The full training camp roster is here; however, it's already been trimmed down a bit. Eric Roy, who was injured during the first Penticton game, has been returned to the Brandon Wheat Kings. Matt Mancina, the lone goalie invite who currently plays for the Guelph Storm, was released as well. Mancina did not get any ice time during the tournament. Pavel Padakin was released as well, but he won't have to go far, as he returns to the Calgary Hitmen.
Tyler Wotherspoon and Emile Poirier remain out of action as both continue to recover from shoulder surgery. Joining them on the shelf is Sam Bennett, who missed the final period of the Penticton tournament with groin problems. It's just day one, so there isn't anything to worry about yet.
Corey Potter joins Wotherspoon and Poirier with a shoulder issue, while Mikael Backlund was held out of the scrimmaging with an abdominal strain and may miss training camp. As he said on the Flames' site (all quotes are from video interviews):
"It's been there for a few weeks. Back home in Sweden when I was training, my last two weeks were pretty intense, just pushed it a little too hard. I just woke up one morning and it was really sore. I thought it was regular soreness from training. And then it just didn't go away, and I realized something was wrong. When I got to Calgary here a week later trainers got word right away and started treating it as an injury. It hasn't settled down yet, but it's gotten a lot better, so it's on the right way.
"I haven't put up a timeline. I just don't wanna put up a timeline and I'm not back at it, I just don't wanna get disappointed on that. So I'll just take it day by day, see it progress, and just try to get better every day.
"Just talked to my agent the other day and he said he had this problem for a full year when he played. I don't wanna go through that. It's important that I stay patient, don't rush anything, so when I get back to playing I'm gonna be healthy the rest of the year, and it's not gonna bug me, 'cause I don't want that to happen. I just wanna take my time now instead of having setbacks later in the season."
He also talked about how he improved last season, and plans to carry it over to this one once healthy:
"I enjoyed it more, just played my game, I let myself be myself out there. I didn't overthink anything too much, and I'll just be more confident with myself and just let it all out there, let myself be the player I really can be and that's why I got better as the season went on. That's why I didn't work before, cause I was thinking way too much, and I was worried about things, and now I just let it go."
While these players sat out, two scrimmages were underway on the first day of camp. Goal scoring kicked off in a mixture of both old and new names:
For those that really want a scoring summary, Setoguchi (McD), Raymond (Nie) and Hudler (Nie) in Nieuwendy's 2-1 win over McDonald. Flames?src=hash">#Flames— Aaron Vickers (@AAVickers) September 19, 2014
Brodie (McD), Baertschi (Ver) and Stajan (Ver) scored in Vernon's 2-1 win over McDonald. #Flames— Aaron Vickers (@AAVickers) September 19, 2014
Last season, the Flames gained a reputation as a hard working club, largely thanks to the work of Bob Hartley. He was pleased with the start of camp:
"I really liked our first day. I thought that the pace of the two games was great. We got exactly what we wanted. I thought that there was great execution, even though it was day one, our conditioning level... When you start a camp, the first step to have a good camp, to have a good season, is you can't fall behind, and it starts with conditioning. Even in the second game, I thought that the pace would go down slightly. It went up, and that's a real good sign. I know it's only the first day, but very competitive, some solid action in the three zones, so I'm very happy."
Deryk Engelland introduced himself:
"I'm pretty simple, stay-at-home d-man. Play physical, tough, stick up for my teammates, block shots, and just play tough, physical, and that's about it.
"Coming from Pittsburgh, I was a veteran guy, but there were a lot of older guys. Coming here, I'm the second or third oldest guy on the team. I think the leadership role is going to be bigger here, and coming in and being able to play more. When I was talking to [the Flames] this summer, they want me to grow as a player also, so coming in I think I can grow a little more as a player than what I had in Pittsburgh, and come in and help the team grow, help the rebuild."
Brandon Bollig has similar expectations for himself:
"My goal this camp is obviously to come and show that they made a good trade to get me. So obviously I wanna show them everything I have, and hopefully kind of grow my responsibilities coming here from Chicago. I had a good role there, and played some good minutes, but obviously my goal here would be to gain more and have a bigger responsibility. I think goal number one for me is just work as hard as I can, and hopefully find myself in a good spot here come day one."
As does Sean Monahan, who is entering his second camp and with it, his second season:
"I think last year obviously was a good learning experience. I came in and I didn't know what to expect. My main goal was to make the team and try and help the team win, and fortunately enough I made the team. But I think this year I have a lot to prove and to better myself. I think the biggest thing for me is just to be better than last year and do whatever I can to help this team get in a playoff position."
To close, here are some comments from Mark Giordano, just to remind you how lucky the Flames are to have him as captain:
"We have so much competition at each position this year, which is really important for our organization. But I think internally we're approaching it with the mindset that we're not happy, obviously. We took steps in the right direction, but we're not happy not being in the playoffs. It's been a while, and we want to push for that playoff spot as soon as possible. So it starts for us tomorrow on ice, and it's important to get going right off the bat.
"There're guys coming in on tryouts, and there's gonna be a battle in every position. On the blueline there's gonna be a battle for ice time, there's gonna be a battle for spots to make the team. I like the additions we've made. We've got Deryk Engelland, who comes from an organization that's been in playoffs a lot, and has had a winning record for the past few seasons. And then a guy like [Sheldon] Brookbank, same story. He's been around a winning atmosphere, and I think it'll help. And with [Raphael] Diaz too, I remember playing against him a ton, and he has a bomb of a shot and can really move the puck. So it's gonna be a good competition. Our young guys are gonna wanna push, too, for that spot, so it's gonna be really competitive, and that's the best way to get ready for the season.
"I saw Johnny [Gaudreau] play a bit at the end of last year, in practice with him maybe once or twice, and played a game with him, but just really interested to see him for when in camp, [Sam] Bennett as well. But then there's a lot of other guys who might not be the big names, but they're pushing for spots. I'd like to see how [Patrick Sieloff] is doing, I know he had a tough year with injuries last year. And just a ton of guys... [Corban Knight], Billy Arnold... I mean, I'm just excited about camp. I know those young guys are gonna come in, and they're ready. They've been playing for a week, so we have to catch up to speed here."
Day two of training camp resumes with more practices and two more scrimmages before the real preseason gets underway with a split squad game against the Edmonton Oilers. Those games will be on Sunday, Sep. 21 in both Calgary and Edmonton at 6 p.m. MT.