As a coach, you have a responsibility to help and to protect your young players. That’s a big part, I think, of this organization. - Bob Hartley
COLUMBUS, OH -- Bob Hartley and the Flames coaching staff will have a few game-time decisions tonight in Columbus.
The Flames have a few banged-up bodies and the flu has been lingering in the locker room so Hartley will see how his players are feeling before finalizing his roster.
Lance Bouma, who is dealing with a facial injury he suffered in Nashville, sported a cage this morning in practice but felt great after the pre-game skate.
"I felt good out there today," he stated. "I feel like there's no issues at all. Obviously it's a little different wearing the cage. I haven't worn one since I was about 15. That's going to be a change but that's the only issue."
From the pre-game skate lines, it appears Johnny Gaudreau may be a healthy scratch tonight.
If he does sit, it will give him a chance to view the game from another angle and break down the Flames systems from a different vantage point.
Hartley believes many young players can benefit greatly from these situations as they're able to get a better handle on the game but it has to be done strategically.
"It’s all about timing. Yes, there’s value and I believe in it but again, it’s all about timing. Is it the right time?" Hartley explained after the pre-game skate in Columbus. "When we’re dealing about young players, it’s always doing what’s best for them because in the long run, what’s best for them is what’s best for the organization.
"As a coach, you have a responsibility to help and to protect your young players. That’s a big part, I think, of this organization. We’re growing so it’s important that we help our young players because most likely they will go through tough times. They’ll hit some speed bumps down the way and it’s normal. Who didn’t?"
In terms of structure, the NHL is vastly different from the college game and Gaudreau has noticed that early on this year. He has been making adjustments as he adapts to pro game.
"You don’t have guys pinching every night like the guys here," he said of his time at Boston College. "Defensive teams kind of back off in college and when me, Kevin and Billy all played on the same line, a real offensive team so other teams played a more defensive game and were concerned more about the defensive zone and kind of just took us back instead of pinching on us. That’s another adjustment I’m really going to need to improve on."
Deryk Engelland (lower body) did not skate this morning and David Jones was retroactively placed (Oct. 9) on the injured reserve yesterday with a lower body injury.