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From the morning skate: Flames vs. Blue Jackets

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames
With Brendan Morrison officially out of the lineup thanks to a lower body injury, the biggest question heading into tonight's game was who will center the top line.


That question was answered quickly at the morning skate with head coach Brent Sutter sliding Alex Tanguay in the middle and throwing Rene Bourque onto the left wing.

"I think that's what its going to start with tonight," Bourque said when asked about the potential line. "Tangs hasn't played much center either so I think we've talked a little bit about rotating and just seeing how it goes to start off."

With Tanguay not playing center often in his career, Bourque speculated the biggest adjustment for the trio would be in the defensive end.

"We've talked a little bit on ice about whoever the guy is back has to stay down low. It's not always going to be him (Tanguay) all the time because he likes to hang deep in the offensive zone sometimes, digging out pucks behind the net and stuff. We've got to make sure we're communicating out there and we're playing good in our own end."

For his part, Tanguay is excited about the new role and the challenges it brings but was admitted his new position was not cemented yet.

"I think it's definitely an adjustment and there's nothing set. If the ask the coach if I do a couple bad plays, I don't think he'll have a problem putting me back on the wing," he chuckled. "Right now we're just trying to find ways, with Mo being out of the lineup, trying to find ways to be successful as a team and to win hockey games. I'm going to try and do my best to fit in well at center."

Sutter also noted that the first line centerman wasn't set in stone despite his line formations at practice.

"I haven't really decided that. It's what you seen this morning, that doesn't necessarily mean ... I fooled you. Kudos to me," he grinned. "Obviously, when you're in a situation like this, we have three natural center ice men in our lineup. We'll do some tinkering and find something that works. It could be different variations throughout the game depending on who they're lined up against and who is handling it the way you like to see them handle it."

Newest Flames forward Fredrik Modin skated on a line with Mikael Backlund and Tom Kostopoulos and while Sutter wouldn't confirm Modin's presence in the lineup, saying he hadn't decided whether to go with 11 or 12 forwards, there is a good chance the veteran will make his debut with the club.

"If that's what they decide tonight, I'm just going to try and help out in any way I can," Modin stated. "Just try and play a simple game, that's basically what I'm trying to do."

Sutter has placed several demands on his forwards when it comes to the area of defensive responsibility. Modin is aware of the system the team plays under and welcomes the new style of play.

"We talked a little a bit about it and that's just the way it is when you're in your own end. You have to play defence. Defence is what wins you hockey games. That's part of what they're trying to accomplish here and I'm sure I'll fit in."

Fun facts:

The last three times the Flames and Blue Jackets have gone to extra time, Calgary has won all three (once in overtime, twice in a shootout) ... Calgary has earned points in 21 of their last 25 games (15-4-2-4) and are 19-6-6 in their last 31 tilts ... Miikka Kiprusoff needs one more win to reach 30 this season. This will push him to six consecutive 30+ win seasons.

Flames lines:

Bourque - Tanguay - Iginla
Glencross - Jokinen - Moss
Jackman - Stajan - Hagman
Kostopoulos - Backlund - Modin

Defence pairings:

Regehr - Bouwmeester
Giordano - Sarich
Babchuk - Staios
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