ST. LOUIS - In the Calgary Flames dressing room after Mikael Backlund fought Ben Lovejoy of the Anaheim Ducks, coach Bob Hartley referred to his team’s centre as Rocky.
By no means would Backlund be confused with the Italian Stallion.
Taffy pulls are not a part of his game.
But the action is a side the Flames want to see more of from Backlund, the 2007 first-round draft choice.
Backlund, who has collected eight goals and 16 points in 31 games, this season, has been called upon to show an assertive side.
He won’t be confused with a power forward, but making strides in the right direction.
“I’ve been trying to be more physical, stronger on the pucks and stronger in the play,” Backlund said. “I definitely feel better about myself this year more than last year,” he said. “I came in this year playing confident and feeling better about myself. I feel I helped the team better.”
Even blocking shots has been added to his repertoire.