In all likelihood Brian Burke’s intent was a kick in pants for Sven Baertschi. Nothing more. Ya it sure makes you wonder what it will be to see what a real lambasting looks like from the Calgary Flames president of hockey operations after he somewhat unloaded Monday but rest assured Burke truly wants the club’s 2011 first-round draft choice to blossom into a star for the team. The sooner Baertschi accepts Burke’s message implements the expectations the organization has of him the sooner he will be the best he can be. And now as the Flames head into Thursday’s season-opener in Washington against the Capitals (5 p.m. TSN) how Baertschi reacts will become one of the big storylines the rest of the way. Will he be stung by what Burke said to the point he becomes paralyzed by fear? It’s possible even for just a short spell. Will he be hurt to the point he rebels? Honestly can’t see that being the outcome. Or will Baertschi man-up truly work on those shortcomings and become enough of the top-flight player he’s the new face of the franchise? He said that was one of his goals. Taking to heart those criticisms and battling to improve in those areas would be the best course of action. Baertschi wasn’t made available after Tuesday’s practice at the Saddledome but his teammates — some heard about it some hadn’t — know they’ll have to ensure the up-and-coming winger deals properly with the fallout. “I think Burkie was probably just trying to get him going” Flames defenceman Shane O’Brien said. “I don’t think he was trying to ruin the kid’s confidence. I think he was trying to tell him he needs to be better. That’s how Burkie is he’ll speak is mind and know where you stand with him. “I think Baertschi is a strong kid. I haven’t talked to him about it but I’m sure he’s heard about it — it’s Calgary and a big deal. “But one thing I’ll say about Burkie he may say some negative things at times but he protects his players too.” Shortly before the club announced its opening-day roster Burke said all he’d seen through the pre-season from Baertschi was “flashes of brilliance” sporadic focus on offence but nowhere near enough on the defensive game “big holes” and “a lack of commitment”.
Here's hoping Baertschi responds properly to comments from Burke
Calgary Sun | Oct 2