Cammalleri: 'Let's go now'
RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency
|Flames forward Mike Cammalleri trips on the stick of Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick as Kings forward Jarret Stoll gives chase at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif., Jan. 19, 2012. (LUCY NICHOLSON/Reuters)
CALGARY - One goal and a minus-four rating in five games.
Throw in that one shootout winner and you have the statistical contribution from Michael Cammalleri to start off his second tour of duty with the Calgary Flames.
“I don’t like those numbers,” Cammalleri said after Monday’s practice at the Saddledome. “I don’t want to make excuses, so let’s go now.”
The Flames are down to 32 games and sitting three points in arrears of the eighth-place Minnesota Wild as they resume action Tuesday night against the Detroit Red Wings (7 p.m., Sportsnet West).
They need Cammalleri, who skated on a line with Olli Jokinen and Blake Comeau during Monday’s practice, to go.
It would be pie-in-the-sky to expect the 29-year-old left-winger to immediately return to being the 39-goal, 82-point player he was during the 2008-09 season in his first stint with the Flames, but Cammalleri has to produce at a much better rate than what’s been delivered so far since the deal that sent Rene Bourque to the Montreal Canadiens.
(By the way, Bourque has two goals and three points for the Canadiens since the swap.)
It does bode well that Cammalleri is refreshed from the break. It was a chaotic couple of weeks for him with all the hoopla created in Montreal because he called out himself and his team, then the trade followed by a three-game road swing with a couple of home games on both sides, and it showed in his play.
Now, having had time to rest over the all-star break, as well as get his girlfriend and their five-month-old daughter settled here, Cammalleri has more bounce in his step.
“I feel better, especially physically,” he said.
Good, because this is the time for the winger who is in the third season of a five-year, US$30-million contract to step forward, which means provide a big part of the much-needed offensive attack sorely lacking of late.
“My personal goal is to make the playoffs,” Cammalleri said. “I know the team needs me to contribute in different ways to help. We all need to contribute in ways we can, but my goal is to be as good as I can.
“Production generally comes with that. It’s one of my responsibilities on this team, so I expect it of myself and I’m fine with it, but I don’t think it’s my time. This is our team’s time.”
The whole Flames team has been struggling offensively for the past few weeks, so it’s not like Cammalleri is alone in needing to pick up his offensive game.
However, he has shown in the past a willingness to embrace the expectations placed upon him to contribute to the attack.
“I like it because I like to play to my full potential. My dream was to play in the National Hockey League, but I don’t intend to do it half-heartedly and try to fully engage. It doesn’t bother me and it’s something I think I’m capable of,” he said.
By no means is it just up to Cammalleri and Iginla to vault the Flames into a playoff picture.
Right now, though, somebody needs to light the fuse.
“We’re aware of where we stand, where we want to be and our goals,” Cammalleri said. “And how you accomplish those goals is playing a very good hockey game, starting (against Detroit).”