Morning Skate Report: Flames vs. Canucks

Sunday, 03.03.2013 / 7:37 AM
Torie Peterson  - CalgaryFlames.com (@toriepeterson)

NEW FACE IN NET

Head coach Bob Hartley confirmed Danny Taylor will take the reigns in net tonight against the Canucks.

"I feel that he had two great periods in Phoenix," Hartley said. "Joey MacDonald played quite a few games for us, Kipper is getting healthier and is getting closer so we felt that at the same time as giving a break to Joey MacDonald, to have another look at Danny Taylor would be a good idea."

Taylor got his first NHL start on Feb. 18 in Phoenix, stopping 33 of 37 shots that night. Hartley lauded the 26 year-old's work ethic over the last month, noting how hard Taylor has worked since joining the team this year.

"He's an awesome pro. He's a good young man. He's not a young kid but at the same time, the NHL is new to him. He's excited ... We're all with him."

Miikka Kiprusoff did practice with the team this morning. The netminder has missed 12 games with a knee injury. Mikael Backlund also skated with the team today, donning a yellow no-contact jersey.

McGRATTAN A GAME-TIME DECISION

There is a chance hulking right winger Brian McGrattan will make his 2013 debut with the Flames tonight but it will be a game-time decision as the coaching staff works out their roster this afternoon.

"We just want to finalize a couple of things. For the first time this season, we'll have a game time decision."

In Hartley's mind, the injection of a 6-foot-4, 235 lbs winger who isn't afraid to drop the gloves adds an entirely new element his squad's make-up.

"(We know the) positive effect it's going to have in our locker room and on the visiting team's bench at the same time. There is going to be an effect in both locker rooms. I think that we're getting much needed respect with the presence of Mac. That's one thing that we wanted to add and Jay Feaster added this."

The Canucks have a few big-bodied players in Tom Sestito and Zack Kassian who are able to shift the dynamic of a game with their physical play. McGrattan feels he has the ability to keep those players in check and provide his team with jump.

"That's the role I've been in since I started playing pro hockey. I've always been one of the bigger guys and needed to be physical to stay in lineup and keep a job. It's a role that I enjoy playing, a role I feel every team needs and if it can add excitement, spark, energy, then that's why I'm here."

There is no doubt McGrattan plays with an edge and there is a fine line between playing hard and taking a costly penalty. The 31 year-old walks that line on a nightly basis and knows he has to stay out of the sin bin if he wants to remain in the lineup.

"There's smart and then there's playing stupid. You don't want to go out there and have the coach think you're going to be liability because you're going to take a dumb penalty or get the team in trouble with what you're doing. You have to be responsible."

CANUCKS TRAVEL PLANS WAYLAID

The snow storm that is currently pelting Western Canada has pushed Vancouver's flight back and the team won't arrive in Calgary until early this afternoon. While Hartley acknowledged the Canucks may have slower legs tonight as a result of playing last night and having their travel plans delayed, his team is preparing the same way they always do on game days.

"It's all about preparing for the intangibles. We control many things in this business but we certainly don't control weather or any factors that might affect the team. For me, that's more of a concern for the Canucks than for us on our side. We prepare for our game and that's way it should be."

Hartley has been in the Canucks shoes before. During his time with the Atlanta Thrashers, the team's flight was delayed due to heavy fog. Rather than flying out the night before the game as scheduled, the team stayed at a hotel near the airport and flew out the next morning when the fog had lifted.

"Lots of time, it's the waiting that plays on your mind," he said of the experience. "You always have to be ready. Anything can happen; your goalie breaks a pad, the glass breaks, look at Superbowl - the electricity runs down.

"Part of being a coach and part of being a player is that you need to be ready to overcome those challenges."

MILESTONES WITHIN REACH

Matt Stajan needs 2 points for 300 and 9 assists for 200.

Cory Sarich needs 4 points for 150 and 5 games for 900.

Jay Bouwmeester needs 4 points for 300.

Dennis Wideman needs 9 assists for 200.

Jiri Hudler needs 9 goals for 100.

Lee Stempniak needs 12 points for 300.

Jarome Iginla needs 12 points for 1100.

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