Hartley sets expectations high for prospects
Conditioning now paramount throughout the Flames’ organization
They’ve been warned. Any less than tip-top fitness will not be tolerated.
Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley told the gathering of 44 prospects exactly that at the team’s developmental camp last week. Fitness testing had taken place Wednesday at the University of Calgary.
“The first criteria will be conditioning,” said Hartley, heading into his second season with the National Hockey League club, now in the early stages of a rebuild. “I want to create an identity, especially since we’re going with some younger guys, that we will be a team that’s very resilient. We’ll never quit. We want to play an up-tempo game and the only way to achieve this is to skate and to be in shape.”
For the slackers, for the weak, for the pudgy, there is some good news — they have two months to get up to snuff before rookie camp opens.
“That’s what’s expected of everyone so it’s fair game for everyone,” Hartley said. “They have plenty of time to even improve their conditioning if they feel it’s not good enough.
“And that’s the way it’s going to be.”
Hartley, meanwhile, got a bit of a buzz the other night — taking a spin in a chuckwagon at the Stampede grounds.
“My chuckwagon ride was unbelievable,” said the Hawkesbury, Ont., native. “It was my first experience at the Stampede. Chad Harden, the driver, was just so nice and it was a real thrill for me to be on the same track as all those great guys.”
asdSDASDASDWhile he gets full marks for his hockey-ish name, Linden Penner’s favourite sport provided some ups and downs this past season.
n Down, getting released by the Saskatoon Blades. (“Kind of disheartened.”)
n Up, enjoying a bountiful winter with the Whitecourt Wolverines of the AJHL. (“Good experience.”)
n Down, not being drafted by a NHL team.
n Up, being invited to the Flames’ summer camp. (“Pretty surprising. I was so stoked.”)
n Up, scoring twice in Saturday’s scrimmage at WinSport’s Ice Complex, which had been brimming with fans.
“It was pretty cool to score those goals and have everyone cheering,” said Penner, an unheralded 18-year-old. “I’ve never skated at this level before, so it was definitely a big jump for me. But I enjoyed it. It was pretty fun out there.”
Also scoring were Sean Monahan, Coda Gordon, and Markus Granlund.
But in a game that featured the NHL-groomed likes of Sven Baertschi and Roman Horak, it was Penner who stole the show.
Taking a swell feed from Josh Jooris, Penner opened the scoring by picking the top glove-hand corner on netminder Jon Gillies. Later in the session, he crammed home some garbage.
“That first goal? I don’t score skill goals very often — I score greasy ones like the second one,” said the Sherwood Park native, who collected 34 points, including 14 tallies, in 40 appearances for Whitecourt. “I mean, that was pretty cool. I was pretty impressed.”
The wide-bodied winger — six foot three, 215 pounds — is bound this upcoming winter for the Everett Silvertips of the WHL.
“I’m going to try out. No guarantees,” said Penner. “But I’m going to work really hard to crack a spot on that roster. I’ve heard Kevin Constantine is the coach that’ll put you in The Show if you have it. So I’m pretty excited.”
In the post-game shootout — featuring 10 attempts — Morgan Klimchuk and Granlund converted.
C-NOTES: The Flames rookies scrimmage again Monday, at 10 a.m.
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