Flames’ desire to tighten up defensively gets that much harder without Tanev


CALGARY – One regulation win.

That, and three loser factors, are all of the Calgary Flames have to point out for the eight video games by which Chris Tanev hasn’t dressed this season.

The very fact is, nobody within the locker room, coaches’ workplace or round city, wants a stat like that to exhibit Tanev’s significance to the staff.

Simply assume again to how weak defensively the Flames have been in final yr’s division ultimate in opposition to Edmonton when Tanev missed the primary three video games earlier than gutting out the ultimate two with a torn labrum and separated shoulder that popped out nearly as many occasions as Connor McDavid scored.

He’s not flashy, he’s not some extent producer and he’s not a Dion Phaneuf reincarnate in terms of physique blasts.

He’s simply the most effective rattling defencemen the Flames have.

Had.

The information Calgary hockey followers have been bracing for got here Wednesday, lower than 48 hours after the 33-year-old warrior gingerly departed Monday’s Johnny Hockey recreation.

“Tanny will miss these two video games, and if all the pieces goes properly, we’ll get him again after the break,” mentioned Darryl Sutter, whose membership can have 9 days off following Friday’s recreation in Seattle.   

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“If there’s a blessing in a having an extended break, that’s it.”

Sutter delivered one other blessing after that.

“Fortunately, the key (shoulder) surgical procedure he had final summer time – it wasn’t that,” added Sutter,  who most actually has thought-about Tanev as a candidate to fill the membership’s vacant captaincy.

So what does the staff miss when he’s not on the ice?

“Two issues – he’s so good at his construction, when it comes to the x’s and o’s of his recreation,” mentioned Sutter.

“That’s a part of his preparation – he’s so detailed.

“The opposite is his one-on-one play.”

It’s unrivalled on a blue line full of assorted abilities – none of whom have as full a package deal as Tanev.

Tanev is a chilled presence on the bench and a stabilizing and galvanizing drive on the ice, who has helped the Flames go 22-12-6 within the 40 video games that he has appeared on this season.

“It’s not simply the blue line, it’s your locker room,” mentioned Sutter of what he brings.

“Each coach has a handful of men that you don’t must react (to conditions) as a result of these guys will handle it.”

And so, the shuffling begins, forward of back-to-backs in opposition to Chicago and Seattle.

“Adjustments dramatically, while you take a look at it,” mentioned Sutter of the re-jigged pairings he hopes will solely play out for 2 outings.

“No one replaces Chris Tanev. 

“Connor (Mackey) is available in and (Michael) Stone(y) performs extra minutes, and Z (Nikita Zadorov) goes up a notch (to play alongside) MacKenzie (Weegar), who goes again to the suitable facet.

“It actually impacts rather a lot. 

“The one pair it doesn’t have an effect on is Noah (Hanifin) and Ras(mus Andersson).”
“They’re all going to must step up their recreation.”

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Zadorov has been a revelation of kinds for the Flames this yr with Sutter calling him their finest blue liner at occasions, and the participant confirming his confidence has by no means been larger.

He’s clearly able to leaping right into a top-four function with Weegar.

“Extra ice time I assume – extra duty,” mentioned the hulking Russian of his new gig.

“Spoke to Darryl at this time, and the defence core, and he informed us once we lose guys like Tanny now we have to convey one thing further.

“It’s defending and good positioning within the d-zone, so each man within the d-zone must be 5 per cent higher for us to achieve success.”

This staff spent the primary half of the season attempting desperately to tighten up defensively – one thing the coach has plainly mentioned is the important thing to second-half success.

That job shall be a lot tougher if Tanev isn’t again in time for his or her re-boot Feb. 6 in New York.

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