary on the computer," Jones said after scoring the overtime winner Thursday night in the Flames' 1-0 victory against Anaheim. "Funny enough, he's been traded here."

Once again, Jones and the Ramo find themselves a part of the same NHL organization. Both Ramo and Jones played together in the American Hockey League as members of the Springfield Falcons in 2006-07 and again in 2007-08 as members of the Norfolk Admirals.

After two seasons in the AHL, Ramo split time between Norfolk and the Lightning in 2008-09. It was his last season of North American hockey before returning to Europe to play with Omsk Avangard of the Kontinental Hockey League.

"I played with him my rookie season in the minors," Jones said, who scored his first goal with the Flames after coming from Tampa Bay last week. "He was a good goalie prospect and he just took a few years and played in Russia. We'll see what happens to him. He's a very good goalie."

The Tampa Bay connection doesn't end at Jones. Ramo was selected by the Lightning in the sixth round of the 2004 NHL Draft by current Flames general manager Jay Feaster, then the GM in Tampa Bay.

But Jones admitted he isn't sure if a Lightning reunion in Calgary is in the cards for the former Tampa Bay trio.

"I don't know the status of what he'll be doing but he's a good guy, good goalie," Jones said.

A good guy with a congratulatory email he'll be sure to read in the morning.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.12.2012 / 4:35 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Iginla honored to have another All-Star opportunity

CALGARY – Less than a week after accomplishing the feat of 500 career goals, Jarome Iginla received yet another honor Thursday.

Iginla was announced as Calgary’s lone representative for the 2012 Tim Horton’s NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa on Jan. 29 at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa.

It’s another achievement in the storied career of the Flames captain, who was excited to learn about his nomination.

“It feels good to be selected,” Iginla said, who has made five previous trips to the event. “I plan to be there. I look forward to it. I’ve been very fortunate and it’s been a fun year in some ways.”

With a team-leading 36 points and 501 career goals on his resume, Iginla may have seemed like a lock to represent the Flames at the event.

But Iginla noted he might not have been the only choice to represent Calgary, identifying teammates Curtis Glencross, Olli Jokinen and Miikka Kiprusoff as worthy nominees for the event as well.

Glencross has a team-leading 18 goals, while Jokinen’s 35 points are just one fewer than Iginla’s team lead. In net, Kiprusoff has put together 19 wins, a 2.49 goals against average and .915 save percentage.

“There definitely were other options,” Iginla said, who got the news minutes before meeting with the media Thursday. “[Glencross] is having a great year. Kipper is having another outstanding year for us. Olli’s been really good for us. I definitely wouldn’t have been offended at all. They could’ve easily have been there.”

The vote might have been swayed a little after Iginla scored his 500th goal on Jan. 7, becoming the 42nd player in league history to accomplish the feat and only one of three active players alongside Teemu Selanne and Jaromir Jagr to hit the milestone.

“It’s probably the highlight so far (this season), reaching 500 and being able to do it at home and I’m really appreciative of the fans and support,” Iginla said. “It was something that was pretty cool and I’ll remember.”

Iginla could receive the same support when he travels to Ottawa to skate alongside the NHL’s elite. Flames coach Brent Sutter was quick to point out that Iginla – the captain of a Canadian franchise – is set to travel to the nation’s capital for the spectacle.

“It’s obviously a tremendous honor for him,” Sutter said. “Just the fact having the opportunity to play and being hosted in Canada and Jarome playing on a Canadian team, it’s all a great fit.”

The thought of passing on the event never entered the mind of the 34-year-old.

Despite a hectic schedule, Iginla wasn’t about to skip on the opportunity of becoming an All-Star again. In fact, the face of the Flames franchise is planning on making it a family affair.

“At times, you say ‘oh if you could take a break’ but looking back, one day I’m going to be done, I’ll have lots of time to travel,” Iginla said. “They’re neat experiences and I’ll be able to take my family. The kids are getting bigger and know a little more what’s going on and we’ll have some fun. I’ve never taken them before.”
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Posted On Thursday, 01.12.2012 / 2:42 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Boudreau mulls goalie options as Ducks visit Flames

With starting goaltender Jonas Hiller unlikely to start tonight's game against the Flames, Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said he has options.

Boudreau could opt with Jeff Deslauries, who was recalled Tuesday and stopped 26 shots in a 5-2 win over the Dallas Stars, his first victory since April 7, 2010.

Playing coy, Boudreau wouldn't announce his goaltending plans. Though he said it's possible Deslauries gets the nod, the Ducks coach reminded he still has Iiro Tarkki at his disposal as well.

"I probably would imagine but we'll see," Boudreau said. "We've got three of them. If Hiller's not playing I have the choice of the other two."

Boudreau's decision could come down to how Hiller responds to his lower-body injury in today's morning skate.

"I'm waiting for the report myself to see how he handles it out there today," Boudreau said. "If he handles it well he’ll probably back up tonight."

Boudreau will have Niklas Hagman in the lineup though. Hagman is making his return to Calgary after being placed on waivers and picked up by Anaheim in November.

"He's brought a lot of energy," Boudreau said. "He's played really hard. In the last 10 games especially he's starting to get rewarded for his efforts. He's really fit in well with the other two Finns and they've found chemistry. He's made some really, really good plays. He's a really good fit for our team."

Here's the projected lineup for the Ducks:
 
Bobby Ryan - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Niklas Hagman - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
Jason Blake - Nick Bonino - Andrew Cogliano
Matt Beleskey - Rod Pelley - Kyle Palmieri

Francois Beauchemin - Cam Fowler
Luca Sbisa - Lubomir Visnovsky
Toni Lydman - Sheldon Brookbank

Jeff Deslauriers
Iiro Tarkki
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Posted On Thursday, 01.12.2012 / 2:24 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Giordano says he's ready to return to Flames' lineup

CALGARY -- After being sidelined for 21 consecutive games, Flames defenseman Mark Giordano will be a game-time decision for coach Brent Sutter as Calgary welcomes the Anaheim Ducks to the Scotiabank Saddledome.

But if you ask Giordano, he's ready to go.

"Hopefully I get in tonight and go from there," said Giordano, who has been on the injured reserve list since suffering a torn hamstring in a home contest against the Nashville Predators on Nov. 29. "I've been excited here the last week skating with the team and getting closer and closer."

Giordano isn't concerned about aggravating the hamstring he injured while catching a rut in the ice. In fact, he insists that if he does get back into the lineup, he'll be pain free.

"Right now, so far so good," Giordano said. "I haven't had any setbacks. I'm looking forward to getting into the game.

"There's no pain. The last three weeks have been pain-free, really, and it's just a matter getting back to game-type speed and getting my strength back."

The Flames could use Giordano's presence on the blue line. The team is already without defensemen Scott Hannan and Derek Smith. Both have played integral parts on the back end this season.

Hannan, who suffered an upper-body injury in a game against Boston on Jan. 5, has resumed skating as well and is considered day-to-day. Derek Smith has missed Calgary's last six games with a lower-body injury.

Tonight's projected lineup:

FLAMES

Curtis Glencross - Olli Jokinen - Jarome Iginla
Lance Bouma - Mikael Backlund - Lee Stempniak
Paul Byron - Blair Jones - Blake Comeau
Tom Kostopoulos - Roman Horak - Tim Jackman

T.J. Brodie - Cory Sarich
Chris Butler - Jay Bouwmeester
Mark Giordano - Anton Babchuk

Miikka Kiprusoff
Leland Irving
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.10.2012 / 2:38 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Volchenkov set to return for Devils

CALGARY -- The New Jersey Devils will get a boost on the back end, as injured defenseman Anton Volchenkov will be in the lineup tonight against the Calgary Flames.

Volchenkov, who left the first period of New Jersey's New Years Eve tilt against the Pittsburgh Penguins with a lower-body injury, said he is primed to get back on the ice.

"I'm ready to go, ready to play tonight," said Volchenkov, who has missed New Jersey's previous four games. "It feels pretty good. It's been one week. I feel it's been better. It's ready to go."

The Devils were expected to activate Volchenkov from injured reserve Tuesday afternoon. He was originally placed on the list Jan. 7, retroactive to Dec. 31. Volchenkov also missed three games from Dec. 10-13 with a hand injury and has played in 34 of the Devils' 41 games this season.

Travis Zajac, who is battling soreness to his left Achilles, will miss his fourth consecutive game. 

Here is the Devils' expected lineup:

Zach Parise - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Mattias Tedenby - Steven Zalewski - David Clarkson
Eric Boulton - Ryan Carter - Nick Palmieri

Bryce Salvador - Adam Larsson
Mark Fayne - Henrik Tallinder
Kurtis Foster - Anton Volchenkov

Martin Brodeur
Johan Hedberg
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