Looking at Chicago The Flames end a two-game homestand on Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks and the players have a bit more motivation than usual due to a five goal lead blown the last time the two teams tangled.
TODAY'S FLAMES EXTRAS
In their first meeting of the season on Oct. 12, the Flames were able to come out of the gate flying with a quick 5-0 lead but that sense of euphoria soon evaporated. The Hawks diligently worked at chipping away at the Flames lead and eventually tied the game up in the third period. They then added even more salt to the Flames wounds by scoring just 26 seconds into overtime.
The team is hoping to use that comeback as motivation for retribution on Thursday night.
"We’ve just to keep our momentum going. That’s a big part of the game. We just have to get on them early and try not to let them back in like last time," said Curtis Glencross on Wednesday. "I’m sure that big comeback they had on us is all in the back of our minds from a while ago and that’s something we’ve been better as of late in the second and third periods and we’ve just got to keep going forward."
Head coach Brent Sutter doesn't want to dwell too much on history however. After practice at the Westside Arena, he told the assembled media he wanted his team's eye on the future, not the past.
"I don’t get too caught up with what’s gone on in the past. Just a week ago everyone was saying we couldn’t win in Montreal. We went there and won a game. We haven’t won in Toronto in so long and we went there and won a game. Kipper hadn’t won there in so long and he won," he said. "History, to me, I know it’s there but it’s not that important to me. I know what we’re about as a team, I know what our team is and I know how we’re playing.
"I know when we’re playing up to our capabilities and doing the things we can do and do well, we’re a very good hockey team. I’m looking forward to the game tomorrow night and I‘m sure the players are too.”
Triumphant return Glencross returned to the lineup on Tuesday night after serving a three-game suspension for his hit on Chris Drury and he didn't show any signs of rink rust. He was dominant in all three zones, made a dynamite pass to set up Jarome Iginla's goal and then made another stellar play that set up an excellent scoring opportunity for Olli Jokinen late in the game.
"I felt good. The first period kind of felt like I was still trying to get my legs under me a bit and then after that the last two periods I felt good," he said. " I started coming around again, so it was it was some good steps to coming back. I got decent ice time and I was just getting back into it."
He was placed on the top line with Iginla and Jokinen and seemed to immediately gel with the two. They manufactored several key scoring opportunities and looked dangerous every time they entered the offensive zone . The winger's performance on the first line will most likely earn him another go-round on Thursday which is something he's looking forward to
"We had some chances. Our line had a lot of chances last night and had quite a few shots on goal. Hopefully we can just keep that chemistry going."
In addition to playing on the top line, Glencross was double-shifted throughout periods of the game. He was placed on a line with Craig Conroy and Brandon Prust.
"The coaches threw me in there with them guys on the first line and then I was double shifted on the fourth line once in a while. It’s a pretty good fourth line. I’ve played with Conroy for most of my time here in Calgary and I have good chemistry with him."
Glencross played 15:12, had an even rating on the night and notched an assist in the loss.
Pushing aside rumors
After the game, a media outlet Tweeted that a shouting match between Dion Phaneuf and Sutter took place in the coach's office. This news was unsubstantiated but several members of the media asked both the individuals allegedly involved and other team members about the rumor.
"Well, to be honest with you guys, what happens in our dressing room, behind closed doors, is our business," Phaneuf said. "Whether it’s coaches and players or players and players. That’s all I’m going to say about that. Behind our closed doors, in our dressing room, is our business and that’s the bottom line."
"Things do get intense," shrugged Sutter. "What happens behind closed doors inside the dressing room is between players and coaches and that’s no one else’s business. That’s the way it is. There’s always intensity and emotions in games, that’s what hockey is and that’s what it’s about. All it is people showing their passion and their caring side. There’s not much more to say than that."
However, Sutter did say he liked seeing players show that kind passion and intensity when it came to the game.
"You always want to see passion in players. As coaches, you want your players to succeed and do well. There’s challenges along the way throughout the year, at different points in time, to different individuals and to each other as coaches too."
Cory Sarich said little arguments between teammates and coaches were not only normal but a healthy part of being on a team.
"It’s just like a little family in here. Everyone has their scraps. As long as you can grow from it, that’s all that matters," he smiled. "You get criticism. There’s all sorts of different kinds … there’s constructive criticism. Everyone’s different. People deal with it in different ways. Sometimes you can make a big deal out of it. More often than not, the players care about their team and try to do what’s right, coaches care about their team and players, they’re always trying to do what’s right for the person."
Sarich is no stranger to coaches calling out players. He played for John Tortarella in Tampa Bay and saw the now-head coach of the New York Rangers challenge players both privately and publicly.
"Lots of fun days, a little name calling here and there," he recalled. "If it’s done the right way and it’s for the right reasons … we’re all big guys, we can all suck it up and we know it’s for the ultimate goal and it’s about improving."
Did you know...
Jay Bouwmeester is second in the league in average time. He regularly logs around 26:46 a game, which is just 14 seconds less than Chris Pronger's 27:00.