SUN Hockey Pool

Stajan healthy but feeling blue

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

CALGARY - There was no tirade, no condemnation of the coach and no demand for a trade from Matt Stajan about being a healthy scratch.

But don't for a second think the Calgary Flames centre was OK about being in press row during Friday's game against the Ducks either.

Stajan was obviously disappointed about being sat out, but looked much like a player who received a message loud and clear after Sunday's practice at the Saddledome.

"It's not something you want to happen on a regular basis, that's for sure," he said. "There's a lot of us that need to play better. On that night, that was the decision and I have to play better. I can't sit here and say, 'It shouldn't have been me,' or 'what if?' You've just got to play better."

Stajan will likely suit up when the Flames play host to the Columbus Blue Jackets Monday, although there are no guarantees, even for the last-place club coming off a pair of losses.

"It's never something you expect, but you put it behind you and make sure you do what you can do," he said. "I have to make sure when I get an opportunity to contribute the way I can and make sure I don't put myself in a position where I can be expendable and be taken out of the lineup."

Stajan's skill levels are at the point where he shouldn't be even considered for scratching.

However, with just one goal this season -- in fact, just one goal in his last 43 games -- it's not to the level of expectations from the centre acquired in the Dion Phaneuf trade last season and in the first campaign of a four-year, US$14-million contract.

"We need everybody playing up to their standards," said head coach Brent Sutter. "We're in a situation now where we can't have guys playing at 60, 65, 70%. We need the full 100% in every aspect of their game within the team confines."

On the Omark

Flames goalie Henrik Karlsson played with Linus Omark, so he wasn't surprised to see the move the Edmonton Oilers rookie used to score in the shootout against Tampa Bay.

"He has a lot of confidence," Karlsson said.

Omark capped his first NHL game by first doing a spin-o-rama outside the blueline, faking a slapshot and then firing the puck through the legs of Lightning goalie Dan Ellis.

Naturally, it's created a debate whether players should be so flamboyant in the shootout.

"I wouldn't have the gusto to do that, but I don't mind it. It's an opportunity for guys to showcase their skills," said Flames centre Brendan Morrison.

"That's all part of the flair of the shootout," coach Brent Sutter said. "Obviously, us older-schooled guys see things a little differently, but at the end of the day, it's part of the game." Do what you see fit. Just try to score."

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