CLIMBING OVER .500
Members of the Calgary Flames climbed the mountain – a taxing skating drill – in practice on Monday.
They’ll hope to scale a wall against the San Jose Sharks.
Sitting at .500, the Flames with have their fifth opportunity to jump over that hump when hosting the Sharks on Wednesday at Scotiabank Saddledome.
“It’s like a great big China Wall or something that we can’t get over,” Alex Tanguay said. “Certainly it’s been tough for us to get over that hump and we see where we’re at in the standings. We’re a couple games away. This is the time of year you’ve got to take that step and move forward and get over that .500 mark and start getting closer to the middle of the pack.”
Coach Bob Hartley is less concerned with the mark and more focused on what comes after it – climbing in the Western Conference standings.
“Players, fans, reporters, coaches, we can decide on any kinds of advantages that we want,” Hartley said. “For myself, I just look at the standings. For me, that’s the easiest motivation that I can find. To be a top-8 team then to challenge to go higher, I think that should be our goal, that should be our mindset.”
NO CHANGE WITH KIPPER
Caglary’s mindset with Miikka Kiprusoff between the pipes should stay consistent too.
Nearing his return to the Flames lineup, Hartley stressed having Kiprusoff doesn’t change the way the team is approaching the upcoming schedule which features 13 games in March – including seven on the road – spanning just 24 days.
“Just have to look at the standings. I think that winning games should be our only priority on our list right now,” he said. “Whoever plays goal, whoever plays center, whoever sings the national anthem, it’s not a priority for me right now. It’s winning hockey games. We’re right there, but we’re not in the pack that we want to be.”
There’s only one adjustment with Kiprusoff in the crease, according to defenseman Mark Giordano.
“I think obviously he’s always bee one of the best players in the league and our only concern would be to make sure to keep guys out of his crease,” he said. “You can’t let a guy bump into him.”
MAC’S NEW MASK
Joey MacDonald had a new look to him at practice on Tuesday, debuting his highly anticipated new mask.
Scrapping his winged wheel arrangement he brought over from Detroit, MacDonald’s new lid features a plethora of flames and a Mack truck to boot. Well, a ‘Mac’ truck.
“As a goalie, its kind of something you take pride in and what you can put on it,” he said. “I kind of wonder why guys like shooting at it, hitting it all the time, messing it up.”
A member of the Flames since February 11th, the new mask took a little longer to arrive than anticipated.
“When I got here, I didn’t even really know what I was going to get or anything,” MacDonald admitted. “The painters have to design it. I told them a couple ideas, write it out and then it takes time. Once you get it all base coat and stuff, it takes a couple days to just let it dry and then you’ve got to put three coats of clearover too. It’s time consuming.”
But upon arrival, it met MacDonald’s expectations.
“The big thing is my kids names on the back. I kind of like that. It’s just something I’ve always done,” he said of the Camden and Kendall scribbles. “Everything else is just whatever. I’m pretty easy-going. Some guys are sophisticated, ‘I want this, I want this’, I just tell him a couple ideas and just go ahead and do it.”
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