As far as unlikely reunions go, some would’ve wagered that Charlie Sheen would be invited back to the set of Two and a Half Men before Ales Kotalik skated another shift for the Calgary Flames.
Maybe there’s still hope for fans of the suddenly-shelved sitcom.
After an 18-game exile to the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat, Kotalik was officially recalled for Wednesday’s practice at the Saddledome. The enigmatic winger is expected to be in the Flames lineup for Thursday’s clash with the Colorado Avalanche.
“It’s been a tough time for me, but right now, that’s in the past,” Kotalik said. “It’s about what I can do now. There’s no time for hard feelings in this particular situation. I have nothing against anybody. And if there is going to be anything, we will talk about it after the season, not now.”
The Flames suddenly need Kotalik to help prolong their campaign past the April 9 regular-season finale and into the first playoff round.
With injuries to Brendan Morrison, David Moss and Fredrik Modin, the club needed another healthy forward. In fact, if not for the 24-hour waiver period required to recall a player with a one-way contract from the minors, they probably would’ve summoned Kotalik in time for Tuesday’s loss to the Phoenix Coyotes.
“When Ales went down, it was because of certain circumstances. And he’s been brought here to play because of certain circumstances,” said Flames head coach Brent Sutter. “At the end of the day, we need him to play well for us. I never got into thinking, will he be back or not be back? Situations occurred here that have given him another opportunity.
“It’s a great challenge for him and hopefully he can rise to it.”
The US$3-million man certainly earned a second chance with the big club.
In 18 outings with Abbotsford, the 32-year-old Kotalik averaged just over a point per game. Heat head coach Jim Playfair repeatedly praised his attitude and work ethic.
“I felt good lately, so hopefully I can bring it here and play my game, compete and do the things the right way,” Kotalik said. “It’s an opportunity to step in and help. Especially this time of year, that’s the most exciting part. I’m not going to be a different player than I’ve been. I’m going to go out and try to do things right and not worry about the other things.
“I’m glad for this opportunity, coming back, and I’ll do everything I can to help this team.”