Maybe its about trying to work even harder, maybe too hard, and we forget maybe about little bits and pieces about our systems, about our details. - Bob Hartley
CALGARY, AB -- Working hard has never been a problem for the Calgary Flames. Working too hard might be the problem now.
Amidst a season-high six-game losing streak, the effort from the Calgary Flames has been there to a fault, according to coach Bob Hartley.
“Maybe its about trying to work even harder, maybe too hard, and we forget maybe about little bits and pieces about our systems, about our details,” said Hartley, who signed a multiyear contract extension Wednesday. “The commitment of this group is never a question. I never put this in doubt. Right now, lets fall back on our game. We’ve been giving way too many 2-on-1’s, 3-on-2’s, breakaways. That’s uncharacteristic from this group.
“Lets get back to our game.”
It’s a message that has trickled down to the players.
Simple is better.
“I think we just have to play a little simpler,” defenceman Kris Russell said. “I think we’re pushing the pace a little too much, trying to create too much too often and we’re putting ourselves in bad positions. I don’t think its work ethic. We come to work every night but at the same time in areas we’re overworking and trying to do a little too much. We have to simplify it.
“I think when guys try to do a little too much, especially when you have a few losses, it snowballs. I think we just need to settle down, play within ourselves and play within our systems and we’ll be alright.”
It’s the first time the Flames have dropped six consecutive in regulation since Jan. 13-25, 2010.
But Hartley believes the work ethic that might be plaguing them will also bring the Flames back into the win column.
“We’ve preached hard work and right now we’re getting lots of hard work,” he said. “That’s where I feel very confident that we’ll turn this around. I know we have the full commitment of everyone. Lets calm down and lets play the game the right way.”
During the six-game skid, Calgary has outshot their opponent in five. They’ve been outscored 21-10.
Sean Monahan admitted that simplifying the game at both ends of the ice is the solution.
“Mistakes happen,” he said. “If you’re not making mistakes I don’t think you’re trying. That happens. We’ve got to find a way to put the puck in the net and that’s what we’re going to do the next few games.”
“We’re not winning right now. The one thing we’ve got to change is we’ve got to be harder in front of the net. We’ve got to find a way to score dirty goals and put some more pucks in the net. At the end of the day I don’t think we’re worried. We all believe in each other and we have a tight group in the dressing room and I think we’re going to find a way the next couple of games.”
SICK DAY FOR RAMO
Following an off day, goaltender Karri Ramo was noticeable by his absence from Thursday’s practice.
The 28-year-old took a sick day.
“Karri got sick last night,” Hartley said. “This morning he called in, felt better but since it was a practice day and [Jonas Hiller] is starting tomorrow night, we felt that giving him an extra day to recuperate. He should be back with us tomorrow.”
The Flames will exercise plenty of caution with Ramo with a mumps outbreak spreading through the National Hockey League.
Fifteen players have officially been diagnosed so far, including several members of the St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks. Most recently, Sidney Crosby and Beau Bennett of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Derick Brassard of the New York Rangers have been diagnosed. Lee Stempniak, also with the Rangers, will also be tested.
Calgary visited Pittsburgh on Friday and hosted the Rangers at Scotiabank Saddledome two days ago.
“The doctors are checking so at this point there’s no indication that it’s mumps but at the same time we’re taking all precautions,” Hartley said. “We don’t want to send everyone in Calgary and the area into a panic. Lets stay calm. We had lots of guys sick over the last few days with sore throats and headaches and stuff like this.
“Unfortunately there are other diseases than mumps around. I understand that’s the big subject of conversation around the NHL.”
REDDON GETS CALL
With Ramo excused from practice, former Team Canada goaltender Lesley Reddon got the call to join Calgary’s skate Thursday.
Reddon, who was a member of the Canadian National Women’s team that earned silver in the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, jumped at the chance to join an NHL practice.
“It’s always fun when you get a chance to do something that exciting,” Reddon said. “It was lots of fun.
“It’s just pretty much just focus on the puck and trying to stop it. I’m not really worried about where it’s going or where you’re going to get it. It’s a save as usual, just try to stop the puck.”
It’s not the first time Reddon has joined Hartley on ice.
During the work stoppage, she routinely tended twine with members of the Flames coaching staff.
“She’s good,” Hartley said. “She’s unbelievable. Lesley’s so much fun. During the work stoppage she was skating with us on many occasions with the coaches when we were playing shinny hockey. She’s a real good goalie. She’s fun because she competes on every shot. She’s not scared. I don’t know how she does it. She’s having fun and our guys are very respecting her abilities and her willingness to come in and compete with us.
“She wants to dress for tomorrow night’s game. She asked, ‘Am I dressing tomorrow?’”