We have to learn to kick the other teams rather than kicking ourselves at the wrong time of the game, but if it would be by a lack of commitment or a lack of work, I’d be very worried. - Bob Hartley
CALGARY, AB -- There’s a slogan placed prominently in the office of coach Bob Hartley.
‘Mistakes are acceptable as long as you learn from them’.
It’s Hartley’s job to ensure his Calgary Flames -- who have let two multi-goal leads slip from the win column in the first three games of the season -- are learning from their costly missteps.
“We have some kinks to work out of our system,” Hartley said. “We have to learn to kick the other teams rather than kicking ourselves at the wrong time of the game, but if it would be by a lack of commitment or a lack of work, I’d be very worried.
“It’s either a lack of experience or right now, a lack of execution and that’s my part. I’ll take the responsibilities. We need to keep moving forward with those players, keep pushing them, keep motivating them.”
There’s no doubting the effort has been there through the opening three games of the season. The execution, however, hasn’t always been.
In Calgary’s season opener on Thursday against the Washington Capitals, the Flames let a 4-1 second period lead melt into a 5-4 shootout loss. In Sunday’s home opener, the team let a 3-1 third period edge evaporated as the team eventually lost 5-4 in overtime to the Vancouver Canucks.
And though the Flames have still earned four of a possible six points thus far this season, the team isn’t satisfied with the results.
“We have work to do,” Hartley said. “We’re not celebrating and we’re not happy with where we’re at. We should have six points. We’re not going to get away from this. We’re disappointed but at the same time, we’re not living in the past. Today is another day and there’s nothing unfortunately we can do about the results. We can only improve our process and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
The team hasn’t let the mistakes dampen the mood in the dressing room, though.
“I think our team is feeling good about ourselves, the way we’re playing,” captain Mark Giordano said. “We feel like we almost should’ve won every game up to this point and I think it’s a matter of cleaning up little mistakes but they’re there. We have to clean it up. We’re feeling good. We definitely feel like we can compete with a lot of teams in this league.”
All it will take is a little hard work; something the team has already shown capable of.
The inspiration isn’t too hard to find either, Hartley indicated.
“Calgary has always been recognized for being a hard working city but after this past summer, I think that that label will stick to this city forever,” Hartley said. “I think that we can embrace this and with the players that we went to get over the summer, with the ones that were already here, I think that we’re capable of being a blue collar team that will be playing better and better.”