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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    John Scott wants to make his own World Cup team with Phil Kessel

    TORONTO, CANADA - SEPT 22:  Phil Kessel #81 of the Toronto Maple Leafs slashes at John Scott #32 of the Buffalo Sabres in a pre-season game on Sept 22, 2013 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Leafs defeated the Sabres 5-3. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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    The 2016 All-Star game MVP is interested in making his own World Cup team with the top forward from the 2014 Olympics. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

    John Scott took to Instagram to announce that he wanted to join forces with his buddy Phil Kessel. The post was accompanied by a picture of Scott going after Kessel, after this stick-swinging incident from a few years back.

    The team doesn’t have a name (Scott says he’s open to suggestions) or any other players, but Scott knows what kind of guys he’s looking for.

    “We are looking for guys who want to compete and may have been overlooked in hockey,” said Scott in the post.

    Here’s the full post:

    This sounds like a really good idea.

    Duchene: Avs had ‘a little too much fear’ of losing

    DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 27:  Matt Duchene #9 of the Colorado Avalanche skates away as the Detroit Red Wings celebrate the game winning goal by Brad Richards #17 at 19:00 of the third period at Coors Field during the 2016 Coors Light Stadium Series game on February 27, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Red Wings defeated the Avalanche 5-3.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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    For the second consecutive season, the Colorado Avalanche missed the playoffs. Granted, they were closer to making them in 2015-16 than they were in 2014-15, but that’s no consolation prize.

    The Avalanche were in the thick of the playoff race down the stretch. They battled the Minnesota Wild for the final Wild Card spot in the West, but in the end, they came up five points short. The pressure of the postseason chase may have been a bit too much for them to handle because they went 1-8-0 (yes, you read that correctly) in their final nine games.

    Three seasons ago, the Avs surprised many when they won the Central Division by collecting an incredible 112 points. It seemed as though their young roster would be dominant for a number of years. Unfortunately for the Avs, that hasn’t been the case.

    Now, forward Matt Duchene believes they need to change their mindset if they want to be back in the playoffs next year.

    “We didn’t take control, we didn’t go out there every night with the confidence we needed to win and to go and take what we needed to take,” Duchene said, per the Denver Post. “We had a little too much fear, I think, of losing and what we had to lose and I think that’s something we all can think about this summer. It’s a change of mindset. All the tools are there. We have a very good team, so we want to challenge for a playoff spot next season and hopefully a Stanley Cup.”

    Duchene put up some solid numbers this season. He led the Avs in goals (30) and points (57). Those totals were good enough to earn him a spot on Team Canada’s World Cup roster. But overall, the Avs weren’t so good. They ranked 19th in goals scored with 216 and 23rd in goals against with 240.

    Improved play in their own end would certainly benefit them and getting a bounce-back year from goalie Semyon Varlamov would definitely help too. The 28-year-old had a 2.81 goals-against-average and a .914 save percentage in 57 games.

    Is time running out for head coach Patrick Roy? Another lackluster regular season in 2016-17 may lead to some significant changes.

    Matt Nieto should be available to play in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final

    NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 03:  Matt Nieto #83 of the San Jose Sharks skates against the Nashville Predators during the second period of Game Three of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena on May 3, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
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    The San Jose Sharks are confident that forward Matt Nieto will be available for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in Pittsburgh on Monday night. Whether he actually plays or not is a different story.

    The 23-year-old suffered an upper-body injury in Game 6 of San Jose’s second round series against Nashville and he hasn’t suited up since.

    Nieto might not be one of the biggest names on the Sharks roster, but he’s definitely a useful piece of the puzzle.

    “He brings speed,” head coach Peter DeBoer said, per NHL.com. “He’s one of our faster forwards. He’s another guy that gives us a little bit of a different dimension and a little bit of a different element.

    “I’ll know more by Monday, but I’d anticipate that he’d be available.”

    Nieto practiced with his teammates on Saturday, but he didn’t skate on any of the Sharks’ top four lines. It doesn’t look like DeBoer will make changes from the team that beat St. Louis in Game 6 of the conference final, but a lot can change between now and the start of Game 1.

    Nieto has one goal and three points in 11 postseason games in 2016.

    Chiasson’s agent expects his client to be moved this summer

    SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 10:  Alex Chiasson #90 of the Ottawa Senators skates prior to the game against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on March 10, 2016 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
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    Alex Chiasson has been in Ottawa for each of the last two seasons, but he’s fallen way short of expectations.

    Chiasson was a key piece of the trade that saw Jason Spezza head to Dallas in 2014. The Sens received two prospects, a draft pick and Chiasson in the deal. During his two years in Ottawa, he’s scored 19 goals and 40 points in 153 games. It simply hasn’t worked out the way either side had hoped.

    Now, it sounds like his camp is expecting him to be moved before the start of next season.

    “I think that’s a potential scenario, but I don’t know if you ever really know if anything materializes until it happens,” agent Kent Hughes said, per The Hockey News. “But yeah, (a trade) wouldn’t surprise me.”

    Chiasson may have struggled in the last two years, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see multiple teams inquire about him. He’s still just 25-years-old, he has size (6’4, 205 pounds), and he’s set to become a restricted free agent on July 1st. Whatever contract he signs will likely be pretty affordable.

    “I think at the end of the day, for a lack of a better term, it’s the lack of a successful marriage, I guess,” added Hughes. “You get to a point where you either decide you’re going to say to an organization, ‘move on’ or you’re going to continue to try, but as you continue to do that, your asset continues to diminish in value.”