SUN Hockey Pool

Stajan drags himself over coals

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:04 PM ET

CALGARY - Matt Stajan knows he's going to take a beating this summer. He took one all season long.

"Iím sure there will be a lot of bad rap about me this summer," the Flames centre said at the Saddledome Friday. "I will take a lot of heat.

"I will come back next year and try to prove this past season was a blip and not something that will keep on happening. Iím a better player than I showed this year."

But no one ó not his critics in the media or the fans unhappy with his work ó has been as hard on him as he's been on himself.

"I have an issue with my confidence and itís something I need to work on. I have to find the right things to think about. When you are playing with confidence, itís a world of difference, especially for a guy like myself."

"I have to get stronger and keep working. You work hard every summer to get yourself ready. Even the mental side, you need to find your way."

Stajan netted six goals and 31 points in 76 games in his first full season with the Flames ó a far cry from his career high of 55 with the Maple Leafs in 2008-09.

"It was a tough year. Iím not here to make excuses," said the 27-year-old. "I didnít play well consistently. I wanted to put up some more goals and contribute more.

"It wasnít that I didnít try or I wasnít working hard. It just never seemed to come together at any point. I will do a lot of thinking this summer to figure out why that was. I will work hard and make sure next year I come in having found my confidence.

"I wonít look back because this wasnít the year I wanted."

twitter.com/MacfarlaneSteve


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