Flames lineup choices for tonight already causing angst in Calgary

brentsutter1.jpgThe Calgary Flames preparation for the regular season and tonight’s opener against the Edmonton Oilers comes with a few interesting quirks. That is, quirks aside from the ones that brought both Olli Jokinen and Alex Tanguay back to town.

The Flames lineup juggling for tonight with the host of injuries the team has dealt with as well as having young players step up in a big way in camp have added a little spice to tonight’s game. Scott Cruickshank of Flames Insider has the details.

For instance, C Brett Sutter — goes on waivers, clears waivers, is demoted to AHL Abbotsford, is recalled, and is now in the lineup tonight in Edmonton.

Sutter’s summoning is the result of LW Ales Kotalik (knee) being put on the long-term injury list.

Still, there’s more.

It appears that veterans D Cory Sarich (32 years old, 749 games, $3.6 million), D Steve Staios (37 years old, 897 games, $2.7 million) and C Craig Conroy (39 years old, 991 games, $500,000) are not playing. Yes, $6.3 million worth of healthy blue-liner is in the press box.

The three oldsters were subject to a brief sermon from coach Brent Sutter at the tail end of the morning skate.

In their places go the spry trio of Sutter, D T.J. Brodie and D Adam Pardy.

Kotalik going on LTIR is just added salary relief for the Flames who are already without Matthew Stajan and Daymond Langkow. Crafty lineup juggling and cap management are all part of the game in the NHL these days. Of course, some are going to spin this as a case of the veterans getting benched and breaking out the doom-and-gloom alarm for the Flames.

Maybe it’s just a situation where coach Brent Sutter wants to set the example for the new guys getting the trial by fire (get it – they’re the Flames!) especially when for both Brett Sutter and T.J. Brodie they’ll be getting their first taste of NHL action.

Either way, for a team that’s got cap issues, sitting down two high-priced guys even for a game has to make GM Daryl Sutter get even grumpier about the state of his team. Considering Daryl Sutter’s normal state of being, him being even more grumpy is a scary proposition.

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    Capitals manage OT win after coughing up lead to Bruins

    WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 03: Nicklas Backstrom #19 of the Washington Capitals looks on against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at Verizon Center on November 3, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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    It wasn’t pretty, and they might have lost key defenseman Matt Niskanen to injury, but at least the Washington Capitals managed a win against the Boston Bruins.

    For a while, it was looking pretty ugly.

    After going up 3-0, the Capitals went more than a period’s worth of time without even managing a shot on goal. Whether you lean more toward giving the Bruins credit for fighting back or beating up the Capitals for “sitting on a lead,” it’s staggering that such a dangerous offense could be held in check for so long.

    Luckily for Washington, Nicklas Backstrom salvaged the night with an overtime goal to give the Capitals a 4-3 overtime win.

    Both teams have had a knack for extending games beyond regulation lately, by the way:

    Capitals over the last three games:
    Shootout loss to the Lightning
    Overtime win against the Sabres
    Overtime win tonight against the Bruins

    Bruins over the last five games:
    Shootout loss against Flyers
    Shootout win against Hurricanes
    Regulation win against Sabres
    Overtime win against Panthers
    Overtime loss to the Capitals

    Maybe that’s what gets it done in 2016-17: finding ways to carve out wins and shake out rough patches, like the Caps did tonight.

    Matt Niskanen injured by Patrice Bergeron boarding hit

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    Patrice Bergeron doesn’t have a reputation for dirty hits, but he drew the Washington Capitals’ ire for a hit on Matt Niskanen.

    The Capitals consider Niskanen “probable” to return to Wednesday’s game against the Boston Bruins with what they’re calling an upper-body injury. Bergeron received a two-minute boarding penalty for the infraction.

    (Check out video of the hit above.)

    The Capitals’ Twitter acknowledged the brewing bad feelings.

    Does Bergeron deserve supplemental discipline for that boarding hit?

    Washington currently leads the game 3-2.

    Ouch: NHL official helped off ice after puck to knee (Video)

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    There are plenty of hazards on an NHL rink even if you’re not a player.

    Barry Trotz ranks among the coaches who’ve been hit by pucks, though he’s one of the tiny sliver of humans who would shake off a puck to the forehead. It can be dangerous for officials, too, whether it means a wayward puck or wayward player.

    The latest example comes in the form of linesman Steve Miller needing help off the ice after a puck hit him in the knee area. As you can see from the video, it looked like he was in serious pain.

    Yikes:

    Video: Tyler Bozak with some saucy moves on this goal

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    It’s refreshing that hockey fans have, for the most part, moved on from debating Tyler Bozak‘s merits.

    The general feeling is that the Toronto Maple Leafs use him in appropriate ways these days, so we can simply enjoy his work as a pretty spiffy hockey player.

    Speaking of spiffy, check out the sweet moves he made against the Minnesota Wild for the goal above. Feels like you could dub over a Chris Berman “whoop” or two in there, right?

    (If you’re into that kind of thing.)

    Here’s that gaudy move in isolation and in GIF form: