March 12, 2012
Baertschi shows great poise for first goal
By RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency
ST. PAUL, MINN. - Sven Baertschi is banking on his mom and dad being night owls.
That way, they could see his first NHL goal.
"I told them they have to," he said of his folks in Switzerland. "They watch my WHL games, so I'm pretty sure they'll watch my NHL games, too.
"I'm pretty sure my family watched it, and I hope they recorded it. It's a good feeling, in the future, if you have kids and family, you can show them it and the puck."
Baertschi's second NHL game, a 4-3 Calgary Flames win over the Minnesota Wild, started at midnight for those in Switzerland and became all the more memorable early in the third period when he showed a goal-scorer's sense.
The 2011 first-round draft choice -- summoned on an emergency basis from the WHL's Portland Winterhawks because of the Flames' obscene number of injuries -- deflected Derek Smith's point shot, but Wild netminder Matt Hackett made the save.
Baertschi, who was facing away from the net when he deflected the point shot, spun, found the puck, took his time to gain control while Hackett was down and lifted the rebound into the top half of the cage.
"Just a great feeling," the beaming 19-year-old said. "Because it was such a nice play, it makes it even better."
His teammates were impressed.
"Lots of guys that young would try to quickly throw it back at the net, but he had some patience, took his time, cradled it," Curtis Glencross said. "That's why he's such a good player and is going to be a good player for a long time. He's got them great hands and that feel around the net."
Added Jarome Iginla: "To see a young guy get his first is very exciting. It brings back memories for all of us as players. We all remember our first goals, and it's pretty good. It was great hands in front and patience."
Baertschi can remain with the Flames until the second of their ailing forwards returns from injury. Still, he may have sent a message to keep him as long as possible.
"At some point, they have to (send me back)," the teenager said. "When the injured guys come back, I'll probably have to go. But it's a great feeling when you score goals. It helps you a bit."
OFF THE GLASS
Talk about two teams besieged by injuries this season. The Flames had nine players out due to injury -- D T.J. Brodie (upper body), RW Tim Jackman (shoulder), LW Michael Cammalleri (upper body), LW Lance Bouma (upper body), LW Blake Comeau (shoulder), D Chris Butler (leg laceration), C Mikael Backlund (shoulder), C Blair Jones (ankle) and RW Lee Stempniak (ankle) -- and have 320 man-games lost to injury. The Wild are at 306 games, and went without LW Cal Clutterbuck, D Justin Falk, C Mikko Koivu, G Niklas Backstrom, LW Guillaume Latendresse, LW/RW Pierre-Marc Bouchard and D Mike Lundin. This season, the Wild have used 44 players, and the Flames have had 39 players wear their uniform. Incredibly, the NHL record for most players used in a season is 55 by the 1991-92 Boston Bruins ... With Brodie on the shelf, Flames D Anton Babchuk drew into the lineup for just the second time in the last 22 games.
IN THE CREASE
Sure would love to know what the Wild brass had planned if G Josh Harding wasn't able to suit up and serve as the backup. Harding left Minny's previous game after suffering an injury and was questionable leading up to game time. Wild coach Mike Yeo channelled his inner John Tortorella and wouldn't divulge what their plan was ... Iginla is the all-time leader in goals and points against the Wild, and increased his numbers with one goal and a helper to give him 35 goals and 64 points in 66 games against Minny ... Speaking of returning players, Flames head coach Brent Sutter isn't sure whether any of his injured skaters will be in action for Tuesday's clash with the San Jose Sharks. "I won't know until Tuesday," he said. "Right now, I'm not counting on anybody to be back, but you don't know what may happen the next 48 hours. Right now, I'm going on the assumption, probably not, but it could change."
On Twitter: @SUNRandySportak