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Pre-Game Quotes: Flames @ Islanders

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

BOB HARTLEY

On Joni Ortio:

“I talked to him last night. Joni is at the rink right now with Jordan [Sigalet] and a few other players to get a few shots. He’s anxious to get his first start and in back-to-back [games], it was 95 percent our original plan, right from the start. He did very good for us last year. He’s getting a chance tonight.”

“It’s a maturation process. For a goalie, it’s usually the longest process. Then you go up to defencemen. Then you go up to forwards. It’s the load of responsibilities. The load of responsibilities is always bigger. You’re the last line of defence. There’s a lot more pressure on you and people in the business understand this. I think he’s a great worker, he’s cocky, he has character, and he’s not afraid to show it. We’re looking for a big performance from Joni.”

“Especially when a team doesn’t score many goals, there’s obviously increased pressure. But just do your job. Jordan [Sigalet] is a great communicator who talks with the goalies all the time. Last night, I just told him, ‘You’re getting the start. You’ve been waiting for this since the start of the season. Enjoy the moment.’ I know he’s going to be ready because that’s who he is. Again, we have confidence in the three goalies that we have. That’s the way it is.”

On Ortio's record last year:

“Huge wins. San Jose, Vancouver, LA, Phoenix – he got us four wins on the road, out of five, so he gave us a real good stretch. But at the same time, we’re talking about Joni, we’re talking about Hills, we’re talking about Rams. I think our game is improving. I don’t think last night was kind of a 4-1 game. But at the same time, we need to score more goals. To score one or two goals a game, it makes it tough on everyone. I liked the effort, I liked the way that we’re moving right now. We’re thinking the game better, we’re reacting in a much quicker way, so I think that obviously, now we need some results. That game against Detroit was great, it gave us a confidence boost. Last night, I felt we played a much better game than what the score showed. But you’re going to get in those situations.”

On getting results:

“We all have to do more. The chances are there. Yesterday, Backs gets a breakaway at 1-0 and it seems that we have a hard time to build a cushion right now. But, it’s a young season, there’s still lots of hockey to be played. We push those guys, some of them, for three years now. We know who we have and it’s just important that we keep supporting every one of them.”

On Johnny Gaudreau:

“Johnny, I said almost every day, for a skilled player, for a small-sized player, he’s an unbelievable competitor. He demands a lot of himself. Sometimes on TV, you see his reactions or if you don’t, we see them. He’s a pro. He is only in his second year but he has very high expectations of his game. He wants to be the best and that’s why he’s succeeding. There’s many bigger bodies than him that never got close to the NHL and he’s proving himself right. He was raised the right way, he was coached the right way, and he plays the game for one reason: to make his team win. He’s very unselfish and he has unbelievable hockey IQ.”

On his lineup tonight:

“We told everyone to be ready to go. There could be some changes, everyone is healthy. So we’re going to meet this afternoon and we’ll come up with our lineup.”

JONI ORTIO

On making his first start of the season:

“I’m excited, for sure. I’ve been waiting for quite some time now and just trying to be ready when I got the call and now it’s finally here. I’m excited.”

On having to be patient:

“There’s stuff that you can’t control. It’s not fun not playing, but at the same time it’s your job and it’s part of the business. I haven’t seen it particularly hard.”

“You’ve got to take advantage of that quality practice time you’ve got. You have to make the most of it. If you aren’t playing, you’ve got to find a way to take steps forward otherwise.

On seeing action against the Rangers:

“It’s not hurting me, that’s for sure. I saw a couple of shots, kind of get that rhythm back a little bit. I’m sure it’ll help me tonight.”

On communication from the coaching staff:

“They’ve been telling me to just hang in there, be patient. It wasn’t an easy situation for any of us. It’s not ideal. I think we handled it the best way we could and for me, it was getting quality practice time with Jordan [Sigalet] and just working on stuff every day, so I think that helped me too.”

On not trying to do too much:

“That’s the way it always is with goalies. You make one mistake and it’s on the board, so there’s two sides to the coin there. You can lose the game or you can win it, but with us it’s not a one-man effort. It’s the whole 20 guys. We win and lose as a team. We’ve all got better here. That’s for sure. We know we’re a good hockey team.”

On running with the opportunity:

“I’m really looking forwards towards that first shot on net. I’m just focused on that first shot. Whatever comes after tonight, we’ll find out tomorrow. There’s an opportunity. I’ve just got to keep my mind wrapped around tonight.”

JOHNNY GAUDREAU

On his personal success:

“I’ve had a good start here but it’s the team success – we’re not where we want to be. It’s not all about personal goals and stuff. It’s more important about the team right now.”

On his line:

“We have great chemistry on the ice, get along great off the ice. We’ve been playing well in the offensive zone. We’ve got to tighten up, defensively, as a line but offensively, we’ve been getting chances, making plays in the offensive zone, so we’ve got to keep that going.”

On being out East:

“It’s great to come back east and see family and friends. It’s a long season and you don’t get to see family too much. It’s just great to spend some quality time with them while I’m out here.”

On if he is facing tougher competition this year:

“Bob told me at the beginning of the season that … our line is obviously going to be circled against other teams. When they’re talking about the other team, they’re going to be talking about our line. We need to make sure we’re coming out a lot harder than we did last year. I think last year, at the beginning of the year, we kind of went unnoticed. Me and Sean were two young guys, obviously everyone knew who Jiri was, but as we played last year and got a little more attention, obviously it’s going to be a lot more tougher against other teams.”

“You can see it when other teams are matching d-pairs against us or matching lines against us. Last year, I didn’t notice as much but you can tell as season is starting, different teams are matching us against different lines.”

“You don’t worry about who you’re playing against. You just go out there and play your game; limit turnovers, try to make plays in the offensive zone, and try to put the puck in the net. We’re kind of struggling as a team so hopefully we can find a away to get some greasy goals and spark the offence.”

On what the team needs to do tonight:

“I think we played a lot better last night defensively. I think we’ve been struggling there, as a whole team. [We have to] limit our turnovers, play well in our defensive zone, and spend less time in our d-zone and more time in our o-zone. It’s going to be pretty crucial tonight.”

On if he's ever been on a team who has struggled at the start of a season:

“Not that I can really remember. This is a new learning experience for me, starting off like this. We have a lot of great leaders in our locker room, guys who I look up to, who are going to help us turn this around.”

On Joni Ortio:

“He’s excited. He’s been waiting for awhile to get in net. He’s a good goaltender so I’m excited to see him in net.”

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