CALGARY, AB -- Every night, Calgary Flames fans anxiously watch the NHL scoreboard, hoping desperately for some help from other teams in the league to quell the surge of their conference rivals also battling for playoff positions.
The players, however, are taking a different approach.
"You know the scores the next day but I don't think many guys are sitting and watching games, stuff like that," defenceman Mark Giordano said. "Whatever happens, happens and we can only take care of our business. Take care of our business and have no regrets at the end of the year."
Giordano admitted it was tough not to scoreboard watch every evening but was adamant the team were fixated on one thing and one thing only: their performance in their five remaining games.
"I think it was a pretty good mood (at practice). It's the same for us. We've got to win. We know what we need to do, we need to win games. Obviously, you hope for a bit of help but the bottom line is that Wednesday is an important game and if we win that, we give ourselves a chance and stay alive."
While the Flames first priority has always been winning games, Tom Kostopoulos said they are even more focused on their performance, and their performance alone, as the stretch drives rolls on.
"I think a few weeks ago, we'd be watching the scoreboard every day to see who won, who lost, who went into overtime and see where the points rack up. But now, it's not so much that. Now it's just concentrating on our games. I'm not even really trying to watch the other games."
If the Flames fail to slide into the postseason picture at the end of the regular season, their rocky start to the 2010-11 will undoubtedly get the blame. However, Rene Bourque warned there was no point in thinking about the past.
"There's no point in doing that now, it's too late. You can't change the past."
His teammate Alex Tanguay added that the team can look back - just not on the first portion of their season. Instead, he believes focusing on how they turned their season around is key as they mentally prepare for the last few games.
"We could have certainly helped ourselves in October, November and December, but we didn't do it. From the situation we were in at Christmas, we were trying to get to that 97 points and that's still the goal in mind. I think over the course of the years, I was reading somewhere that 97 points has been in 97 per cent of the time in the playoffs ... right now the focus is on trying to win games and the next one is really important."
The coaching staff has also been preaching the importance of optimism as the NHL regular season winds down.
"You don't control that so you don't dwell on it, you don't worry about it," head coach Brent Sutter replied when asked about scoreboard watching. "There's nothing you can do about it. It's totally out of your hands. Obviously we know we need to get help at some point along the way but we've still got to take care of our own business and focus in on what we have to do.
"You can't upset about it or down about it. You've just got to keep forging ahead and make sure we take care of what we have to do - give ourselves a chance."