SAN JOSE, Calif. — Tie draped around his neck and fresh off the Christmas break himself, Brian Burke passed by the American Hockey League’s Stockton Heat dressing room in the bowels of SAP Center.
Down the hall, Mark Depasquale and Corey Osmak were sharpening skates and preparing equipment because, soon, the Calgary Flames would be rolling into the building and the hallway would be littered by National Hockey League players warming up.
But instead of answering a pile of swarming media, questioning the Heat on a killer turnover that led to a 6-5 overtime loss to the San Jose Barracuda or why they allowed three straight goals and blew a third-period lead, the players filed out of the dressing room and were greeted by the sounds of something bigger — the sounds of the hustle and bustle of an NHL game.
All of it — being so close, but so far — are motivating reminders.
“I mean …” the Heat’s Ryan Lomberg was saying of the Flames brass, “they’re here physically now. But you kind of always have to know that someone is watching. Whether they’re in the building or up in Calgary in their office room, you kind of have to play the same way, and ultimately, that’s when you’re going to get rewarded when you’re consistent and doing the right things every night.”
To read Kristen Odland’s full story, visit the Calgary Sun.