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On the road again

by Kristi Hennessy / Calgary Flames


The Flames currently sit 24th in the league in the powerplay column with 14.2 per cent. They have scored just 15 goals on 105 total chances in 25 games played. From a coaching perspective, is it fair to say that your powerplay isn't good enough? That is exactly what is being said from coach Brent Sutter the day after Wednesday night's 7-2 loss to Vancouver.

In the third period of Wednesday's game, Sutter decided to shake up the powerplay unit and see what the outcome was. He put five defencemen out to see if they could make something happen. This left the key powerplay unit sitting on the bench with raised eyebrows and quite possibly a bruised ego.

"The fact is that our powerplay wasn't producing and hasn't been producing here," said Sutter. "We've scored one goal in our last, I don't even know how many, 20 chances maybe? That's not good enough, it's not even close. At the time I felt that it's not working for us so let's throw five defencemen out there and see if they can get something going.

"Obviously powerplay and your specialty teams are a big part of your game and our special teams have to get better and have to be better. It was just something I did. I've done it in the past and I'll do it again too."

The players heard the message loud and clear. They gathered together for an optional skate Thursday morning after having some time to reflect on what went wrong.

"I think it's just for us to work harder," said forward Alex Tanguay. "We weren't producing. It's not like we're not trying but we have to find ways to make it work and I think Brent was just sending us a message. I don't think it is a big deal. I think Brent is just telling us to be better on the powerplay."

Rene Bourque got the same understanding from Sutter's message.

"Obviously it was a message to us that we're not getting the job done," said Bourque. "If we score that powerplay goal in the third in the first couple minutes it would change the game. But then they go back the other way and get a shorthanded goal. That was the game right there. I think we're trying but we're not working smart."



The message was very clear in the dressing room after Wednesday's 7-2  loss to Vancouver.

"We need more urgency," said Bourque. "We need the mentality where we want to score every time we get out there. When we get a lead on a team, we need to bury them."

Sutter's opinion: "Last night was disappointing in the third period obviously. We didn't respond the way we'd like to in the third period. But today is a new day and we have to start getting ready for our next game. We can't dwell on what just happened to us as far as everything being negative. We were right in that game until the first two minutes of the third period and we let it get away from us. We have to learn from it.

"You can't sit around and feel sorry for yourselves because it's going to have a huge impact on us."


After taking a puck to the face in Wednesday's game against Vancouver, Mark Giordano left a pool of blood on the ice and immediately went to the medical room for repairs. Despite the stitches and pain, he returned to the line-up in the third period.

"That's just Gio," said Sutter. "He's a tough customer. "He got stitched back up and came back out in the third period. It says a lot about him but it's just his make-up and his character. When you have a player like that and he's one of your top-end guys and he returns to the line-up, that is a positive you should build off of as a group and gain momentum from."



"We need the maximum out of everybody that is dressed that night and in all different situations. When your specialty teams aren't playing up to snuff, you have to shake it up a little bit." -  Brent Sutter on shaking up the team.

Author: Kristi Hennessy

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