Meaner, grittier demeanor sought by Hartley
Cammalleri says team needs to stand up for each other
The Calgary Flames acted like accident reconstruction specialists Friday as they dutifully conducted a post-mortem on the play that left head coach Bob Hartley seething.
Seething, in fact, to the point the Flames called up Akim Aliu from the minors in an attempt to add some semblance of nastiness to the lineup in time for Saturday’s clash with the Minnesota Wild.
“I think part of it is that he wants us to be...just grittier,” Jarome Iginla said after practice. “And maybe slightly meaner.”
At issue: the lack of response from the Flames when Trevor Lewis steamrolled goalie Joey MacDonald in Wednesday’s 3-1 Los Angeles Kings victory at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
The only consequences for Lewis came from the officials, who assessed a minor penalty for goaltender interference.
“You never want to see somebody run into your goalie like that,” said centre Matt Stajan. “You know that doesn’t go over easy in our room or with anybody.”
So why did no one call Lewis to task for his actions?
The answer, according to Iginla, is multi-faceted.
“That’s a tough one,” the captain said “In in a tight game - I think it was maybe 1-0 or 2-1 – we’re getting a power-play to try to tie it up. The refs are going to look for it if you go over and hit him.
“I don’t think that’s the time to do it.”
Timing aside, neither Iginla nor Stajan believe Lewis should have managed to go the entire night without hearing a peep from the Flames over the matter.
“Afterwards, you can remember it and you can try to make it harder on him and their goalie as far as being in front of him and in his face,” Iginla said.”We can remember.
“You bank it. Maybe you come later in the game.”
The issue is not necessarily a dead one.
“It’s definitely something we keep in our mind,” Stajan said. “We play those guys again. So it’s not about taking a penalty on the guy that did that or going to run their goalie, but teams have to know you can’t do that. That’s something that’s known throughout the league.
“Maybe because we didn’t have success for the rest of that game or do anything with that power-play, people point to that particular play.”
The boss pointed out that particular play Wednesday night in his post-game news conference.
On Friday, Hartley said it’s not necessarily about dropping the gloves.
“No, no,” the coach said. “It’s playing the game. This game is about being gritty. It’s a physical came. We’re not talking about croquet over here.”
Enter the six-foot-four, 225-pound Aliu.
“We’re talking about a game of passion that world-class athletes play,” Hartley said. “You need a certain size. I think Akim brings that size.”
Listed at five-foot-nine, 190 pounds, the diminutive Michael Cammalleri does not exactly bring size. But the assistant captain figures grittiness is hardly limited to those blessed in stature.
“There’s a myriad of things I guess you could consider toughness on the ice,” he said. “For us, we need to be a group that stands up for one another and also, I guess have, have an aggressive tone to our game.
“I guess that will give you overall toughness.”
Fourth liner Steve Begin figures he knows exactly what Hartley is looking for in terms of grit.
“When he talks about toughness, he doesn’t mean fighting all the time,” said the cagey veteran. “He means finishing our checks, battling around the net and on the boards. That’s what tough means.
“Lately, we’ve been losing too many battles, too many loose pucks. If we don’t do it, we’re going to lose games. Right now, that’s what we need.
“Work harder and being tougher on the ice.”
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
Akim Aliu, left, was called up from the Abbotsford Heat to provide a little more grit to the Calgary Flames lineup. He will play on a line with Tim Jackman, pictured, and Steve Begin Saturday night when they host the Minnesota Wild.
Photograph by: Ted Rhodes, Calgary Herald