Flames get feisty during post-Olympic practice

CALGARY — The feisty Calgary Flames are clearly done with the Olympic break. Intensity ramped up at practice on Tuesday at the Scotiabank Saddledome as forward Matt Stajan and defenceman Chris Butler got into a shoving match before cooler heads prevailed.

CALGARY — The feisty Calgary Flames are clearly done with the Olympic break.

Intensity ramped up at practice on Tuesday at the Scotiabank Saddledome as forward Matt Stajan and defenceman Chris Butler got into a shoving match before cooler heads prevailed.

“It was like two brothers fighting for their Tonka truck in the sandbox,” said Calgary coach Bob Hartley, who intervened before the skirmish went any further. “I was the third man. I was the closest guy. You appreciate the feistiness and everything, but you don’t want to get it overboard.”

Hartley was happy to see his two players tap each other on their shin pads with their sticks shortly after the altercation.

“It’s water under the bridge,” Hartley said. “Maybe it’s just a sign that times are changing. We want competitors. That’s what we’re preaching. That’s what we’re getting, so I can’t be here saying that it’s something that I don’t want to see.”

The Flames (22-29-7) have one day of practice remaining before they host the Los Angeles Kings (31-22-6) on Thursday for their first game in 19 days since losing 2-1 to the Philadelphia Flyers at home on Feb. 8.

“You get that itch to start for real and that’s where we’re at right now,” said Stajan, who downplayed his tussle with Butler. “Sometimes emotions get high in practice and things happen. It was nothing. I don’t think we need to blow it up here.

“A little pushing and shoving, it happens all the time. I think we’re all antsy here to get back to playing games. You can ask anybody in this room and we’re going to be ready for Thursday.”

Butler chalked up his run-in with Stajan to restlessness due to too much practising and not enough playing.

“It’s over with,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll laugh about it now. You go almost 20 days in between a game. Everybody enjoys a game of hockey, but these practices haven’t been easy. Guys are worn down. That five days last week was physically demanding, especially after a 10-day break where I don’t think guys saw a ton of ice time.”

The Flames returned to the ice last Wednesday for what Hartley referred to as “training camp, part 2” and went through five days of on- and off-ice sessions before getting a well-deserved day off on Monday.

“Right now we’re telling them playoff mentality,” Hartley said. “It’s time to get going. We had a good day off yesterday. Today we had a great practice. The boys were flying. They were sharp.”

Forward Mike Cammalleri didn’t mind seeing his teammates go at it in the heat of battle during practice.

“A little owly today,” Cammalleri said. “I think it’s time to play some games.”

With the NHL trade deadline approaching on March 5, there’s much speculation around whether Cammalleri will get dealt. Cammalleri could also sign a contract extension with the Flames before the deadline.

Cammalleri confirmed that the Flames have made him an offer and that talks with interim general manager Brian Burke are ongoing.

“I’m not ignorant to the fact that there’s a deadline coming up that might have implications,” said Cammalleri, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. “Brian’s been great just as far as being open and honest. The lines of communication have been good. I’m sure that’ll continue.

“Plain and simple, I do like it here. I like the guys a lot and I like the coaching staff. I have a lot of respect for them and what they’re doing. I’ve got nothing but fantastic things to say about Calgary, especially the people here.”

After playing for Switzerland at the Sochi Winter Games, goalie Reto Berra took part in his second practice with the Flames on Tuesday.

“It’s good to be back,” said Berra, who wants to do everything he can in Calgary’s final 24 regular season games to prove he belongs in the NHL. “Now it’s not that many games left. Especially me, I don’t know what’s going on next year. I want to show myself on the best side again.”

Whether or not he gets the call on Thursday against the Kings — featuring Olympic gold medallists Drew Doughty and Jeff Carter — Berra said he’ll be ready for the challenge.

“They’re good skaters, good shooters, a good skilled team,” Berra said. “It’s going to be a big challenge again, but I like that and I’m really excited for Thursday.”

With Karri Ramo still nursing a groin injury, Joni Ortio is also in the mix to draw his first-ever NHL start.

“It’s been exciting and obviously it would be awesome to get some action and get a game, but that’s something that I can’t control,” said Ortio, who was recalled last week by the Flames from the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League.

Just Posted

Cryptocurrency here to stay says one Red Deerian

Bitcoin is more than just a commodity with an ever changing value,… Continue reading

Lacombe County residential development and golf course proposed

Lincoln Ranch would include 100 homes and nine-hole golf course

Eight flu deaths in Central Alberta

99 admitted to hospital so far

UPDATED: Shots fired in Riverside Meadows

Red Deer RCMP search for more suspects

Exploring eating disorders in sports and fitness

Eating Disorders Awareness Week runs Feb. 1 to 7

NorAm Western Canadian Cross Country Ski Championships begin in Red Deer

The biggest cross-country skiing competition in Red Deer’s history is underway. Nearly… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month