Morning Skate Report: Flames vs. Sharks
Mike Cammalleri will not suit up tonight for the Flames
CAMMALLERI A LATE SCRATCH
Veteran winger Mike Cammalleri was slated to make his return to the lineup this evening after missing eight games with a concussion but head coach Bob Hartley announced this morning that he would be sitting out of tonight's match-up.
"Cammy is not going to play tonight," the bench boss said in his post-practice media scrum. "There's no setbacks or anything. It's just that we feel that we want to give him a good practice today, a good practice tomorrow. And he will be in the lineup on Saturday."
Despite being cleared to skate with the team since last week, Cammalleri hasn't spent a lot of time practicing with his squad. He spent a few days back in Ontario dealing with personal issues before re-joining the team this week.
"I really only had one practice in the last few weeks, a real practice, and I just came back from having been away for a couple of days," Cammalleri said. "It was maybe more of a fact that we want guys coming back into the lineup ready to help the team and get their legs under them a little bit. I'm okay with that and we'll get ready for Saturday."
Cammalleri has been dubbed a fitness fanatic throughout his career so it would be easy to assume that he is in game-shape but the 31-year-old noted that the recovery process for a concussion hinders the ability for athletes to stay in peak shape.
"With an injury like the one I had, you do nothing to recover. You get it back quick, no doubt, but you lose it quick. It takes a bit to get your legs under you.
"That being said, taking short shifts, you can get it back in games. But it was more a matter of feeling like I can help the team when I can."
Barring any setbacks, Cammalleri will be back in the lineup on Saturday night when the Flames host the Minnesota Wild on Western Night (8:00 PM MST - CBC, FAN 960).
NO CAMMY? NO PROBLEM
There is no doubt the team is disappointed to have Cammalleri sit out of tonight's game but the Flames have been on a roll lately and offence hasn't been an issue.
In the first three games of their five-game homestand, the Flames have defeated the Phoenix Coyotes, Nashville Predators, and Chicago Blackhawks and have outscored their opponents 13-10 in that stretch.
"I think we've been playing more aggressive lately, which has been helping us put pucks in the net," captain Mark Giordano explained. "In saying that, we're a team that works from our end out and we have to keep focusing on getting better defensively."
Mikael Backlund pinpointed strong defensive play as the reason the Flames have been on a roll lately, noting both the blueliners and forward have been more poised in their own end.
"I don't think we played that bad after Christmas when we were struggling," the pivot mused. "It was just that our defence wasn't as good as it is now.
"Right now, we're playing more as a five-man unit. Everybody is working together."
LINEUP IN FLUX
With Cammalleri out, the Flames have the option to go back to the lineup their used against the Nashville Predators, with Ben Street centering Kevin Westgarth and Brian McGrattan on the fourth line, or could insert Paul Byron back into the lineup.
"I [haven't] finalized my decision on that one yet," Hartley said.
Blair Jones, who was a healthy scratch on Tuesday, was assigned to the Abbotsford Heat this morning.
"We will never put a player at risk ... We could be 0-in-3 and my mindset would be the same." - Bob Hartley when asked if it was easier to hold Cammalleri out when the team has won three in a row.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
TJ Galiardi needs 4 points for 100.
Matt Stajan needs 3 games for 700.
Lance Bouma needs 8 games for 100.
VS. THE SHARKS
All-time vs. the Sharks: 50-38-8-1-3
All-time vs. the Sharks in Calgary: 27-16-4-1-1
Last 10 games vs. the Sharks: 3-5-2
Last 10 games vs. the Sharks in Calgary: 4-4-2
San Jose and Calgary have alternated wins over the last five games at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Three of the last six games have gone to extra time with the Sharks taking two of three.
Tonight's battle with the Sharks will be broadcast on Sportsnet West (TV) and Sportsnet 960 The FAN (radio).