Brad Treliving didn't mince words.
He never does.
As usual, the Flames no-nonsense, tell-it-straight general manager cut to the chase when he addressed media in St. Louis before the team boarded a flight to Philly Friday afternoon, where they'll look to snap a six-game losing streak in a matinee tilt with the Flyers Saturday.
Video: "Let's be accountable ... no 'poor me.'"
"We're going through a difficult stage right now," he said. "For me, I think it's the responsibility of the manager - I'm responsible. If there's fingers to point right now, let's point in them in the right direction - and that should be at the person in charge, and that's me.
"So, the manager has underperformed and I take the responsibility of the performance of the team. That's first and foremost.
"When you go through adversity, there's two ways you can go through it and I believe in this group, I believe that when you're going through difficult times you push and support people, you don't, you know, throw bodies on the tarmac. And that's what we're going to do here. This is a group that's a good group that's underperforming. We've got to find a way to get back to being a good group that's performing.
"It starts with myself. I believe fully in this coaching staff. I don't stay in tune to the social media world there but the last couple of days I've been asked about, you know, about changes - the coaches aren't going anywhere, our top players aren't going anywhere. So while the outside world wants to, and rightly so, count us out this is when you bunker in, and you get in the foxhole and you try to make your team better.
"And it starts with making this group better. We're underperforming, we have to get back to a level of performance that we're capable of."
Video: "Sometimes, everyone has to look in the mirror."
The team was slated to fly to Philadelphia Thursday night after their 5-0 loss to the Blues in St. Louis but the plane was unable to leave due to issues, making for an unscheduled extra night's stay.
Immediately following the game, there was a players' only meeting in the dressing room followed by a further meeting between the group back at the hotel.
Friday morning, Treliving sat down with the team's leadership group and addressed the full squad.
What was said in the meetings is between those in the room, said Treliving, but he did talk about the sentiment.
"Let's deal with it, let's be honest with each other, let's hold ourselves and each other accountable but we're the ones that are going to get out of this," he said. "This group here is the one - nobody from the outside is going to do it, there's no saviours coming. It's up to each individual person to do what they're capable of doing. Take stock - be accountable to themselves, be accountable to the guy next to them. And that's how you go through tough times."
Video: "You've got to play for each other & stay together."
When asked to compare last year's relatively smooth run to the top of the Western Conference during the regular season with this year's tough start, he said doesn't want to look back, only ahead.
"What I find, too, is when you go through difficult stretches," said Treliving, "you learn way more than when you go through good stretches. You learn about yourself, you learn about the people around you - you never like going through them but they can certainly be learning experiences."
"We know we're not playing well, we don't need to be told," he added. "So let's dig into it, let's face it head on, let's deal with it as a group."
Head coach Bill Peters echoed his GM.
"Nobody can help us get out of this rut that we're in other than ourselves," said Peters.
He said the team will not wallow in self pity.
"There's no time for that, there's no time," said Peters. "You know what, there's gonna be one, hopefully not anytime soon, where we play real well and don't get (the win). That's going to be frsutrating also. But (we need) to start playing well and earning the opportunity to have success coming down the stretch.
"Let's get on the board in the first period, let's be good on the speciality teams. We can get better in all aspects of the game. Every aspect of the game needs improvement."
Captain Mark Giordano said the player meetings was a good chance to have a frank chat among the team on what they need to change and improve on.
"There's obviously been other moments in the year when you feel like you have to say things," he said. "But I felt like yesterday for our group, and a lot of guys felt this way to, we had to really sit down and go over it, and take some time together. It's not about hurting anyone's feelings. I think everyone in here understands things are said to help the team win, so it was good to hear guy's opinions and feelings about all that stuff."
He reiterated it wasn't about pointing fingers, but finding solutions.
"Sometimes everyone has to look in the mirror," said Giordano. "But sometimes you have to sit down with the boys and just go, as simple as it sounds, go over it, say what you see. Sometimes other guys see stuff different. Get their opinion and start fresh tomorrow."
Matthew Tkachuk said the travel issue may well have been a blessing in disguise.
"I think it was almost a good thing," he told media. "Maybe a sign. We had a good night here."
Video: "A lot of energy in the practice today."