Flames Today: 25.01.13
Notes, quotes & anecdotes from the Flames practice!
LOOKING FOR A GRITTY GAME AGAINST THE OIL
The Flames will host the first installment of the Battle of Alberta this year and face a young Oilers squad fired up from a 2-1 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night. The players know that if they want to skate away with their first victory of the year, they need to play a gritty game against their rivals from up north.
"It provides a challenge for us tomorrow. I feel if we play our game, we'll be just fine. We want to play an ugly game," Cory Sarich said. "It's getting in there and making sure they have to work, make sure they have to drag that puck 200 feet if they think they're going to score a goal."
Given the offensive talent on the Oilers roster, it is crucial the Flames play a disciplined game on Saturday. Edmonton has scored on four of their 18 chances with the man advantages with one of those tallies coming on the road.
"We have to play very smart," Sarich noted. "Obviously they're a talented young team and you give those guys some room on the power play, anything can happen. We want to play a good, five-on-five, straight-up game."
CZECHS DRAW PRAISE FROM TEAMMATES
Forwards Roman Cervenka and Jiri Hudler skated on a line with Matt Stajan on Friday in preparation for their Flames debut on Saturday night, looking comfortable throughout the up-tempo hour-long skate. After practice, their teammates heaped praise on the duo and shared their excitement about having both forwards in the lineup.
"They're two highly-skilled players," Mark Giordano remarked. "They're dangerous. They're hard guys to play against.
"Jiri's been a top-six forward in this league for awhile now and Roman's been a top player in Europe for his whole career."
Despite only having a few team practices under their belt, the pair have already made an impression in the locker room.
"We're very excited to see them get on the ice and we're excited to have them as a part of our team," Mikael Backlund said. "It'll be fun. They're great guys too. Roman might not know a lot of English but he's a nice guy. And Hudler is a funny guy."
NAIL'S CELEBRATION? NO BIG DEAL
After Nail Yakupov's Theory Fleury-esque goal celebration on Thursday, player reaction around the league was mixed. Members of the Los Angeles Kings weren't exactly appreciative of his enthusiastic response but the Flames shrugged it off.
"That's how you have to play this game," Sarich said. "You've got to be energized and you've got to enjoy what you're doing. You can't fault a guy for getting excited.
"If you don't like it, too bad. I guess you have to do something about it by not allowing the guy to score."
Some have called the celebration a taunt towards the Kings but Dennis Wideman disagreed with that notion.
"Maybe if he would have skated in front their bench and slid in front of their bench ... then you'd be like, 'He's taunting.' But I think he was just really excited."