We have that big board in our gym that every day the updated standings as soon as the games are over, it’s all done. That’s our motivation. I think that you look and you see Calgary in the mix. - Bob Hartley
CALGARY, AB -- Few Calgary Flames teams have gotten off to a quicker start than the 2014-15 edition has. Just two, in fact.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this season’s group is the third fastest to the 10-win plateau in the past 20 years, coming in 18 games this season after downing the Arizona Coyotes 5-3 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday, an encouraging fact for head coach Bob Hartley.
“I think so but at the same time we tell the guys to stay focused on the job,” Hartley said. “We have that big board in our gym that every day the updated standings as soon as the games are over, it’s all done. That’s our motivation. I think that you look and you see Calgary in the mix. For us, that’s the reason we play this game and that’s the reason we’re in the NHL.”
A year ago, the Flames didn’t hit 10 wins until Dec. 4th, Calgary’s 27th game of the 2013-14 campaign. The only two Flames teams to reach the mark quicker were the 2001-02 (14 games) and 2009-10 (15 games).
Reaching double-digits nine games quicker is a confidence boost for assistant captain Kris Russell.
“I don’t think we look into the stats too much,” he started. “We kind of take it a game at a time, but hearing that, that’s something we can build off of and keep continuing to progress and hopefully get better and improve on it.”
The Flames won’t rest on it. Hartley wont allow it.
“I’ve always said it, the day that I’ll put up with mediocrity, I can’t be in this game anymore,” Hartley said. “When you demand excellence, usually you’re going to get good results. We will never be satisfied by being mediocre. This city, the fans, management, ownership, the players, they deserve better. They deserve better and that’s the culture we’re creating.
“The game is playing on the ice, I understand the physical part of the game, but there’s also that mental part and part of being mentally strong, you have to believe in what you do, you have to believe in people around you and that’s what we’re cultivating right now.”
GAUDREAU NETS PERMANENT RESIDNCE
Johnny Gaudreau will need to cultivate himself a new address. After spending the first six weeks of the season in a downtown hotel, the 21-year-old has been advised by Flames general manager Brad Treliving to find a more permanent place to stay.
“I’m pretty excited I’m getting a chance to move here and get out of the hotel a little bit and start living here,” said Gaudreau, who sits fourth on the Flames with 12 points. “It’s good to get out of the hotel and get a place and just have a more homey atmosphere now.”
He’s got plenty of candidates for roommates.
“I have a few options,” Gaudreau said. “I just don’t want to live by myself. I want to live with a teammate and I think it’ll make it a bit easier for me in my first season here. There’s a few options for me here. I’m just trying to figure it all out right now.”
The 5-foot-9, 160-pound forward could end up with Russell. There’s a chance he ends up bunking with Sean Monahan and Lance Bouma, too.
Russell isn’t sure if he’ll end up with a new roommate, but is happy to see Gaudreau earn a permanent stay with the Flames.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said. “I think he was just told. The decision is to be made. I’m happy for him and I’m glad he’s got that opportunity to stay for the year.
“The first few games I thought he was really good and there’s a few feeling out periods. I remember my first year there was a lot more that I went through then he’s going through. He’s done a really good job. The few games he’s had to realize how he has to play with his size but I think he’s got his game going.
“He’s got great speed, great vision. He’s definitely an asset on our team.”
RAMO’S TURN TO RUN
Karri Ramo will get the nod in net when the Flames host the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. The game will mark just his second appearance since being tagged with a 3-1 loss to the Washington Capitals on Oct. 25th.
“I think everybody’s always excited to play,” Ramo said. “It’s more fun than not to play. It’s just one of the games. There’s nothing special. Like every game you have to give your hardest. It’s the same.
“I’ve been working my ass off ever since I came here so I’ve just been doing the same thing. There’s nothing special I have to do.”
Ramo is 2-2-1 this season with a 2.85 goals against average and a .901 save percentage. Saturday will mark his seventh start of the season.
With just two starts in nearly three weeks, Hartley said it was time to work Ramo back into the rotation.
“Karri has been working hard,” he said. “We have two guys and I’m not a big fan of keeping a goalie without playing a long time. Those guys, it’s about feeling the net and I’ve said it many times. They have a great relationship, they push themselves in a very healthy way and that’s fun for us. It’s even refreshing to see two veteran goalies wanting to play, but at the same time, doing it in a very respectful manner.”
Curtis Glencross missed Friday’s skate due to maintenance, but Michael Ferland made another appearance at practice and is inching closer to a return.
“He’s cleared,” Hartley said. “He’s a big body and I feel that he kind of lost his step. He lost a step with his concussion being totally shut down and that’s normal. He’s a young player. Right now we’re just working on his pace and as soon as his pace will be back where we feel that he can contribute in a game, he’s going to be back in the lineup.”