BOSTON - Talk about an eerie sight.
In the aftermath of the Calgary Flames 9-0 thrashing at the hands of the Boston Bruins Thursday night, every player — and we mean every player — was sitting in his stall in the dressing room waiting for the media to enter to answer for it.
Even the stragglers.
Moreover, they had to wait until the horde was finished.
It’s a rarely seen tact used in the NHL — the last time we can remember experiencing it came when Darryl Sutter was at the helm of the team.
(Another time when Darryl Sutter was in charge, he had captain Jarome Iginla and the alternates wait for the media in the foyer outside the room.)
The looks in their eyes and the words that came out were those of an embarrassed and disappointed crew.
Now, the test for the Flames will be to regroup in time to make the most of their final 40 games — 24 at home — starting with Saturday’s clash against the Minnesota Wild.
The season’s not over, but this is a downward spiral that will take serious work — and a lot of luck — to end.
Raitis Ivanans is one appreciative fellow these days. After missing all but the season-opener last season due to a concussion suffered in a fight with then-Edmonton Oilers forward Steve MacIntyre and then spending all of his time this season — when healthy enough to play — in the minors, Ivanans is ecstatic to be back in the NHL. “You can’t really explain it. It’s feels great. You realize how much you take it for granted when you’re here,” Ivanans said. “And then when you’re down and come back, you just want to grab it and never let it go.” The Flames summoned the 6-foot-3, 231-lb. winger from the minors in time for Thursday’s clash. He saw 11:05 of ice time, registered three hits, a blocked shot and a minus-1 rating. Ivanans has played 281 NHL games, in which he’s collected 18 points and 569 penalty minutes. In 13 games this season with the AHL Abbotsford Heat, he has one goal, three points and 15 penalty minutes.
IN THE CORNERS
RW Rene Bourque was not made available to the media but offered the following statement regarding the five-game suspension he was handed for a chicken-wing elbow to the jaw of Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom in Tuesday’s 3-1 loss: “I acknowledge my mistake, regret my action and take full responsibility. I accept the decision rendered by Brendan Shanahan on behalf of the League. I apologize to my teammates, the Flames organization and to Niklas Backstrom. I am embarrassed for what I did. These are exactly the type of plays that need to be eliminated from hockey.” Flames GM Jay Feaster also issued a statement: “We fully support the decision rendered by Brendan Shanahan and the Department of Player Safety in this matter. Both the club and the player understand and appreciate the basis for the ruling, and intend to abide by the decision. We will have no further comment.”
OFF THE GLASS
Clay Wilson is happy to have been selected to the AHL All-Star Game for a third time, but the defenceman is hoping not to attend, even though the event is Jan. 29-30 in Atlantic City, N.J. Wilson, who was recalled from the AHL Heat and is currently the No. 7 defenceman, would much prefer to remain with the Flames. “It’s a great event. I’ve been lucky enough to have been in it a couple of times, and it’s always fun. Those things always catch you by surprise. You don’t expect to be included, but it’s a pleasant surprise.” … As bad as the Flames were — and they were awful on so many levels — you have to tip your hand to the Bruins. That’s a powerful team, which can win any way you can imagine … Thankfully, Jarome Iginla didn’t score his 500th goal in such an awful affair. It would have soured what should be a moment to savour … Credit to rookie D T.J. Brodie was the lone skater on the team to be even, despite playing 24 minutes and 57 seconds, the most of any player on either team. To make it more incredible, seven of the Bruins’ goals count were even-strength and one was shorthanded — powerplay goals don’t count in that stat. Meanwhile, Chris Butler was minus-7 and Jay Bouwmeester was minus-5.