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Season of injuries forces Calgary Flames to find hidden depth

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03-21-2012, 10:07 PM
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Season of injuries forces Calgary Flames to find hidden depth

by THW's Ryan Pike:

Season of injuries forces Calgary Flames to find hidden depth


The result has been a season that has challenged the club’s depth and its head coach’s ability to juggle lines in an ever-changing line-up. As a result, Brent Sutter has had to put players in positions they may not have ever played at a high level before.

“I know I have learned more as a coach this year than I ever have,” said Sutter. “You got to certainly be prepared and willing to change on the fly because of what’s happened and you gotta always think what gives the team the best chance to succeed that night. Can guys handle certain positions that maybe they haven’t played before. Can guys handle minutes they haven’t played before? Can guys handle roles they haven’t played before?”

While the Flames have been very active with bringing players into their line-up from their American Hockey League affiliate in Abbotsford, and recently borrowing junior prospect Sven Baertschi from Portland, healthy roster players have also been called upon to play many different roles. For example, speedy winger Mike Cammalleri was moved to the center-ice position due to injuries to Blair Jones and Mikael Backlund. On his wing was Tom Kostopoulos, formerly of the team’s fourth line. The veteran noted that he’s been asked to play many different roles this season depending on circumstance.

“I think my role has changed a lot throughout the year,” said Kostopoulos. “Depending on which guys you’re playing with, what ice time you’re getting and what line you’re on, it depends whether you’re going to try and chip pucks deep and go after them fore-checking or try and get the puck to the players who can make plays with it.”
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