CALGARY, AB -- After four days of consecutive practices and what will amount to be 18 straight between games due to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the Calgary Flames are admittedly suffering from a bout of cabin fever.
For the most part, ice times led by Calgary coach Bob Hartley have been lengthy, intense and leaving players chomping at the bit to go up against someone not wearing a Flames jersey.
“It’s good,” captain Mark Giordano said. “We’re going hard in practice. You’ve got to go hard. Sometimes it gets heated for a second or two but I think at the end of the day it’s all good stuff.”
Hartley sees it the same way.
“That’s the way that we want it,” he said. “We want to work hard. Practicing is not a day off and the old saying is that you practice like you play, you play like you practice. That’s something that we’re raising the bar every day, we’re raising the expectations every day.
“We have lots of great guys buying in and it gives us results. Right now from the start up to our last game, we want to keep building on what we’ve been doing because lately we’re seeing results and I think that’s very motivating and encouraging for everyone.
“Those guys in the locker room are players. Right now, they’re seeing results and saying ‘Wow, we invested a lot, we committed a lot and right now we’re getting certain results’. I think it’s positive.”
The Flames last played on Feb. 8 against the Philadelphia Flyers. Calgary resumes action on Feb. 27 when they play host to the Los Angeles Kings. In the meantime they’re left to battle each other.
But regardless of a little rough stuff between teammates, practice time has been of the utmost importance for Giordano’s crew. When the Flames resume against the Kings, it’ll be the first of 24 games remaining to be played in a span of 51 days.
Needless to say, practice time is now at a premium.
“Down the stretch, we’re really not going to be able to practice that much,” Giordano said. “We pretty much play every other night so we’ve got to get our reps in now. We have to get our timing and all that down right now. We’re going to play a lot of games and have little to no practice time down the stretch.”
It’ll be back to business as usual, said Hartley.
“That’s our situation,” he said. “[Sunday] we’re going to have another good practice, day off (Monday), then we’re going to go back to regular season mode.
“It’s part of getting back. We had nine days of break and the guys, I’m sure that many of those guys if not everyone did something because you look at our level of conditioning, we escaped injuries. So far, we’re on track with our plan.”
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