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BRODIE ENCOURAGED TO BE 'SELFISH'

Gulutzan says defenceman "has a good shot and we want him to put pucks on the net and it's going to create more for him and more for everybody else."

by TY PILSON @typilson / calgaryflames.com

The plan was simple: TJ Brodie has to start shooting more.

To that end, coach Glen Gulutzan said down with the Flames blueliner Friday morning and had a long chat with him about firing more pucks on net.

So what did Brodie do? Promptly went out and collected four assists in Calgary's 4-3 overtime win against the New Jersey Devils.

Three of the four were primary assists as Brodie's passing prowess shone brightly in the much needed victory that extended the team's winning streak to three games.

Brodie became the first Flames defenceman to record four assist in a game since Dion Phaneuf tallied the feat in 2008.

When Gulutzan was asked about Brodie's performance post-game, he had a little fun with the gathered media and let them in on the earlier meeting.

"I'd like to take some credit for that," he said with a smile. "I had a long meeting with TJ Brodie this morning and I told him I wanted him to shoot more and not pass so much and get pucks on the net and he gets four assists so he didn't listen to me at all. So I'm going to take credit for those four assists." 

While Gulutzan was obviously pleased with Brodie's play against the Devils, he is serious about wanting his young star to start teeing up the puck more.

"I did tell him to shoot more," said Gulutzan after the team's practice in Central Park Saturday. "I think he has 48 shots on net when I talked to him and compared to guys who are his ilk of defenceman that have 120 or 140 shots. I certainly still do want him to shoot more, I think that will open up more things but you can see why yesterday he passes the puck."

He has 49 shots now and doesn't need to look too far for examples of d-men who shoot more often. Dougie Hamilton has 150 shots on the season while Mark Giordano has 106.

"He has a good shot and we want him to put pucks on the net and it's going to create more for him and more for everybody else," said Gulutzan. "The reality now is that if you look at the top point getters on defence they shoot the puck a lot. And Brods gets himself in good position and he's such a great skater we just want him to be selfish - just be a little more selfish and we'll all get a little bit more and that was the message and obviously he listened because he got four assists, so that was my joke."

Not often will a coach tell a guy to be more selfish. 

"When you have such a good team guy like him it's easy to say," said Gulutzan. "I don't say it often, but I said it to Brods."

As for Brodie, he admits this isn't the first time over the years he's been told to shoot more and he's aware he needs to focus on that aspect of his game.

"That's something I've always had to work on, trying to shoot more and get more pucks to the net," said Brodie. "It's something I can always get better at and something I haven't done much this year. So trying to get more pucks to the net is definitely something I gotta start doing."

Of course, he's cognizant that he can't sacrifice any part of his rock-solid game to try and bulk up his scoring stats, which stand at three goals this season through 54 games.

"If there's a lane you have to take it but sometimes the shot's not there and it's a pass or just making a simple play and get the puck behind the net," he said. "It's one of those things that every play is different, you have to read the play."

 

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