| March 30, 2010 |
|Scoreboard watching |
The Calgary Flames have six games remaining and while they know they need win almost every contest in order for them to pull into a playoff position, they admit they have been watching the scoreboard every night in hopes of getting a little help from other clubs.
"At this point, with six games left, we know what we have to do but at the same time, you do some scoreboard watching on the nights you don't play," Mark Giordano said.
"To be honest, it's going to take a little bit of help but if we take care of our business we can really put some pressure on those two teams and hopefully catch them."
The two teams the Flames are chasing, the Colorado Avalanche and the Los Angeles Kings, have fallen into slumps over their last few games. The Avs have lost five of their last six and the Kings are winless in their last four straight games.
"Those are the teams that we're trying to catch here and if they stumble and we win the rest of ours, we're going to catch one of them so keep praying that one of them keeps falling and we keep going," said defenseman Ian White.
"We see the stats in the room every day and we're aware of what position we're in so we're constantly aware of what we have to do in the next week and half, two weeks."
Cory Sarich was quick to point out that while he's hoping the Kings and Avs continue to slide, the team needs to stay focus on their own games and control their own destiny.
"Let's just hope they keep streaking," he chuckled. "We had one of our own this year and sometimes they're hard to get out of so I hope it remains that way but then again on the flip side, we have to do everything to try to win every one of these games. That's our main focus even though like you say, it's hard not to watch what's going on."
The weight of the world on his shoulders
Captain Jarome Iginla's play is constantly scrutinized but as his team is scrambling to make the postseason, the forward has been under the microscope even more.
Iginla hasn't found the back of the net since the Flames 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Mar. 19 and has just a single goal in his last ten games. While the media and fans have found this alarming, head coach Brent Sutter is adamant his captain should be carrying the weight of recent losses on his shoulders.
"We need our team to be a good team. You guys (the media) focus in on one guy so much and to me, that's not right," Sutter said on Tuesday morning. "It's about how we play as a team. Yes, Jarome Iginla can score goals but we need Jarome Iginla to be a real good, all-around player for us. We need everybody else to be too. There's more to the game than scoring goals."
His teammates also jumped in to defend Iginla, saying that while he may not be scoring the bulk of the team's goals right now, he's contributing in a variety of ways.
"He gets it done every day on the ice," White said firmly. "He works hard and creates chances, he's a great leader. It doesn't matter whether he's scoring goals or setting them up. He's a guy that you need on your team and whether he's scoring or not, he's someone to rely on."
The man himself said that while he is feeling some pressure, he's not feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders.
"I don't put it all on myself by any means. We do put pressure on ourselves. I want to be good. I want to get better and help lead every night. I think we have a lot of different strengths as a club and we're getting better. That being said, time is running out, but we still have a chance to do a lot of good things."
Taking on the 'Yotes
After all of the turmoil and drama in Phoenix last summer, it's unlikely anyone thought the team would be able make the playoffs let alone be one of the top teams in the entire NHL but with just six games remaining the desert dogs are sitting pretty in fourth place in the Western Conference with a whooping 100 points.
The Coyotes has been playing so well all season and the Flames know they have a daunting task ahead of them on Wednesday night.
"Before the season, I don't think a lot of people thought they'd be there," Iginla said. "I didn't, but that's part of why you play. You never know how teams are going to come together. They're obviously rolling and have had a great year.
"From our point of view, they work hard, they compete hard and they have a lot of energy. You can see they're enjoying themselves, so we have to make sure our compete level is there and just go. There's not one thing that we're going to do differently."
With Colorado just four points ahead of them, the Flames know that Friday could potenitally be the biggest game of their season. However, they noted they can't look ahead to that matchup until they've come away with a victory over the Coyotes.
"We want to get Phoenix going and we want to win that one and put ourselves in a great spot to do exactly what you talked about: go into Colorado and have an opportunity to tie them," Craig Conroy said. "That's all we can ask for. But it starts with Phoenix."
"We've got Phoenix tomorrow and that's a huge game for us. That's what we're worrying about now. We're just trying to play as well as we can and win the games and then after that watch what the other scores are." - Niklas Hagman
"We're trying to concentrate on ourselves. We've got to win our own games. We have been struggling here. We've got to win almost every game left here. We've got to take one game at a time and win those." - Mikael Backlund
"We have to build off Sunday. We have to focus in on today and we can't have performances like that (New York and Boston). We can't have our team play the way we did on Thursday and Saturday. We need our team playing the way we played on Sunday and build off that." - Sutter
"Not like doing it that crazy, but he gets a lot of emotions. If we play bad, he tells us and he shows a lot of emotions for that ... he's a good coach and a good guy, but in the locker room he can get a little upset." - Backlund on the Jim Playfair incident in Abbotsford on Saturday.