SUN Hockey Pool

Huselius runs out of time

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:16 AM ET

Kristian Huselius has seen his ice time reduced again -- all the way to zero, having been scratched for last night's Calgary Flames game against the Vancouver Canucks.

Huselius, second on the team with 65 points, has been used only sporadically in recent games, and head coach Mike Keenan opted to insert rookie forward Dustin Boyd into the lineup instead for the critical clash with the division rival Canucks at the 'Dome.

"I just want to give Dustin Boyd an opportunity, so I put Dustin in and took Kristian out," said Keenan after the club's optional morning skate.

Asked what Huselius either had done or not done to warrant being sat out, Keenan replied: "I don't really want to get into that discussion."

Huselius didn't want to talk to the media in the morning.

In the past, the talented left winger has been criticized for not playing a tough enough game and not being responsible enough defensively.

Huselius has collected 24 goals and 41 points and a plus-12 rating, while averaging nearly 18 minutes per game this season. But in the three contests prior to facing the Canucks, he's played no more than 81/2 minutes, used mainly in a powerplay role.

The 29-year-old is due to become an unrestricted free agent after this season, finishing the final year of a deal paying him US$1.4 million per year.

Because he's not expected to re-sign with the Flames, Huselius was considered to be potential trade bait for the Flames at the deadline, but it's believed all the club was offered in exchange for him was draft picks.

Seeing as he could be an integral part of the equation during the battle for a playoff spot and potential run, it made no sense to deal away such a crafty and creative player for just draft picks.

However, if he's not going to play at all, it may have been a wiser course of action to trade him instead of receiving nothing in return.

It's quite a fall from a few months ago when he received all-star consideration.

Starting in January, he went 20 games without scoring a goal. After that skid, he had three goals and two assists in a four-game spree, but he was a minus-2 in the team's 3-0 loss in Columbus before having his ice time cut down.\


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