There is no doubt it has been an up and down 2012-13 season for Calgary Flames rookie Sven Baertschi.
Due to the work stoppage, he kicked off his first professional season with the Abbotsford Heat. He lit things up with the Flames AHL affiliate, racking up 18 points (6 goals, 12 assists) in 21 games. He headed up to Calgary for the Flames training camp in January and expected he would be a mainstay in the lineup for the duration of the year.
It didn't turn out that way.
With just one assist in his first 10 games, the Flames opted to reassign the forward to Abbotsford to help him regain his confidence and get his game back in order. The start to his second stint with the Heat was admittedly slow - he was pointless in his first three games and was a minus-two in that span.
On Mar. 17, in a game against the San Antonio Rampage, the 20 year-old posted two points (one goal, one assist) and his offensive production started to roll. By the time he was recalled by the Flames on Sunday, he had amassed eight point (four goals, four assists) in his last eight games.
"It was a great experience for me because it was more of lesson for me," Baertschi said of his time with the Heat. "To understand the game, to understand that there are a lot of things I have to learn.
"I didn't have much confidence so going back there and getting some confidence, playing a lot of minutes - that helped me a lot."
He knows very well that confidence is fragile thing but knows now that a few bumps in the road are normal and he will be able to work through them if he sticks to the game plan.
"I've got to do what I can. I'm a guy who likes to make plays out there. I think if I'm able to do that, my confidence is going to stay (where it is)."
Bob Hartley noted Baertschi will be used in a multitude of situations as the coaching staff continues its evaluations of their young charges.
"You're going to see some new responsibilities, some new roles," he said in his post-practice scrum.
FLAMES LINEUP NOTES
The Flames will go with Joey MacDonald in net tonight. The 33 year-old's last victory came against the Avs, stopping 27 of 30 shots on Mar. 27. The netminder has a 4-6-1 record this year, making 303 saves.
Jiri Hudler (upper body) will not play tonight and is classified as day-to-day. Brian McGrattan (upper body) will also miss tonight's game. He has been sent back to Calgary for further evaluation. Curtis Glencross, who was sidelined on Saturday, will return to the lineup.
"He's been unbelievable ... He's our future on the blueline." - Hartley on the play of TJ Brodie this season.
FROM THE OPPOSITION'S LOCKER ROOM
"We have to come out with a new focus tonight. That game is still in the back of our minds but we have to come out re-energized and play a good game ... We have to come out and play to our capabilities and not worry about them." - Avs defenceman Matt Hunwick on bouncing back from the 4-0 loss to the Coyotes on Saturday.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
Dennis Wideman needs 1 assist for 200.
Cory Sarich needs 3 points for 150.
Mike Cammalleri needs 4 games for 600.
Jiri Hudler needs 6 goals for 100.
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