Flames Today: 11.04.13
DEVELOPING THE KIDS
Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley hasn't made his plan to audition the youth at his disposal to see what they can bring to the club next season.
It's just as much about development as seeing what they can contribute come October.
"On our side, we wanted to see our young players so we basically called up most of our young players and we wanted to put them in situations where they can show us what they can bring to the team," Hartley said. "They can showcase their talent, their game, how they read into certain situations and so far, Reino, Sven, Horak, Jonesy, all though young guys, they've done pretty good."
Hartley has big plans for one player in particular, though.
The Flames coach is putting extra time in particular with 24-year-old pivot Mikael Backlund, who Hartley things has huge potential.
"I want to help him and I want to help him especially realize what he needs to keep doing," he said. "For me, he's tougher in puck battles, he's going harder at the net. Last night he got four or five good body checks. I want him to play as a center man, you need to be able to play the game in the three zones and he's a great skater, has great vision for the play. I just want to help him expand his role and believe in himself."
HUDLER RETURNING, BEGIN GOOD TO GO
Jiri Hudler could return against the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday.
The Czech forward has missed Calgary's past two games with an upper-body injury.
"Tomorrow morning we should confirm, but I'm pretty confident that he's going to be in the lineup tomorrow," Hartley said.
Playing just 17 seconds against the Vancouver Canucks, Steve Begin is expected to also return. Begin took a puck to the neck on his first shift of the game on Wednesday.
"Steve should be good too," Hartley confirmed. "The swelling has gone down. He wanted to skate this morning but the medical staff preferred to give him a day off. I think we have a chance to see both guys in the lineup tomorrow."
KIPPER BRUISED, MAC TO START
Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff missed Thursday's practice to attend to some bumps and bruises.
He won't be out long, though. The 36-year-old puck stopper is expected to back up Joey MacDonald against the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday.
"He was bruised a little bit so we'll call it a maintenance day, a rest day but he's going to be backing up tomorrow," Hartley said. "Mac is starting."
NYBO MAKES RETURN
Mitch Nybo returned to action in Flames' practice, suiting up for the second time this season.
The Flames TV producer strapped on the pads once again on Thursday, filling in for Kiprusoff in practice. Nybo made his practice debut in Columbus after Kiprusoff suffered a sprained knee.
"I think today was a little bit easier on Mitch," Hartley said. "It was not as tough as Columbus but he's a great guy and he's fun plus it's great. Kipper comes in today, he was sore a little bit. We gave Mitch a call right away and here he is. It's fun because practicing with one goalie, I don't think it's a real good hockey practice."