Lowry stripped of Flames captaincy

If two heads are better than one, the Calgary Flames hope two captains are too.

Head coach Greg Gilbert doubled Calgary's captain quotient on Monday, stripping Dave Lowry of the "C" and appointing Bob Boughner and Craig Conroy as co-captains.

Gilbert named co-captains in a attempt to stoke his struggling Flames, who have dropped 19 of their last 32 games and out of playoff contention in the NHL Western Conference.

Calgary currently stands 11th in the overall conference standings with a 22-21-8-2 record.

"These two guys epitomize what our team is about," Gilbert said of Boughner and Conroy, who will alternate as captain for home and away games.

"They expect a lot of themselves, they hold each other accountable and that's a big part of a successful organization."

Not that Lowry doesn't, but Gilbert saw little improvement after speaking to the struggling (former) captain.

Lowry has seven goals and five assists for 12 points in 53 games this season, his 18th in the NHL.

However, he has scored just twice since Nov. 7, 2001.

"Even if a player is struggling, he has to reinforce what the whole team is built on," Gilbert said. "If the guys get a kickstart out of it, fine.

"But that's not the purpose of why it was done. We want to move ahead in a direction."

"Let's face it, the next month is huge for us," added Boughner, an eight-year NHL veteran with two goals, three assists and 126 penalty minutes in 52 games.

"We've just got to make sure everybody is ready. There's a method to everybody's madness and maybe this will spark something and make us rally and play harder.

"I think it's just making change and hoping we can step up and win some big games."

While Boughner, 30, welcomed the additional responsibility, Conroy, also 30, reacted more cautiously.

"There's mixed emotions," said Conroy, who has 17 goals and 30 assists for 47 points in 52 games.

"You almost feel guilty even though the decision wasn't yours. I think the team was playing better anyway."

"We were coming around and getting a few breaks."

Lowry, who turns 37 on Valentine's Day, brushed by reporters before Gilbert's announcement.

"Dave's an emotional guy and he takes a lot of pride in being captain of this hockey club," Conroy said. "He's 100 per cent a Calgary Flame, so it's going to be more difficult for him."

Lowry assumed the Flames captaincy from Steve Smith, who retired in November 2000.

He has 158 goals and 171 assists for 329 points in 1,023 games for the Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues, Florida Panthers, San Jose Sharks and Flames.