CALGARY, AB -- Lance Bouma is sporting a cage thanks to a facial injury he suffered last week in Nashville and Bob Hartley wouldn't mind if he kept it on after he's healed up.
"He has no respect for his body, I’m kind of glad to see him play with a cage," the bench boss smiled. "I’m always worried and I always push him to play with a visor.
"He’s a great goalie for us."
The gritty forward received the Flames fire helmet, which is awarded to the most valuable player after a win, in Winnipeg on Sunday thanks to his fearless play.
In the first period alone, he had blocked five shots and in one sequence, took a puck off of the wrist, laboured through his shift and made yet another block before he was able to get off the ice.
"It's nice to get recognition for it," Bouma said. "Obviously the goalies probably realize more than anyone else, or the d-men. It's part of my game and I've got to keep playing that way."
"That's something that is a part of our identity here. You've got to do it."
Bouma's shot blocking prowess was developed during his days in the WHL with Vancouver Giants, practicing under the watchful eye of Don Hay.
He carried it over to the NHL and last year, he led all Flames forwards with 87 blocks through 78 games.
The 24-year-old doesn't hesitate at all to throw himself down on the ice, regardless of the player taking the shot. A bomb from Shea Weber? No problem. A howtizer from Dustin Byfuglien? Bouma's on it.
"It's instinct. I don't want to let the puck by me," he shrugged.
"It's easy to do when guys are up on the bench and they give you a lot of life when they're standing there, cheering you after having a shift like that. It's easy to do."
For Hartley, Bouma epitomizes the culture of the organization: a unrelenting work ethic and team-first mentality.
"It’s no surprise from Lance. He’s done that since the first day [I met him]. He’s a quality guy, he wants to contribute in his own way. You need warriors like this," he emphasized.
"Lance is the ultimate warrior."