SUN Hockey Pool

Top trio working out kinks

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:31 AM ET

After a practice-heavy first week of the pre-season schedule, the Calgary Flames now play four games in six nights.

"Games change here. Now you're starting to play against NHL players," said head coach Brent Sutter.

Therefore, the club wants to see how its top prospects fare against legitimate big leaguers, while its top players will be counted on to ready their game for the season-opener against the Edmonton Oilers.

Especially the top line of Jarome Iginla, Olli Jokinen and Alex Tanguay.

"It's important for us to get to a certain -- I don't know if its chemistry or a comfort level with one another," Tanguay said. "Yeah, we'd like to score five points and win games, but our mindset is to get ready for that Oct. 7 game."

Calgary's need for its top trio to produce was high before camp started, but with injuries shelving centres Daymond Langkow and Matt Stajan, it becomes more important.

"It's not quite up to par yet," Tanguay said of the three of them putting the pieces together.

"That's normal. You expect a progression. I think we're starting to see each other better, and that's a good sign."

The Flames sent another trio of players to the minors Monday morning, goalie Matt Keetley and defencemen John Negrin and Keith Seabrook, giving them 35 players in camp -- three goalies, 11 defencemen and 21 forwards, including Langkow, Stajan and Ryan Stone (knee).

ICE CHIPS

Left-wingers Rene Bourque and Raitis Ivanans didn't practice due to undisclosed reasons ... D Gord Baldwin was placed on waivers Monday, a necessary step to send him to the minors ... The Flames announced that former Calgary Hitmen defenceman Giffen Nyren and minor league vet Matt Keith signed AHL deals with the Abbotsford Heat.


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