ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Forget Dallas Stars pest Steve Ott, despised Nashville Predator Jordin Tootoo, and even New York Rangers goof Sean Avery.
The most hated man in the Flames' world right now is Cal Clutterbuck.
At least for the moment.
He made an impact both on the body and on the scoresheet last night in the Minnesota Wild's 4-1 win over the Flames at the Xcel Energy Center.
Slamming into Dion Phaneuf around the time a whistle began to blow, and later checking Robyn Regehr in the back, Clutterbuck didn't stop attempting to hammer Flames at every opportunity.
Blueliners Adam Pardy and Cory Sarich also fell victim to the pest's body blows -- although somehow the league's most frequent hitter was credited with just two on the night.
"You know what he's gonna do. He's gonna try to run around and get after guys, and hit guys," said Regehr. "You know he's not gonna fight -- he's been asked plenty of times, and he doesn't do that."
But letting guys like that get in your head is a symptom of a bigger problem.
Last night, it was the Flames' own lack of fight. By the time Clutterbuck got Sarich twisted up to tap in a pass from Kyle Brodziak for the final goal of the game, the contest had been decided. It was the physical play that told the story.
Obviously outclassed in terms of energy as they played for the seventh time in 11 nights, Regehr and his teammates were stuck taking hits instead of dishing them out the way they normally do.
"We gave them the opportunity to get after us and play in our zone," Regehr said, pointing to missed passes and turnovers offering plenty of chances to pin the Flames deep.
"That gives them opportunities to come in and get hits and play physical. Usually, when we're doing what we're supposed to, it's our team, it's our guys that are getting those opportunities."