Flames notes: Baertschi has a necessary learning process to navigate, says Hartley

 

Flames prospect disappointed to be sent to the minors, but head coach notes it’s for his own good

 
 
 
 
Sven Baertschi hunts for the puck against Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov during an NHL game last month. The Flames winger has since been sent back to the minors.
 

Sven Baertschi hunts for the puck against Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov during an NHL game last month. The Flames winger has since been sent back to the minors.

Photograph by: Herald files/Associated Press, AP

Bob Hartley realizes Sven Baertschi is gutted by his demotion to the minors — and gutted is not an exaggeration.

But the Calgary Flames head coach says there’s no reason for Baertschi to become despondent over assignment to what he calls the best hockey university in the world.

The American Hockey League.

“He’s an NHL baby,” Hartley said Monday morning. “It’s part of growing up, it’s part of the speed bumps that you have to go through in career.”

From the comfort of his Los Angeles hotel room on Sunday, Hartley watched Baertschi fire the puck wide in the shootout of a 3-2 Abbotsford Heat loss to the Rochester Americans.

In other words, par for the course.

“I was hoping that he would score, because that would have helped him tremendously,” Hartley said. “And he missed the net. Just his body language even when he picked up the puck at centre ice, you could tell that he feels that he let himself down, he let his family down, he let our organization down. And that’s not the case.

“For us, he’s not taking a step back by going down. He’s taking a step sideways.”

In 10 games with Calgary this season, Baertschi collected no goals and one assist.

“We are playing our season right now,” Hartley said. “We’ve tried him at several positions. We’ve tried him on power-plays and stuff like this. He’s been injured twice since the start of the season. It’s been tough.”

Both Hartley and Baertschi agree the situation might be totally different had the Swiss prospect scored, instead of hitting the post, on a wide-open net in Game 1 against San Jose.

“Those ifs, ifs,” Hartley said. “You can’t take them to the National Hockey League office and say we want to redeem those ifs for points in the standings. It doesn’t work like this for a young player.

“We had great meetings. Yes, his confidence level is low. And it’s normal.”

SARICH FINALLY DRAWS IN

Defenceman Cory Sarich refused to offer up polite platitudes Monday when asked about sitting out the last nine games as a healthy scratch

“It sucks,” he said. “I want to be playing and nobody likes to sit on the sidelines, so I think that phrase sums it up.

“Any time I get a chance to get out there and play, you get a chance to show what kind of player you are,” he said. “You get to remind them of what they’re missing or at least this is my opportunity.

“I’ve got to make the most of it.”

The six-foot-four, 207-pound Sarich gives the Flames a physical punch sorely lacking on the back end.

“I felt it was time for a change, time for new blood,” Hartley said of inserting Sarich into the lineup after two straight losses in California. “We’re giving up way too many goals.

“It’s a change of scenery, plus on Cory’s side, I think he deserves it. Like here’s a true professional who works so hard, has a great attitude, wants to contribute to the team’s success.”

FRASER’S FEELING FORTUNATE

So many NHL stars — even Hockey Hall of Famers — play their entire careers without seeing their names etched on the Stanley Cup.

So fourth liner Colin Fraser never forgets to relish the fact he already has two Stanley Cup rings in his jewelry collection at age 28.

The first came in 2009 with the Chicago Blackhawks. His second brush with the ultimate hockey experience came last summer as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.

“I’ve been fortunate and maybe a bit lucky too with timing,” said Fraser, who collected a goal and an assist in Saturday’s 6-2 win over the Calgary Flames. “I mean the Kings traded me in the off-season, and then we went on to win.

“The second time around was maybe a little more special in that I played every game during the playoffs versus in Chicago where I was obviously with the team all year, but I didn’t get to play as much.”

Fraser is still grateful to the good people in Sylvan Lake for helping him celebrate this summer by the water.

“We took a boat,” said the transplanted native of Sicamous, B.C. “My wife is actually friends with the mayor’s daughter. The mayor has a place on the lake, so we took a boat over to the pier and then walked the Cup to where they had a stage set up for me.

“It was really special. In a small-town community, everybody comes together. That’s what’s cool about the Stanley Cup is how it brings us all together.”

vhall@calgaryherald.com

 
 
 
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Sven Baertschi hunts for the puck against Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov during an NHL game last month. The Flames winger has since been sent back to the minors.
 

Sven Baertschi hunts for the puck against Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov during an NHL game last month. The Flames winger has since been sent back to the minors.

Photograph by: Herald files/Associated Press, AP

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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