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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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Posted On Tuesday, 01.10.2012 / 1:40 PM

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

No 'Mo' as Flames set to battle Devils

CALGARY -- The infirmary is still full for the Calgary Flames.

With seven players still on the injured reserve list and forward Brendan Morrison not quite ready for a return, Calgary will roll with the same lineup from Saturday's 3-1 win over the Minnesota Wild.

"Status quo," Calgary coach Brent Sutter said.

Morrison originally thought he'd be ready to go for tonight's matchup against the New Jersey Devils, who drafted him in 1993 and with whom he broke into the League.

"I thought tonight might be a good chance, it's not quite there," Morrison said. "No, I won't play tonight, no. Maybe Thursday, we'll see."

Morrison is out with what the team is describing as an upper-body injury.

"It's progressing but it's not at the point where I can really battle yet, so there's no point in playing if you can't even engage guys," said a disappointed Morrison.

Frustration is mounting in the veteran of 921 career NHL games. Morrison has missed over a dozen of Calgary's 43 games this season between this injury and the lingering effects of knee surgery last year.

"Watching games? I'm sick of it, yeah, it's brutal," Morrison said. "You think it's such a small thing, but it just kind of lingers. You have to deal with it. What do you do? When you're watching you kind of feel helpless."

Tonight's projected lineup:

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

Chris Butler - Jay Bouwmeester
TJ Brodie - Cory Sarich
Clay Wilson - Anton Babchuk

Miikka Kiprusoff
Leland Irving
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Posted On Saturday, 01.07.2012 / 3:21 PM

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

Jones has fresh start in Calgary

It’s been a crazy 24 hours for Blair Jones.

Woken up by a call from Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman indicated he’d been traded to the Flames on Friday, Jones was on a plane bound for Calgary just two hours later.

Twenty-four hours after that, Jones was skating in his first game day skate with the ‘Flaming C’ on his chest.

“It was kind of weird yesterday morning,” said Jones, who will make his Flames debut Saturday against Minnesota. “I was sleeping in and woke up, Stevie was calling me and that was that. I woke up a little foggy and was like, ‘Oh.’ I didn’t know what to say. He said Calgary would be in touch with me shortly and two hours later I was on a plane.”

Flames captain Jarome Iginla did his best to welcome Jones into the Calgary locker room.

“We all introduced ourselves, go over everything as quickly as you can and it’s game time,” Iginla said. “It’s definitely a little different transition being in the middle of the season.”

Even the climate is changing on Jones, but going from the heat of Florida to the bitter winter of Alberta hasn’t soured Jones. In fact, he’s welcoming the change.

“This is a bit of a different look than in Tampa,” said Jones, who was acquired in exchange for defenseman Brendan Mikkelson. “I’m definitely excited being back in Canada where hockey is the No. 1 game.”

With Tampa Bay sitting 12th in the Eastern Conference sporting a 17-19-3 record, Jones knew something was going to happen soon. He just didn’t realize it would involve him.

“I thought with the way things were going there something was probably going to happen sooner or later but you never think it might be you,” Jones said. “It’s part of the game and I’m excited to be in Calgary.”

Though it’s an entirely new organization, Jones isn’t tasked with a new coach. The Central Butte, Saskatchewan native played under Flames coach Brent Sutter for three seasons as a member of the Western Hockey League’s Red Deer Rebels.

“He’s a big guy that was a good center iceman in junior hockey,” Sutter said of the team’s newest member. “He’s a big center iceman and we could use some size down the middle.”

That’s not all he brings, said Sutter, who faced Jones and the Lightning back on Dec. 15. Jones left an impression.

“When we played him in Tampa Bay here recently, the first five-to-10 minutes he had five big checks,” Sutter said. “He uses his size to his ability. It’s something we can use down the middle. He’s got good skills and good hands and a really good shot.”

He’s also got an opportunity.

With three forwards – David Moss, Matt Stajan and Alex Tanguay - on Calgary’s injured reserve list and Brendan Morrison out with an upper-body injury, Jones will get the chance to jump head-first into some playing time with Calgary.

“I’m excited,” Jones said. “Nervous too.”
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Posted On Saturday, 01.07.2012 / 3:13 PM

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

Wild lose Bouchard but welcome back Stoner

The Minnesota Wild will be without Pierre-Marc Bouchard as they look to right the ship Saturday night against the Flames in Calgary.

Bouchard suffered a lower-body injury in a 3-0 loss Wednesday against the Vancouver Canucks.

“He’s not in, he’s going to be out today,” Wild coach Mike Yeo confirmed. “He’ll get re-evaluated when we get back to Minny.”

The loss is a big one for Minnesota. Bouchard sits fourth in team scoring with nine goals and 22 points this season.

Hoping to ease the pain of Bouchard’s absence is the return of defenseman Clayton Stoner, who was activated off injured reserve Friday and will be in the lineup against Calgary.

“The body is feeling good and I’m excited to get back up in the lineup,” Stoner said.

Stoner rejoins a Wild team that has won just once in its last 11 games after winning seven in a row.

“We’ve had a tough stretch where we’re not playing our best every night,” Stoner said. “If I can come in and be consistent and do whatever I can it’ll help the team.”

Though he’s been out of the lineup since Dec. 22, Stoner feels just as much a part of the losses as his teammates.

“It’s tough,” Stoner said. “You feel for them. You know what you’re going through. I still feel a part of it. Obviously it’d be nice if we won all those games but we didn’t and we’re just trying to build as a team.”

Here is the projected lineup for the Wild:

Dany HeatleyMikko KoivuDevin Setoguchi
Darroll PoweKyle BrodziakCal Clutterbuck
Casey WellmanMatt CullenNick Johnson
Colton GilliesWarren PetersBrad Staubitz

Marek ZidlickyNick Schultz
Jared SpurgeonMarco Scandella
Clayton StonerJustin Falk

Niklas Backstrom
Josh Harding
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Posted On Saturday, 01.07.2012 / 2:49 PM

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

More key players out for Flames against Wild

CALGARY -- If getting beat  9-0 by the Boston Bruins on Thursday wasn’t enough, the Calgary Flames also lost two key contributors.

Both Scott Hannan and Brendan Morrison will not be in the lineup for Calgary as the Flames take on the Minnesota Wild in their first home game since Dec. 22.

“They’re both dealing with upper-body injuries,” coach Brent Sutter said. “They are going to need some time. How long each guy will be will determine by how quickly they heal. You take two guys out of your lineup, but it gives two other guys opportunities. It is just part of it. You can’t do anything about it.”

Lance Bouma and newly acquired Blair Jones will have the opportunity to step into the lineup. Bouma was recalled Saturday morning, while Jones was acquired Friday in exchange for defenseman Brendan Mikkelson. Defenseman Clay Wilson will also make his season debut on the blue line.

Hannan joins Mark Giordano (hamstring), Matt Stajan (ankle), David Moss (ankle), Derek Smith (lower body), Henrik Karlsson (knee) and Alex Tanguay (upper body) on the injured reserve list.

“It’s definitely difficult, we have some key guys out,” captain Jarome Iginla said. “Teams go through that. We don’t have time to feel sorry for ourselves or make excuses. We have to win games. We just keep moving forward. Teams go through things they can’t control and injuries at different times. Hopefully some of the guys will get back sooner than later.”

Here is the projected lineup for the Flames:

Curtis GlencrossOlli JokinenJarome Iginla
Lee StempniakMikael BacklundLance Bouma
Paul ByronBlair JonesBlake Comeau
Tom KostopoulosRoman HorakTim Jackman

Jay BouwmeesterChris Butler
T.J. Brodie – Anton Babchuk
Clay WilsonCory Sarich

Miikka Kiprusoff
Leland Irving
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