Calm before the storm
The Flames regroup at the 'Dome to prepare for the Lightning
FROM THE MORNING SKATE
The Flames gathered for a noon practice at the Scotiabank Saddledome as they prepare to welcome the Tampa Bay Lightning for their first and only meeting of the season.
Some refreshing notes from practice include the addition of forward Ryan Stone to practice. Stone has yet to take part in a full practice with the team since having knee surgery last March. This is good news for the Flames and for Stone, however, he is still quite far off from getting back in to the line-up.
Mark Giordano, who received a puck to the mouth last Wednesday against the visiting Vancouver Canucks which forced him to done a full cage for two games, was 'cage-free' for practice Monday.
While on the injury topic, Steve Staios has been placed on the IR which means he will be out of the line-up for a minimum of one week due to a hard hit by two players in Sunday night's game in Chicago. It is disclosed as an upper body injury with more information to follow in the coming days.
Adam Pardy is inched much closer to returning to the Flames line-up as he has now been fully cleared by medical staff for contact and to play in a game situation.
It is now up to the coaching staff as to when Pardy will play. For now, he is a game time decision.
A FAMILIAR LIGHTNING?
Alex Tanguay signed as an unrestricted free agent by the Tampa Bay Lightning on September 1st, 2009 after playing just 50 games with the Montreal Canadiens in the 2008-90 season.
Tanguay recorded 10 goals and 37 points in 80 games with the Lightning last season before he was signed as an unrestricted free agent by the Calgary Flames.
Although it was just one year ago that he was a member of the Lightning, there have been so many changes that Tanguay says he can hardly relate to this team at all.
"I'm familiar and I'm not," said Tanguay. "I'm familiar with the personnel but they play a much different style than they did last year. They have a new coaching staff with new strategies. We're going to see some different things on the ice and different looks that most of the teams don't use. For us, we're going to look at the video and get ourselves ready and it's about winning so we've got to find ways to win a game."
"It's a team that can score some goals," said coach Brent Sutter. "They have changed some things with how they play. Obviously their identity and the culture of their team has changed with Stevy (Steve Stamkos) and a whole new coaching staff in there. They're playing a different type of game than they have in the past and in the last couple years, and the players are relishing in it."
Cory Sarich also used to be a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was originally involved in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres which saw Chris Gratton go to the Sabres for himself, Brian Holzinger, Wayne Primeau in March of 2000. Sarich played in a Lightning uniform for a total of 490 games before being signed as an unrestricted free agent by the Calgary Flames on July 1st, 2007.
Since the 2006-07 season, the Lightning have made a lot of changes to their roster and coaching staff, leaving behind only a few familiar faces for Sarich.
"I'm familiar with where they play out of but there's only a few guys left there that I actually played with," said Sarich. "They are a high scoring team. Even in the last couple of years with them maybe not playing as well as they have this year, they're still and always have been a threat. They've got guys who can put the puck in the net so we're going to have to work hard and make sure we shut them down tomorrow."
STONE SKATES WITH THE TEAM
Ryan Stone has been in and out of line-ups for months on end now dating all the way back to November of 2009 with the Edmonton Oilers when he had arthroscopic knee surgery and missed 19 games. He returned to the lineup with the Oilers only to reinjure his knee requiring a season ending surgery missing the last 36 games.
He was signed as an unrestricted free agent by the Calgary Flames in the off season and has yet to play a game with his new team.
For the first time in a long time, Stone has a glimpse of hope. He enjoyed his first full team practice Monday afternoon. His optimism level is very high as he continues down his road to recovery.
"It's through the roof right now," said Stone. "Just being around everyone again and in an actual practice, not just getting bag skate with myself feels pretty good.
"There is no timeline. I have to get in shape and get my timing. I couldn't make any passes out there as I've been passing with the strength coach Rich (Hesketh) for the last four weeks so he's little bit behind. May take a bit to get that back but I feel good."
Stone has not heard yet if he will join the team on the road to California to skate. If he is not asked to join the team, he will stay in Calgary and skate with Rich Hesketh to continue his rehab.
Author: Kristi Hennessy