Look at this beautiful man. Just look at him.
Tonight, a natural centre and a legitimate top-six centre return to the Flames' lineup, and they are the same man: Mikael Backlund.
Like many predicted, Sven Baertschi was sent down to Abbotsford today when Backlund was reactivated, which is a positive step at this stage in the kid's development, especially after he was scratched last night in a shutout loss to the Ducks and benched in the third period of the game against the Sharks. Getting more playing time in Abbotsford and not being saddled with the likes of Brian McGrattan and Steve Begin can only help Sven, and hopefully allow him to rediscover his confidence and scoring touch.
Anywho, back to Backlund. His return means a lot to the Flames, as they now have a player other than Matt Stajan who can take faceoffs instead of doing it by committee, and his steadying presence as a player who regularly outplays his opposition means Bob Hartley can try to give guys Mike Cammalleri, Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla the high ground. Plus Backlund was totally rocking in the goals department before he got hurt, so it would be cool if he kept that up too.
With Mickis' return to the lineup, Sven's demotion, and the news that Curtis Glencross is a late scratch, Flames lines could look something like this:
Go Flames Go.