March 20, 2023

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Being a healthy scratch is not the end of the world.

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Maybe that’s how it feels on social media when the Calgary Flames decide to cut guys like Walker Dür and Jacob Pelletier from the roster, like they did on Thursday when they defeated the Vegas Golden Knights, but most young players understand that this is a part. their process.

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Andrew Mangiapane even turned down an opportunity to attend the AHL All-Star Game back in 2018 to continue training with the Flames as he tries to find his way to a full NHL role.

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“I was laughing, they asked me if I wanted to be sent to the AHL All-Star Game, and I said, ‘Yes… I will politely decline,’” Mangiapane said on Saturday. “Of course, it’s good that I was chosen in the AHL, but my dream is to get into the NHL and break into the NHL. If you have lost one game, you are still ahead and you still have to work hard and show what you are capable of in practice.

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“You never know, do you? You can scratch one game, but you can get into the next game and then you finally win.”

This is something that guys like Pelletier and Dur are very aware of. Becoming a regular NHL player isn’t always easy, and the challenges of playing day-to-day means a day off here and there doesn’t always mean the end of the world.

And though Pelletier missed a second straight game Saturday night when the Flames took on the Dallas Stars at the Scotiabank Saddledome, Dur returned to the roster after a one-game break in the press box.

“We kind of know it’s part of the process, and whether you’re talking to the older guys here or the coaching staff, they sort of repeat it,” Dür said. “Just keep it that way and sort of analyze your game and know where you can go back to and then, just practice, work on it every day. When you look down, just watch how the guys play and how they succeed.

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“Of course, it’s just part of the process.”As Sutter explained, the decision to keep a player for one or two games doesn’t always involve demotion due to lack of production or anything like that.

In Pelletier’s case, his exclusion from the roster has more to do with keeping him fresh during that stretch where he played more hockey than ever before.

“The skins were really good for us,” Sutter said. “He played a lot of hockey with him. He didn’t get an All-Star break, he returned to the Calgary Wranglers. He played until the break and played quite a few minutes. Going back to the Anaheim game (March 10), I think he’s starting to hit a wall a bit where he can’t do everything he wants to or everything he’s capable of. I’m just doing a little reboot.”

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The use of this reboot is an important part, and it’s not that only young guys drop out of the lineup from time to time. On Saturday night, Milan Lucic, who has played more NHL games than anyone else in the Flames, also cracked a joke.

But there are legitimate adjustments that young players need to make as they transition into a full life in the NHL. The league may never get to the point where teams manage workloads with veteran players like we see in the NHL these days, but helping young players by giving them the day off when needed is definitely not worth it. a bad thing, no matter how it may be perceived outside the locker room.

“I remember in my first full year I got scratched in San Jose playing back to back,” Flames guard Rasmus Andersson said. “At the time it was Billy (Peters) and we were talking. I think the outside world is doing more than it really is. Because, you know, when you’re a young guy and trying to become a full-fledged NHL player, it’s difficult. I

“I don’t think people realize how many games we actually play. It’s different from whether you play in Europe or play in the AHL. Here, it’s a game of night and night. In the AHL, you usually play from Friday to Saturday, and then you have a whole week of training. So, in my opinion, it’s not the end of the world. Especially for a young guy, this is something to learn and go through. Sometimes, honestly, it’s good to just sit back and watch, take a step back, focus a little, and get that hunger.”


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