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Brian Burke feels Westgarth’s ‘size and toughness’ is what Flames need

Dec 31, 2013, 11:18 AM EDT

Brian Burke

Calgary Flames acting general manager Brian Burke likes two aspects of Kevin Westgarth‘s game, and they’ve got nothing much to do with any kind of scoring touch.

“I’ve liked him since he played college hockey … I liked him in the American League,” said Burke on Monday, as per the Calgary Herald.

“What he brings is what we desperately need: Size and toughness.”

The Flames acquired Westgarth from the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday, in exchange for center and former first-round draft pick Greg Nemisz

Westgarth is in his fifth NHL season. He has three goals and nine points in 133 career games. But, along with 202 penalty minutes, he stands at six-foot-four-inches and weighs in at 234 pounds.

He can do this, as well.

Since Burke took over the GM duties after firing Jay Feaster, he’s made it a point of saying the Flames aren’t big enough, and would like to see his team play a tougher brand of hockey.

In other words: Burke wants to see his team play with more truculence.

“We want black and blue hockey,” he said during his press conference back in December.

  1. joey4id - Dec 31, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    No doubt is a very good addition with respect to toughness and physicality. However, with a differential of -27 I doubt his presence will provide the Flames with what they need most. I know Hartley likes physical players, but Westgarth is hardly the guy who can provide what Hartley really needs. Not sure Hartley is very happy being stuck with Burke after loosing one of his best friends as his GM.

    • thesportsjudge - Dec 31, 2013 at 1:44 PM

      “loosing”…extra “o” for emphasis, again?

      • joey4id - Dec 31, 2013 at 1:57 PM

        Yes! Yes! Emphasis. Looooooosing! :-) just like USA loooooooosung to Canada at the WJC in Sweden. What a game. Both teams played well.

  2. lowenni - Dec 31, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    I can understand having an enforcer on the roster, but if Burke things Westgarth is what the Flames need then he’s stuck in the 70’s. I think size and toughness is important, but not in the form of Westgarth. Size and toughness in the form of someone like Iginla or Perry is what makes a winner. Westgarth can’t play hockey, and his fighting ability doesn’t mask the fact that he’s useless to the team besides that.

    • elvispocomo - Dec 31, 2013 at 12:54 PM

      This isn’t new for Burke, he’s just going a little more off the deep end at the ‘truculence’ pool. If this is is first move to help the team in the absence of a GM, he should go back to focusing on who he going to hire for that role.

  3. wishingtonredslur - Dec 31, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    When the Flames were big they needed speed, when the Flames where fast they needed size. Pick an identity and kill the transgendered hockey you have going on.

  4. storminator16 - Dec 31, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    I’ve had the pleasure of watching Westgarth the past two seasons. I remember what Kings fans had to say when the Canes acquired (and summarily overpaid) for the player: “he is worthless”. Now, I won’t say anything quite so bold, but I will say Westgarth isn’t long for the NHL. He just doesn’t get around the ice well to be effective at any role. Lombardi fleeced Jim Rutherford, badly.

    Westgarth will be a locker room presence for the Flames, nothing more.

    • ron05342 - Dec 31, 2013 at 12:19 PM

      I’m going to disagree with you, I watched Westgarth when he was with the Kings and he is a deceptive skater. He just doesn’t get enough playing time. I think there is a niche for him in the NHL.

      • davebabychreturns - Dec 31, 2013 at 1:40 PM

        Well whether Westgarth’s four and a half minutes a game is enough, or if he should have been getting six minutes a game like the ‘Canes other fourth liners, isn’t really at issue.. the fact is that the Flames aren’t getting any tougher when the guys who will take regular shifts don’t change (and Westgarth is not one of those guys).

      • storminator16 - Dec 31, 2013 at 3:00 PM

        He wasn’t getting that playing time for a reason, bro.

  5. drewsylvania - Dec 31, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    Over and over, Burke misses the fact that teams win with talent and grit. Both things.

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