‘I’ve gotta be a better player’: Jonathan Huberdreau responds to being benched against Nashville

Photo credit:Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
7 months ago
On Tuesday night, Jonathan Huberdeau was a spectator as the Calgary Flames rallied in the third period to beat the Nashville Predators by a 4-2 score, benched for the entire period. On Wednesday, Huberdeau hit the practice ice and then spoke to the media about his third period absence.
For what it’s worth, Huberdeau certainly was saying the right things and displaying the positive attitude his teammates have lauded him for since his arrival in Calgary.

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When asked if he can use the situation in a way that can benefit him:
“I always want to look forward. I can’t think in the past. You use that as… it’s frustration. I mean obviously, it’s humiliating, you don’t want to be sitting on the bench and see your guys work hard on the ice and you’re just out there sitting on there. It wasn’t easy, I’m not going to lie. It was a coaching decision, and I think you move on from there. Me and Husk talked it out. There’s no pointing fingers, you’ve got to look in the mirror. I’ve gotta be a better player. I know I’ve got it in me. I still believe, I still believe in myself. I just gotta show it on the ice.”
He chuckled a bit after being asked where the solution would come from: “If I found the solution, I probably wouldn’t be sitting on the bench last night.”
Answering a question regarding if he understood the reasoning for his benching, Huberdeau indicated that, yeah, he did.
“I understood,” said Huberdeau, referencing his conversations with head coach Ryan Huska. “He needs more from me, and I gotta give more. I say I’m trying, but you know sometimes you gotta try smarter.”
In his chat with the media, Huska acknowledged the level of scrutiny that Huberdeau is under. Huska also linked that scrutiny to Huberdeau being considered a top player in the league.
“There’s a reason why there’s some pressure,” said Huska. “Because he’s a really good player, and we need him to be at his best all the time. That’s really what it comes down to.”
The Flames are back in action on Friday night when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first game of a three-game eastern road trip.

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