OUTSIDE OPINIONS DON'T FAZE FLAMES
Every season, various media outlets release their NHL rankings and predict where teams will end up by the end of the season. The Flames have been brushed off by some outlets this year but those outside opinions don't mean a lot to the guys in the room.
"It doesn't really faze me at all," Alex Tanguay said with a shrug. "I think last year, somebody who went to Vegas at Christmas could have probably got 100-to-1 odds on the Kings with the way they were playing.
"What happened? They ended up winning the Stanley Cup."
Blueliner Mark Giordano concurs with his teammate.
"It's not that big of a deal to us. If anything, it motivates you a bit, as an underdog. I was saying before, I guess it's tougher to be in the position where you're ranked number one and you have that sort of pressure ... But I don't think too many hockey people or players put too much stock into those rankings."
One of the criticisms in these rankings has been the Flames age but according to Tanguay, that notion holds little validity.
"If you're getting to an age where you can't play anymore, you can't play. Two years or three years from now, we'll worry about that then. But right now, if you're good enough to play, the age shouldn't be factor at all.
"Guys are all in good shape now. I'd rather have (Jarome Iginla) than a 20 year-old coming in. With the experience, if he's in great shape, I'd take my chances with an older guy."
MORE MOVES TO BE MADE IN NEAR FUTURE
Flames general manager Jay Feaster announced several roster moves on Thursday afternoon with Chris Breen and Ben Street being assigned to the Abbotsford Heat, Brad Winchester being released from his professional try-out agreement and Henrik Karlsson, Leland Irving, Paul Byron and Brett Carson being placed on waivers.
However, there are still a few more decisions to be made before the Flames open the season on Sunday.
"We still have the two guys on PTO's," Feaster said, referring to Steve Begin and Steve McCarthy. "We intend to meet with both of those guys today and give them a status report as to where they are. Both of those guys continue to do a good job."
The Flames will also have to decide if it will be Karlsson or Irving behind Miikka Kiprusoff this year.
"That's really all we have to do."
HUDLER & CERVENKA UPDATE
There have been reports that Flames forward Jiri Hudler will return to North America on Saturday and while Feaster acknowledged that is the tentative plan, the key word is tentative.
"I want to call it tentative from the standpoint that this is a difficult time," he said. "In talking with Jiri, he was very, very close to his dad ... He's very distraught. He is. He's emotionally distraught. We want to be very sensitive to that.
"We have a whole group of guys in there that are here for him. They want to embrace him. They want to rally around him. So, while we hope that's the case and while we believe that's the case, it's not a situation where we're going to come down heavy-handed on Jiri and say, 'Tell us exactly when the flight is and what time.' That's not how we're going to do this. As we know more information, we'll share it with you but right now, it is believed he will leave if not Saturday, Sunday."
Hudler's father passed away earlier this week and he is in the Czech Republic with his family.
In regards to Roman Cervenka, he will see a hematology specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix on Monday. The team is looking to get clarification on when the forward can stop taking the anticoagulant medication he is currently on.
"Once we know that, then we'll know a time frame for when he is cleared to go."
He will be accompanied by his agent, who will act as a translator for the Czech forward.
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