With his team opening the season 3-0-2, it’s time for the Calgary Flames to open a new segment.
Set to embark on a five-game road trip starting Wednesday against the Anaheim Ducks, coach Bob Hartley is prepared to leave the Flames’ franchise record-setting start in the background as the team embarks on its second segment of the season.
“We’re breaking down the season in five-game segments,” Hartley said Monday. “Segment one is behind us. It was a good segment but now we don’t sit on it. It’s time to move up and this is a huge challenge for us. Five big games against great hockey clubs. I think that it’s going to say a lot about our team and it’s going to be a different challenge.”
According to captain Mark Giordano, the players plan on taking the good from their start but their focus lies forward, not behind.
“I think we have to take the good things that we’ve done and carry them over,” Giordano said. “Number one, we can’t sit on these five games. It’s five games. There are 77 more. I think we can draw a lot from them. We did a lot of good things. We have to keep playing that same way, that hard style.”
That hard style has seen several Flames’ injuries early in the season.
The trio isn’t expected to join Calgary on the road.
“Not right now,” Hartley said. “They might come and join us but they’re under treatment and they’re in the gym. Some guys skated this morning. I think [Cammalleri] and David Jones skated. That’s where we are. It’s great news. Once they’re on the ice, it’s another step.”
“He’s getting better,” Hartley said. “He’s full force in the gym now. At least that’s another positive step. I talked to the medical staff and obviously right now it’s just wait and see how he’s going to progress.”
While the three aren’t heading on the road with teammates, the team did get together on the range.
The Flames went on a skeet-shooting excursion arranged by Curtis Glencross, the latest of several team-bonding activities this season.
“Still lots of live clay pigeons,” Hartley joked. “I didn’t damage too many. It was fun. It was a great event. The boys had fun. There was lots of teasing and lots of pranks out there. That’s why we do it. There are a few good shots on the team.”
Hartley wasn’t the only one missing.
“A few guys were getting pretty frustrated,” Ben Street said. “There would be five or six of them shooting and one would blow up over there and all the guys over here would celebrate. I’m not sure that’s the one they were aiming at.”
The Flames also spent time paintballing and down at the fire academy this season in an attempt to turn the team into a family.
“The difference between winning and losing, the difference is so slim that sometimes team unity can be a difference,” Hartley said. “That’s what we’re trying to get over here. That’s what we’re trying to build, solid team spirit beyond a team. More like a family. The guys deserve lots of credit. They’re fun to work with.”
“Anytime you can get ammo to rip guys about it’s fun. It’s gets going for conversations and there’s lots of stuff to talk about, especially for someone like me who hasn’t been around those guys as much as the other guys have. It’s a common theme we can talk about. I think doing all that stuff and just seeing each other away from the rink, doing something different out of a lot of guys comfort zones, it’s fun.” - Ben Street on team-building activities
The Flames have another day of practice on Tuesday before flying out to Anaheim for Wednesday’s game against the Ducks (8 p.m. MT, TSN).
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