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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Posted On Tuesday, 01.28.2014 / 3:29 PM

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

Blackhawks expect road to foster camaraderie, wins

CALGARY -- Though the Chicago Blackhawks own the third-best home record in the NHL, a lengthy stint away from United Center could be the cure for their recent struggles.

The Blackhawks, who are set to embark on a string of six straight away from Chicago before the Olympic break, have been particularly productive on lengthy stints on the road.

"I honestly think it's just the chemistry we have in the locker room," forward Andrew Shaw said. "Being on the road with the guys is always fun. Going into someone else's barn and stealing a couple points is always satisfying. The games aren't going to be the prettiest but as long as we go out there and work things should go our way, that's for sure."

The Blackhawks went 6-1-0 on their annual circus trip in November, when they were forced to vacate their rink in favor of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus. Early last season Chicago went 4-0-2 on another extended road trip.

And in the middle of a stretch where Chicago has won three of its past 10 games, the timing for a lengthy road swing might be perfect.

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Posted On Friday, 01.24.2014 / 2:26 PM

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

Flames push for two straight at home vs. Predators

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames found a way to win one on home ice. Now they're set on making it two.

Snapping a franchise-record seven-game losing skid at Scotiabank Saddledome in a 3-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes two days ago, the Flames will push to earn back-to-back wins in their own building for just the third time this season in welcoming the Nashville Predators on Friday.

"We want to build," coach Bob Hartley said. "We try to give more and more roles to our young players to fast forward that progression, but at the same time we take every game, whether it's a home game or a road game, we want to establish that this is our home and we want to be tough to play against here."

The Flames are just 8-14-3 in Calgary this season. The 19 points collected on home ice is the second fewest in the NHL, trailing just the Edmonton Oilers' 18 points (8-13-2).

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.22.2014 / 2:50 PM

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

Flames aim to snap home skid against Coyotes

CALGARY -- It hasn't been home sweet home for the Calgary Flames of late.

The Flames will look to snap a franchise-record seven-game losing skid on home ice when hosting the Phoenix Coyotes at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday.

Since taking a 4-3 shootout win over the St. Louis Blues on Dec. 23, the Flames haven't found a winning formula on 'Dome ice and have been outscored 22-4 during their spell.

It gets worse.

Their last regulation victory at home came on Dec. 4 in a 4-1 win over the same Coyotes team they'll host as Calgary kicks off a five-game homestand.

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Quote of the Day

For six months, it's a really good accomplishment. But as soon as April [11, the end of the regular season] comes around, no one thinks about the regular season anymore. For six months, it's a real battle to get into the playoffs in the NHL these days. There are a lot of good teams, and it takes consistency over a long time.

— Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on clinching a playoff berth after a win against the Islanders on Saturday
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