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WIDEMAN IN, HAMILTON A GAME-TIME DECISION

Due to injuries, the Flames will be making some changes on the blueline this evening

by TORIE PETERSON @ToriePeterson / CalgaryFlames.com

The Flames will be making at least one change on the blueline this evening when they take on the Winnipeg Jets at 5:00 p.m. (SN, SN960).

With Michael Stone out with an upper body injury, Dennis Wideman will draw back into the lineup after missing the last eight games as a healthy scratch.

"I'm excited to play. I'm excited to get in and get a chance," the veteran said after a lengthy morning skate at the MTS Centre. "Obviously you don't want anybody getting hurt for that reason but it's part of the game so I've just got to try to come in here and play as well as I can.

"I think I can come back in and contribute. I've had some time here to get ready and get going. We've worked hard off the ice and I think it should be good."

Despite being in a tough situation, Wideman has been the consummate professional throughout the past couple of weeks. He has been a source of support for his teammates and has put in extra hours in the gym and on the ice to ensure he would be ready when called upon.

"He had a couple days where it was tougher for him but the last couple weeks, he's been a great pro," Glen Gulutzan praised. "He's worked his tail off in practice.

"He knows that at some point … you've got 20 games left, there's going to be an injury at some point … you've got to be ready to play. He's done a great job at staying in shape, pushing himself in practice and in the gym. We've had a good pro there and now he's going to factor back in."

Wideman, who has played 52 games this season, skated alongside Matt Bartkowski this morning and is expected to be paired up with him for tonight's game.

The Flames could also be forced to make another change on the backend this evening. Dougie Hamilton, who left Thursday's game with a lower body injury, skated this morning but will be a game-time decision.

"With Dougie, there's nothing wrong structurally or anything - he hasn't hurt a bone or ligament or anything like that. He's got a cut," Gulutzan explained. "He thinks he'll be able to go so we'll make that decision at game-time."

If Hamilton is deemed unable to play, Rasmus Andersson is expected to make his NHL debut. The rearguard was summoned from Stockton on Friday morning and joined the team ahead of their flight to Winnipeg.

He alternated partners during this morning's practice and stayed on the ice long after his teammates had departed, working with the coaching staff to get a better grasp of the Flames' systems.

"It's a game-time decision so I don't really know but I'll just prepare like I always (do)," Andersson told CalgaryFlames.com. "If I get the call, I'll be more than happy. If not, I'll hopefully get it another time."

Even with his status for tonight's game up in the air, Andersson's mother, Maritha, wasn't going to miss the chance to watch her son's first NHL game. She flew from Sweden to Winnipeg on Friday morning, leaving not long after Andersson had informed her that he had been recalled.

"When I called her, she got really excited. She booked a flight and two hours later, she was off to Toronto and then Toronto to Winnipeg. She was here almost earlier than I was. She's really excited to be here. Even if I'm not playing, she's really excited to be here as a mother."

In 50 games with the Heat, Andersson has three goals and 22 points. His plus-14 rating is tied for the AHL-lead amongst all rookie defencemen.

"By all reports down there, he's been one of their top guys the whole season," Gulutzan said. "Great work ethic, good guy, everything like that … great puck mover. He's a guy, even prior to the injuries, that we wanted to try to give a chance to up here because of his play down there."

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