Flames Today: 04.04.13
SHAKING OFF SETBACK
The Calgary Flames are hitting the skies for a three-game road trip with the hopes of shaking off an 11-game losing streak away from Scotiabank Saddledome.
In order to do so, coach Bob Hartley indicated the club will need to shrug off a difficult 8-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night.
"I think that we're going to respond to this but obviously last night it was not a good performance but we have to turn the page," he said. "It's behind us. We're heading to San Jose today so we have three big games ahead of us. We know what's at stake but at the same time, we need to play our hearts out. It's as simple as this."
The Flames jumped out to an early 2-0 lead courtesy Matt Stajan, but allowed eight unanswered goals in just over 54 minutes to their provincial foe.
The effort, Stajan admitted, was sub-standard.
"You guys think we just sit in here and put our head down and go home," Stajan said. "Trust me, we talk about it. Last night wasn't acceptable. We talked about it. The last few games haven't been acceptable. It's on us to change it. Talk as much as you want, we said what needs to be said and now it's on us to turn it around. We've had a tough time on the road and it's a great place for us to get a better feeling in this dressing room."
Sitting 14th in the Western Conference with a 13-18-4 record, playoff hopes in Calgary are dwindling. Pride, said Stajan, is what the Flames need to find over the course of the remaining 13 games of the season.
"That's all we can do. We have to have some pride in here," he said. "Each guy has got to take it on themselves to come to the rink tomorrow night and play the way they can and if we do that, we'll give ourselves a chance to compete, win a hockey game."
While Hartley expects to see an influx of youthful talent from the Abbotsford Heat, the Calgary coach cautioned that they aren't the only players being auditioned for next season.
Veterans could very well be showcasing themselves too, for better or for worse.
"For sure because we want to change the culture here," Hartley said. "We need to change a culture because obviously we didn't get any positive results as an organization. We need to take another turn and its already started. It's going to say about who we are as individuals and who we are as professionals."
Hartley said how the vets respond over the balance of the schedule will teach him a lot about what he has in the dressing room.
"We're in a tough situation," he said. "Last game was tough and still obviously the score was far from being positive but I saw some guys respond the right way and that's what I want to see but I want to see 20 guys respond the right way."
MIX AND MATCH ON BLUELINE
With the imminent birth of his first child, Mark Giordano will not immediately join the Flames on their road trip.
And after dealing Jay Bouwmeester on Monday, Calgary's blueline is a little thin for Friday's game against the San Jose Sharks.
The Flames have recalled Brett Carson from the Abbotsford Heat to fill in on the back end.
"That's the way it is," Hartley said. "Mark Giordano will live the best moment as a parent and as a human being, so you can't fault this. I can control many things, but I can't control what's going on at home. We're very supportive of this and this is a happy moment for the Giordano's and all Flames nation so I think we're very supportive. Carson didn't play with us all year so he's getting a chance. That's the way it is."
Chris Butler, who played 14:04 against the Oilers on Wednesday, expects a mashup of pairings against the Sharks.
"I think we're just going to be rotating in and out with power plays and penalty kills mixed in there," he said. "Guys might be tired coming off those shifts. We all anticipate playing with each other."
The challenge, said Butler, comes in identifying who is jumping over the boards with him from shift to shift.
"It's the little things you have to pay attention to," Butler said. "It helps you to stay sharp.
"When they call a pairing up before you go out there, that split-second where you think about, okay, I'm going out with [TJ Brodie], he's a right-hand shot playing the left hand side so I know that I have to pass it a little bit behind him in the neutral zone but in the offensive zone I can slide it over to him for a one-timer instead of zipping a hard pass over to a guy like I would [Anton Babchuk] who is on his forehand."