Flames' GM blames excessive hacking for Gaudreau injury
Calgary forward is expected to miss six weeks
The Calgary Flames are preparing for life without talented left-winger Johnny Gaudreau for the next six weeks.
That was the message from Calgary general manager Brad Treliving on Thursday afternoon, as he met with the media upon his return from the league's GM meetings in Toronto. Gaudreau suffered a broken finger in the third period of the Flames 1-0 win in Minnesota on Tuesday.
"They're really happy with how everything went," said Treliving about the operation where Gaudreau had some hardware inserted into his finger. The surgery was performed in Vancouver on Wednesday by hand specialist Dr. Rod French.
Six weeks would put his return at Dec. 28, which would mean an absence of 20 games.
"Hopefully it's shorter. Everybody heals in different ways and different time frames," said Treliving. "But when you're talking about a broken bone and the procedure that's been done, that's sort of the timeline that's been done."
Treliving upset with officiating
What Treliving was most upset about is the quantity of slashes his star player has been taking lately, especially that night.
"The frustrating and disappointment from my standpoint was that this is not just a single act. There's rules in the rulebook when you get whacked like he's been getting whacked," said Treliving. "By our count, there were 11 chops on the guy that game. OK, 2, 3, 4... I get it. But maybe at nine, we need to dial-it-in here a little bit."
After a chop to his left hand earlier in the game that forced him to go to the dressing room to get a blood blister on a finger on his left hand drained, the crippling blow that broke the finger on his right hand came from Eric Staal, early in the third period.
"When you have a good player, there are tactics. Whether you put more men on them, you try to be physical, you try to take away space, all the things that we know and talk about," said Treliving. "But when you chop a guy in the hand, there's a rule that says you can't do that."
While he was in Toronto, Treliving said he met at length with Stephen Walkom, the league's vice-president and director of officiating.
"Stephen was good. We walked through it and it's a difficult one. These aren't baseball swings. It's hard and we get it. But it's also losing a good player for a long time," he said.
Key loss to Flames offence
Tied for sixth in league scoring last year as a sophomore with 30 goals and 78 points, Gaudreau is the engine that makes the Flames offence go.
"You can pull out all the clichés you want but it's reality. You need a little bit more from everyone else," said Treliving. "I remember a couple years ago when we lost Mark [Giordano] and my comment was, 'you're not going out and replace Giordano.' There was no Giordano tree. There's no Johnny Gaudreau tree. But what you can do is find people putting a little bit more into it, get a little bit more from your group here individually."
After playing centre all season up until this week, 20-year-old Sam Bennett has been inserted into Gaudreau's old spot on the top line alongside centre Sean Monahan and right winger Troy Brouwer.
After a 2-1 overtime win over Arizona on Wednesday night, the Flames are back in action Friday when they are host to Chicago.