A change did Calder a world of good

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:08 AM ET

Kyle Calder's joy hasn't subsided from the day he was paroled.

The day before the trade deadline, the Detroit Red Wings forward received a scenery change hockey players dream about.

Calder, 27, had spent almost all of the season in a miserable situation with the last-place Philadelphia Flyers. Not only was the team struggling, but he also was personally mired in a downward spiral.

An off-season acquisition of the Flyers and expected to be a top-six forward, the product of Mannville, Alta., struggled to the worst start of his career. Instead of his third-straight 20-goal season, he didn't lift off and it took until the 28th game, in mid-December, to score his first goal.

Then came the phone call, Calder was traded to the Wings, going from the NHL outhouse to the penthouse.

Imagine how big his smile was.

"It was huge. Huge," he said. "I still haven't taken it off. It's a great organization, first class. It's a great situation."

Especially after going through a downright baffling nightmare.

Not only did Calder take more than a quarter of the season to light the lamp, his form wasn't much better afterward. By the time he was traded in a three-way swap between the Flyers, Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks, he'd collected only nine goals and a dozen helpers in 59 games.

Even worse on a statistical basis was his plus-minus. He was in the hunt for the NHL's golfing title at minus-31.

"There's no real answer," he said after being asked what went so wrong. "It was just the way things were going. I was hitting a lot of posts and stuff like that and there were chances I didn't bear down on. Just little things like that.

"Then you get hard on yourself and beat yourself up. It was really good to get off to a good start."

He immediately put together a four-game point streak, and ended up collecting 14 points in 19 regular season games, along with a plus-six rating.


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