It’s all about managing our players. Sometimes mental, physical breaks are what they need and we put a full team option. It was a time in our schedule where we still have two big home games coming up and then that long road trip so we’ll need all the energy we can. - Bob Hartley
CALGARY, AB -- Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley is all about managing the pace of his club.
On the heels of a dramatic, come-from-behind 4-3 overtime win against the Boston Bruins on Monday, Hartley gave his crew an optional skate Tuesday.
“It’s all about the schedule,” Hartley said. “It’s all about managing our players. Sometimes mental, physical breaks are what they need and we put a full team option. It was a time in our schedule where we still have two big home games coming up and then that long road trip so we’ll need all the energy we can.”
The break comes in the middle of a four-game homestand for Calgary. They’ll welcome the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday before concluding Friday with the visiting Anaheim Ducks. After that, it’s a lengthy seven-game, 15-day spin through the Eastern Conference.
WELCOMING THE WILD
The mental break could do Calgary wonders. With every game of late having a playoff feel, a chance to step back can allow the Flames to recharge a little. It won’t be a big break, however, with the Wild coming to Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday.
Though coming off a 3-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Monday, the Wild still have eight wins in their past 10 games and have steadily climbed up the Western Conference standings. Minnesota currently sits just three points back of the San Jose Sharks for the second of two wild-card positions in the West.
“They’re a good team and sometimes you just don’t get your game together. They got their game together,” Hartley said. “(Devan) Dubnyk was really good early on. Last night I felt that he was leaky a little bit but that’s going to happen to any goalie.”
The Wild have closed the gap on Calgary, too. The Flames hold a four-point edge with Minnesota having a game at hand, too.
They got the best of Calgary in their most recent matchup-up, too, a 1-0 shutout victory that saw Dubnyk make 30 saves to shut out the Flames.
But Hartley isn’t concerned with the past.
“Elvis is dead. The Beatles have split. You’ve heard that one before,” he said. “We’re not even going to talk about that game. Tomorrow night is another chapter. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”
BENNETT CLOSING IN
Sam Bennett is facing a challenge of his own. He’s just not sure where to look for it. The Flames first round pick (No. 4) in the 2014 NHL Draft has been practicing full-on with the Flames, but isn’t sure where or when he’ll see his first action of the year.
“I’m hoping for a decision soon,” Bennett said. “I can’t really prepare for it either way. No matter what they tell me, I’m going to go out the same way if they send me down or they give me a shot to play. I’m still going to go out and play my game and do whatever I can.”
Bennett is itching to play after shoulder surgery in September has kept the 18-year-old out for over four months. A decision on when and where still awaits him.
But even he understands the process.
“I don’t think it’s wearing on me,” Bennett said. “I’m definitely really excited and I’m getting pretty anxious. I’ve been waiting a while to hear. I was kind of expecting this so I don’t think it’s wearing on me too much.”