Flames injury woes continue; Moss and Kotalik out indefinitely

GYI0061889248-kotalikmoss-dalemacmillan-getty.jpgIf you thought the Calgary Flames’ off-season was difficult on the fans, then the preseason has been a vile curse from beyond the grave as far as injuries go. While the team has seen Olli Jokinen and Rene Bourque get a little banged up, Matthew Stajan separated his shoulder, Daymond Langkow continues to be out with a neck injury leftover from last season, and newly acquired free agent Ryan Stone has a knee injury. The Flames announced today that two more players have been added to their injured list and their return is listed as “indefinite.”

Forwards David Moss and Ales Kotalik join Stajan, Langkow, and Stone on the list and the situation in Calgary is getting to be more dire than hoped for. Moss injured his shoulder the other night against Edmonton and Kotalik injured his knee. The Flames aren’t exactly a deep team and all three of Stajan, Langkow, and Stone are centers. Moss had been getting tried out at center in the wake of all the injuries the team has seen and now you have to start wondering if center ice in Calgary is located above an unknown graveyard.

Who do the Flames have left at the center position? A now healthy Olli Jokinen, Mikael Backlund, Craig Conroy (who signed a league-minimum two-way deal), and Stefan Meyer. Conroy spent the last few seasons in Calgary so he’s not exactly out of his element there and Meyer has been a career minor leaguer.

If you’re wondering about the effects this will have on their salary cap, which they’re over at the moment, it comes as a saving grace to have these guys potentially set to give them some relief. Langkow, Kotalik, and Stajan all make $3 million or more against the cap. If any of those guys need to go on the long term injured reserve, the Flames cap problems will be resolved for a little while at least as the Flames are about $2.4 million over the cap.

(Photo: Dale MacMillan – Getty Images)

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    Goalie nods: Niemi expected for Stars against Penguins

    Antti Niemi, Jonathan Toews
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    Talk about getting thrown into the fire.

    Antti Niemi is expected to be the starting goalie tonight in Dallas when his Stars host Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    Niemi has, not surprisingly, been given the assignment over Kari Lehtonen, the latter of whom struggled badly during the preseason, allowing 15 goals on 84 shots.

    Not that Niemi was razor sharp himself. He allowed eight goals on 65 shots, for a save percentage of .877.

    Considering the Stars have a combined $10.4 million in cap space tied up in those two veteran netminders, it’s no wonder the number-one question facing the club is whether the goaltending has indeed been fixed.

    We’ll start to find out tonight.

    Marc-Andre Fleury will undoubtedly be in goal for Pittsburgh, though that hasn’t been confirmed.


    Craig Anderson, the goalie the Senators decided to keep, versus Robin Lehner, the one they traded to the Sabres.

    Cam Ward will start for Carolina when the Hurricanes visit the Predators, who will obviously go with Pekka Rinne. The consensus is that Eddie Lack will eventually supplant Ward as Carolina’s starter, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.

    Brian Elliott goes for the Blues versus Cam Talbot for the Oilers. Elliott was excellent in the preseason, stopping all but two of the 57 shots he faced, while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 60 shots.

    Steve Mason for the Flyers versus Ben Bishop for the Lightning.

    Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg versus Tuukka Rask for Boston.

    Devan Dubnyk likely for the Wild versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.

    Flyers want to prove doubters wrong

    Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux
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    Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.

    “We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly. 

    So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.

    That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”

    The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.

    “My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”

    That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.

    Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen