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Stanley Cup Final
POSTED ON Sunday, 08.25.2013 / 8:05 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Olympic Orientation Camp blog

Bruins forward Bergeron '95 percent' after injuries

CALGARY -- After suffering multiple injuries on the road to the Stanley Cup Final, Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said Sunday he is closing in on a complete recovery.

"I feel pretty good," Bergeron said at an introductory press conference for Canada national men's team orientation camp. "I'm pretty much 95 percent to where I'd like to be. [It] took a little time to get back to feeling good and normal, but workouts, and I've been on the ice this week and it's been feeling well, so I've felt pretty good."

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POSTED ON Sunday, 08.25.2013 / 7:35 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Olympic Orientation Camp blog

No advantage given to Blackhawks' Olympic hopefuls

CALGARY -- The Chicago Blackhawks participating in Canada's national men's team orientation camp this week will have no competitive advantage when it comes to cracking the Olympic roster, coach Mike Babcock said Sunday.

The chemistry between Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews alongside goaltender Corey Crawford will gain the reigning Stanley Cup Champions no special consideration.

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POSTED ON Friday, 04.19.2013 / 2:24 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Ducks closing in on division title, No. 2 seed

CALGARY -- The Anaheim Ducks, winless in their past three games, are looking to get back on track against the Calgary Flames on Friday night.

A victory over the Flames would bring the Ducks within one win of clinching the Pacific Division title, something coach Bruce Boudreau is eying.

"We'd certainly like to have that, and then we'd love to secure second overall in the Western Conference, which I think is the same thing, two wins, but every team that we're playing is playing really hard right now," he said. "Calgary's a great example of a team not throwing in the towel. To beat a hungry Detroit team in their last game says something to me. We better be ready."

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 3:16 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Red Wings face must-win in Calgary

CALGARY -- Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock knows the dangers of playing a team like the Calgary Flames, a club that is long out of the Western Conference playoff picture and auditioning its young players.

He's just not sure if it makes them any more dangerous than the next team, considering Detroit has six games remaining on their schedule with a 22nd consecutive playoff appearance far from guaranteed.

"When you're playing teams at this time of the year, is it better to play a team that's in the playoffs and a little more comfortable?" Babcock questioned. "Is it better to play a team that's fighting for their life, maybe seized up a little bit? Or is it better to play a team that has some kids and they're just loose and dry?

"I don't know the answer to any of these questions and it's a waste of time thinking about it. Lets play."

The Red Wings enter Calgary holding down the eighth and final playoff spot in the West with 47 points. The Columbus Blue Jackets, who have played one more game than Detroit, also sit with 47 on the season. The Dallas Stars are two points back at 45.

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POSTED ON Monday, 04.15.2013 / 3:04 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

New Flames prospect Hanowski set for NHL debut

CALGARY -- Ben Hanowski's college career came to an end on Thursday night after St. Cloud was eliminated in the Frozen Four semifinal by Quinnipiac.

His professional career starts Monday as a member of the Calgary Flames.

Signed to a two-year, two-way contract on Friday, Hanowski is set to debut for the Flames against the Minnesota Wild at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday.

"I enjoyed my four years at St. Cloud," he said. "It was a great four years for me. I'm excited to be here. I'm excited to start a new journey and start my pro career."


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POSTED ON Monday, 04.15.2013 / 2:48 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Cullen hopes to spark Wild in return from injury

CALGARY -- After missing six games with a lower-body injury, center Matt Cullen is ready to return to the Minnesota Wild with the hope of injecting some life into their playoff push.

The Wild are just 3-6-1 over their past 10 games and have won just once since Cullen's injury, but remain seventh in the Western Conference and have a chance at two points against the Calgary Flames on Monday night.

It's been tough to watch, Cullen admitted.

"We've gone through a tough stretch of games, some serious playoff quality teams," he said. "You never want to miss that and its been awfully tough watching."

Cullen has seven goals and 25 points in 35 game this season.

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POSTED ON Friday, 04.12.2013 / 2:35 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Smith's return sparked postseason hope for Coyotes

CALGARY -- The Stanley Cup Playoffs hope for the Phoenix Coyotes could rest on the broad shoulders of Mike Smith.

The 6-foot-4 goaltender has stopped 93 of 95 shots since returning to the lineup against the Colorado Avalanche on April 6 after missing six games with an upper-body injury. He's earned four of a possible six points for a Coyotes club that enters action against the Calgary Flames on Friday night trailing the Detroit Red Wings by two points for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference.

According to coach Dave Tippett, Smith has been the injection the Coyotes needed as they try to close in on the Red Wings.

"We needed a guy that's going to take the ball and run with it," Tippett said. "We had a good week at home where we used three different goaltenders and got three wins, but ultimately if we're going to have a chance to be a playoff team, Smitty has to take that ball and run with it."

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 04.10.2013 / 4:17 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Flames bring back Jones after injuries

CALGARY -- After a rash of injuries up front, the Calgary Flames will welcome back Blair Jones to the lineup.

Jones was recalled from the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League on Tuesday after it was clear Matt Stajan wouldn't be available against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday.

Stajan and Jiri Hudler will miss the game, each with an upper-body injury. Brian McGrattan will also miss the game with a shoulder injury, paving the way for Jones' return.

"I'm obviously excited to be back," Jones said. "I got a chance to go and play a lot in [Abbotsford] but I'm just excited to be back and hopefully finish out the year here."

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 04.03.2013 / 2:33 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

MacDonald in net as Flames host Oilers

CALGARY -- Miikka Kiprusoff reportedly is staying in the Stampede City, but it will be Joey MacDonald between the pipes for the Calgary Flames against the Edmonton Oilers at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday.

Kiprusoff, who reportedly nixed a trade to the Toronto Maple Leafs earlier in the day, will serve as backup. He has been pulled in back-to-back games, including Monday's game in Edmonton after allowing three goals on six shots in Calgary's 4-1 loss. In relief, MacDonald stopped 13 of 14 shots.

The recent struggles of Kiprusoff helped persuade Calgary coach Bob Hartley's decision to start MacDonald against the Oilers.

"I think that Joey played very good and at the same time, it's been a tough couple of weeks for Miikka," Hartley said. "Just to give him a break at the same time, I think that Joey deserves the start."

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POSTED ON Friday, 03.29.2013 / 3:03 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Without Iginla, Flames face Blue Jackets

CALGARY -- The Columbus Blue Jackets will play the adversary as the Calgary Flames usher in the post-Jarome Iginla era on Friday.

Taking to the ice for the first time since trading their captain and franchise face, coach Bob Hartley and the Flames are ready to tackle life without Iginla.

"With the departure of Jarome, we're starting a new cycle," Hartley said. "That's the unfortunate thing or the fortunate thing of pro sports. You look at football, baseball, hockey, basketball, there comes a time when a great athlete leaves an organization, leaves a city and the next day it's still business. You have to roll up your sleeve and say 'What's next?'"

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It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery