The Flames made a bizarre move Tuesday by scratching leading scorers Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan ahead of a contest with the Maple Leafs. The scratches come the day after Calgary coach Bob Hartley cut practice short after giving his team a stern message.
The Calgary Flames sit more eight points out of a divisional post-season spot and nine out of a wild-card position in the Western Conference, but when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs Tuesday night, they’ll be without three important players as part of a coach’s decision.
It was announced shortly before Tuesday’s game that each of Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Lance Bouma would be out of the contest against the Maple Leafs, and it appears to be connected to Monday’s disastrous Flames practice.
The Flames, who were scheduled to have a full practice Monday, only took the ice for roughly 25 minutes before coach Bob Hartley skated off ice following a stern message to players. Flames winger David Jones told Sportsnet’s Mark Spector that Hartley seemed “pretty pissed off” with the team’s practice. And if that was the case, Hartley is driving his point home even further Tuesday.
Hartley told CalgaryFlames.com’s Aaron Vickers that the Flames needed to “be on [their] toes,” and stressed how this could be a make or break week for the club.
“Looking at our situation right now in the standings this is a crucial week for us, making sure we once again understand our situation,” Hartley told Vickers. “We’re coming off a big win in Vancouver. Lets make sure that we understand tomorrow, Toronto, it’s a big game for us and at the same time we have San Jose and Phoenix. We need to be on our toes all week.”
According to Spector, one issue in practice was apparently with Lance Bouma. The 25-year-old winger was sent off the ice roughly 15 minutes into practice, but Hartley said he was “removed” from the ice because he was ill. However, Spector reported Bouma and Monahan, two of the players scratched Tuesday, were seen showing up just in time for Monday’s skate. Hartley did not confirm any players showed up late to the skate.
Gaudreau, who has 21 goals and 49 points, and Monahan, 16 goals and 35 points, are one-two in Flames scoring this season. Bouma isn’t relied upon for scoring, but plays a depth defensive role for Calgary.