Flames Today: 21.01.14
Notes from the Flames practice at the Scotiabank Saddledome
CAMMALLERI SET TO START SKATING, BYRON QUESTIONABLE FOR TOMORROW
Mike Cammalleri suffered a concussion on Jan. 11 in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins and has been held back from skating but head coach Bob Hartley believes he will hit the ice later this week.
"He's doing much better," Hartley explained. "I had breakfast with Cammy this morning and had a good talk. I think he's going to start skating, public skating - by himself, probably around Thursday or Friday.
"That's a good sign but as you know, concussions sometimes they play bad tricks on you. This is the plan and obviously we'll keep you informed."
Paul Byron was held to just 6:16 of ice time on Monday night in San Jose as he suffered a lower body injury after blocking a shot. The 24-year-old did take part in the optional skate on Tuesday afternoon and Hartley wasn't sure if he would take part in tomorrow's morning practice.
"He seems to be okay. Obviously he's sore. We didn't skate him today. We'll try to skate him tomorrow morning and we'll see how he is."
GETTING BACK INTO THE SWING OF THINGS
Kris Russell returned to the lineup on Monday night after missing 13 games with a second degree MCL sprain and the rearguard is satisfied with how his knee held up in San Jose.
"It felt alright," he said. "My knee felt pretty good. It was a little sore but it felt pretty good.
"I'm cleared to play but it's getting used it, getting that knee going. It's stiff ... there's nothing that hinders me."
The blueliner had been skating with the team for a few days prior to his return but he admitted those practices didn't fully prepare him for game action. At the start of the match-up, which he ended up logging 23:10 in, he felt a half-step or a step behind.
"The game speed, obviously you can emulate that in practice," he said. "Taking hits, trying to make those quick plays. I'd like to have a few of those back but I felt as the game went on, I started to get better and my hands felt a little bit better. Hopefully I can continue on with that."
RUMORS SURROUNDING RUSSELL
There has been a bit of speculation surrounding Russell possibly signing an extension with the Flames but the business side of things hasn't entered his mind. At the moment, the Caroline, AB product is just trying to help his team improve.
"It's a good place to play. Great fans, great organization and I grew up watching the Flames. If there's a chance that I stay, it's a good opportunity. But right now I'm just focused on playing.
"I'm just worried about playing, getting on the ice and getting my game back. I'll let the others take care of it. That's why I have agents and stuff like that. I'm not worried about it."
Since being acquired by the Flames last summer, Russell has blossomed into one of the Flames top defencemen. He logs a boatload of minutes, doesn't shy away from physical play and can put up points. He credits the trust the coaching staff has in him for his emergence on the blueline.
"I'm confident in my game right now but I think that comes with playing [big] minutes. When you do make mistakes, you get back out there and try to get better that next shift. Keep improving."
The 26-year-old is slated to become a UFA this summer. He is making $1.5 million this season.
"Two goals in three games ... two goals in two games and two seconds, I should say." - Hartley on his fourth line's recent offensive output
The Flames take on the Phoenix Coyotes at 7:30 PM MST at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The game will be broadcast on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The FAN.