CUTS COMING FOR CALGARY
The next round of cuts are coming.
With 38 bodies in camp and just one pre-season game remaining on the docket, Calgary Flames general manager Jay Feaster said the team plans to work its way down to a more manageable number with a series of roster moves over the next few days.
"We'll make some cuts tomorrow and we'll announce that and then we'll make some more cuts after the game Wednesday night, we'll do it on Thursday," Feaster confirmed.
The Flames currently have three goalies, 13 defensemen and 22 forwards in camp but only 20 will see action Wednesday night against the Phoenix Coyotes.
"We knew from the start that some guys that are on the ice right now wouldn't get a game,” coach Bob Hartley said. “There might be one or two guys that might stick with us that will have not have played last night (against New York) and will not play tomorrow night because maybe some of those guys, we know what we're going to get from them.”
Roster debates have made for a busy few days for Feaster, Hartley and the rest of Calgary’s coaching staff and management.
“Last night we met, this morning we met and we'll probably meet once my partners are done with this skate (today),” Hartley said. “We need to come to some decisions. We're not going to carry 35 guys until Christmas."
Time is running thin for Calgary’s youth to make a lasting impression.
"I told them it's final exams,” Hartley said. “School's over. Show us what you've got.”
SOCKS SAVE MCGRATTAN FROM SLICE
Brian McGrattan has some pretty good timing.
He made the switch to Kevlar socks at the start of training camp and avoided slicing his leg after throwing a hit in the second period of Calgary’s game against the New York Rangers on Monday.
"I hit a guy late in the period by the penalty box and he landed on me, right where my Achilles tendon would've been,” McGrattan described. “I thought I was cut then. I could barely get off the ice."
Sprinting down the tunnel to the locker room, McGrattan ripped off some padding to find out the socks do their job as advertised.
"I came in the room and took my shin pad off and all the Kevlar was torn up a little bit and we pulled the sock down, I had a mark right across where my Achilles tendon would've been,” he said.
"I thought I had a pretty bad gash and sure enough the sock completely saved everything."
McGrattan made the switch at the suggestion of Calgary’s training staff. He might’ve avoided a career-ending injury because of it.
"There's not a whole lot of gap in that spot between your skate and your shin pad but there's enough there if you get stepped on, that's a pretty serious part of a hockey player's body,” McGrattan said. “That's all the movement of your leg and your foot so it saved me."
Instead of a cut, the Flames enforcer is dealing with a two inch red mark on the back of his leg.
"It's just a little sore,” he said. “It more or less just feels like a bruise but it feels good on the ice skating and stuff. It more or less feels like I took a big slap shot there. I'll take that over the other one."
BERRA TO BACKSTOP FLAMES
Reto Berra will get Calgary’s last pre-season game to audition for the Flames' No. 1 goaltending gig.
What Hartley wants to see out of the 27-year-old Swiss standout is simple.
"His best game,” Hartley said.
It makes his start against Phoenix all the more significant.
“It's tough for a goalie because we're dealing with three guys who want to be No.1. None of them has ever been a No. 1 in the NHL and they have one or two games to make their mark. That's unfair.
“That's unfair for them and it's real tough for us, trust me. But at the same time, that's our situation and we'll deal with it."
Though he’ll be reduced to a one-game audition, Berra isn’t preparing for Wednesday’s game against the Coyotes any differently.
"I do the same like always when I go into games,” he said. “I have a goal for me and I try to go for that goal and try to show my game and show my best side."
It’s a side Hartley is already familiar with. The Flames bench boss has coached opposite Berra in Switzerland.
"He was a guy that stole so many games for his team,” Hartley said. “I saw it against my team. I saw it against many teams. I watched the playoffs last year. He's probably in the top-3 if not the best prospect of the Swiss league."
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