More than a few Calgarians will be rubbing their eyes and pinching themselves when they hear "#14...THEORENNNN FLEURYYYYY" ring out over the Saddledome PA system tonight when the Flames face the Islanders in their second pre-season tune-up, but this is no dream, folks, this is reality. 41-year-old Fleury will take the next step in his bid to return to the NHL tonight, as he joins fellow Flames veterans Jarome Iginla, Daymond Langkow, Craig Conroy, and Olli Jokinen, who will all see their first action of the pre-season when the puck drops at 7PM MT. Iginla and Jokinen are expected to skate on a line with Mikael Backlund while Fleury will be sharing second-line duty with Langkow and Dawes.
Fleury says he doesn't know how he'll react when he steps onto Saddledome ice for the first time in a decade, but he knows it'll be emotional; "it will be a special evening," he told reporters after Wednesday's practice. Jay Bouwmeester will make his highly anticipated Flames debut tonight, alongside fellow blueliners Robyn Regehr, Dion Phaneuf, Cory Sarich, and Mark Giordano. Fredrik Sjostrom was also scheduled to suit up for his first game as a Flame this evening, but after taking a puck to the eye during Wednesday's practice he will likely sit out in favour of David Moss. Kiprusoff is expected to get the start in goal, but will likely split the duties with recently signed minor leaguer David Shantz. Here are more projected line combinations and defensive pairings, courtesy of the Flames Insider:
Stuart-Jaffray-Van der Gulik
Unrelated obsession of the day: Have a mentioned how much I love the new NHL 2K10 commercial? Because I do. A lot.