CALGARY, AB --
The Calgary Flames kick off their 2011 preseason against their divisional rivals, the Vancouver Canucks, on Tuesday with split-squad games.
The two groups scrimmaged on Monday afternoon in preparation for the tilt. Head coach Brent Sutter said the match served different purposes for players and was a useful tool for everyone participating in the game on Tuesday.
"The vets are looking at it to continue to work on getting timing down, to work and compete. The young guys look at it a little different. Guys are looking for and fighting for opportunities to play on your hockey team but also for people to see them."
Some veterans play as little as possible in the preseason in order to be fully rested come October but winger Alex Tanguay
embraces these early contests. He views them as an excellent way to ease himself into the rigors of the regular season.
"I like to play," he smiled. "You need the games to get yourself in game shape. To get the pace ready. To know the feeling. To know the other guys that you're playing with. There's a few different guys we don't know too much so we get to see what they're like.
"I don't know how many games we're going to play but I'll certainly use all of them to get myself ready."
The goaltending situation has been sorted out for both games. In Calgary, Miikka Kiprusoff
and Henrik Karlsson
will share the duties while Leland Irving
will carry the load in Vancouver.
Notables not playing are Jarome Iginla
(back), Cory Sarich
(pelvis), Brendan Morrison (knee), Brett Carson (back), Raitis Ivanins (concussion) and Max Reinhart (illness).
Sutter quashed any notion that the captain's injury was serious and that keeping him out of practice and the game was simply a precautionary measure.
"I don't want him participating in anything on the ice until he's 100 per cent. His back is a little sore. It's nothing to be concerned about."The game in Calgary will be streamed live on calgaryflames.com and can be heard on The FAN 960. The game in Vancouver can be seen on Sportsnet West.
PROJECTED LINES IN CALGARY
PROJECTED LINES IN VANCOUVER
Tanguay - Byron - Bourque
Stempniak - Stajan - Elson
Howse - Bouma - Jackman
Kostopoulos - Jokinen - Nemisz
Hannan - Giordano
Henry - Mikkelson
Brodie - Martin
Baertschi - Backlund - Hagman
Glencross - Moss - Holland
Ferland - Horak - Laing
Letourneau-Leblond - Bancks - Desbiens
Butler - Bouwmeester
Smith - Babchuk
Piskula - Wilson