CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames will see a seven game pre-season schedule draw to a close Wednesday night when hosting the Phoenix Coyotes.
That gives one final opportunity for hopefuls to leave an in-game impression on coach Bob Hartley.
"I told them it's final exams, school's over,” he said. “Show us what you've got.”
That includes the likes of Sean Monahan and Corban Knight, who both saw action in Monday’s 4-1 win against the New York Rangers.
A final game will give Hartley an opportunity to evaluate both with cuts looming Wednesday and Thursday.
"I'm trying to build that team concept as quickly as I can while still testing the final young players for a spot on the team,” Hartley said.
Like Monday’s contest, Hartley plans on using a veteran-heavy roster against Phoenix.
The Flames coach said he wanted to give his regulars a chance to get comfortable heading into the team’s first regular season game against the Washington Capitals on October 3rd.
"I want to give them the opportunity to get a feel for themselves and we're going to Washington on a mission,” he offered. “I keep telling them I don't care where some of [the media] are putting us, we're not going to use this as motivation. We want to prove to ourselves 20 guys who want to go to work together can achieve a lot.
“Right now I'm giving them a taste of what's our team and what needs to be done."
BERRA’S CHANCE TO SHINE
After Karri Ramo was given the start against the Rangers on Monday, Reto Berra will get the call between the pipes in Calgary’s final pre-season contest.
Like he did for Ramo, Joey MacDonald is expected to serve as Berra's back-up.
“It's tough for a goalie because we're dealing with three guys who want to be No. 1," Hartley said. "None of them has ever been a No. 1 in the NHL and they have one or two games to make their mark. That's unfair. That's unfair for them and it's real tough for us, trust me. But at the same time, that's our situation and we'll deal with it."
Berra isn’t putting any extra stress on himself despite the importance of the start.
"I do the same like always when I go into games,” he said. “I have a goal for me and I try to go for that goal and try to show my game and show my best side."
In his only other start, Berra made an impression with 31 saves in a 4-2 loss last week against the Ottawa Senators in Saskatoon, SK.
Playing in half a game against the Edmonton Oilers on September 14th, Berra stopped 13 of 14 shots in regulation as well as both shootout attempts to help Calgary to a 6-5 win.
After assigning Tim Kennedy, Brandon McMillan and Brandon Yip to the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League, the Coyotes currently have 28 players remaining in training camp, leaving their active roster as follows:
GOALTENDERS: Thomas Greiss, Mike Smith
DEFENCEMEN: Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Rostislav Klesla (injured), Zbynek Michalek, Derek Morris, David Rundblad, David Schlemko, Michael Stone, Chris Summers, Keith Yandle
FORWARDS: Paul Bissonnette, Mikkel Boedker, Chris Brown, Gilbert Brule, Kyle Chipchura, Shane Doan, Max Domi, Martin Hanzal, Rob Klinkhammer, Lauri Korpikoski, Lucas Lessio, Andy Miele, David Moss, Mike Ribeiro, Lucas Szwarz, Antoine Vermette, Radim Vrbata
“There might be one or two guys that might stick with us that will have not have played [Monday] night and will not play tomorrow night because maybe some of those guys, we know what we're going to get from them. Some of the guys, the kids who are playing tomorrow night who played [Monday] night, we want to see them in certain situations to really evaluate them on an individual basis.” - Hartley