Calgary Flames defenceman Rasmus Andersson got a bit philosophical following Saturday’s win

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
3 months ago
Folks, it’s late in the 2023-24 Calgary Flames season and the club has nine games remaining after their Saturday night victory over the Los Angeles Kings.
Following the game, blueliner Rasmus Andersson had a lengthy chat with the media that started specifically discussing the win, veered towards a bit of a philosophical chat about young players in the NHL, then went back towards the game.

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It was really interesting, so we transcribed a few of his lengthy answers for your perusal. Questions and answers lightly edited for clarity.
What can young players learn from a victory like this?
That it’s a hard league to win in. You’ve got to pay the price, night in and night out. NHL is a lot about knowing your role and thriving with your role. If you have a sheltered role, it’s if you get an opportunity, take advantage of it, and that’s what I think our young players have done this year. I think Pospy is a pest out there, night in and night out, and it’s him understanding his role. I think Matty has been excellent since he got back. And I think Zars has been good all year. So you know the opportunity’s there and you’ve got to take it when you get, and I think our young guys have done a really good job of that.
Is tonight a night that means something in the development of players?
Hard to say. I think the thing with young players, and myself included when I was young, you don’t realize how many games it actually is. There isn’t a lot of practices, and especially this time of the year, everything is about the games. Or you travel. Playing in Canada on the west side, it’s a lot of travel. It’s almost a slap in the face your first year because you don’t realize how much it takes of your body, and mentally, getting home at 2 a.m., having a day off the next day and then play, and then you might leave again. You learn a lot, and you learn how you deal with it the longer your NHL career goes. It can be tough. It doesn’t really matter what age you are, but you know, you learn how to deal with it the older you get and the more experience you have. Because the first few years are tough, and then eventually when you get a family and a wife and kids and all that kind of stuff, it sucks to be without them, right? And you’re gone for large period of times most of the year, so it’s a learning curve. But once again, I thought our young players have been excellent all year and they’ve been really taking advantage of their opportunity, and they should be proud of themselves.
When you were a young player, at what point did you feel like you had a handle on the adjustment?
The one thing, too, when it’s your first year everything’s exciting, right? If you look around the league at a lot of young players, it’s the second year that can be challenging for a lot of players. Because I think that’s when you realize, you get paid a lot of money to do this and it’s not all sunshine and rainbows even though it is. Don’t get me wrong, it really is. We all love our job and we all love playing in the NHL and we all love playing for the Flames. But you know, it’s a mental grind and it’s a physical grind a lot of nights. And it can be challenging, it really can be. You have ups and downs. And with the social media world, you read how terrible you are one game and how good you are the next, so it’s really, you’ve got to learn how to cope with everything around it. But once again.. the one I’m really impressed with is Matty. Since he’s been back up, I think he’s playing with a lot of confidence and a lot of swagger. He’s hanging onto pucks, he’s making plays, and he’s going to be a really good player in this organization for a long time.
What’s your advice to young players who are experiencing what you experienced?
Honestly, not much the first year. As I said, the first year is exciting and new, and you’re riding along, kind of. You see New York, you see Florida, you see the big cities and you stay at nice hotels, you fly private and stuff like that. So I think the first year you’re just enjoying it and, as I said, the second year can be challenging sometimes. But so far, they’ve done a great job. All three, four, five… I don’t know how many there’s been. But they’ve done a good job, all of them. You know, just stay in the moment, stay present, and enjoy it. And if they come up to us next year or we see them struggling or if they take the next step, you’re going to be by their side. That’s why you love playing on a team, you’re in it together, and some nights you can be the hero and some nights you’re the villain and that’s just the way it is. So you know, you always have your teammates’ back and I think that’s the one thing I love about our team, too. It doesn’t matter who you are, we all try to get in the lane and blocking shots and standing up for each other. We all know what situation we’re in. It’s going to take a miracle to get in the playoffs, but we still show up on a night like tonight and we block shots, we hit, we play a physical game, we’re all over a really good team for 60 minutes. It was one of those nights when you look around and you’re proud of being this team.
The Flames are back in action on Tuesday night when they host the Anaheim Ducks.
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