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Flames Today: 28.02.14

Notes from the Flames practice at the Scotiabank Saddledome

Friday, 02.28.2014 / 12:02 PM MT / News
By Torie Peterson  - CalgaryFlames.com (@toriepeterson)
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Flames Today: 28.02.14


Defenceman Chris Butler was held to just 8:15 of ice time on Thursday after suffering an upper body injury and head coach Bob Hartley announced that he likely will not play on Saturday in Edmonton.

"It's not as bad as we thought," the bench boss explained. "But he's doubtful for tomorrow."

The malady opens the door for Derek Smith to get back in the lineup. His last NHL game came on Jan. 7 against Phoenix but he has suited up for the Abbotsford Heat 10 times since that outing. He was recalled by the Flames on Feb. 19, when the team returned to Calgary after the Olympic break.

"We've had some hard practices and they were game-like so if I get the call tomorrow, I'll be ready," Smith said.

Smith has been up and down all season, playing 15 games with the Heat and 14 games with the Flames. That can be mentally trying for any player but Smith's day-by-day approach to the year has helped him immensely.

"When I go down there, it's obviously not what you want but I get some ice time, get some puck touches, and get some confidence back. That's a big thing.

"When I'm back up here, just keep working hard and wait for the chance. If it comes, just make the most of it."

Hartley also mentioned the team may recall a rearguard from the Abbotsford Heat while Butler gets back to 100 per cent. Chad Billins, Chris Breen, Tyler Wotherspoon, John Ramage, and Shane O'Brien are all eligible to be recalled by Calgary.

Butler is listed as day-to-day and will travel with the team on their road trip this weekend.

Brian McGrattan is also doubtful for Saturday's game in Edmonton.


Swiss netminder Reto Berra will get the start against the Oilers on Saturday night.

"It was already set a few days ago," Hartley noted. "When Reto came back from [Sochi], I sat with Joni and Reto and told them, 'Let me think about my plan.'

"I kind of gave them my thoughts that Joni would play last night and Reto would be in in Edmonton."

Berra's first practice since returning from the Olympics was last Sunday and it took a few days for the goaltender to work through his jet lag. He's feeling great now and is anxious to get back into action.

"When I came back, I was tired because of the time change and everything," Berra said. "Right now, I feel good. I'm really excited to go to Edmonton. We had a big win last time there, 2-1 in OT. It was nice.

"It's Hockey Night Canada and I'm happy to play."

Edmonton has announced Ilya Bryzgalov will start vs. the Flames.


"It's pro sports. Injuries happen. They open the door to players to walk in and Smitty knows our system. He's been here long enough." - Hartley on Smith's ability to jump back into the lineup after being out of it for close to two months.


The Flames begin their short two-game road swing on Saturday, taking on the Edmonton Oilers at 8:00 PM MST (CBC, FAN 960). They will then move on to Minnesota, facing off against the Wild on Monday at 6:00 PM MST (SNET-W, FAN 960).