The only things that wins in the regular season means for a coach, for a player, it allows you to have a chance to have been in the playoffs. That's my entire mindset. - Bob Hartley
CALGARY, AB -- Bob Hartley’s mindset is on two points, not 400 wins.
One win away from career regular season victory No. 44, the Calgary Flames coach has his attention solely on the victory and not the milestone that could come along with it Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche.
“The only things that wins in the regular season means for a coach, for a player, it allows you to have a chance to have been in the playoffs,” said Hartley, who accumulated 193 of those wins with Colorado. “That’s my entire mindset. Whenever I start a season, I don’t think about how many wins. It’s about the organization. It’s about the team. It’s about getting our guys ready to go. We’re just trying to do our jobs.
“My goal right now and our team goal is we want to be a playoff team so the more wins we’re going to get, it’s going to give us a chance to be in the playoffs and the only thing that matters to me right now.”
Hartley has 70 wins with the Flames. No. 71 gives him an even 400 after earning 136 as coach of the Atlanta Thrashers as well as his time with the Avalanche.
Centre Matt Stajan isn’t convinced that Thursday’s game means more than just two points to Hartley, either.
“I honestly think Bob, all he cares about is winning the game tomorrow,” Stajan said. “He approaches every single game the same way. That’s the mindset we’ve put into this hockey team. If you do that, you’re going to reach personal milestones. Maybe at home with his family he might sit back and take it all in but I think his focus is on getting the two points.”
Its two points Hartley wants, not the spotlight.
“As a coach, if you have no players you don’t have a game,” Hartley said. “I always say that coaching is kind of the person who is holding the projector in a concert. You have to put the spotlight on the performers. We are not the performers. Players are.
“People come in areas around the league to watch the best hockey players in the league. I believe the only person who comes to the Saddledome to watch me is my wife.”
Stajan may be around to help Hartley’s cause he could be back as soon as Thursday after missing 15 games with a knee injury.
The 30-year-old was forced from an Oct. 28 loss against the Montreal Canadiens midway through the third after a knee-on-knee collision with defenseman Jarred Tinordi, who was penalized on the play.
After spending all of November on the sidelines, he’s anxious to get back.
“When you miss a big chunk of games you definitely want to get some game action, get the timing back,” Stajan said. “There’s a lot of hockey left to be played this season. I want to try to jump in and enjoy the fun ride that’s going on here. Just keep it simple and we’ll see if I get the call tomorrow. I’m just trying to take it one day at a time here. We’ll see what the team wants to do.”
While Stajan is good to go, Mason Raymond isn’t.
Raymond has missed 16 games due to a shoulder injury and is close, but not quite ready.
“He’s not there yet,” Hartley said. “We worked this morning on body checking drills, battle drills, to help him regain his confidence in confrontations and feel good about his game. He’s worked real hard with all the injured guys in the gym, on the ice. His conditioning is good, but definitely not playing against Colorado tomorrow.”
A week ago, Karri Ramo hadn’t had back-to-back starts this season. He’s set to go against Colorado, giving him four straight between the pipes.
“Karri’s playing unbelievably well,” Hartley said. “I had a good talk this morning with [Jonas Hiller]. He’s a great team guy. He understands. Those are the goalies we have. We’re fortunate. We have two goalies capable of winning games for us.
“Right now, [Ramo] is winning games for us and the schedule allows us to run with one goalie right now. We’re going to take advantage of it.”
Ramo was the NHL’s Third Star of the Week after posting a 2-0-0, stopping all 58 shots he faced to record a pair of shutouts and lead the Flames to two wins in three outings.
He made 32 saves for his first shutout of the season in a 2-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks Nov. 26. Ramo then posted 26 saves in a 3-0 triumph over the Arizona Coyotes Nov. 29 to extend his personal winning streak to four games.
That streak was extended to five with 27 saves in Calgary’s 5-2 win over Arizona.
“A few wins in a row feels good,” Ramo said. “I don’t know if it’s anything special. It’s a good run and hopefully we can keep it going. It’s normal. I just try to make the first save, try to not give up rebounds and try to focus on my movement basically.”
After Hiller had the opportunity to run with the starting gig through October and into November, Ramo has his opportunity. Not that the goaltender views it that way.
“Inside the game, a lot of things happen,” he said. “Some things go wrong; some things you can do better. I rather take it at one moment in a game type of thing and try not to think about it too much as a string of games.”