Flames Camp Heats Up

By pbadmin
With Calgary midway through their preseason schedule, some candidates
gunning for the big club have been impressive. With only a few positions up
for grabs, Flames staff have some tough decisions to make.

Stillman, Savard, Shantz, Wiemer, Wilm, and Bureau are all listed
centres. However, Shantz and Wiemer have been experimented on the wing.
Tkaczuk has played well in his games, improving on his two-way game, but
hasn’t been a standout. Another year in Saint John wouldn’t hurt Tkaczuk. The
story is a little different when talking of Marty Murray. In his two games in
Toronto and Ottawa, Murray was impressive. Faceoffs were dreadful last year
for Calgary and Murray has been outstanding in that category. Playing on a
line with Iginla and Saprykin, Murray was the playmaker, while Saprykin and
Iginla where the snipers. If Murray’s play continues he just may have a spot
with the team.

There is a little more room on the left side. Nazarov, Lindsay, and
Lowry all are sure fires for Calgary. Saprykin, Elomo, Botterill, Cowan,
Varlamov, and Roche all fighting for a spot. Of all names mentioned Saprykin
is the most impressive. In Calgary’s first game against Montreal, Saprykin
netted a pair of goals in a outstanding outing, helping the Flames to a 4-2
victory. In the second tilt against Toronto, Saprykin had another solid
effort, playing with Murray and Iginla. A game Calgary should have won. Coach
Hay as a tough call on this one, should he stay or should he go?

On the right side Bure, Iginla, and possibly Shantz or Wiemer are
starters. Petrovicky has played well and could earn a spot. Scoring a goal
and setting up another in a couple games for Calgary. Petrovicky will have to
keep up his physical game as well in order to impress the Flames staff. Fata
definitely has speed but so far hasn’t really stood out. His play will have
to improve in order to earn a spot. Like Tkaczuk, Fata does not have to be
rushed. He has tremendous potential and will be in the NHL soon. Chris
Clark may have the best chance all. Cracking the lineup last year in Calgary.
Clark is an aggressive player who crashes in the corners for loose pucks, he
may fit in nicely with Bureau and Lowry.

Behind the blue-line Calgary looks very strong. Their defence and
goaltending will finally earn them a playoff berth this season. Of all the
newcomers Toni Lydman looks poised to join the elite. His smooth skating and
crisp passing has earned Lydman a pair of assists in 2 outings. I think he ‘s
ready to make the jump. Between the pipes Vernon and Brathwaite will split
the season but Martin Brochu is already knocking on the door. Against
Montreal, Brochu stopped several Habs in close and earned his first victory
with the flamin C on his chest.

With still some time left in the pre-season nothing is guaranteed.
As time ticks on the list will become smaller and smaller. Overall the
Calgary organization has an excellent core of youngsters. Saint John can look
forward to a very strong season. Brochu, Tkaczuk, Fata, and company will take
them to Calder Cup land. As for Calgary, they can only hope that Saprykin,
Murray, and Lydman take them to the dance.