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Gulutzan clipping away at details

The Flames are fine-tuning their system work ahead of the start of the regular season

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers /

CALGARY, AB -- Monday's clip, a ditty from Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, emphasized compete.

Monday's practice, a pacesetter from Calgary Flames coach Glen Gulutzan, emphasized the point.

Several times.

Until the message was received.

"The danger is you're never making each other better," Gulutzan said.

"We had a little video before practice today, a little two-and-a-half minute video … I think it was Pete Carroll … that talked about compete and making the other guy better and the things that result from that. I reminded them of that video, I think, once or twice today and some of the details about, 'This is why we're doing what we're doing.' 

"There's a difference between putting in the time and doing it right. We stopped a few times. The guys responded every time. Those are just instilling the practice habits and the attention to detail you need to be successful."

Gulutzan's point, delivered a few times over the course of the lengthy turkey-day skate, was eventually absorbed. 

Message received.

"I think Gully's point is we've got to make each other better out there in practice and battle hard," Flames captain Mark Giordano said. "That'll carry over into games. It's a good point. It's a point we should take seriously and all learn from."

"It's huge. It's so important," added sophomore centre Sam Bennett. "Gully does a great job of talking to us and making those details known. They're easy to understand when he's teaching us."

Based on the response of his players, Gulutzan got the response he was looking for.

"They're an attentive group," he said. "We have a ways to go in a couple areas, but I like where we are right now. I know that I've stopped practice throughout here and got angry a few times, but that's all part of it.

"I don't think that's going to change throughout the rest of the year. This is a tough league. It's the toughest league in the world. These are the best athletes. You have to push them every day to be at their max. But you can have fun doing that too, just reminding them that we're running on hot. Habits are important.

"Two or three points, maybe one, might separate teams from getting in the playoffs, so habits are important."

Gulutzan will continue on that message as the regular season opens Wednesday at the Edmonton Oilers.

One clip at a time.

"We've got lots of clips," Gulutzan said.

"We collect those clips. 

"Anything from the (Toronto) Blue Jays talking about character at the end of last year … talking about how they built their team when they went on that run last season. Just every little clip we can have. Michael Jordan we've watched … guys talking that have won and have been successful. We make sure we have those every few days in our meetings.

"There was an (Allen) Iverson clip.

"So you can see the compare/contrast.

"They're attentive, especially when there's meaningful people that have been there, done it, and been in the wars like they have. 

"The ones that are easier to relate are when you've got legitimate … Michael Jordan is a pretty legitimate guy about winning. We talk about it after. We talk about what he had to say. The one thing he talked about is practice and how hard he practiced and how intense he was at practice.

"We keep trying to instill that in our guys."

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