Morning Skate Report: Flames vs. Red Wings
STARTING FRESH IN THE SECOND HALF
At first glance, it doesn't look pretty.
The Flames currently sit 15th in the Western Conference with 22 points in 24 games and are 28th in League, ahead of Florida and Washington. However, they are a mere six points out of a playoff position and getting on a winning streak will put them right back in the postseason chase.
"We have a big game tonight. We have two home games in row. We need to cash those games," head coach Bob Hartley stressed. "There's no sense going back to the three games in California. They're past us. We know the results and there's not much that we can get out of those games. It's what lies ahead."
The bench boss hold both individual and team meetings on a very regular basis and has a solid grasp on his team's mindset. They believe they have the talent and ability to put together a run to get themselves back into the postseason conversation.
"This is a totally different team when we win two, three in a row. We're a different team than when we lose two or three in a row. This game is all about mental challenges. It's a physical game but there's lots of mental challenges you need to prepare yourself (for). We start tonight. We have a big game so let's start with a big win. Let's move on."
Tonight marks the start of the second half of the Flames season and rearguard Jay Bouwmeester views it as a new beginning.
"We've shown at times that we can play with the top teams. At times, in games even, we've been dominant but for whatever reason, we let it slip. We've got to figure it out, put it all together.
"It's a funny league. Everyone is real close. Anything can happen any night. You have to get on a bit of a roll and get some confidence."
TURNING SPECULATION INTO MOTIVATION
After the Flames losses in California, media speculation about possible trades has been relentless. That can pose a major distraction for players but the coaching staff has discussed this with their charges, helping them move forward and not focus on any negative press.
"That's a part of our business. There is one thing on our minds; to win hockey games. That's where we're at," Hartley stated. "There's nothing wrong with speculation. I feel that every time there's a microphone in front of me, I have a chance to reach out to hockey fans to promote the game, promote my team, promote my players. There's going to be good days and bad days but that's part of our job and that's the job we chose."
Defenceman Mark Giordano sees team speculation as a source of motivation.
"If no one is going to believe in you, you have to believe in yourself. It was a tough road trip, there is no doubting that, but we've got to get back on with a little bit of swagger. I think we've done a lot of good things, we've won some big games and we've got to get back to that."
GLENCROSS A GAME-TIME DECISION
Flames forward Curtis Glencross suffered an upper body injury on Friday in Anaheim and flew back to Calgary on Saturday to be evaluated. After meeting with the medical staff, the winger's injury has been deemed not overly serious and he will a game-time decision tonight.
"It's a relief," Hartley said.
Mike Cammalleri did not skate this morning but he will play tonight according to Hartley.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"We need to taste it. It's a taste that you can acquire." - Bob Hartley on putting together a winning streak
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
Jay Bouwmeester needs 3 points for 300.
Cory Sarich needs 4 points for 150 and 4 games for 900.
Matt Stajan needs 7 assists for 200.
Dennis Wideman needs 7 assists for 200.
Jarome Iginla needs 8 points for 1100.
Jiri Hudler needs 9 goals for 100.
Lee Stempniak needs 9 points for 300.