Roman Horak is ready to get back into the fold for the Calgary Flames when hosting the St. Louis Blues at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday.
Horak, who played a pair of games to start the season, is expected to slide into Paul Byron’s spot between Curtis Glencross and captain Jarome Iginla. Byron was injured just 2:51 into his first game with the Flames this season, suffering a fractured left hand Wednesday against the Dallas Stars.
With the injury to Byron, Horak was recalled Thursday.
“Obviously I was happy,” Horak said. “On the other side, it’s too bad for the club when guys get injured but that’s part of the game. Like I said, I was happy to be here and I appreciate the call.”
Though Hartley didn’t confirm Horak’s spot between the two veterans, he did say what he expected out of the 21-year-old.
“Well, I had a good talk yesterday with Roman and I told him what I want from him and that’s one thing for sure is whenever a young player from Abbotsford that’s coming in, we’re looking to bring energy,” Hartley said. “Obviously he’s offering lots of skills, he’s a great skater, I think that he has an unbelievable vision for a young player but I also want to see that spark in his eyes.”
Still, playing between two leading goal-scorers from a year ago would be a treat, Horak said.
“If I actually get the chance to play with those guys, it will be a big honor for me and hopefully we can click right off the start,” he said.
IGGY FEELING FINE
At the tender age of 35, there’s no slowing down for the Flames’ captain.
Iginla, who has eight points in 11 games this season, feels things are starting to go his way, too.
“I feel as good as ever and I think I feel I’m on, as far as this season goes, on the upswing,” he said.
And the 11-time 30-goal scorer isn’t feeling any external pressure to perform, either.
“I don’t feel under fire,” he said. “Honestly, it’s usually every year it’s the way it is. We play in a Canadian market, you’re under a little bit more scrutiny and I’m sure if you pulled up all the different comments over the years there’s some great ones and some tough articles. I don’t find it to be honestly that much different than ever. It’s part of it.”
IRVING SEIZING OPPORTUNITY
With the durability shown by Miikka Kiprusoff in his tenure with Calgary, there hasn’t been much in the way of an opportunity for another goaltender to establish himself.
That is, until now.
With Kiprusoff on the shelf for his longest bout as a member of the Flames, Hartley said Leland Irving is doing a good job of using the chance to show his skills.
“In order to maximize your starting potential is that you need to play,” Hartley said. “For the first time of his career, he’s in a role of a starter. Kipper is a very durable goalie. He doesn’t get hurt very often. Obviously the door didn’t get opened very many times.”
Battling through Wednesday’s 7-4 win over the Stars, Irving is starting to show the Calgary coach what he’s about.
“I think that the third period that Leland gave us is a true indication that he’s maturing at the NHL level,” Hartley said. “I think he’s maturing as a man, maturing as a goalie and for me, I was really glad because it was a scary game.”