CALGARY — Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley did his best to keep an epic Super Bowl party under wraps. But two of his players — Lance Bouma and Sean Monahan — arrived at the Saddledome at 10:15 am for a 10:30 Monday morning practice, and those two barely beat Johnny Gaudreau in the Saddledome doors.
Then practice started, and in the words of Calgary winger David Jones: “It’s a little embarrassing when we’re not (making) five-foot passes.”
“I think (Hartley) was pretty pissed off.”
The team said that Bouma, who was kicked off the practice ice 15 minutes into an aborted 25-minute session Monday, was ill. Twenty-four hours later he was announced as a healthy scratch Tuesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
But the real story lies in Gaudreau and assistant captain Monahan — two young pillars of this Flames franchise and two-thirds of Calgary’s top line — being scratched as well.
And here’s the kicker: On Wednesday the Flames begin their “Dad’s Trip” through San Jose and Arizona. As such, all of the Flames fathers were in the Saddledome seats Tuesday night.
It’s a courageous move by Hartley, putting the long-term education of his young players ahead of the desperate need for two points in a playoff push that’s getting away from the Flames.
Calgary went with 11 forwards and seven defencemen for the game.
The Flames issued no comments on the scratches.