FlamesNation chats with Sven Baertschi



Since last year’s draft, it’s been a series of highs and lows for Sven Baertschi. The lows, thankfully, weren’t particularly low – Baertschi missed several games due to injury and failed to make a huge impact at the World Juniors in Calgary.

However, the rest of Baertschi’s season was rather impressive. He racked up a stellar 94 points in just 47 games and added 34 points in 22 playoff games as he lead the Portland Winterhawks to their second consecutive berth in the WHL finals. He also was summoned to Calgary on an emergency recall when the Flames were riddled with injuries and, despite being the youngest player on the club, scored three goals in five games.

Poised to (hopefully) make the jump to the Calgary Flames full-time in next season, Baertschi spoke with FlamesNation’s Ryan Pike last week at development camp.

Ryan Pike: How did your last season go?

Sven Baertschi: Well. It went well. It was really good. A good run again in Portland. We were really close. It’s tough that we didn’t make it, but that chance was there again and we just didn’t use it and it’s tough in the end to go off the ice as a loser. Especially in the finals, to go through it twice.

It was great for Portland. They didn’t have that many people coming to the games. They didn’t have the players they had over the past three years, so it’s been a big improvement there and I was really proud of the team for the whole season.

RP: Given that you’re likely turning pro next season, what do you take away from your time in Portland?

SB: The whole thing was a good experience for me… It was just a huge learning process for me. Getting used to North American hockey, getting used to learning a new language, getting used to living somewhere else – almost by yourself, your family’s not with you. It went well for me, personally, and if I didn’t come over, I probably wouldn’t have been drafted that high and be here in Calgary. I mean, to go to Portland, I say it all the time, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made in hockey. I don’t regret anything there. In the end, to have the chance twice, in the end it’s tough, but the chance was there so I shouldn’t be too sad about it.

RP: You’re one of the lucky junior players to have had a chance to test yourself at the NHL level before turning pro full-time. Based on your time up in Calgary, what do you feel you need to work on to be a full-time NHL player?

SB: I’ve got to work on everything. It’s not that there’s just certain things I want to work on, the whole package needs to be like that. I want to be sure I can keep playing the same way I’ve played…I want to make sure I get better in everything I do on the ice, so I make sure I get stronger in the summer, I make sure I work on my skills during the summer. The whole thing is to make sure I’m ready when it starts, the camp and everything.

RP: Did anybody give you any advice when you were in Calgary about making the jump to the NHL or any challenges they had to overcome?

SB: I talked a lot to Jarome [Iginla] and he helped me a lot and everything. It’s just keep working hard and you’re going to be here one day and just keep going. He was a huge help for me. He gave me a lot of confidence and I just got to do what he told me. He’s won everything there is in hockey, so I believe in him.

RP: Do you have any plans for the rest of your summer?

SB: Well, you know, I’m working out at home, going back to Switzerland and I want to spend as much time as I can with my family. I had a pretty short summer last summer because of combine and the draft and everything. It’s been a little more now and it’s been good. I love my trainer at home, he really takes care of me, makes sure I work hard, makes sure that I eat the right things and everything. It’s been really good, so I want to keep doing that and so far it’s worked out well.


  • Legend of Weevil

    ” I talked a lot to Jarome [Iginla] and he helped me a lot and everything. It’s just keep working hard and you’re going to be here one day and just keep going. He was a huge help for me. He gave me a lot of confidence and I just got to do what he told me.” this is why iggy needs to stay!

    • the forgotten man

      Sounds good but doesn’t square with the reality that I’ve witnessed during his tenure with the Flames.

      He shows zero percent passion in any post game interview I’ve ever seen him give and trots out the same banal boilerplate lines whenever they lose or miss the playoffs. For the last number of years he drifts through chunks of the season and hovers at centre ice more often than not.

      Hell, I saw way more passion from my captains playing high school basketball and club soccer especially when we were losing.

      For all the losing Jarome has witnessed here, has he actually ever called out one of his teammates or the team play in general?? Sorry, but where I come from that is what the captain should do from time to time…Jarome seems to prefer armchair GM and simply has guys shipped out…that is why we miss Regehr more than anything else and why his trade was a loss – at least Regehr had the balls to call out his team.

      Jarome is still a top six forward but captain material? I’d pass it onto Giordano at this point…he at least seems a little ornery at times.

      With Jarome at the helm it will always be Flames CC in that dressing room…not gonna win championships with that environment.

  • supra steve

    If he really hates to lose…can you see him leaving next year (or waiving his NMC), cause I have my doubts about the current team doing any more winning then the last 3 versions.

  • SmellOfVictory

    I could see it going either way. He may hate to lose, but he likely sees the Flames as ‘his’ team (and his claim in that sense would be as legitimate as it can get for a player), so he probably does want to win specifically with this team – perhaps at the cost of a strong contention for the cup.

  • Should’ve asked Sven how he feels about being on the same ice again with the goalie who stopped Portland from advancing in the playoffs, and then bungled his way to being trounced from the Memorial Cup.

    I too find it encouraging that Iginla is getting such high praise from the kids. He’s certainly a good leader and hates to lose (I don’t doubt those), but it begs the question – why does Iginla coast on many nights? Why are his post-loss interviews not filled with rage? One way to be a leader is to lead by example – score key goals, make big hits, don’t ever give up. Iginla doesn’t do this much anymore.

    Maybe his age finally is catching up to him.

  • I for one am very excited for this upcoming season. It’s unlikely that there will be a lockout for the whole season, maybe a few months or something like that, but that just makes for tons of condensed games just like what happened with the NBA!

    I’m intrigued by the idea of having Sven with Hudler and Cervenka for the 3rd line, or 2nd line, however it works out. It’ll be interesting to watch during training camp. I think Sven is the most exciting thing to happen to this team in years.

    The Upcoming Season: With the additions of Cammalleri, Cervenka, Hudler, Backlund (healthy and improved hopefully) and Baertschi, I feel like the Flames have really added to their lineup in terms of quality top 9 forwards. Who’s to say if we make the playoffs, but as you can see, L.A. made it happen, so why can’t we? Mind you L.A. had much more to work with but who knows?

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    @ Austin

    Agreed about Sven. Most exciting prospect since Dion & I would say even moreso.

    Disagree about Calgary perhpas contending if they sneak in. Calgary still is missing something contending teams have – top line players that drive posession or hold their own against other top lines. Like the last 3 years, playoffs are possible – contention for the cup…. not so much. If they did go deep I think it would be a fluke/luck vs. actual team quality unfortunately.

    That being said, I am also excited for the upcoming season to see what the new roster will shape up like. I also think Sven/Cervanka/Hudler should be the 2nd line & give all the heavy lifting to glencross/backlund/stempniak (or maybe Comeau)

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    @Bean-counting cowboy

    There’s little to no chance that the Flames win a cup through luck, but if they won in the first round I’d be overjoyed. Either way if we lose in the first round of the playoffs we still get a top 20 pick at next years draft. I hear it’s going to be a good one…

  • RKD

    This notion of someone’s tone or lack thereof rage in interviews is asinine. You’ll never see Jarome rage in an interview. His father taught him better. He is a soft spoken guy and treats everyone respectfully.

    All season so many fans kept complaining that Brent Sutter didn’t smile. Smiling on the bench doesn’t equal wins or compensate for an underachieving team.

    What, if Hartley’s face goes red and the veins are popping out of his neck then are we going to say Bob is too hard on the players.

    Iggy leads by example, he can do what he can. He’s not the Iggy of 8 years ago. He’s played over 1,000 games but has scored 513 goals. Sure, he’s not fleet of foot or great defensively but he contributes offensively and will be a good mentor to Baertschi.

  • CitizenFlame

    I think we get a small window of what players are really like through interviews. A leader shouldn’t call guys out in public through the media. He should do it in the dressing room, and probably one on one. Iggy’s probably been to too many media training sessions to do anything so stupid as to call out individuals in public. You want to lose a room, that’s the fast track. The Flames to me, seem especially good at keeping things locked down. Rarely do they suffer a black eye in the public. Like last years flu shot queue jumping.
    Unless you’re part of the team, debating his leadership skills is nothing more than personal opinion. If he wasn’t a good Captain, he probably wouldn’t be Captain anymore, and he probably would stop popping up in the most respected player polls done every year. He’s the second longest tenured(active)Captain in the league for a reason, in my estimation. But that is only my opinion. I’ve never met the guy.