Bob Hartley's skate Thursday lasted just 14 minutes. It isn’t the first time he's shut down a skate early.
The Calgary Flames coach has used the tactic plenty of times throughout his career, including his stint behind the bench of the ZSC Lions in Switzerland. One only has to ask Dominic Pittis.
“He took it on the chin a few times,” said Hartley who coached Pittis and the Lions to a National League A Championship before joining the Flames in the summer of 2012.
But Hartley insisted the punctuated practice isn’t a big deal. He understands that near the end of the season teams tend to get too comfortable in practice.
“We are all human beings and we get comfortable,” Hartley said. “Someone needs to draw the line and I feel as head coach that is my job.”
In a rebuilding year, the coach hasn’t needed to send a message to his players very often, despite the season winding down in the next few weeks.
“It’s one in a full year, so well give them a free day,” Hartley said.
Hartley told reporters not too look too much into the shortened practice and that he is sure his team will rebound and be ready to play Friday when the Flames host the New York Rangers.
“Today, it might be a big story, but it’s not that big of a story,” he said. “It’s just to make them think a little bit and give them a chance to refresh.
“I know tomorrow they are going to be back working.”
The punctuated practice did not go unnoticed by the team.
Flames assistant captain Curtis Glencross, who returned to the Flames lineup two weeks ago, was disappointed with the way practice went but admitted that the team could learn from this and would return better.
“It is what it is, right?" Glencross said. "You can’t read into it too much. We’re going to be ready tomorrow night. Today we’ll get what we need off the ice and go from there.”
PREPPING FOR NY
While practice was short, it doesn’t mean the Flames aren’t preparing for Friday’s contest against the Rangers.
“You don’t like things, as players, stuff like that to happen,” captain Mark Giordano said. “We’d like to be sharper and get that practice in but I think now there’s nothing we can do about it. Get in the room and get something done and take care of ourselves and get ready for tomorrow.”
The Flames host New York for their final home game in the month of March. During the month, Calgary has posted a record of 8-6-0 including a 5-3-0 mark at Scotiabank Saddledome.
The team, Giordano said, was disappointed with Thursday's result in the skate.
“Guys weren’t happy,” Giordano said. “We came off the ice, we talked about it for a bit as players and decided there’s nothing out we can do now but go take care of ourselves and we better make sure we’re ready for tomorrow.”
AGOSTINO BACK IN ACTION
Flames rookie Kenny Agostino, who was scratched for the first time in his NHL career Wednesday, will draw back into the Flames lineup Friday night against New York.
Hartley assured that Agostino who grew up as a fan of the Rangers, was not sitting because of performance but instead felt that the 21-year-old could learn from sitting and watching the game instead of playing in it.
“It was not a healthy scratch,” said Hartley. “When you have four or five days of experience as an NHL player and you’ve only played two games, you still have lots of learning [to do].
“I want him to get a taste and a feel for every part of the game.”
The Morristown, NJ-native is still searching for his first career NHL point, but has played in three games since signing with the Flames early last week. Agostino has had four shots on net and is a minus-1 in his young NHL career.
“I don’t make a big thing out of this, at the end I just told them, ‘You guys don’t seem ready to work’.”
-Coach Bob Hartley on Thursday's short practice
The Flames wrap a three-game home stand Friday night, when they welcome the Rangers to Scotiabank Saddledome (7 p.m. MST, SNET-FLAMES, Sportsnet 960 The FAN).