Print Edition: November 6, 2013
After last weekend’s 3-1 loss to the Lake Erie Monsters, Heat coach Troy Ward mentioned how he was trying to “get some guys in the lineup and figure out what we have.” Highly-touted players like defenseman John Ramage and forward Michael Ferlund have both been healthy scratches recently, as Heat management continues to take players in and out of the lineup. Trying to feel out the skill level of the team and keep players fresh when call-ups from Calgary come, Heat management is still searching for that perfect lineup combination. Familiarity and chemistry will develop over time, as players distinguish themselves and begin to hold one another accountable for plays. But until they can develop some consistent on-ice synergy, the roster will likely be subject to tweaks on a nightly basis.
After a rough start in his first two appearances in net for the Heat, Surrey native Laurent Brossoit has been sent down to the Alaska Aces of the ECHL and Joni Ortio has been called up in his stead. Brossoit, who let in nine goals on his first 42 shots faced will have time to gain confidence for a proper return to the Heat lineup. In the meantime, Joni Ortio, who has posted a .944 save percentage and a 1.01 GAA in four games with the Ice has joined the Heat for their road trip to Utica and Hamilton. The biggest question mark on the Calgary Flames right now is between the pipes, with Reto Berra and Karri Rämö dividing up time in net, and Joey MacDonald shuffling back to the Heat after passing through waivers. If Ortio can continue his outstanding play with the Heat, he may be given a shot with the Flames sometime this season.
19-year-old defenseman Patrick Sieloff has been sidelined by injury, and will likely not return to the lineup for quite some time. The young defender played only two games with the Heat before suffering a lower-body injury. Coach Ward explained to the media the effects Sieloff’s injury has on the team. “We miss the 19-year-old. He’s the youngest [defenseman] in the league and we miss him because he’s physical and he’s honest. It’s like playing against a 32-year-old. He’s so mature in his approach to the game. He knows his role. He gets it. This kid gets it.” There is no timetable for Sieloff’s return.
When the Calgary Flames made the difficult decision to severe ties with their captain Jarome Iginla last season, nobody was shocked. After the Flames’ dismal record the past few seasons, the writing was on the wall that a rebuild was imminent, and the face of the franchise was the first to go. Once the dust settled, everyone’s gaze shifted to Ben Hanowski, the major piece coming to Calgary in return for Iginla. Hanowski doesn’t look out of place in his first 10 games with the Heat. In fact, the forward has four goals and eight points to kick off the season, and has yet to take a penalty.
Another intriguing player coming into this season was Corban Knight, who was picked up from Florida for a fourth round draft pick. Knight has also impressed on the scoreboard, with four goals and nine points in the first ten outings this year.
Defenseman Chad Billins has also done his fair-share of lighting the lamp early in the season. Through his first 10 games with the Heat, Billins has recorded five goals, which is halfway to his totals from last year with Grand Rapids. Four of his goals have come on the man-advantage, potting half of the team’s powerplay markers, and that has caught the eye of Flames management, as Billins was called up for the first time to open November in the NHL.
The Heat return to Abbotsford for a four-game home stand with back-to-back games against San Antonio on November 5 and 6. The puck drops at the AESC at 7 p.m.