PACE PLEASING OFF PUCK DROP
It was the start to camp that Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley was hoping for.
After veterans checked in for physicals on Wednesday, Thursday's session quickly put 54 Flames hopefuls on the ice in simultaneous scrimmages and practices. The on-ice sessions were matched with an equally challenging off-ice set.
Hartley was pleased with what he saw.
"Very impressed," Hartley said. "Very impressed by the players conditioning, players commitment. We saw two great games, great goaltending, great play, good physical play. I thought two great games and at the same time I was going on the other side to watch the practices.
"Even though the numbers are small -- and that's what we want because we really want to focus on details and conditioning -- the boys did a great job. Good day at the office."
Team A (McDonald) dispatched of Team B (McCrimmon) by a score of 3-2 while Team C (Peplinski) practiced. Team A (McDonald) won their second game of the day, beating Team C (Peplinski) while Team B (McCrimmon) practiced.
Sven Baertschi, on the losing end of the second game, liked the camp format.
"I think it's a totally different camp than we've had in previous years," Baertschi said moments after completing an off-ice workout. "We've got the practice, we got a scrimmage and we got a workout. It's three hours of hard work. You've got to put everything out there that you've got. It's going to get tough."
FLAMES HAVE THEIR CAPTAIN
Hartley has his next captain.
He's just not ready to share who that individual is.
Without a captain after dealing the long-tenured Jarome Iginla last March, the club is ready to move forward with a new face. But who that 'C' is stitched on remains to be seen.
"We have a certain timing that we want to reach and obviously I can't share this with you because that morning, [the media] will all be at the door at my house," Hartley said. "I'll keep it a surprise."
And according to Hartley, finding their recipient wasn't a difficult discussion.
"Our choice is made up a long time ago," Hartley said. "We sat last year, we went through the individual meetings, we talked with the players, I sat down and talked with Jay, I talked with management, I even talked with ownership and our choice was clear-cut. We have some very good prospects to be captains, to be assistant captains. All our meetings were done and basically we were coming up with one name.
"It was basically unanimous that it was the one guy."
The characteristics Hartley has in his newly minted leader are simple.
"The number one quality of a captain, you have to be a great individual and that goes with the choice that we made," he said. "At the same time, it's added responsibilities but this year it's about being a team. We don't have that one or two big names on our team. We're going to have to be a very tight family whether we're on the ice, off the ice, in the gym.
"I think this guy can really be the glue that we need to be a solid family."
CENTRE OF ATTENTION
"Right now, we're playing TJ Galiardi at centre," Hartley said. "TJ played lots of center before being an NHL player.
How long Galiardi stays at centre is on the younger players in camp. Whether or not the likes of Max Reinhart, Corban Knight and first round pick Sean Monahan continually adjust in the preseason will go a long way in deciding whether the team can slot Galiardi back on the wing.
"The play of our young players will dictate where TJ Galiardi will play," Hartley said. "That's how much confidence I have in TJ. If the best youngsters are on the wing, most likely we'll see TJ at centre. If the best prospects are at center, we will find either the left wing or the right wing for TJ. I have some nice options. We will experiment all this in intra-squad and in exhibition games."
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