The thinned-out Flames blueline will be even thinner on Friday night.
That’s because Dennis Wideman, the team’s leading defenseman scorer, will be out of the lineup with a broken finger and Chris Butler, who averages close to 17 minutes a night, is suffering from the flu.
In a related move, the Flames recalled Mark Cundari from AHL Abbotsford. Cundari, 22, was one of the pieces acquired from St. Louis in exchange for Jay Bouwmeester on Apr. 1.
If Butler can’t go tonight — though it’s expected he’ll try — Calgary projects to ice a defensive unit comprised of Cundari, Mark Giordano, Cory Sarich, TJ Brodie, Brett Carson and Anton Babchuk.
Despite the makeshift roster, Calgary has actually played well of late, winning four of its last six and putting a serious dent in Detroit’s playoff chances with a 3-2 win on Wednesday.
That said, the Flames will likely face a stiff challenge tonight against a Ducks team that’s racked up nine goals in two games against them this season.
The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.
“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.
“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”
While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.
“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”
Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?
News and notes from around the crease…
Jones goes for San Jose
Martin Jones, acquired by the Sharks this summer, will make his first regular-season start for the club tonight against his old team — the Los Angeles Kings.
Jones, 25, spent the last two years in L.A. as Jonathan Quick‘s understudy. He was flipped to Boston at the NHL Entry Draft, then shipped to San Jose. Sharks GM Doug Wilson wasted little time locking Jones in — signing him to a three-year, $9 million extension — and Jones wasted little time locking up the No. 1 gig, putting together a stellar preseason.
For the Kings, Quick will get the start in goal.
Markstrom out for Vancouver
Jacob Markstrom wasn’t scheduled to start for the Canucks tonight — No. 1 Ryan Miller is getting the call — but the Swedish ‘tender won’t even dress when his club takes on the Flames in Calgary.
Markstrom suffered a lower-body injury at practice this week and is being held out of tonight’s action. In his place, the Canucks called up AHL netminder Richard Bachman, who’ll serve as Miller’s backup.
For the Flames, Karri Ramo is the opening-night starter.
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