The opportunity is coming, Brian McGrattan can feel it. One of these games, if the situation arises, Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley is finally going to use the gritty right-winger in his list of shootout candidates. At least, he hopes so. “He always looks at me and says, ‘Bob. When am I going first?’ ” said Hartley, laughing when describing the lighthearted antics one of his team’s most popular players and scorers, as of late. “He takes the pressure away from being in shootouts. Some guys are shaking, thinking I might just call their name. He’s standing up: ‘Am I the first guy?’ “I’ll surprise him, one day he’s going to go.” And wouldn’t that go over well? A fan favourite, the Scotiabank Saddledome went ballistic when McGrattan scored the Flames’ second goal in Monday’s third period to add to a late comeback against the Los Angeles Kings. The 32-year-old Hamilton native scored in his second consecutive game, tallying his third goal this season (59 games played) and ninth National Hockey League marker in 292 career games. He’d potted Calgary’s lone goal — one for the ages, a slapshot dump-in allowed by Eddie Lack — in a 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. No, the man they call ‘Big Ern’ doesn’t score often. But when he does — during a practice or a game — it is celebrated wholeheartedly. “When a guy like that scores . . . he sacrifices his body, his face, his fists for the guys time and time again and doesn’t get enough credit for it,” said Flames centre Joe Colborne. “So when he does get a chance to score and he scores two in a row like he did. “There are few moments in hockey that get someone jacked up as much as that. Everyone’s just grinning. Like, we’re SO pumped for him. It’s pretty special when he gets the accolades he deserves on a more regular basis.” With tattoos, scruffy beard, and serious stare, the six-foot-four, 235-pounder looks like one tough hombre. He plays like it, too, as one of the league’s most established tough guys over 12 seasons of professional hockey and has 10 fights to his name this year.
Flames’ McGrattan has put substance abuse issues behind him as he admiration
Calgary Herald | Mar 12