CALGARY, AB -- Heading into the 2013 season, Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley has one guarantee for fans.
"We're going to be fast-paced, up-tempo hockey team," Hartley told CalgaryFlames.com. "We're in the entertainment business and we have to give our fans not only wins but a brand of a hockey they can recognize in themselves. I know people in Calgary; they're hard workers, they want to see action and that's our plan.
"One thing that I can promise our fans is that we won't be sitting on the blueline waiting for the other team to attack. I believe in pressure. I believe in moving the puck smartly, great puck possession."
Hartley is known for placing great emphasis on conditioning, stressing that in order for a team to be successful, they must be in excellent shape. When it was announced Hartley would be taking over the head coaching duties, Jeff Tambellini - who played for Hartley in Zurich - shared some of the drills the Flames can expect with the Calgary Herald.
Mountain Climbers, which sees players skate blueline-to-goal line, red-line-to-goal-line, blueline-to-goal-line and far-end-to-goal-line in 45 seconds, and Sweet Sixteens, 16 laps around the rink in four minutes, are a couple of Hartley favourites according to Tambellini.
"Conditioning is probably the most important factor because we're going to have a really tight schedule," Hartley said. "We're going to probably going to play, at times, three games in four nights so the ability to recover from a big game will be crucial. The only way that you can recover mentally and physically is to be fit.
"I want my team to be the best conditioned team in the league. If we can't score while handling the puck, well, we're going to try to generate scoring chances with pressure."
Given training camp will be condensed into a short time frame, Hartley and the rest of the coaching staff have tailored their schedule around aspects they feel will ensure their squad is 100 per cent ready for the opening of the 2013 season. With a new faces behind the bench and on the ice, running through systems will be paramount but camp will also allow Hartley to get a feel of where players will land in the lineup.
"That is one thing that we want to establish early so that we can try to get some chemistry. Who will play with who, whether on forward lines or who is going to matched with who as defensive pairings.
"That can change at any time but we need to start somewhere. We have a good idea of who will play with who but we're going to keep this as a surprise for day one."
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