Feeling the heat

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:36 AM ET

Darryl Sutter had the magic touch in the playoff run.

It won't be long to see if the Flames GM/head coach has still got it.

Upon coming home from the team's disappointing road trip through the Pacific Division, Sutter called out a handful of his players for not providing the secondary scoring needed to turn one-goal losses into victories.

"You've got real fast players and, in your new NHL, everybody talks about how important that is," Sutter said.

"We have four guys that you'd think wrote the script and they've got to produce for us."

On several occasions during the 2004 playoff run, Sutter stated specific players had to contribute more at various times and they all immediately delivered.

Players now in question are Chuck Kobasew (four goals), Steven Reinprecht (two goals), Shean Donovan (one goal) and Marcus Nilson (no goals).

After a shaky start to the season defensively -- torched for 20 goals in their first four games -- the Flames have climbed to ninth overall in league goals-against average.

Offensively, though, they're among the worst. Sutter said his second- and third-liners aren't pulling their weight.

"The one thing that doesn't change with the game is it's a big boys game," Sutter said.

"A big boys game means you have to be competitive in the areas where there's the nets and the paint.

"When we came back from the first trip, our biggest problem was very evident -- we were giving up a touchdown a game. We did a good job of that since, in the last nine games, a really good job, so now the next step is for those guys you depend on as producers to produce.

"They have to be more competitive in those areas that you get rewarded for."

Curiously, secondary scoring wasn't supposed to be as much of an issue for the Flames this season. Still, Sutter said there's plenty of time to turn around fortunes.

"We've been gone for nine games this month and had two significant injuries (forward Matthew Lombardi and blueliner Robyn Regehr)," Sutter said.

"Ask me the 15th of November, because at the 20-game mark, we're 10-and-10 home and road and, by then, we'll see Chuck Kobasew, Steven Reinprecht, Shean Donovan and Marcus Nilson, these guys, giving it more."


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