Flames Notebook 18.10.09
News, notes, quotes, and anecdotes from the Flames
David Moss missed the Flames’ brief road trip earlier in the week, and he was also scratched for the big win Friday against the Vancouver Canucks. Moss skated Sunday morning before practice and felt good, meaning he’s officially on the road to recovery from an upper-body injury. Though still cautious, head coach Brent Sutter seemed much more upbeat about Moss’ status.
“We’re just taking it day to day. He’s in a stage now where he’s getting better every day and that’s encouraging so we’ll just monitor him day to day,” said Sutter.
“When he gets himself into a game that’s when we’ll feel comfortable that he’s not going to have any setbacks.”
The winger who started the season on a line with Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen is not ready for game action just yet, and Sutter is still playing his cards close to his chest about when he’ll be made available to play.
“There’s no timeframe for me. Obviously you like your players to go play every night but it doesn’t happen that way so there’s really no timeframe. I’m taking it day to day, seeing how he feels, and making sure that when he is ready to play it’s all ahead and we don’t take any steps back,” said Sutter.
Prusty making presence felt
With five tough tilts under his belt this early in the season, Brandon Prust has set the tough guy standard throughout the NHL so far this year. During Friday night’s win over the Canucks featured two fights for Prust, the first one went down less than three-minutes into the first period, as Prust and fellow bruiser Brian McGrattan got into it with Tanner Glass and Darcy Hordichuk respectively. Though many suspect this was not idle coincidence, Prust insists it wasn’t and that he was swept up in the moment individually
“Grats was itching, so I thought he might be going first shift, and it just happened that I got into it to at the same time. We dropped our gloves and the ref said there was another fight, but we were all ready in it so it wasn’t stopping,” said Prust.
Traded to Phoenix in the Olli Jokinen deal, Prust was reacquired by the Flames in the offseason, and has made on strong impression on the new regime so far.
“Prusty has done a real good job. It’s an everyday thing with him to keep things focused. This is the type of player he is, this is what he is,” said head coach Brent Sutter.
“The biggest thing is to keep the focus where it needs to be and bring it to the ice everyday in a workman-like fashion. He’s been very good at that, and he’s been rewarded in game situations because of that.”
One reward shared by all was the game-winner Prust scored in the season-opener against the Canucks. Four points in eight games has been the result of a well-rounded effort on the ice. For coach Sutter, Prust’s success so far this season in all aspects of his game is a result of his rough-and-tumble style of play.
“The fighting? To be an effective player (Prust) needs the physical part of the game,” said Sutter.
The Flames are currently in the middle of their longest home stand of the season, which sees them only play 5 games in 20 days. If you expect the coaching staff to take their foot off the pedal though, think again. Head coach Brent Sutter feels this is an essential time for the team to continue developing properly.
“Practice is not a day off, it’s a day of work; it’s a day of doing things you need to make yourself better so we can implement it in a game, said Sutter.
“It’s about keeping everybody on the same page. We can’t have individual guys who want to do it a different way because it doesn’t work then because it becomes contagious in that way too. Staying with it is all mindset.”
The players intend to make the most of their time at home by not only resting and eating home cooking, but also to fine tune elements of their attack.
“We’re going to get a lot of time to work on the things we’ve been talking about. I think if it was at any point in the season it’s better to have a break now… You want to rest up, take care of yourself and get ready, because Columbus beat us and we want to have a huge game against them.” said Craig Conroy.
“We got off to a good start and we were winning, but there were stretches when we weren’t playing our best, and doing the things we were supposed to… the time off is good for working on those things and getting them ingrained in your head a little more,” agreed Jay Bouwmeester.
The coach has been pleased with the team’s performance so far this season, and he wants to use the practice time to push the team to be better, tighter, and more consistent.
“The first few games have given me a good read not just on the team, but on individuals and where we need to improve… we’re still trying to do it consistently for 60 minutes and that’s a work in progress,” said Sutter.
“For me it’s got to be a 20-man team every night when you play. I don’t get caught up in a lot of talk because we changed lines. What is that? To me, it’s about consistent effort by every individual and every line. When you go over the boards then it doesn’t matter who you’re playing with. That’s when you become a good team.”
Keeping things special
The Flames focused solely on special teams at Sunday’s practice, running drills for the full hour where one side was either up, or down, one skater.
Eight games into the season the Flames have the second-best power play in the NHL. At 34.8%, they trail only the Atlanta Thrashers (37.5%) with the man advantage.
Their penalty kill, now sitting at 77.8%, is slightly more middle-of-the pack, but both staff and players continues to focus on both elements of their special teams play.
“The power play has been great, the penalty kill we’ve just got to clear some things up. Now we know exactly where we’re going to be and we’re trying to just get better and doing it with different guys you’re just going to feel better about yourself,” said Craig Conroy.
“We’ve had a few days here where we’ve had the opportunity to work on it, so it was a good day to work on it and continue to try and improve on it,” said head coach Brent Sutter.
Having become a mainstay at all team practices, the Flames can expect to spend a great deal more time working with the man advantage and disadvantage. Despite their ongoing success, the players feel they should be doing their best to meep the momentum going.
“We got off to a good start and that gives everyone confidence. Power plays and penalty kills can be streaky sometimes, so when it’s going good you just want to ride the wave,” said Jay Bouwmeester