Morning Skate Report: Flames vs. Leafs
The Flames will face two former teammates tonight in Dion Phaneuf and Matthew Lombardi and, predictably, that was one of the major story lines popping up in post-practice interviews.
"There's always a little bit extra there," smiled Jarome Iginla. "You like to play against your friends but at the same time, you like to beat them. It's going to be good.
"It's not about the Maple Leafs coming to town, another Canadian team we want to beat or playing Dion or Lombo or whatever it is. It's just about moving up in the standings."
The two teams met on Oct. 15 and it was feisty affair despite the fact they only see each other twice a year.
"I don't know if it's hatred," Cory Sarich said. "You want to prove yourself out on the ice. I think that's what it comes down to. We want to prove that we have the better team.
"There was no love lost there and don't expect any in this building."
Phaneuf, the Leafs captain, has eight goals and 33 points in 56 games this season. Lombardi has six goals and 12 points in 38 games.
The Leafs also recalled former Flames prospect Keith Aulie this morning as Carl Gunnarsson was placed on the injured reserve.
"I think coming up, you've just got to do whatever it takes to help this team win," he said. "Every game is important now. Every team is in playoff hockey. You watch every game on TV and they're intense. You've just got to come up and prepare for that."
The rash of injuries has presented some positives for the club. Several players have been called up from Abbotsford and have been given a chance to prove they can play at the NHL level while other players have seen their ice time increase greatly.
"This team has been desecrated with injuries this year but it's given us a lot of opportunity that we have to take advantage of," he said. "It's not always good for the team but it's always good for other players and always good for the opportunity."
In 18 games with the Flames this season, Byron has scored two goals and three points.
- The Flames will be wearing their third jersey tonight. They will be sporting their retro silks five more times this season (Feb. 25th vs. the Flyers, Mar. 4th vs. the Stars, Mar. 6th vs. the Habs, Mar. 9th vs. the Jets & Apr. 7th vs. the Ducks).
- The Flames have earned points in five straight games, going 3-0-1-1, and are 7-3 in the last 10 games.