Right now, we’re telling them playoff mentality, playoff mentality. It was like two brothers fighting for their Tonka truck in the sandbox. - Bob Hartley
CALGARY, AB -- Game action can’t come soon enough for the Calgary Flames.
Chris Butler and Matt Stajan exchanged unpleasantries at practice on Tuesday, the result of going nearly three weeks without playing a game.
“Sometimes emotions get high at practice and things happen,” Stajan said. “It was nothing. I don’t think we need to blow it up here. It’s a little pushing and shoving. It happens all the time. I think we’re all antsy here to get back to playing games. You can ask anybody in this room. We’re going to be ready for Thursday.”
“I think you do get a bit of cabin fever from time to time,” Butler added. “I think we’re ready and excited to get back playing again.”
Coach Bob Hartley, who had a front row seat for the fracas, said the dust-up wasn’t necessarily a bad sign for his club.
“Right now, we’re telling them playoff mentality, playoff mentality,” he said. “It was like two brothers fighting for their Tonka truck in the sandbox.
“We want competitors. That’s what we’re preaching. That’s what we’re getting. I can’t be here saying it’s something that I don’t want to see.
“You appreciate the feistiness and everything but you don’t want to get it overboard. They just both turned around and later on they each gave a tap on their pads. It’s water under the bridge.”
The Flames host the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, their first game since wrapping up their pre-Olympic schedule on Feb. 8 against the Philadelphia Flyers. When the puck drops, it’ll mark the first game action they’ve played in 19 days.
“I think the whole league is probably feeling that right now,” Stajan said. “The guys that have the time off, when you practice for this long after you’ve played so many games you want to get back at it. That’s where our focus is and that’s where our practices are geared towards -- getting us ready. That’s the plan.”