Morning Skate Report: Flames vs. Avalanche
Notes from the Flames pre-game skate at The Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado
SMID, BERRA SOCHI BOUND
Smid will suit up for the Czech’s while Berra will protect the net for Switzerland.
For Berra, it was a very special achievement, one in which he never even considered a year ago.
A year ago I didn’t think about it [Olympics] at all,” he said. “I am so excited and happy. It’s my first time. It’s different than World Championships with all the other athletes and we will probably with other sports. It’s exciting and I can’t wait.”
The 27-year-old goaltender is in his rookie season with the Flames. He has appeared in 18 contests and has a AA of 2.92 and a save percentage of .903.
Ladislav Smid told reporters on Monday that he could hardly contain himself when he heard the news that he would suit up for the Czechs.
“It's everybody's dream to make the Olympic team and represent your country. It's a huge honour. I felt like a little kid (when I was called),” Smid said. “My wife just called me and she was so happy for me. My family is in Calgary right now and they are just pumped for me.
A noticeable omission from the Czech squad was the current scoring leader with the Flames, Jiri Hudler. The 30-year-old is in his 9th NHL season and has 33 points in 41 games this season. He sits third in scoring amongst Czech players currently in the NHL.
Hudler didn’t speak to the media in Denver but Flames coach Bob Hartley couldn’t understand how he could be left off the roster.
“No Hudler on that team, the Czechs have to be (the) favourite to win the gold medal, because they must be awfully talented.” Hartley quipped after the Flames morning skate in Denver.
ON THE OFFENSIVE
The Flames are due to breakout of this stretch of futility.
Bob Hartley’s group didn’t have much trouble finding the net until a few weeks ago. Now, mired in a drought in which they’ve turned on the red light just once in the past four games. The Flames bench boss says the team needs to get back to basics to find success.
“We just have to get the feeling of how fun it is to score,” Hartley said. “It’s just a matter of trying to bring the fun back and making them [the players] believe they can make a difference.”
“I know that last week was tough but nobody feels sorry for us. This is a tough league and we have to find solutions. Solutions are right in our dressing room.”
NO SIGHTSEEING FOR JONES
David Jones did not take the morning skate in Denver and will miss the match against the Avalanche tonight.
“He complained a few days ago of soreness in his eye,” said Hartley. “This morning he saw a doctor and he has an infection so he has blurry vision.”
It’s not known how long Jones will be out of the lineup but Lance Bouma will slot in to replace the winger.
THE OTHER SIDE
“If we think we are going to have an easy game, we’re wrong. This is a team that is in almost every game and they are a very hard working team. They are going to give us a good battle and I expect them to play a good game tonight.” – Colorado Avalanche head coach, Patrick Roy.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
Ladislav Smid needs 2 games for 500.
Lee Stempniak needs 2 games for 600.
TJ Galiardi needs 7 points for 100.
Derek Smith needs 7 games for 100.
Jiri Hudler needs 9 games for 500.
Tonight's game will be broadcast on Sportsnet West (TV) and Sportsnet 960 The FAN (radio).