PLAYERS PLAY, COACHES COACH, MANAGERS MANAGE
Prior to the Flames pre-game skate at the Scotiabank Saddledome, the Calgary Flames relieved Jay Feaster and John Weisbrod of their duties and, understandably, there was a lot of talk about the management moves throughout the morning.
With a game going on later this evening, it could be easy to get wrapped up in the chatter and lose focus on the task at hand but the players know they can't let themselves get too invested in all of the discussions going on.
"Distracting yourself with it or over-concerning yourself with it does no good for anybody," Mike Cammalleri said. "We just get ready to play hockey.
"Brian [Burke] said this morning, 'Players play. Coaches coach. Managers manage.' If you keep it simple like that, it usually makes things run more smoothly."
Head coach Bob Hartley noted that his squad had already been in a chaotic atmosphere on Tuesday with Jarome Iginla's first trip back to the Saddledome and they can draw upon that experience.
"I already met with Gio, the captain, and I have no doubt in my mind that in the room ... they're going to be ready," the bench boss said. "Plus, I've met with the entire team. Brian met with the team. Both messages were basically the same ... Marty [Gelinas], Jacques [Cloutier] and Clint [Malarchuk], we've met individually with many players to make sure that as much as it's a sad day, there is still a hockey game going on.
"Two days ago, we had a great day with Jarome coming in and there was still a game going on. So my message will not change."
Veteran defenceman Mark Giordano spoke fondly of his former general manager, noting that Feaster had a strong tie with the majority of the players in the locker room.
"Anytime things are going as well as we hoped, someone is going to take the fall. I can't say enough good things about Jay. He's a great guy, always treated the players with a lot of respect and had [a big] part in a lot of us being here. We wish him the best."
Cammalleri was brought back into the fold by Feaster on Jan. 12, 2012, coming over from the Montreal Canadiens in a trade that also saw Karri Ramo's rights dealt to the Flames. Like his captain, he spoke highly of his former general manager and assistant general manager.
"I really enjoyed working with Jay and John and getting to know them as people. Anyone who knows them knows that they're fantastic people to be around."
RAMO BACK IN NET
On Wednesday, Hartley announced Ramo would get the start against the Hurricanes. Ramo is 4-5-1 this season with a 3.00 GAA and a .896 save percentage.
BACKLUND'S BIG NIGHT
Pivot Mikael Backlund will play in his 200th NHL game tonight. The 24-year-old has scored 26 goals and registered 72 points in his first 199 games. This year, Backlund has suited up for 29 games; he has scored three goals and 10 points.
Backlund was drafted 24th overall in the 2007 NHL Draft.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
Mikael Backlund needs 1 game for 200.
David Jones needs 2 games for 300.
Mark Giordano needs 3 games for 400.
Chris Butler needs 3 games for 300.
Kris Russell needs 6 games for 400.
TJ Galiardi needs 7 points for 100.
Tonight's battle will be aired on Sportsnet West at 7:00 PM MST. Sportsnet 960 The FAN will carry the radio broadcast.
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