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Morning Skate Report: Flames vs. Oilers

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames


To the hockey world, it's the National Hockey League trade deadline.

To the Calgary Flames, it's game day.

With the deadline to swap players looming in the background, the Flames are set to welcome the Edmonton Oilers in the back end of a home-and-home series in the Battle of Alberta.

But that doesn't necessarily mean there isn't at least a little distraction surrounding the team, especially in light of the recent departures of Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester.

"I think most guys will be relieved when this day is over and we can just get on with our game tonight," Blake Comeau said.

Coach Bob Hartley couldn't disagree with Comeau's assessment of the day.

"It's going to be nice to finally put all those rumors and speculation behind us," he said.

Once the deadline hits, all of Calgary's focus can switch to the Oilers, Alex Tanguay said.

"We've known what this team has been trying to do for the last couple weeks and certainly its been in the back of everyone's mind," he said. "After 1 p.m., we'll be able to focus on the task at hand tonight."


The task at hand is the second Battle of Alberta bout in three days.

The Oilers chased Miikka Kiprusoff in Monday's matchup after scoring three goals on their first six shots en route to a 4-1 victory at Rexall Place in Edmonton.

That outcome hasn't been forgotten by Mike Cammalleri.

"The Battle of Alberta is always a little added incentive especially with the fact we played them two days ago and didn't like the result," he said. "We're going to try to win every game we play but I'd definitely like to beat these guys."

It wasn't the start that shook the Flames, just the scoreboard.

"Hopefully [we have] the same start. Not the same scoreboard, but the same start," Hartley said. "That's what I told my guys this morning. I felt that we had a great start. We skated very well. We had plenty of chances but that's the way the game goes sometimes. They were more opportunistic than us and they scored two quick goals. We kept battling, but it was a different game."

Oilers coach Ralph Krueger has already cautioned his players about what to expect at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday.

They played really hard in our building the other night and everything went our way. A lot of portions of the game, they were the better team and deserved more than that score. We respect what they're bringing at us here today. It'll be a tough, tight game here today."


Joey MacDonald came on in relief of Kiprusoff in the first period of Monday's game, stopping 13 of 14 shots in 44 minutes of action.

The combination of Kiprusoff's recent struggles and MacDonald being due let Hartley to the decision to start the backup.

"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."

Regardless of whether or not he's expecting a start, MacDonald admitted he readies himself the same way.

"I prepare myself every game to be ready," he said. "That's one thing as a backup, you've got to be ready at all times. It's the time that you don't think you're playing is when you're going to play. [I] just prepare the same way and try to forget all the focus on the trade deadline and play like I've been playing."

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