BUILDING OFF A LOSS
After a disappointing loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Friday, the Calgary Flames hit the ice on Sunday looking to push past that setback and use it as momentum heading into Monday night's tilt against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
"Yeah, we are a little mad about that," Robyn Regehr said of the 3-2 loss that saw the Flames outshoot the Ducks 39-25. "but for us, we have to acknowledge the fact that we need to continue to do that each and every time we go out there. Especially when we're in the spot we're in right now."
The Flames are currently sitting last in the Western Conference with 27 points in 30 games. Regehr said the team knows efforts like the one put forth in Anaheim need to be a regular occurance for them to get back into a playoff position.
"For us, it's to try and build off a consistent game," the blueliner said. "The game we played in Anaheim, even though we didn't win in Anaheim, I thought we played a fairly strong game for the most part. We've got to look at those type of things and continue to try to build off those things and really try to learn our lessons from other games like LA, where we didn't have a strong game throughout."
Brendan Morrison agreed with Regehr's assessment, adding the club was able to come to the rink and participate in an upbeat practice because of their performance on Friday.
"Hey, we'll accept that if that's the way we're going to play on a nightly basis," he said of the final score against the Ducks. "We feel like we deserved better. We didn't win the game but we're satisfied with the way we played.
"Now the key is continue to play like that. If there's a drop off, then there's an issue. But if we continue to play like that, then we feel good about ourselves."
While the Flames two-game road trip may have only garnered them a single point in the standings, it did see the offensive resurgence of Olli Jokinen.
On Thursday morning, the 31 year-old forward had just two goals in 28 games. He doubled that number in California. Jokinen was adamant, however, that his production wasn't what was on his mind.
"Of course it's nice to score but it's a new test on Monday," he sighed. "We got three points out of a possible six so I don't think we're jumping up and down and smiling. It's not about scoring goals or getting points but playing the way our coaches want."
His play has caught the attention of head coach Brent Sutter.
"Olli has played well the last three games, just in the sense where he's skating and he's doing things with the puck. There's urgency in his game.
"We need that from Olli. He needs to have his game at the level it needs to be for our team to have success. The last few games, he's played as well as anybody on our team. That's important."
Jokinen's focus now is maintaining the same level of play he displayed in California.
"You've got to raise the bar. You've got to put together 10, 20 games like that in a row. Everybody's confident here. You've got to trust yourself, you've got to trust your teammates, you've got to have confidence to play this game."
Sitting in the press box
Given the Flames abundance on bodies, a forward has been forced to sit out of each contest for the majority of season. On Friday, Sutter chose to make Matt Stajan a healthy scratch, pushing Jokinen to the top line with Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay.
"Those are strictly my decisions on who does and who doesn't play," said Sutter. "Healthy scratches, there's a reason why they're not playing. One is obviously with numbers. We have extra forwards here so somebody can't play and the other is performance, on the ice. It's simple."
With the plethora of forwards, does being scratched still signal to a player that their game needs to revaluated?
"Absolutely," Sutter stated. "It dictates we need everyone playing up to their standards. We need everyone to bring it on a game-to-game basis. Whether it's this guy is sitting and this guy is not, it doesn't matter.
"The bottom line is we're in a situation now where we can't have guys playing at 60, 65, 70 per cent. We need the full 100 per cent in every aspect of their game and within the team confines in how we play."
Stajan skated on a line with Tom Kostopoulos, Craig Conroy and Tim Jackman on Sunday, indicating that his presence in the lineup is still unknown for tomorrow. He took the move in stride, saying he isn't dwelling on Friday.
"That was the decision and I've got to play better. I can't sit here and say it shouldn't have been me or what if. You've just got to grind through it. When you get your opportunity, play hard and I've got to play better. At the end of the day, that's the bottom line. Just play better."
Sutter's decision to sit Stajan in the press box in Anaheim came as a surprise.
"As a player it's never something you expect," Stajan said. You want to be out there playing. It is what it is and you put it behind you and make sure when you get your chance, you do what you do."
The centerman said the scratch works as motivation not only for himself but for the whole team.
"We've got a lot of good players in here and everyone's got to be going. Nothing's handed to you. You've got to work for it. I'll just keep working. I never think I don't work hard so I just have to keep working hard and start scoring some goals."
Winger Rene Bourque did not skate on Sunday due to a flu. Sutter said he should be fine for tomorrow's game.