JONES SLOTS IN
Tonight, Jones will make his 2013-14 season debut with the Flames and TJ Galiardi will sit as a healthy scratch.
"Blair changed a lot from last year," head coach Bob Hartley said. "We had a great exit meeting last year. We told him a little bit what we want to see from him. Right from training camp, we saw that his fitness was so much better. His attitude was better. His game was better. Unfortunately, we got stuck in a numbers game at the end of camp."
Jones has played 16 games with the Heat this year and leads them in scoring with eight goals and 20 points. He has been red hot in the month of November, posting 16 points in eight outings and set a new career-high on Nov. 13 when he registered a hat trick and five points in a 7-3 win over the Texas Stars.
"We have a pretty good roll going in the American League and to get back up here and get back in the game, it's fun," he said after practice, noting that the added responsibility he shouldered in Abbotsford has been highly beneficial to his development.
"A lot of confidence, playing with the puck a lot, getting some points, scoring some goals and put in all situations. And things go a lot easier when you're winning games so it's a lot of fun."
"Playing with the big boy and Backs," he grinned. "I'll try to get out there and be physical and do some forechecking. Provide some energy."
In regards to having Galiardi sit as a healthy scratch, Hartley and his coaching staff want to see more from the forward.
"It's his overall game," Hartley explained. "I had a few good talks with him. It's not fun for him and it's not fun for all of us. My job is to make decisions for the best of the organization. TJ is a class guy. He works hard. He means well.
"But, since the start of the year, his play has gone down."
BERRA BACK IN NET
On Thursday, Hartley announced Reto Berra will start against the Florida Panthers.
"I'm sure that this morning, there are some kids in Abbotsford that are looking at this and saying, 'I might be the next one.'" - Hartley on rewarding players in the AHL with NHL call-ups and having a player like Jones earn a recall
VS. THE PANTHERS
All-time vs. the Panthers: 11-7-3-2
All-time vs. the Panthers in Calgary: 5-4-1-1
Last 10 games vs. the Panthers: 5-2-1-2
Last 10 games vs. the Panthers in Calgary: 4-4-1-1
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
TJ Galiardi needs 7 points for 100
Mikael Backlund needs 9 games for 200
David Jones needs 10 games for 300
Chris Butler needs 11 games for 300
Derek Smith needs 13 games for 100
Kris Russell needs 14 games for 400
Tonight's game will be broadcast on Sportsnet West with Rob Kerr providing play-by-play and Charlie Simmer serving up colour commentary. Sportsnet 960 The FAN will carry the radio broadcast.
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