In late December, we wrote about Anaheim center Ryan Kesler targeting Johnny Gaudreau, and how Kesler was just the latest to take physical liberties with Calgary’s prized winger.
Last week, the trend continued when Toronto’s Leo Komarov blasted Gaudreau with a huge open-ice check.
The Komarov hit, again, led to questions about Calgary’s response to Gaudreau targeting.
This time, the queries came from ex-Flames tough guy Brian McGrattan, who followed up a series of angry tweets by telling the Herald “sticking up for each other and being a team is crucial for morale,” adding “it goes so far in the dressing room.”
Captain Mark Giordano did come to Gaudreau’s defense by jumping Komarov but, to hear McGrattan explain it, the Flames needed more of a response beyond that single instance.
And perhaps Giordano’s general manager agreed.
More, from the Herald:
“I think we have got people who are able to handle that (rough stuff) but I’m looking at everything right now,” said Treliving of the lack of toughness theory explaining his star’s struggles.
“No question, there’s less room on the ice because he’s put himself in the position of being a top player. I think (the physical abuse) has always been there in his career. People are going to play hard against him and I think that gets magnified when production is down.”
Treliving and coach Glen Gulutzan both pointed out during the team’s recent four-game swoon there has been no pushback.
The Flames dressed enforcer Brandon Bollig frequently last season, but waived him at the start of this year and dispatched him to the AHL, where he’s been ever since.
That’s left most of the pugilistic endeavors to a pair of tough guys in d-man Deryk Engelland, and energy forward Garnet Hathaway. Another energy guy, Micheal Ferland, hasn’t been afraid to drop the gloves either.
So it’s not like the Flames have a lack of guys willing to do the job.
But there certainly seems to be issue with when those guys choose to do it.