Mike Cammalleri will make his debut down the middle between Curtis Glencross and Lee Stempniak against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.
The move comes as a complete shakeup of coach Bob Hartley’s forward lines.
“You always need to adjust,” Hartley said. “That’s the beauty of our world. You look at solutions, you look at decisions but more importantly, you look at final results. We need to try to do something to generate even more scoring chances and at the same time, to play better as a team and to rack up some wins and go up in the standings.”
Cammalleri’s move to the middle allows Alex Tanguay to return to his more familiar position on the wing.
“Tangs gave us a good run and we’re going to look at what Cammy can bring,” Hartley said. “Obviously he’s a great passer. We all know his goal-scoring ability. We’re just trying to find a balance in our lines and part of that balance right now is having Cammy at center.”
BIG WEEKEND NEEDED
Welcoming the Wild on Saturday night and the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday, the Flames have an excellent opportunity to get on a roll and gain traction in the Western Conference.
Looking to improve their record at Scotiabank Saddledome, Matt Stajan called the two-game set an excellent opportunity.
“It’s a big weekend for us, there’s no doubt about it,” Stajan said. “We’ve got to be a better team here. We’ve been pretty good in the past on home ice, especially last year. We’ve got to get that feeling back in this building and play with confidence here because if we’re going to make a run here, it’s going to start in this building. This is where we should be comfortable playing.”
The urgency isn’t lost on Mark Giordano, either.
“It’s a pretty important stretch of games for our team,” Giordano said. “I don’t think we can afford to fall any further behind. We’re looking at the last 33 games here and we have to win a good chunk of them. That starts tonight.”
After missing 11 games with a hip flexor injury, Sven Baertschi is set to make his return Saturday.
Baertschi, who scored his first NHL goal against Minnesota last year, is excited for his Wild return.
“It was great to be able to score against Minnesota there and I got drafted there in Minnesota,” he said. “It’s even more special. That’s a positive thing I take into the game tonight. It gives me some extra feel.”
With just one goal in back-to-back losses, the Flames will look for a boost from the 20-year-old.
“I think that we’re in a situation where his offense is certainly needed and at the same time for him, it’s going to be a learning process,” Hartley said. “Lets not go crazy over Sven. He’s a very young player. I always say he has a lot to offer but he still has a lot to learn.”
ALIU READY TO IGNITE
The Flames will also look to 23-year-old Akim Aliu to provide a spark, albeit in a bit different role than that of Baertschi.
With 80 penalty minutes in 27 games with the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League, Aliu will be asked to ignite Calgary physically. Knowing what’s expected of Aliu makes his role that much easier, according to the six-foot-four, 225-pound winger.
“It makes it a lot easier,” Aliu said. “There are no mind games. I don’t even really need to do too much thinking. I just need to go out and execute and play my game to the best of my abilities. I think I can bring something to this team and it’s one of my strengths.”