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Langkow moves up as Flames change top line

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

Throughout training camp the Calgary Flames played seven exhibition games, viewed about 60 players and mixed and matched lines.

Flames Depth Chart
Forward Lines
Tanguay Langkow Iginla
Huselius Lombardi Amonte


Nilson Kobasew
Godard Ritchie McCarty
Defence Pairings
Ro. Regehr Phaneuf  
A. Ference Giordano  
Hamrlik Zyuzin  
B. Ference    
Kiprusoff   McLennan
Inj: Nystrom, Warrener, Yelle

With three days before the season opener in Edmonton, the Flames coaching staff made several more line shuffles -- ones that are likely to stick for the season opener.

Among the most notable was moving Daymond Langkow to the top line with Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay, a spot that had been Matthew Lombardi's during training camp.

"It's about how can we get our top 12 forwards ready to go on Thursday," said head coach Jim Playfair following practice on Monday. "Daymond needs to step in a do a really good job for us on the top line. Matthew has to find his way with his unit and give us the best one-two punch we can develop."

Playfair said Langkow, who was the Flames top centre last season when he scored 25 goals and 59 points, was simply the best centre on the ice throughout training camp.

"I think when you look at it Daymond Langkow has been our best centreman through training camp and that is where you have to start," explained Playfair.

"When you play exhibition games you are looking for certains things. You are looking for how players fit together and for how player can compliement each other and then how does a line structure itself out. If you have two players who are playing well together you go and try and find the third player. That's how we arrived at giving Daymond that position."

Lombardi moves to the second line with Kristian Huselius on the left side and the revitalized Tony Amonte on the right side. Amonte takes a spot many felt would belong to Chuck Kobasew.

The third line was also new on Monday as Marcus Nilson centred Jeff Friesen and Kobasew. The fourth line had a pair of centres alternating during drills, Byron Ritchie and Jamie Lundmark, with tough guy Eric Godard and grinder Darren McCarty on the wings.

The defensive pairings weren't a surprise. Robyn Regehr and Dion Phaneuf appear to be the top pairing, Roman Hamrlik and Andrei Zyuzin the second and Andrew Ference and Mark Giordano as the third pairing with Brad Ference as the seventh d-man.

"As camp progressed Mark Giordano pushed himself ahead," said Playfair.

The Flames are also dealing with some injuries. Forward Eric Nystrom (shoulder), forward Stephane Yelle (leg) and defenceman Rhett Warrener (knee) are all sidelined. Yelle skated prior to the Flames practice while Warrener is progressing ahead of schedule but still a week or two away from returning to the ice.

The Flames have 25 players including their injured trio. A couple of players were placed on waivers in the morning but Playfair expects to start the season with 22 players on the roster.

"We're in a position now, if you look at our roster, someone has to go on waivers and someone has to make the team," said Playfair.




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