From the morning skate 31.12.10

Notes and quotes from the pre-game skate

Friday, 31.12.2010 / 12:21 PM / News
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From the morning skate 31.12.10

With three days in between games this week, the Calgary Flames are rested and ready to square off against their divisional rivals, the Colorado Avalanche.

"I'm definitely ready to get back to work," said former Av Alex Tanguay. "We've had a few days off and we've got some really good practices in but it'll be nice to get back into a game after the time off.

"We definitely feel ready."

With an abundance of practice time this week, the Flames buckled down and worked extensively on special teams. Noting the team hadn't started the season with special teams proficiency, Robyn Regehr said the time spent on drills this week will benefit the club greatly.

"They're a very big part of hockey games these days," the blueliner said. "You're usually going to get three or four chances on the power play and you're going to have to kill off two, three, four penalties in a game so those are crucial parts.

"We've been doing better with our special teams the past few games so if we can continue to build on that success, we're headed in the right direction."

This past week head coach Brent Sutter acknowledged the Mikael Backlund conundrum. The young forward has been a healthy scratch for four straight games and if the line combinations from the morning skate are any indication, Backlund will once again be watching his team from the press box.

"We didn't take Backs out of the lineup because we just thought we were going to take him out of the lineup.," Sutter stated. "There's reasons why we did it. Sometimes it's an unfortunate thing, and yet, I know he had struggled for a couple of games, and I thought it would be good for him to just watch a game for a young guy.

"But then your team plays well and you're hesitant to change your lineup. Those are just the feelings you have as a coach."

FLAMES SCRATCHES: The Flames held an optional skate this morning so line combinations are based on Thursday's practice. It would appear Craig Conroy, Mikael Backlund and Brendan Mikkelson are the healthy scratches. Daymond Langkow (neck); Raitis Ivanans (head) and Steve Staios (shoulder) are out with injuries.

FLAMES LINES:

Tanguay- Jokinen- Iginla

Bourque-Morrison-Glencross

Hagman-Stajan-Kotalik

Kostopoulos-Moss-Jackman

D-PAIRINGS:

Regehr-Bouwmeester

Sarich-Giordano

Pardy-Babchuk

GAMETIME: 7 p.m., Scotiabank Saddledome. Sportsnet West and The Fan 960