Flames Rookie Pelletier Reportedly Fine With Scratch
Calgary Flames rookie Jakob Pelletier told Sportnet’s Eric Francis he understood why he was scratched in win against the Vegas Golden Knights despite the Internet outcry over Darryl Sutter’s move.
Rookies taking seats in the press box is nothing new in the NHL. But when Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter sits a kid, it becomes instant Internet fodder.
On Thursday, before an historic victory in Vegas, Sutter’s decision to scratch Jakob Pelletier and Walker Duehr got the hashtag #FireSutter trending in Canada.
Twitter was aflame with Calgary Flames talk.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. As we’ve said before in this space — Sutter doesn’t care.
And in this case, as Pelletier shared in a chat with Sportsnet’s Eric Francis in Vegas, neither does the kid.
“It’s part of the process. We’re still young guys, so we just have to learn from the mistake you made,” Pelletier told Francis.
“Lindy (Elias Lindholm) told me yesterday, actually, ‘It’s OK, it happened to me in my fourth year also.’ Sometimes you have to take a step back to look at the game from up top, and see what you can to improve.
“Maybe when you come back in, you see the game a different way and it can help you.”
Healthy scratches happen for all kinds of different reasons. They can be motivation techniques, teaching sessions, protective plays. Rarely do they come of pure spite.
Despite how anyone feels about Sutter — who has somehow gone from Calgary Flames’ saviour and NHL coach of the year to a guy the Flames Twitterverse wants fired.
For playing Milan Lucic and Trevor Lewis too much. For suggesting Sonny Milano wasn’t worthy of a spot during his PTO in training camp. For chasing Juuso Valimaki away, not giving Matthew Phillips a chance, imprisoning Adam Ruzicka in the press box and potentially scaring away the likes of Matt Coronato.
And, of course, for the way he downplayed Pelletier’s NHL debut.
But the recently turned 22-year-old who looks like he’ll carve out a nice career with three goals and seven points in 22 games so far knows there will be bumps along the way.
Mistakes are going to happen, like the one in overtime this week in Arizona when Pelletier aggressively forechecked while Nazem Kadri was already committed deep. It led to the winning goal for the Coyotes, with Calgary Flames castoff Valimaki and Travis Boyd capitalizing on the odd-man rush.
Pelletier told Francis the play was “just stupid” and that he felt bad about it, but he also said he didn’t believe it was why he sat out in Vegas. At least not the only reason. He admitted he’s had a dip in his play. It’s natural for younger players to experience those.
A suited seat isn’t going to ruin his career. It can be as simple as a reminder that he has to play with the same intensity every night to be successful.
You can bet he’ll bring it when he gets back into the lineup.