Cervenka looks to gain momentum after two-goal game
Czech forward has had a tough first year with Flames, but Sunday’s performance gives hope for the future
Roman Cervenka touched down in Calgary in January with the billing of one of the best players on the planet outside the NHL and a lock to make the top-six for the Flames.
He subsequently landed in head coach Bob Hartley’s doghouse to the point of watching games high above the ice with reporters in the press box.
But the enigmatic Czech at least took a step (actually two) on Sunday to getting back in Hartley’s good graces with two goals in a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues.
“Roman played a great game,” Hartley said. “We saw his skills. His skills are not a surprise to us. The way he started the game, the way he skated, I felt that Roman, Jiri Hudler and Mikael Backlund had a very good game for us.”
After the game, Hudler served as translator for the media with Cervenka, who is still not comfortable enough to answer questions in English.
But make no mistake: Cervenka, 27, comprehends more than he might let on.
“It’s better than everybody else thinks,” Hudler said. “He understands almost everything. He is going to answer only things he wants to answer, right . . . He’s shy still. It makes sense, right?
“You’ve got to find that in yourself. It’s not like you can pick it up from someone. He’s asking me the words, what they mean, trying to put them together. He gets funny. Sometimes, he’s talking English at home when we’re having dinner. He sees something on TV, he repeats that, so it’s fun.”
With six AHL games under his belt, Sven Baertschi is adjusting to life back in the minors with the Abbotsford Heat.
But the No. 1 prospect in the Flames organization is clearly still trying to wrap his head around what went wrong in Calgary.
“I really felt uncomfortable to a point,” Baertschi told Abbotsford News sports editor Dan Kinvig about his time with the Flames. “Stuff happened that, let’s say, was tough to understand for me — coach’s decisions and stuff.
“I had a tough time. Certain games I was playing well, but then I didn’t get a big chance because maybe he (Hartley) didn’t trust me enough yet. It’s tough to say as a coach – he has a lot of pressure, because he has to make the playoffs this year.
“I was trying my best up there, and in the end, I guess I wasn’t good enough.”
In six games with the Heat, Baertschi has two goals and assist. He reminded Kinvig that both Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, of the Abbotsford Heat, spent time in the minors during their respective rookie seasons. And he talked the pain and suffering of people out there in the so-called real world.
“I see things on TV where people are poor or they have cancer — then I’m like, why am I so angry?” Baertschi said. “Why am I so frustrated?
“It’s been a weird season so far,” he added. “But that’s the way it goes. I’m here, and I love these guys and the coaching staff and everything. I have fun down here.”
And that’s what Hartley told him to do above all upon re-assignment to Abbotsford — learn to have fun again.
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