WHEN THE CLOCK STRIKES 12
The Flames dish on their semi-serious New Year's resolutionsby RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick / CalgaryFlames.com
Whether it's hitting the gym and shedding a few pounds or finally taking up that new hobby, for many of us, the turn of the calendar is a time to take charge and set goals for the upcoming year.
The Flames are no different.
With Jan. 1 only a few hours away, the players were not only gearing up for their New Year's Eve showdown with the visiting San Jose Sharks, they were also looking ahead to bigger and better things in 2019.
"Maybe eat a little less Chipotle?" an apprehensive Noah Hanifin said following the morning skate at the Scotiabank Saddledome. "I mean, we don't have many in Canada, so I guess I'm halfway there, but when we're on the road, look out."
Indeed. Without a word of hyperbole, the legendary Mexican grill is a wonderfully complex, buttery, guacamole-coated dance on the palate, as well as a mouthwatering staple following practice in road rinks across the NHL.
That is, the 'Never Hungry League.'
"Yeah, I'm kind of regretting saying that now," Hanifin, having come to his senses, said immediately after. "I'm going to take it back. Can I take it back?"
Some of the players - like Mark Jankowski, and fellow countrymen Oliver Kylington and Rasmus Andersson - don't participate in this kind of annual goal setting.
But when it comes to brainstorming ideas for their teammates, they're all over it.
"Kylington should learn how to speak English," Andersson said of his buddy. "He screams across the dressing room in Swedish all the time, and it's annoying, because no one understands what he's saying."
"He said that?" Kylington replied. "Yeah, he would.
"His resolution should be to put up a sign in his locker that reminds him every day to keep his opinions to himself."
What kind of sign?
"Something simple. It would say, 'Think First, Talk Later," Kylington said, spelling it out with helpful hand motions. "I think it would be great!"
Joking aside, Kylington's resolution policy is a year-round thing, and he doesn't plan on changing it, regardless of the date.
"Mine are ongoing," he said. "I want to be as good of a person as I can be. Work hard, stay healthy, and take care of my family."
Jankowski, meanwhile, took a good, hard look around the dressing room any source of inspiration before he, too, locked in on one of his teammates.
"Oh, man, I haven't even thought about it yet," he said. "I know, kinda late right? Nothing for me - yet - but I think a few guys in here should have one."
"Benny (Sam Bennett), for starters. Just look. He needs to get rid of that moustache ASAP."
Agree to disagree.
A magnificent duster like that - the remnants of a stellar growth season throughout the month of November - is not for the faint of heart, and certainly says a lot about the man and what he stands for.
It's the stuff of legend.
"Debatable," Jankowski refuted. "Right now, I can't tell when he's talking. You can't even see his lips moving. It's tough."
Cochrane native Dillon Dube - recently summoned from the Stockton Heat - hasn't been around the Flames over the past month, and says he feels a bit out of the loop when it comes to which of his teammates are most in need of a little self-improvement.
For himself, though, he's got a classic to fall back on.
"I guess I could play less Xbox, but I've been off that a bit already," Dube said. "Plus, it's fun. Don't' really want to give up on that altogether.
"Oh, I've got one. I think I need to start going to bed earlier. I have a bad habit of napping all the time and then staying up all night. That's a good one.
"Let's go with that."