January 16, 2012
Comeau gets top-line opportunity
By RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency
CALGARY - The Jarome Iginla and Michael Cammalleri reunion didn’t take long to happen.
Halfway through Cammelleri’s first game with the Flames, Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, he and Iginla were skating with centre Mikael Backlund, and that trio remained intact for Monday’s practice.
That wasn’t the surprise.
More eyebrow raising was the fact Blake Comeau was put on right wing with Olli Jokinen and Curtis Glencross, who have been the club’s most consistent forwards this season.
Talk about a golden chance for Comeau, who is currently riding an 11-game goal-scoring drought and lit the lamp just once in 22 outings.
“I’m not going to lie. I’m not having the season I wanted, but there are still a lot of games left, and hopefully playing with these two guys, I can get back to where I was last year offensively,” said Comeau, who netted 24 goals last season. “That line, we’re expected to contribute offensively and play well defensively.”
To say it’s been a disappointing stint so far in Calgary for Comeau would be an understatement. When the winger was claimed by the Flames via waivers from the New York Islanders, the 25-year-old, whose parents live in Calgary, was hoping to get his game on track.
It hasn’t happened.
Maybe time alongside Glencross and Jokinen, starting with Tuesday’s clash with the San Jose Sharks (8:30 p.m., Sportsnet West) is the right tonic.
“I’m hoping to jump in and join what they’ve been doing. Those are two guys easy to play with, it looks like. Glennie is always around the net and Olli has great vision,” Comeau said. “Hopefully, I’m a good fit on that line.”
Comeau certainly has the speed to help his line play at a fast tempo.
The issue has been a lack of shots, and he knows it.
“When you’re not scoring as much as you’d like or have previously, you maybe start to second guess what you were doing. I’ve got to get back to using my speed, shoot everything, and not try and look for that extra pass,” he said.
The changes go beyond just putting Iginla with Cammalleri. For the past couple of months, nearly half of the Flames goals have come off the sticks of Iginla, Glencross or Jokinen.
Sure, that’s a good sign of a strong line, but this team needs a more balanced attack.
“You look at the last 20 games, as a line we were pretty good and we were scoring, but you can’t win hockey games with just the one line (scoring),” Jokinen said. “Everybody has to play hard and everybody’s got to find a way to score goals.
“There’s a certain way I have to play. There’s a certain way Glennie has to play. There’s a certain way how we have to play as a team, and at the end of the day, it shouldn’t matter who you play with it.”
And if that means Comeau starts to light the lamps, all the better.
“He can really skate when he’s coming down that wing,” said coach Brent Sutter. “But he passes up a lot of shots because he wants to take the puck, goes for the loop around the net to the other side, and nothing happens. That’s what the opposition wants to happen. When he has opportunities, he has to use his shot.”
On Twitter: @SUNRandySportak