CALGARY, AB -- Embarrassing, suggested forward Brandon Bollig
. A bounce back, expects coach Bob Hartley.
And on the heels of a disappointing 5-1 drubbing by the Vancouver Canucks to kick off the 2015-16 season at Scotiabank Saddledome,
“In this business, as much as everyone wants to win, you’re going to get kicked, you’re going to get slapped,” Hartley stated following Calgary’s first skate since. “Call last night whatever you want. At the same time, we have to bounce back. It’s one game out of 82. We’re not sitting back and saying that there’s still plenty of games, but it’s a learning process, we’re a young team.
“Last night our GPS ran out of batteries. We were all over the ice. I can’t fault the effort, but the structure went out the window after ten minutes. The more that we were trying to get back into the game, the more we were digging ourselves. Today we had a good video session. We showed some good learning clips and we had a good practice.”
Fireworks and lasers decorated the ‘Dome in a pre-game spectacle.
Fireworks continued two seconds into the game, with Micheal Ferland and Derek Dorsett opting to drop the gloves to re-ignite the rivalry that saw the Flames eliminate Vancouver in six games from the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last spring. Eight minutes later, they continued with another bout between Bollig and Brandon Prust.
Fizzle set in after.
“There’s no question that’s a game we want to put behind us but obviously learn from those mistakes and not repeat them,” Bollig said. “That was embarrassing last night, especially in our home opener. For whatever reason we weren’t ready. We knew they were going to come out flying, we knew that we ended their season last year and they were going to be hungry and wanted to get one from us early. Luckily we have a game here in a few days against the same team to try to take that one back and even the playing field.”
The wait won’t be long.
Calgary will have the opportunity to bounce back Saturday, and against the same Canucks team, too.
“We’re a young team and last night is showing us that we still have lots of learning to do,” Hartley said. “Sometimes it’s not only about playing the game, but it’s about getting a good feeling for the game. Making sure that you make the smart decisions. We gave too many outnumbered situations, we were playing pond hockey out there.”
Hartley will have a revised lineup heading into Vancouver. Jonas Hiller will sub in between the pipes for Karri Ramo.
“We can’t fault Ramo for the defeat, but I think he was the same as the rest of the team,” said Hartley.
True to the goaltending rotation of ‘win and you’re in’, the door has opened for Hiller to make his first of the regular season.
“I want to play good, it doesn’t matter what the situation is. Our game is not where we want it at, and I think in that situation, you need some extra saves or something. I really hope I’ll be able to help the team that way and help find our rhythm, find our game, and hopefully get the win.”
Hiller was tasked with the bulk of the load last season, posting a 26-19-4 record with a 2.36 goals against average and .918 save percentage in 52 games in 2014-15.
He’s now battling Ramo and Joni Ortio for time in Calgary’s crease.
“It’s not always easy, especially if you have a bad game,” Hiller said. “You want to get back in there as soon as possible but then you sit on the bench for like two weeks. Those situations are tough. You learn to deal with it. Work harder in practice, do everything possible to get ready for your next chance. That’s all you can do. It’s been working out for me pretty well. I think my consistency over the past few seasons definitely helps. Don’t want to get too high or too low and just focus on the next one.”
The Flames will also insert Mason Raymond into the lineup Saturday. The 30-year-old remained in Calgary after clearing waivers earlier in the week.
“I’m excited,” said Raymond, a healthy scratch in the opener. “It’s like the waiver thing didn’t even happen. You’ve got to carry on as it is and I’m excited to go out there and play. It’s an opportunity to go out there and play some good hockey and prove that I can be in the lineup every night.”
“To be honest I think it’s nice that it was the first game of the season to maybe wake us up a bit if we weren’t ready or because we thought things were just going to be handed to us because we made the second round of the playoffs. Having been lucky enough to play in the post season every year in this league I know it’s not going to be easy and also the better you do every year the bigger the target that’s going to be on your back for the following season. Just because we made it to the second round doesn’t mean we’ve done anything in this league yet until we get our names etched on the Cup and get to hoist it over our heads. There’s still a lot of work to be done. We’re on the right track. We’ve got an unbelievable group in this room and the character and guys that are willing to work so we’ve just got to put it all together.”
-Bollig on slumping out of the gate in Game 1