ST. LOUIS, MO – At the start of training camp last summer, Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley spoke of wanting his team to develop an identity, a culture that would be widely recognized throughout the league.
The team was entering its first season without long-time captain Jarome Iginla in the fold and was in the early stages of a rebuild.
They had plenty of new faces, a different crop of goaltenders, and defenceman Mark Giordano was entering his first season with the ‘C’ adorning his jersey.
There were a lot of question marks about what the Flames would be in 2013-14.
They responded by becoming known as one of the hardest work teams in the NHL, plucky battlers with a never-say-die attitude.
This year, that same blue-collar work ethic is in place and was on display in Edmonton on Thursday night.
The Flames came out flying, scoring twice before the 5:00 rolled around, but after that initial wave of offence, the Oilers took over.
By the end of the second period, they had managed to tie the game up and limited the Flames to just four shots on net in the second stanza.
With the momentum firmly on the Oilers side, some teams would have faltered under the pressure but the Flames dogged determination couldn’t be quelled.
The scored three goals in the third period, spoiling the Oilers home opener with their 5-2 victory.
“After the second period, there were lots of unhappy boys in there. There was some few choice words that were flying around,” Hartley said afterwards. “The boys deserve credit. They regrouped and we went to work. That’s our DNA.
“We have to outwork the opposition on a game-to-game basis.”
Hartley and his coaching staff were pleased with their crew’s efforts in Edmonton, there is still work to be done.
The team is currently on a six-game road swing that spans 10 days. They have a few practice days interspersed throughout the trip that will allow for more work on systems and getting players more acclimatized with each other’s styles and tendencies.
“We’re going to get a couple of decent practice days. We have lots of youngsters, lots of newcomers. It’s going to be good,” Hartley stated. “Make a few adjustments, make a few improvements will definitely help.”
The Flames face off against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday at 5:00 PM MT. Tune into Sportsnet (television) or Sportsnet 960 The FAN (radio) for full coverage. @NHLFlames will be live-tweeting the game and will provide exclusive pre and post-game content.