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Pre-Season Game Day: This is Only a Test

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Fans and players alike are feeling pretty good after the Flames eked out a shootout victory against the Bolts minus most of their stars, giving them a record of 3-0 for September, and the pre-season test continues tonight against a mostly complete Coyotes squad (7:30PM MT, TSN), which should present a challenge to this evening's roster.

Henrik KarlssonT.J. Brodie

"He's got that flare. He's not that robotic player. He is active. He is very coachable. He brings something that you really like on the back end"

He also warns against throwing Brodie into the fire, so to speak, too soon:

"We don't want to get ahead of ourselves because he still has a lot to learn. He wants to develop and we have to make sure he develops."

Of course the temptation to insert a young, cheap, seemingly capable defender into the lineup in place of a plodding, expensive vet (cough*Staios*cough) exists, but a player fresh out of junior like Brodie rarely suffers from a year of seasoning in the minors--I wouldn't hesitate to say that that statement holds especially true for young defencemen. A year in Abbotsford would likely be my ideal situation for both parties.

Anyways, here are the Flames' expected lines and pairings for tonight's affair, as per FlamesNation:

Tanguay-Jokinen-Iginla

Hagman-Backlund-Rheault

Jackman-Meyer-Cunning

Sutter-Conroy-Nemisz

Regehr-White

Bouwmeester-Staios

Brodie-Pardy

Karlsson

Irving

Jon Rheault is another player I haven't had the opportunity to watch since Development Camp, so I'll be keeping an eye on him as well after he survived the second round of roster cuts yesterday afternoon.

On the opposing side, the always entertaining Paul Bissonnette (@BizNasty2point0 on Twitter) will unfortunately not be in the lineup tonight, however highly-touted prospect Oliver Ekman-Larsson, former Flame Adrian Aucoin, and the recently acquired Eric Belanger will, while Ilya Bryzgalov is slated to start in net. It goes without saying that this is a contest of little consequence, but it will be interesting to see how things play out nonetheless, and I'm pretty pumped about actually being able watch--I've already staked out the TV lounge. Enjoy the game everyone!