Cammalleri looks to put tumultuous season behind him
CALGARY, AB -- Calgary Flames forward Mike Cammalleri's 2011-12 season has been eventful to say the least.
In his second game of the year, while he was with the Montreal Canadiens, Cammalleri's leg was sliced open by then-teammate Yannick Weber's skate. Blood spurted onto the ice as he hobbled back to the bench to be attended to by team doctors.
The injury forced him to miss two weeks. He hoped he could get right back into the swing of things when he returned but he, like many of the Habs, couldn't quite get into an offensive groove. From Oct. 20 through Dec. 31, he scored seven goals while Montreal went 12-16-6.
In January, with frustration mounting, the intensely competitive Cammalleri vented his anger about the Habs play. Citing a "losing attitude" as the most troubling factor in defeats, the 29 year-old's comments drew ire from the Montreal fanbase but the controversy from his assessment was far from over.
Just a day after vocalizing his concerns, the Habs were in Boston to take on the Bruins. Cammalleri started the game but was yanked from it at the end of the second period as he was no longer a member of the Montreal organization.
Former Habs general manager Pierre Gauthier had dealt the forward to Flames in exchange for Rene Bourque, prospect Patrick Holland and the team's second round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Calgary also received KHL goaltender Kari Ramo and a fifth round pick in the 2012 Draft in the deal.
He was welcomed back with open in arms in Calgary, scoring a goal in his first game back in a Flames jersey. He immediately boosted the team's power play thanks to his chemistry with Jarome Iginla and while he wasn't producing at the rate he would have liked, it looked like his season was turning around.
Then a slapshot from a teammate struck him in the neck in a game against San Jose. He played through that but a few weeks later, Dallas forward Steve Ott laid a high hit on Cammalleri which ended up putting him in the sick bay for nine games with an upper body malady.
He returned on Mar. 24, scoring five goals and eight points in the final seven games of the campaign.
"It’s been a season of many distractions for me and quite unproductive in many different ways," was Cammalleri's response when asked to sum up his year. "I guess the best analogy if you look at an individual game and you go and play your heart out and left it all out there but lose the game.
"You can maybe rest your head at night and feel OK about it. But when that’s not the case, it’s not so easy to go to bed. For those reasons it’s kind of an ugly feeling for me going into the summer."
While the upper body injury could have been quite stressful after the season he had, Cammalleri chose to see it as a positive experience.
"With the injury, for me if anything was a bit of a break for me,” Cammalleri stated. “I feel a little bit more refreshed and more like I can enjoy hockey again.
"As much as I tried to keep all the distractions away, this was a very distracting year up until now."
Cammalleri has not been asked to play for Canada in the IIHF World Hockey Championships so his off-season training regimen will begin shortly.
"I’ll look forward to my summer. I’ll look forward to spending some time with my family. I’ll look forward to working hard on the details of my game and coming back with rejuvenated focus for next season.
"Hopefully I can carry some of that success I had personally at the end of the season over to next year."