A few weeks ago, the debate was whether Mark Jankowski would benefit from it in the AHL at some point.
The eve of tough decisions for the Calgary Flames is getting closer, and one wonders whether the man with a single point in this season was about to be exempted for the purpose of downgrading.
However, it is now being discussed whether he is the ultimate figurehead for what Geoff Ward is all about – empowerment, ownership and resilience.
Despite the fact that he wasn't even on the ice for a single flame target until last week, Jankowski received an important order when Ward was kicked behind the bench on the first night.
"Right at the beginning of the game in Buffalo, there was an opportunity to look at a few different things, so we (Jankowski's fourth unit) played against the first six in Buffalo to see if they were able to do it "said Ward, whose refreshing mantra focuses on ensuring that every player feels they have a voice and has a significant opportunity to contribute.
"If it works, it gives us a lot more options that we can do with our lines in terms of matchups. We felt they did a good job of this game. We'll have it again in the next game tried and she. " were still very good. "
Go to the biggest statement game of the season in Flames on Monday night in Denver, where one of Ward's latest recultivation projects ran on ice against Nathan MacKinnon so often that Jankowski's line attempted the situation in the final minute to preserve the tie.
"We felt really confident in this game, when they were on the ice with MacKinnon, they had really good shifts against him. They actually played against them in the O-Zone for quite a while. So (played the game we sent them out to the line). "
The same applies to the victory against the Leafs on Thursday evening when Ward Jankowski retired with some regularity against John Tavares, Mitch Marner and Zach Hyman.
For the third night in a row, Jankowski was a plus player who was relevant all evening and was still the effective penalty he was always. A born again player.
"I feel better," said 25-year-old Jankowski, who has scored 31 goals in the past two seasons.
"Wardo showed a lot of trust in our line and we have proven ourselves and given him the confidence that he can trust us all. I would definitely like to have a little more opportunity (under Bill Peters) – a little more trust from the coaches to go out there and do what we're doing right now. It may have brought a little new life to the locker room. We realized we had to do better and we could. "
His Linemates Thursday also played a crucial role when Tobias Rieder delivered a great game before handing out the puck to Michael Frolik, whose snipe was his third in as many games.
"With the coaching staff, we feel part of the group," confirmed Frolik.
"Wardo would still like to roll four lines and have a bit of depth."
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Unlike the Leafs turnaround under a new coach who encouraged its stars, the Flames turnaround under Ward has largely evolved through the team's deep attacks.
Less time for stars and more time for everyone else led to seven wins in a row and 17 out of 18 points to have a two point advantage over the division.
"We've talked about keeping balance across all four lines, and we've seen the benefits of some of them in recent ice hockey games," said Ward.
"Boys get a chance to get involved. We tell everyone you have to try to score. That's the way it is. We don't send boys out just to be straight checkers. We see some boys, who are liberated This goes hand in hand with a little self-confidence – the boys are ready to play more and hold on to the puck. It was good for us and made a decisive contribution to our victories. "
With Austin Czarnik back in Calgary after his successful rehabilitation stint in Stockton (he scored the OT winner in his last game) and Sam Bennett shortly before returning from an injury, it will be fascinating to see which squad has the cap straps moves team will make.
Since Dillon Dube does not have to clarify waivers, he has to return to his last eight despite three goals and four assists.
It's an uncomfortable option since Dube, Derek Ryan, and Milan Lucic have been the best line of Flames for the past three weeks.
Dubes Stockton roommate Zac Rinaldo is expected to return to the AHL even though he has scored big goals in his last two games. Due to his speed, his recent mojo and his penalty shoot-out, Rieder is at risk of suspending waivers. Maybe Oliver Kylington could go under again if the Flames felt comfortable with only six defenders in the squad.
"We have some difficult decisions to make regarding our lineup now that everyone is back," said Ward, whose coaching approach has undoubtedly brought some delicious problems for the team.
"But that's a good thing for us. If you sit here as a coaching staff and don't have to make difficult decisions about who comes in, you probably don't have the depth you want in your lineup."