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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."

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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."

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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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Posted On Saturday, 02.01.2014 / 3:20 PM

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

Wild's Parise, Suter avoiding Olympic distractions

CALGARY -- Though there's plenty of pre-Olympic attention focused on Zach Parise and Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild, both players have their attention focused solely on the Calgary Flames.

The Wild will wrap up the road portion of their pre-Olympic schedule against the Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday. Once the break starts, Parise and Suter will both play prominent roles on an American team looking to win gold at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. But until that break begins, neither player is thinking about Sochi.

"Of course, I'm looking forward to it, but there's a few more games before the break and then we'll head over there," Parise said. "There's a lot to do before we get to go."

Calgary is the first of three remaining games for the Wild, who will also host the Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins before breaking for the Games.

For now, Parise's eyes are on the Flames, who have scored 16 goals over their four-game winning streak. Calgary will welcome Mike Cammalleri back to the lineup. The wing missed nine straight with a concussion and ranks third on the Flames with 13 goals despite missing 17 games this season.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.30.2014 / 2:22 PM

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

Cammalleri return pushed back by Flames

CALGARY -- Calgary Flames forward Mike Cammalleri will wait an extra 48 hours to make his return from a concussion.

Originally scheduled to be in the lineup Thursday against the San Jose Sharks after missing eight straight with the injury, Cammalleri and the team have decided to wait an extra few days to get his legs back under him.

"[I] talked to coach [Bob Hartley] about it," Cammalleri said. "I really only had one practice in the last few weeks, real practice. [I] just came back from having been away for a couple days. It was maybe more a fact of we want guys coming back in the lineup ready to help the team and get their legs under them a little bit. I'm OK with that."

Cammalleri sustained the concussion in Calgary's 2-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Jan. 11 and has skated with the team just a handful of times since.

He's now expected back Saturday against the Minnesota Wild.

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Quote of the Day

I think the thing about him, No. 1, he's a competitive guy. We have no issues as far as him fitting in here with this group. No question he's going to be hungry. I think whenever you look at your back end, it's a mix-type thing, and I think [there are] things he can bring to us. He's very mobile, and even though he's not big (6 feet, 201 pounds), he certainly competes. He's a smart player.

— Kings general manager Dean Lombardi on Andrej Sekera, after making a trade with the Hurricanes for the defenseman on Wednesday
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