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October 1st News and Notes: Flames Finalize Roster, Burke's Words for Baertschi

Reto Berra was one of the players demoted to the Abbotsford Heat in the Flames' final cuts yesterday.
Reto Berra was one of the players demoted to the Abbotsford Heat in the Flames' final cuts yesterday.
Derek Leung

Final Cuts

The final deadline for teams to finalize their NHL rosters ahead of opening night was yesterday afternoon, and the Flames announced that they would be sending four players to the Abbotsford Heat to start the season. Roman Horak, Patrick Sieloff, Blair Jones and Reto Berra will make the trip to interior British Columbia while Sean Monahan and Ben Street will officially make the team to start the season.

The fact that Monahan made the cut is a surprise to virtually no one, considering the Flames' lack of bonafide NHL centres, but what role he will play following the recent acquisition of Joe Colborne from the Toronto Maple Leafs in somewhat unclear. Mikael Backlund, Matt Stajan, Joe Colborne, and Sean Monahan represent the Flames' four options at centre to start the season, while Ben Street will be the odd man out. Despite clearing waivers, Street and Derek Smith remain with the team as the 13th forward and seventh defenceman, respectively. I was somewhat surprised that Horak got sent down to start the season, but he could be back if the Flames decide not to keep Monahan up with the big club past the nine-game limit.

The Flames also placed Mike Cammalleri on retroactive IR (Sept. 18) meaning that he can return to the team whenever he is healthy. Cammalleri is recovering from a hand injury that saw him miss the majority of the Flames' pre-season games. Defenceman Chris Breen has also been placed on injured reserve.

Playing for the Hometown Team

Speaking of Joe Colborne, he becomes the fourth player the Flames have acquired prior to the start of this season who is from Alberta/the Calgary area. He joins TJ Galiardi, Kris Russell and Corban Knight in that regard. I think I'm noticing a pattern here.

Burke Speaks Out

Brian Burke, who infamously stated that he would "remain in the background" when he was hired by the Flames as the president of hockey operations earlier this month, had some words for forward Sven Baertschi yesterday, implying that he was an incomplete player with holes in his game:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p><a href=";src=hash">#Flames</a> Brian Burke on Sven Baertschi: &quot;This is a guy, right now, who&#39;s focusing on one area. And even then, sporadically.&quot;</p>&mdash; Wes Gilbertson (@SUNGilbertson) <a href="">September 30, 2013</a></blockquote>

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Baertschi did make the team, but missed some time in pre-season with a lower-body injury. General manager Jay Feaster also said that given another chance, he would not have used his emergency recall on Baertschi at the end of the 2011-12 season had he known it would cause expectations to soar so high for the young Swiss star:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Feaster says if he could have a mulligan, he wouldn&#39;t have brought Baertschi up as an emergency recall two seasons ago. <a href=";src=hash">#Flames</a></p>&mdash; Pat Steinberg (@Fan960Steinberg) <a href="">September 30, 2013</a></blockquote>

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Sigh. You know you're in the middle of a rebuild in Calgary when your top prospect, still just 20-years-old, is drawing ire for not being the next Jarome Iginla despite having scored 13 points in 25 games thus far in the NHL.

Tonight's Games

There are three games in the NHL on opening night. Toronto vs. Montreal can be seen on CBC at 7 p.m. eastern/5 p.m. mountain time, while the Jets take on the Oilers in the late game. Elsewhere, the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks will beat the snot out of take on the Washington Capitals.

The Flames open their season in Washington on Thursday.