HATS OFF TO BACKS
If Wednesday’s scrimmage was any indication, Mikael Backlund is ready to drop the puck on the 2013 season.
Backlund recorded a natural hat trick to pace Team Red to a 4-1 win over Team Black.
“I felt good,” Backlund said. “The legs felt pretty good even though it’s been a couple of tough days here. Every time I got the puck I tried to be patient and get the puck on the net. All three were pretty greasy goals.”
The markers come as a bit of a confidence boost for Backlund, who had four goals and 11 points in an injury-riddled campaign last season.
“Coming from last year where I struggled a lot, it always feels good to score no matter if it’s scrimmage or a real game,” he said. “It always feels good.”
Head coach Bob Hartley was encouraged by Backlund’s performance.
“He’s eager to go,” Hartley said. “He knows this is a big season for him. We’re supporting him and he has the talent to do it. We’ll give him some clear roles and I’m sure he’s going to have a great season for us.”
“I got the bad end of the draw,” Cammalleri said. “Five-on-five, I would’ve liked to be out there for some of those. Him and Sven both working hard and it’s nice to see Backs put the puck in the net. It’s always nice to see it go in.”
SARICH SETS THE TONE
Cory Sarich didn’t hesitate to set the physical tone in camp’s second scrimmage, standing up Cammalleri at the blueline and continuing the rough stuff at the expense of captain Jarome Iginla, who joined his teammates on the ice for the first time.
Hartley welcomed seeing some rough stuff.
“We never practice, we always play,” he said. “That’s the mindset that we want. During the season, we’re going to get on the ice for 10, for 20, for 30 minutes, it’s going to be 30 minutes of business. Cory’s a proud competitor. That’s how he got to this league and that’s why he’s still around.”
TEAMMATES HAPPY TO SEE IGGY
Much to the delight of his teammates, Wednesday’s on-ice action saw the return of Iginla, who had been skating before the team’s on-ice sessions as he recovered from a slight groin injury.
“I thought he was good,” said Cammalleri. “His pace, tempo and stuff. He’s a guy who takes care of himself. He looked ready to go and I wouldn’t expect anything less of him.”
KIPPER TO SIT ON THURSDAY
While the Flames got their first glimpse of Iginla in camp Wednesday, Calgary is set to give goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff a day off Thursday.
“Kipper tomorrow, day off,” Hartley said. “He’s been in net since Day 1 in camp by himself so tomorrow we’re going to rest him and we’ll start thinking whose going to be in net for Day 1.”
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