The magic trick, it doesn’t run out it seems. The rabbits keep popping out. I know they reproduce pretty quickly. I have no problem with this. It’s fun. - Bob Hartley
CALGARY, AB -- Bob Hartley summarized the dramatics of his Calgary Flames perfectly. “We’re not running out of scripts.”
No, no they’re not, and it's aptly dubbed the Flames the ‘Cardiac Kids’ as a result.
“The magic trick, it doesn’t run out it seems,” quipped Hartley, whose group is two within the all-time record set by the Dallas Stars in 2005-06 with over a quarter of the season remaining. “The rabbits keep popping out. I know they reproduce pretty quickly. I have no problem with this. It’s fun.
“There’s quite a vibe in this city right now. You go everywhere and they talk about the players, they talk about the way that we never quit and it’s a credit to our guys. They’re on the job. It starts with our leadership group, our kids. Everyone’s playing on their toes. We’re having fun with our situation.”
But trying to explain it? Naw.
It isn’t likely.
“Never critique a win,” Hartley cautioned earlier after TJ Brodie’s goal line shot fluttered up the shaft of a Bruins player, off a goalie, off the net, off the goalie, and across the line with 2.4 seconds left to give Calgary its National Hockey League-leading 10th win when trailing after two periods.
“It’s always the final result, especially in our situation right now. Everyone is scoreboard watching on every side and to come back and to pull it out the way that we did with a few seconds left, it’s a great feeling for everyone.”
Hartley wont try explaining it. Understandable.
Forward Joe Colborne can’t. Understandable again.
“Honestly, it’s something that’s tough to explain,” the typically thoughtful winger stumbled. “Obviously we have a lot of confidence in our ability to come out in the third period and play well.
“Maybe that’s part of the reason why, we just don’t know any better. That could be part of it. Even last year we really wanted to focus on creating an identity of a hard working team and a team that never gives up. That’s something we’ve carried into this year and something we’ve rallied around.”
The identity, no doubt, has carried forward.
It’s an investment that has paid dividends and has Calgary seeking a playoff berth just a season-and-a-half into what was supposed to be a long and arduous rebuilding process.
“We invested a lot towards the end of last year and I think that the belief really started last year,” Hartley said. “It gave us a taste. It gave us a feel that we work as a team…we have talent…lets work the right way and we could get on a roll. That’s exactly what happened.
“Those 10 wins coming from behind are definitely the story of our season so far.”
Colborne, 25 and in just his second full season in the NHL, will point to Flames captain Mark Giordano and the leadership group as the source of inspiration. (“It’s the leadership, I think, from our veteran group. It starts with Gio and you see the way he plays and comes out,” he said.)
Giordano points right back to Calgary’s youth.
“Our young guys have a lot to do with it,” he said. “They play with the mentality that they don’t know any better. They just go out and play their game and try things. They’ve been creating. I think it’s a good mix in here, a good combination of both and it’s helped push us through.
“I think the other thing is being in this playoff push and this battle, it’s a tough battle. They don’t really get caught up in it. Guys like myself and other older guys probably know that it’s a real tough thing to get into the playoffs.
“It’s not the easiest thing but the young guys, first year, it’s fresh for them so they’re playing with a real raw mentality and I think it’s been helping us for sure.”
Whatever the blend, whatever the formula that has Calgary winning in dramatic fashion has been entertaining.
It’s producing the results that will help push the Flames to the playoff position that has eluded them for five seasons, too.
But it’s not necessarily the only road required for the bunch to stop the skid before it hits six.
“It’s definitely a lot nicer coming out with a win than a loss,” started Colborne. “That’s not the way we want to play. It’s something that we’re trying to get figured out here. We don’t want to have to worry about coming back from down two, three goals every time.
“It’s the way it is and we’ll certainly take the wins with the way it seems everyone else in the West is playing right now.”