Flames notes: Club leaning on up-and-comer Brodie for blueline minutes
Only three players are getting more ice time than the 22-year-old
The Calgary Flames have put a lot on T.J. Brodie’s shoulders. And on his skates.
Wednesday against the Vancouver Canucks, the young defenceman ably handled 26 minutes of ice time — for the second time in the past two weeks. The workload is not without purpose.
“T.J. has been unbelievable,” said coach Bob Hartley. “It started before the trade of Jay Bouwmeester. But now, with the departure of Bouw, there’s obviously increased responsibility for T.J. I think he’s in the mix of becoming another Jay Bouwmeester.
“He’s a fluid skater. He can skate forever without breaking a sweat.”
Brodie, 22, now averages 19:34 of ice time. Only veterans Dennis Wideman, Mark Giordano and Alex Tanguay play more for Calgary.
“Obviously, he’s adjusting to life in the NHL,” Hartley said of Brodie, a fourth-round pick in 2008. “I’m quite impressed.”
Not bad for a player who had been a healthy scratch in Game 1.
Brodie, at minus-11, could use some defensive shoring up. Then again, he’s only a third-year pro.
“You need to give T.J. lots of credit,” said Hartley. “Plus (associate coach) Jacques Cloutier has worked lots of hours on the video and after practice with him. T.J. is a great young man. He’s a great student. He wants to learn the game and, over here, he sees a great opportunity to become a very important part of our defensive squad.”
MAX TO THE MAX
Max Reinhart, through the first three games of his NHL career, is drawing rave reviews.
“Great,” Hartley said when asked to assess the youngster’s performance. “I really like his game. I think he’s adjusting well to the speed of the NHL.”
The rookie centre has one point, to go with a minus-two rating and an average of more than 15 minutes of ice time.
“He brings grit,” said Hartley. “He’s on the puck. I think he has the potential to become a good two-way player for us. There’s still a long ways to go, but he’s got a great attitude. He’s showing up. You see him in puck battles. He’s there and competing hard.”
KIPPER RESTING UP
Goalie Miikka Kiprusoff stayed off the ice Thursday.
“He was bruised a little bit,” said Hartley. “Let’s call it a maintenance day, a rest day.”
The coach added that Joey MacDonald will start Friday.
Taking part in Thursday morning’s session had been winger Jiri Hudler (upper body), who will probably play Friday against the Coyotes, and enforcer Brian McGrattan (shoulder), who wore a yellow don’t-hit-me shirt.
Winger Steve Begin, who got only 17 seconds of ice time Wednesday before being sidelined by a puck in the noggin, may suit up.
“The swelling has gone down,” said Hartley. “He wanted to skate (Thursday) morning, but the medical staff preferred to give him a day off. We have a chance to see both guys (Hudler and Begin) in the lineup (Friday).”
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