Baertschi rattled after Flames make him a healthy scratch for a second straight game
Young forward vows to be a pro about the situation, but his anger over sitting is evident
St. Louis, Mo. — Sitting in the press box for his second straight game as a healthy scratch and for the third game this season did not sit well with Sven Baertschi.
With two left-wingers sidelined with injuries — Lee Stempniak and, now, Curtis Glencross — the Calgary Flames decided to go with the recently called up Max Reinhart in his place against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night. The team’s 13th overall pick from 2011 was also scratched on Tuesday’s 5-1 loss at Minnesota and in another 5-1 loss on Oct. 24 at Dallas.
“Of course, it rattles me. It pi**es me off, to be honest with you,” said Baertschi who was speaking with the media for the first time since he’d been scratched Tuesday in Minnesota. “You want to be out there, you want to help the team. If you’re not out there, you just sit around and it sucks.”
With Glencross back in Calgary dealing with a second degree MCL sprain which will keep him out of the line up for six weeks, the Flames had Lance Bouma on the left wing in his spot on the team’s top line with centreman Matt Stajan and David Jones. The team’s second line — Michael Cammalleri, Joe Colborne, and T.J. Galiardi — was still together and left winger Tim Jackman is set to play with rookie Sean Monahan and the team’s leading scorer Jiri Hudler.
Baertschi, however, had no choice but to treat Thursday like another day at the office.
“It’s just being a pro,” said the 21-year-old, who has one assist in four games since being scratched the last time, Oct. 24 when the team was on the road in Dallas. “For me, it’s my second year as a pro hockey player now. What you should do is worry about yourself and I just hope the guys win.
“That’s the worst part about it. You just can’t do anything. In Minnesota, we lose 5-1 and you’re just watching the game. That’s the worst part. You just want to be out there and try to help the team but you can’t.”
The Flames have challenged the offensively-gifted Baertschi multiple times this season to become a more complete player in all three zones. In 13 games, he has produced one goal and four assists and is a minus-one.
Head coach Bob Hartley, not going into specifics, said he had met with Baertschi prior to Tue sday’s game against the Wild to go over video with the Swiss winger.
Hartley was asked about the decision to sit him again, if it was another teaching tool for the young player.
“It’s a teaching tool for everyone,” Hartley said. “Whether you play or don’t play. You have to find a way to be in the lineup as an athlete. You know, we’re with him. The other day, I saw with him for probably 45 minutes before the Minnesota game with him. We told him what we need, showed him what he’s doing. We’re doing this with everyone. This morning, I had Jackman, I had Colborne, I had Monahan . . . that’s how we work on a day-to-day basis.”
After being scratched in Dallas, Baertschi vowed to improve his defensive game and had already been called out by Brian Burke, president of hockey operations, before the start of the season.
Last season, between injuries and a stint in the minors, he suited up for 20 games in Calgary and had 10 points — nine of them in his final seven appearances.
Baertschi, trying to remain upbeat, noted the support he’s been receiving teammates and from Flames fans.
“For me, when times aren’t that great or if it’s not working out right now, I’ve still got the support from them,” Baertschi said. “It’s nice when you turn on Twitter and there are a lot of people telling me to keep my head up and they’re there to support you. That’s huge for me, especially in a city like Calgary. They’re there for you. They’re there to help you. They want to help you in good and bad times. I really appreciate that.”
But the only way to prove himself is to play and improve, so what now if he’s not playing?
“All I can do is whenever I get a chance, I just try to do my best and that’s it,” Baertschi said. “For me, I’ll just try to work hard every day at practice and hard during games. That’s something that’s up to you. You’ve got certain things you’re in control of. Those other things, just worry about them and the rest usually just works itself out.
“They see you’re ready to go and they’ll put you out there.”
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