BOCA RATON, FL -- Brad Treliving still has hair, which in it of itself is impressive considering the Calgary Flames have been winning games this season. One would have thought by now the stress would be showing on the 45-year-old first year general manager in Calgary.
It's not. He's fine. He's measured and he's realistic about the Flames, but Treliving is also excited and eager to see how the team will finish the regular season and if it will be good enough to secure a trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Flames are third in the Pacific Division with 81 points through 69 games despite being outscored 62-42 in the first period and 127-104 through two periods. They have won a portion of their games in the third period, when they have an NHL-best plus-37 goal differential (87-50).
Calgary has a League-best 23 points in games that it has trailed after two periods. That means 28.4 percent of the Flames’ points have come after third-period comebacks. The Anaheim Ducks have the next highest percentage in that category at 23.1 percent.
The Flames have trailed after two periods in 31 games; only the Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs, Arizona Coyotes, Edmonton Oilers and Buffalo Sabres have trailed after two periods in more games.
The Hurricanes, Maple Leafs, Coyotes, Oilers and Sabres are the bottom five teams in the NHL. The Flames are 15th.
Treliving talked about the Flames cardiac ways, how they have responded since the season-ending injury to captain Mark Giordano, a Norris Trophy candidate, and more following the first day of the NHL's general managers' meetings at the Boca Beach Club.
Here are Five Questions with…Brad Treliving:
A few weeks ago when I saw you at Madison Square Garden you were wondering how the team was going to respond now that it was in a legit playoff race and no longer playing with house money so to speak. The Flames are 6-3-1 since that conversation. What have the results told you about your team?
"They've been good. The longer it goes the more we have to lose. That's the analogy. But I think it's a really determined group and they've done a really good job of just living in the present. You have the injury to Gio [Giordano]; OK, park it and move on. We win a game; OK, park it and move on. We don't get the result we want; OK, park it and move on. I think it's been a really good growth opportunity for our guys and they're a resilient, determined group. I think it starts with [coach] Bob [Hartley]. He has laid the foundation for it. He has pushed all the right buttons. For him too he's done a really good job of going day-by-day here. There's not a carry over. We've had success, we've won, great, we've gotta worry about the next game. It's the same way when we haven't had success. I think it's the compete level of our team, the preparation, and the way we play is a direct reflection to Bob and the staff."
What has to be asked is how you feel about the way the team has won games this season, being poor first period, better second period, and ridiculously good third period? How do you keep doing it?
"Well, No. 1, I don't think you can keep relying on that. That's just not a formula for success. That's No. 1. So by no means is it by design and we know we've gotta correct it, especially down the stretch here. But having said that it shows this team has got a resolve here, there's a belief. The hardest thing sometimes to create is a belief, but one of the most powerful things you can have is a belief. I think this team has a belief. But we don't try to draw it up and say, 'OK, let's go dig a hole and let's spend the rest of the night trying to fill the hole in.'"
Have you seen the belief grow in the absence of Giordano? The team is 5-2-1 without him.
"Let's start out with we're not a better team by taking our captain out. I think being around that team a lot, it's a very close team, a very close group of guys, so the absence of him is a big hole, no question. But now you've got guys stepping up and grabbing a hold of the opportunity, whether it's more minutes or people getting in the lineup, or just trying to do more to just compensate. I also think a part of it is he's got so much respect that there is a bit of a 'let's do it for him' mentality. Even if it's subconsciously, they have a belief in them that they just don't want to say, 'OK, Gio's gone, let's roll over now.' It hasn't been that way at all."
Entering the season it was easy to look at the Flames as being in a rebuilding situation, starting from the bottom and building it up. Now you're in a playoff race. Has that changed your philosophy on this team at all?
"It hasn't changed the long term goal. I think you've gotta be careful. It hasn't changed in the sense that we know we have to continue to get better, and at the deadline it didn't change the sense that we felt we could spend a lot of young assets for something very short term. Now have people grown and developed and maybe taken on bigger roles quicker than I would have thought? Yeah, they have, but I still think we've got a lot of growth left in us."
Johnny Gaudreau has had a phenomenal rookie season. How much do you believe his creativity and his flair enabled the Flames to be so successful at coming back in games?
"Well you can't replace skill. There's no substitute for just ability. He's brought us a real skillset, a dynamic element. Those comebacks are a combination of will, but no question he's added an extremely high level of talent to our group."
Author: Dan Rosen | NHL.com Senior Writer