CALGARY - Troy Ward knew what the Flames players who’d received the news they were being sent to the minors were feeling, and had no problem relaying his own story.
In the summer of 2010, Ward was hoping to get the head coaching job for the AHL’s Houston Aeros. The gig went to Mike Yeo.
A year later, Yeo received another promotion, the head coaching position for the NHL’s Minnesota Wild.
The lesson Ward passed on was: “As much as I was disappointed, the reality is they picked the right guy. I’m glad for Mike Yeo. I understand they’re disappointed, but now you work hard and prove you deserve another chance.”
Ward put 15 players through their paces at the Saddledome Thursday before they all headed to Abbotsford for the AHL Heat’s training camp, which opens Saturday.
The disappointment among the players was obvious to see during the practice, and Ward expected it.
“Part of the disappointment is the healing process. The reality is this is the business and they have time to address it, but I have high expectations for Saturday.”
Among those on their way to Abbotsford was John Negrin, the 2007 third-round draft choice who is coming off a pair of injury-plagued seasons and didn’t see a pre-season game before the demotion.
“It’s tough to be sent down, but it’s another chapter,” said the defenceman. “For me, it’s about getting back out there and playing. I’m looking forward to working with the coaches there and working on the parts of my game I haven’t been able to the last couple of years.”
The Flames signed forward Turner Elson and defenceman James Martin to contracts. Both had been attending the team’s training camp on tryouts and inked two-way deals ... D Brett Carson (back) skated by himself after the three practices Thursday, while D Cory Sarich (pelvis) was participating in a yellow caution jersey, same for C Brendan Morrison (knee). LW Raitis Ivanans (concussion) didn’t skate.