January 2, 2011
Backlund cool to Heat demotion
By STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency
It's more of a conditioning stint than a demotion, but that didn't leave Mikael Backlund any less disappointed.
The rookie headed to the AHL's Abbotsford Heat Sunday — along with seventh defenceman Brendan Mikkelson — after sitting out the last six games with the Flames as a healthy scratch.
"It's always fun to play the game instead of watching it, so that will be good," said Backlund, trying to look at the positives after the game in Edmonton Saturday night.
"But my goal this year wasn't to go down at all, so of course I feel bad I didn't accomplish that."
The Swedish centre has four goals and eight points in 32 games this season and has been on the sidelines during the Flames' current four-game winning streak.
The Heat play four games this week, which will allow both Backlund and Mikkelson to get some on-ice action before joining the Flame on their lengthy trek out east later this month.
Drafted in the first round, 24th overall, in 2007, the 21-year-old Backlund was hoping to stick with the Flames full-time this season. He doesn't have to clear waivers but won't be paid his NHL salary while in Abbotsford.
Because Mikkelson was assigned on a conditioning stint, he will.
Mikkelson has two assists in 20 games with the Flames but hasn't played since Dec. 1.