Hawks prepare for surging Calgary
February, 7, 2011
By Jesse Rogers
CALGARY -- There are some old sayings when it comes to family: Don't ever lend money to a relative and don't go into business with one either.
Bruce Bennett/Getty ImagesEver since Darryl Sutter left Calgary as general manager, the Flames have played much better.
Darryl and Brent Sutter learned the latter the hard way, and since Darryl, now the former general manager of the Calgary Flames, was let go in late December, the Flames have taken off.
"It changed even before Darryl got the boot," former Hawk Rene Bourque said Monday morning. "He put together this team, and we finally put it together on the ice."
Brent stayed on as coach, and since his brother left, the Flames are 11-3-4. After a near half season of bottom dwelling in the Western Conference, they've put themselves back in the playoff race, one point ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks.
"Over the last couple years the pressure has been building and we've been putting a lot of pressure on ourselves," Jerome Iginla said. "And maybe we haven't handled it as best, as players, or as an organization, but this year we've been trying to adjust that, and put fun back in the game."
In other words, when Darryl was around, it wasn't much fun -- even after wins some players said. Now the Flames are playing more relaxed.
"It's a little more awkward for the brothers because there are still 3 or 4 of them working for the team," Bourque joked.
Iginla got off to a slow start but leads the Flames in points with 22 goals and 27 assists. As usual, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook will be assigned to the player who has recorded 12 consecutive 20-goal seasons.
"You always have to be aware of him where he is on the ice," Keith said. "Sometimes he can be the most dangerous guy when he doesn't have the puck. He's good at finding those holes and getting open."
Power Play Change
Though the Hawks have the No. 1 power play in the league, Joel Quenneville made one change going into Monday's game against Calgary. He moved Troy Brouwer from the second unit to the first while dropping Marian Hossa down. A mainstay on the unit, Patrick Kane, explained the move.
"Well, sometimes, you have me, [Marian Hossa], [Patrick Sharp], Seabrook and [Jonathan] Toews," Kane said. "A lot of guys who want to handle the puck out there. Sometimes it's good to mix it up. I don't know if they are changing because of that or Bouwer is playing good but he's good in front of the net and screens the goalie."
Brouwer has eight points since Jan. 12 while Hossa has four in the same time frame, two came short-handed in one game.
John Scott rejoined the team on Sunday after missing Friday's game in Vancouver with the flu.
"It's the third time this year," Scott said. "I got hit with the flu after the Columbus trip. It knocked me out for a couple days."
Scott said he lost 10 pounds and wasn't able to finish Tuesday morning's practice, due to fatigue.
"I had no energy whatsoever," he said.
Barring a last minute change, the Hawks healthy scratches are John Scott, Ryan Johnson, and Jordan Hendry. With Scott's return to the team, they are once again at full strength.
Corey Crawford and Mikka Kiprusoff are the starting goalies.