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Treliving frustrated over Gaudreau injury

Johnny Gaudreau will miss six-weeks after breaking finger from slash

by George Johnson @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- Brad Treliving isn't looking for any favours or dispensations.

Not advocating Johnny Gaudreau, or anyone else for that matter, be regarded, treated, like a priceless piece of Dresden china.

He's not a museum piece to be put behind bullet- (or slash)-proof glass.

No Off Limits! or Do Not Touch! signs need be hung around his neck during games.

But multiple chops to the hand area severe enough to result in a busted digit cannot simply be shuffled under the carpet, blithely dismissed in old-school vernacular as 'just part of the game.'

There was intent. And there is outcome.

A bad outcome if you're Brad Treliving, Glen Gulutzan, anyone connected to or supporting of the Calgary Flames.

"No. 1,'' began the Flames' clearly frustrated general manager, addressing the broken finger that has cost his team -- a group reliant on the singular gifts of No. 13 as it endeavours to find footing here early in a season of change -- one of its star attractions for weeks on end, "he's a top player. Attention gets paid to them. That's part of the job.

Video: Treliving gives injury update for Johnny Gaudreau

"Not unlike when we prepare for top players.

"The frustration from my standpoint was: This wasn't just a single act. If you look at the game in Minnesota the other night … there's rules in the rule book for when you get whacked, like he's getting whacked. We think there could've been a call made.

"This isn't moaning and groaning. Top players learn to deal with, play around and play through some of this. But when you strike a guy in the hand, there's a penalty for it.

"We've got a lot of rules in the book. And one of them is slashing. We think some of the things Johnny's played through and had to deal with … there are calls there."

Gaudreau's hands, the of his effectiveness, were targeted all night long at the Xcel Energy Centre on Wednesday. Minnesota Wild D-man Ryan Suter got in his cuts. So, most damagingly, did centre Eric Staal.

A Staal scythe sent Gaudreau scurrying into the dressing room for a final time.

Without punishment, there is no deterrent.

"It was the Staal slash,'' Treliving confirmed of the whack that caused the breakage. "(Gaudreau) actually got hit earlier. If you saw the game and you see him leave, he got a whack on the other hand. He got a blood blister and they drained that. The last one was on the other hand. He got 'em on both."

Perhaps it was the unpunished frequency of the creative stickwork.

"When you have a good player, there's tactics Whether you put more men on him, be physical, try and take away space. All the things we know talk about.

"But when you chop a guy in the hand, there's a rule that says: You can't do that.

"Are we naive? Do we probably chop good players? Yep. Whack them, too. The frustration turns into when that turns into a player being out now an extended period of time.

Video: Gaudreau will undergo surgery after finger fracture

"And this wasn't the first one.

"This wasn't a unicorn that happened in the middle of the period.

"By our count, there's 11 chops on the guy. So, okay, two, three, four, I get it. Maybe at nine, you dial in a bit.

"But this is difficult. These aren't baseball swings. It's … hard. And we get it. But it's also hard losing a good player for a long time."

Needless to add, the GM and the league's director of officiating Stephen Walkom have been burning up the phone lines the last day or so.

 "I talked to Stephen at length the last few days,'' said Treliving. "Listen, this is a difficult job. We're not throwing any arrows at officials. And it's not us just trying to look after our own tent here.

"There are rules in the game. And we feel this was a situation that … I'm not going to say can be avoided because you can never avoid them."

This isn't whining. Or wingeing. Or gamesmanship.

Any of the NHL's other 20 member clubs would be just as exasperated if their star player had received the same treatment and they'd suffered the same outcome.

By all accounts, Gaudreau's surgery in Vancouver went well, even if the return timetable remains hazy.

That's positive news but hardly enough to elicit a smile from a concerned, but under control, Brad Treliving.

"It's never good,'' he sighed. "I certainly didn't wake up and go: "Well, this is … perfect.'

"The grieving stage is real short. We've got games to play. We've got points to find. It's next-man-up here. We don't have time to feel sorry for ourselves. This group has to come together.

"This is a fact of life in the league. Everybody goes through injuries.'

"You have to deal with it. You can call it all the cliches you want but it's reality. You need a little bit more from everybody else.

"I remember a couple years ago we lost Mark. My comment then was: You're not going to go out and replace Giordano.

"There was no Giordano tree. This is no Johnny Gaudreau tree. What you need is people putting a little more into it, get a little more from your group individually and find ways to dig in.

"And that's the recipe."

A recipe that the Flames can only hope happens to be a specialty of the Glen Gulutzan Cookbook.

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