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Pre-Game Quotes: Flames @ Blackhawks

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

BOB HARTLEY

On the Blackhawks on the second half of a back-to-back set:

“We always talked about back-to-backs, but each team during the course of the season will have to go through 10 to 15 times. They’re basically a mental and a physical battle. You need to park the one right behind and focus on the next one. They’re tough, but they’re even for everyone. Those guys played last night in St. Louis but we came in at 3 AM in Washington and probably played one of our best games of the season. I don’t put too much stock into it. I always prepare my team like it’s just like another game.”

On the Flames' mindset:

“Just play our game. That’s what I like from our guys right now. We’re starting to see us play our game. We always kind of study the other team, prepare videos on the other team but our mindset is on our team. That’s where it has to be. We obviously know about Keith, Seabrook, Kane, Toews, Hossa, Panarin. They’re Stanley Cup champions. We all know about this, but at the same time we have to play our game. That’s what we’re starting to see. In Washington, we went in against a team that has played very well. We played a great game because we focused on our way of playing. We’ve been doing this in the last 10 to 14 days and that’s what we want to keep building on.”

On the Flames previous success in Chicago:

“For me that has very little effect. Every game is a different challenge. You have to prepare. This is a great rink to play in. There’s lots of energy. The atmosphere is great. It’s always fun to come to this building. Maybe it helps, but at the same time we know who we’re facing and we’ll have to be ready.”

On Sean Monahan and Sam Bennett:

“They’re great kids. On top of getting great performances from them, it’s important that we keep remembering that they’re very young players. They have so much to offer. We’re doing video with them every day trying to keep fast-forwarding their progress. They’ve been unbelievable. Sam Bennett in the last five, six games has been a big point producer for us plus playing very well in the three zones. Look at Sean Monahan the last couple of games, always playing against top lines and he’s finding ways to get production. That’s very remarkable from those two young players.”

On Johnny Gaudreau:

“At his size, I think Johnny is a great example for all young hockey players, more importantly small-sized hockey players that are being cut at the Midget level, the high school level, the junior level. Never quit. Johnny has been a star everywhere that he’s been but sometimes one of the easiest excuses for a coaching staff to let a kid go is ‘you’re too small’. Johnny is the proof. He’s big enough to play in the NHL. He lets his talent and his performance speak for itself.”

On the team's Pray For Paris shirts:

“Huds showed up today with t-shirts. I went to him and I asked him and it was his idea. Obviously we’re on the road and he had to make arrangements to get those t-shirts delivered and everything. It’s a great gesture. Not surprising from Huds because we know that he cares about everyone and everything. As an organization I think that Huds deserves a lot of credit and at the same time the entire hockey world, the entire world, have our eyes on that cruel tragedy that happened in Paris. We all think about the victims and their families.”

BRANDON BOLLIG

On the team's play this month:

“I think the first little stretch of the season there we were kind of getting away from our game and almost letting other teams dictate the pace. Now you can see we’re working harder, we’re staying more disciplined and taking care of our end first. That’s the Calgary Flames mindset, and pretty much to outwork the other team. We made a few key acquisitions over the summer and got better on paper but that doesn’t always mean much if you don’t go out there and do it. Now things are turning around, guys are clicking, guys are playing a little bit more together and creating that chemistry and that helps a lot for a team.”

JOHNNY GAUDREAU

On playing in his 100th game:

“It’s exciting. It was a fun year last year. The start of this year has been a little shaky for our team but it’s been fun playing with this group of guys and fun playing in here tonight.”

On being criticized for his size:

“I think all my life I’ve had that problem, being the smaller guy and playing against bigger guys. For me, I try to put that in the back of my mind, not listen to people and just try to prove them wrong.”

“It’s been a while since I’ve heard that. You still hear it every once in a while. I’m sure there’s a lot of younger kids growing up right now that have that same problem. You’ve just got to make sure you don’t listen to them and just play your game and have fun, I think.”

On how far he has come since Game 1:

“I was learning throughout the whole last season last year. That first game to here is a lot different. It’s been a fun ride so far.”

“Just learning from Bob, from the guys in the locker room. There’s a ton of stuff I’ve learned since that first game in Vancouver. I’m thankful I’m surrounded with a good group of guys.”

On being a role model to young players:

“Yeah, it’s exciting. I was in their shoes I don’t know how long ago, people telling you you can’t do it. Thankfully I proved them wrong and hopefully those guys can too.”

On who inspired him:

“Briere, St. Louis, some of the smaller guys in the league that when I was growing up I was looking up to them and watching them.”

On how he has thrived in the NHL:

“I think just having fun. I know it’s a business and you’ve got to work hard and stuff, but I just enjoy it out there. Playing with Mony and Huds was fun last year and it’s been fun this year. I just enjoy it, I think.”

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