Good news for the Calgary Flames injury situation at this Monday's practice as Rene Bourque took part in his first full team practice since suffering a head injury in the Flames home opener October 10.
Bourque was sporting a full contact blue jersey. He was taking reps with fourth-liners Craig Conroy, Brett Sutter and Stefan Meyer
Bourque accompanied the team on their flight to Nashville to begin a three-game road trip on Tuesday in Tennessee. It is not clear whether or not he will dress against the Predators.
“He’s been cleared to play so we’ll get him through a couple practices and see how he does," said Brent Sutter. "Today was a good test for him and we’ll see how he responds. If everything goes well it’ll be a game-time decision whether he plays or not. He’s only got on the ice for like three days so we have to make sure that he’s ready.”
Bourque still considers himself day-to-day.
"I'm guessing right now that I'm not going to be ready for tomorrow night," said Bourque. "I need to get a few hard practices in and get my wind back and get the feel for the puck again. So we're going to have a hard practice tomorrow, practice Wednesday and maybe Thursday. We're not set on any day, we're just going to see how I feel.
"It was kind of an unlucky injury but I have to deal with it and get back to being healthy and be ready to go when I get back in the line up."FOUR LINE CONSISTENCY
It may be easier said than done when it comes to consistency. In most cases one line is consistent while the others are not. One of the toughest jobs of being a coach is figuring out how to make all four lines consistent?
The answer: Keep making changes until that happens for you every night.
"The biggest thing with me is consistency," said head coach Brent Sutter.
"It's being consistent and having the compete level and the work ethic that we have to have every night. You know you're not going to win every game. Some games just aren't going to go right for you but it can't be because your work ethic and compete level is not at the standard that it needs to be at to give yourself a chance. We need that consistency on a daily basis."Matt Stajan
returned from injury last Thursday against the Florida Panthers. He was placed on the second line with Morrison and Hagman however the line failed to find chemistry.
Sutter shuffled the lines for Saturday's tilt against the Edmonton Oilers moving Stajan up to the first line with Jarome Iginla
and Alex Tanguay
. Olli Jokinen
moved down to the second line with Niklas Hagman and Brendan Morrison. Both lines produced points.
"He's been there before," Tanguay commented on Stajan's return. "It's not his first go-around. He knows the level to expect when the regular season gets going. It is impressive though when you miss most of training camp you miss all your preparation even though you prepare as well as you can in the summer time, it's not the same as playing games.
"He kept things simple. Speaking for me and Iggy, I think we were moving a little bit more than perhaps the first three games with Olli. All three of us didn't play to the level that we think we're capable of playing. Olli played better last game and Jarome and I played a little better too. It's good for the team for us to be contributing a little more.
"Consistency is important for this team's success and it's a line to line basis. If all four lines play the way we did on Saturday we might not win every game but we're going to be in games and we're going to give ourselves a chance at winning most nights and that's what you hope for."
Stajan told media after practice Monday that he is happy with his performance on the top line and it's great to get that first one out of the way.
"I'm happy to be back," said Stajan. "When you miss training camp you miss a lot of learning. You're not getting your game legs ready to go like everybody else would. That first game you're maybe thinking twice about things but as we go here every period I feel more comfortable."
Author: Kristi Hennessy