Mikael Backlund

Hartley ‘wasn’t very pleased’ about making Backlund healthy scratch


Mikael Backlund’s faced plenty of adversity during his time in Calgary, and the latest chapter came on Wednesday when he was a healthy scratch against Toronto.

But, according to Flames head coach Bob Hartley, the healthy scratch wasn’t as negative as it seemed.

“I wasn’t very pleased to scratch him, but I felt that I had to do it. I sat with him and we had a great talk,” Hartley told the Calgary Herald. “I don’t want him in a limited role all year. He’s a young prospect for us, even though he’s been in the organization for a few years now. I think he has a lot to offer.”

Backlund, the club’s first-round pick (24th overall) at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, has four points in 11 games this year, averaging a healthy 18 minutes per night. Hartley, though, wants to see more offense from Backlund and have him produce like a top-two center.

What’s more, Hartley is going out of his way to help Backlund get there.

“I want to be a partner with him and help him,” Hartley explained. “We do lots of video. We try to show all of our players what we want, what we expect from there.

“He is so conscientious about his defense that he forgets that he has lots of skills. It’s my job to remind him of this.”

Video: Flyers’ Konecny scores first NHL goal

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Through six games of the NHL season, Travis Konecny enjoyed a nice start to his rookie campaign with five assists. Just one thing was missing, though.

On Tuesday, he took care of that against the Buffalo Sabres.

Konecny, taken 24th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft, deflected an Ivan Provorov point shot early in the third period, beating goalie Anders Nilsson on the glove side for his first NHL goal.  That goal also got the Flyers on the board.


Konecny and Provorov make Flyers, expected ‘to be here all year’

WATCH LIVE: Ducks at Sharks

ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 04:  Martin Jones #31 of the San Jose Sharks and Paul Martin #7 of the San Jose Sharks defend against the shot of Corey Perry #10 of the Anaheim Ducks during a game at Honda Center on December 4, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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California rivals clash tonight, as the Anaheim Ducks visit the San Jose Sharks. This marks the first meeting of the season between the two Pacific Division teams.

The Sharks have lost two games in a row, while the Ducks have won two straight.

You can catch tonight’s game on NBCSN or with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra (10 p.m. ET).


Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

Brent Burns is on a beastly pace

Report: Ducks put Despres on long-term injured reserve

NHL on NBCSN doubleheader: Sabres vs. Flyers; Ducks vs. Sharks

Video: Looks like Bishop lost some teeth after taking a shot to the mask

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Difficult night for some goalies across the NHL.

Frederik Andersen has had his struggles against Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning, although the players in front of him haven’t given their puck stopper much help, either.

And then there is Bolts goalie Ben Bishop, who took a Peter Holland wrist shot off the mask and appeared to lose some teeth as a result.

But this is hockey. Bishop, who even appeared to crack a smile while being examined on the ice, remained in the game.

Video: Sabres make Flyers pay after Giroux slams Girgensons from behind into the boards

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Claude Giroux was called for boarding after plastering Zemgus Girgensons from behind into the boards in the second period. But the Buffalo Sabres made the Philadelphia Flyers and their captain pay.

Giroux was assessed only a minor penalty on the play. He promptly exited the penalty box, though, after Matt Moulson scored six seconds into the Sabres power play, giving Buffalo a two-goal lead.

Girgensons and Moulson scored less than two minutes apart to give Buffalo the lead.