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BENNETT STICKING WITH THE PROCESS

'You've got to focus on the good things, on how you scored goals in the past.'

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / CalgaryFlames.com

There is no magic elixir. No sure-fire over-the-counter or prescription remedy.

No finger-snap quick fix.

No easy way out.

"It's like a fad diet, right?'' reckons Flames' assistant coach Martin Gelinas. "You can try different things, experiment with this and that, but at the end of the day if you eat properly all the time you're going to be OK.

"It's the process of doing the right thing. Consistently.

"Trust in that. Day in, day out.

"He's a young guy. He's having trouble scoring," The understanding shrug of someone who suffered through his share of offensive slumps in logging 1,420 NHL games on the career odometer.

"Hey, we've all been there."

It's hardly a hush-hush CIA-level secret that the Flames are having a devil of a time scoring goals right at the moment.

Only three goals counted over the past two games and 26 on the season.

Mirroring that plight is Sam Bennett. 11 games in, the third-year forward is still looking to strike match to tinder. Still waiting to ignite. Still in search of his first goal, first point.

"It's tough,'' acknowledges Bennett. "Frustrating, for sure. Your natural instinct is to try to do more or to change things around but that rarely, if ever, helps.

"I've gone through these before in the NHL. It's a good league. It's not easy to score.

"The toughest part is sticking with it. There's a time to change some things to give yourself more looks, say, but, bottom-line, I've just got to bear down.

"I'm sure if I keep working I'll get through it."

Bennett was one of the last off the ice following a Saturday practice held in connection with the Red Rally being held inside the Scotiabank Saddledome.

"You've got to focus on the good things, on how you scored goals in the past,'' emphasizes Gelinas.

"We're going to watch his goals (on video). He's a power forward. He gets to the net, hard. He finds loose pucks. He drives the puck towards the net.

"That's how he's been successful. That's how he'll be successful again. You can't start over-thinking things.

"A lot of guys say to themselves: 'If I change this …' Or: 'If I change that …' something good will automatically happen. It won't. You've gotta work at it. Well, he's working at it today. Working on his shot. Spending extra time out there.

"He cares.

"It's not from a lack of want. Sometimes what you need is a reminder of why you were successful in the first place."

Another veteran voice, Matt Stajan, reminds one and all that the required increase in production is a collective issue and that Bennett shouldn't take too much of the burden upon himself.

"There's a bunch of us … no one's feeling good or confident offensively because the goals haven't come from our bottom two lines.

"The only way to get out of it is to simply and work hard. I know it's so cliché-ish but you can't walk around here feeling sorry for yourself. You've gotta go after it.

"Everybody says all you need is a bounce here or there but you've gotta work for your bounces. 

"It'll turn. But everybody's got to have the right mindset. If there were easy answers, we'd all be 20-goal scorers and it'd be an easy game.

"There are going to be times when nothing goes right and everything goes wrong. That's the way this league works. You've gotta dig down and find your way through it."

That's precisely what Bennett intends on doing, to help himself, and his team, out of their current funk(s).

In January of 2016, remember, the then-19-year-old ended a lengthy 18-game goal-less drought in eye-popping style, plundering the Florida Panthers for four.

Video: FLA@CGY: Bennett nets 1st-period hat trick

A similar fireworks display, or even an ugly one to maybe kick-start his goal-scoring season, would be welcome. And as soon as Sunday night versus the Gr8 and the Washington Captials would be preferable.

"I remember it happening to me when I was a young guy, about his age, when I was in Edmonton,'' recalls Gelinas. "I went through a stretch where nothing was going in for me. And I started to wonder: 'Why is not happening?' You start second-guessing everything.

"You think the grass will be greener doing something else but in the end it's still grass.

"You might start feeling sorry for yourself - and I'm talking about myself here - where at some point you've got to man up and tell yourself 'You know what? This is where I'm at. This is what needs to happen.'

"When you're stuck in something like this, you stick with it. You continue to play the right way, continue to do the right things.

"And you make it happen.

"He'll make it happen."

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