Calgary Flames Daily: Kris Versteeg practicing, Mike Smith close to return

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 15: Kris Versteeg
DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 15: Kris Versteeg /

It’s game day! The Calgary Flames take on the Ottawa Senators tonight while Kris Versteeg and Mike Smith are close to returning.

Breathe easy Flames fans. Mike Smith is very close to returning and Kris Versteeg has been practicing. In a crucial point in the season where the Calgary Flames need to win about 10 of their remaining 14 games, getting these two back will be pivotal. While David Rittich and Jon Gillies have been alright, they haven’t been Mike Smith. And as good as David Rittich has been as a backup, that’s just it. He’s a good backup.

When the Flames were depending on him more, it was clear that he isn’t ready for an NHL starting role just yet. But he’s an incredible backup and getting Smith back will be great for both goaltenders. Smith is with the team in Ottawa right now, but he won’t be playing. However, he’s very close to returning and we may even see him in net on Sunday. Let’s just hope he doesn’t rush into it just because he wants to help his team.

There is also Kris Versteeg who is now practicing without his no-contact jersey, meaning he’s also very close to returning to the lineup. He’s practicing down in Stockton and getting more practices in with the minors before coming back. It can be as quick as next week when he returns.

The Flames have really been missing his right-handed shot on the powerplay and have been missing his contributions to secondary scoring on that third line.

For tonight’s matchup against the Ottawa Senators, the Flames will be going with the exact same lineup as last time with David Rittich in net again. The Flames played a great game against the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday evening and Rittich was very close to his first career shutout. 17 seconds away from a shutout. The Flames still won 5-1 and will be hoping to continue that energy and momentum tonight.

Related Story: Flames win in Buffalo as Sabres spoil Rittich's shutout

Some links surounding the Flames

Game Day: Five things to watch as Flames take on Senators (Calgary Sun).

Game Day: Calgary Flames at Ottawa Senators (Calgary Sun).

How the Flames found Johnny Gaudreau: ‘Reminded me of Gretzky’ (Sportsnet).

Flames forward Lazar hopes win is on the menu in return to Ottawa (Calgary Sun).

Some links surrounding hockey and the NHL

Going streaking with Devils’ Taylor Hall (FanSided).

Marchand fined for embellishment in Bruins game against Penguins (

Where Patrik Laine fits in among the NHL’s goal scoring elite (Sportsnet).

Next: Flames Roundtable - Post-trade deadline, playoff hopes

That’s all in today’s Flames Daily!