When you think of the Calgary Flames and a skills competition, a name which has to come up is Alex Tanguay.
There isn't a passing event, but Tanguay is arguably the Flames player possessiing the most pure skill.
However, he wasn't in attendance during Sunday's practice or the skills competition which followed, knocked out due to the flu, but he's expected to suit up†when the Flames depart Monday for a four-game road trip that begins the next night in Carolina.
"He's fine. From what I've been told, he will be ready to go," head coach Brent Sutter.
Tanguay has had a strong offensive season with 10 goals and 31 points in 42 games, but he has struggled each of the last two outings and been either benched for portions of games or demoted.
In the 5-4 shootout loss to Detroit, he was minus-2 and was also hit in the face by a puck.
Mikkelson back for duty
Just as the players headed into the dressing room from the skills competition, defenceman Brendan Mikkelson arrived at the Saddledome, fresh off a four-game conditioning stint with the AHL Abbotsford Heat.
Mikkelson collected one assist in his four games with the Heat, who went 2-1-1 in that span.
"He was fine," said Sutter of the reports of Mikkelson's play. "There was times he was really good and times he wasn't as good as he needs to be. It's tough for a player like that to go down and, in a short period of time, have his 'A' game every shift.
"The biggest thing for us was getting him in some game situations because he hadn't played in a while and get his conditioning back to game-like. Right now, our plans for next game are to stick with the same six defencemen, and we'll see how it unfolds."
Mikkelson was a healthy scratch in 14 games before being assigned Jan. 2. He was summoned so the team would have seven healthy defenceman for all of the upcoming four-game road trip out east.
The Flames actually will have eight defencemen on the trip, with Steve Staios back fully practising.
Staios suffered cracked ribs and a shoulder injury when hit during the Dec. 5 game against Chicago. He skated with all his teammates for the first time Sunday before partaking in the skills competition.
Staios has been cleared for contact, but it's not known when he'll be in the lineup.