Morning Skate Report: Flames vs. Blackhawks
LOOKING FOR A SPARK
There is no question Mike Cammalleri isn't happy with his stats line right now.
Through five games this year, the winger has two assists, five shots on net and is a minus-two but head coach Bob Hartley isn't overly concerned about his offensive production due to Cammalleri's drive to improve. While Cammalleri is frustrated with his performance thus far, he remains very motivated to ameliorate his game.
"He's a game-breaker. He's a guy who can make the difference with one shot," Hartley stated. "It's just a matter of staying on track. He's working on his game. We're working with him also. We're a team. We all lose or we all win. We can't divide."
Cammalleri has spent the bulk of the season on a line with Mikael Backlund and Lee Stempniak and while the line has combined for a respectable 10 points, the coaching staff has opted to shuffle the deck. Cammalleri will start tonight's game with two players he is very familiar with: Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay.
"(We're) trying to help him, trying to help a couple of others and at the same time, it's to find the right combinations to allow us to win some hockey games," Hartley explained.
Iginla is looking forward to reuniting with Cammalleri and hopes the move will trigger a reaction for both himself and the winger. Iginla has three assists this year and still remains in the hunt for his first goal of the season.
"We'd like to be better and producing for the team," Iginla said. "We do know that there is a balance; we need to be good defensively but we also need to help out on the offensive side too. Cammy and I would like to do that.
"Cammy is a very competitive guy, he's a very smart hockey player. He gets himself into shooting positions and he creates a lot. Playing with him, we're both going to try to shoot the puck."
DEFENSIVE ROTATION CONTINUES
The Flames have been alternating defencemen in their third pairing throughout the season and the shuffle continues tonight as veteran Cory Sarich will sit out as a healthy scratch.
This will be the first time the duo will be paired together and while that presents the challenge of getting used to a new partner, Hartley feels that can be a motivating force for players.
"It's also a very positive challenge," the bench boss said after practice. "We've had different pairings since the start of the year. We will keep moving that way until we find the right combinations."
RED HOT AGAINST THE 'HAWKS
Tanguay is the only Flame to average over a point-per-game against the Blackhawks in his career, racking up 40 points (11 goals, 29 assists) in 37 games. He's riding a four-game point streak heading into tonight's clash with Chicago.
Former Red Wing Jiri Hudler has squared off against the Blackhawks 35 times in his career and has amassed 25 points against his old divisional rival.
Blake Comeau has only played the Blackhawks five times but currently averages 1.00 points-per-game thanks to his three goals and two assists against Chicago.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
Alex Tanguay needs 1 assist for 500.
Mikael Backlund needs 1 point for 50.
Mark Giordano needs 1 assist for 100.
Curtis Glencross needs 2 assists for 100, 3 goals for 100 and 5 points for 200.
Lee Stempniak needs 2 assists for 150.
Mike Cammalleri needs 3 goals for 200.