Mark Giordano: ‘We won’t take [the playoffs] for granted’

Amidst everything from yesterday, there was one particular garbage bag day player quote that stuck out. Amidst finding out so-and-so was injured and what’s-his-name likes Calgary, Mark Giordano offered up this tidbit:

So, let’s get this straight… A rebuilding team that essentially fluked its way to success the season before assumed they could rest on their laurels? And it took an entire year for them to figure out this wasn’t the case?

There are so many things wrong with this picture.

On the one hand, I can kind of understand where they’re coming from. I highly doubt hockey players analyze their shooting percentage stats and come away with the conclusion that there’s no way they can replicate the same success the next season; of course they’re going to see that’s what they’re capable of and proceed as that’s their new standard. That’s where stories like Lance Bouma’s shooting coach come in (and as we all know, Bouma was unable to replicate that newfound goal-scoring ability this season).

Then you have a player like Johnny Gaudreau who has never missed the playoffs before. He enters the NHL, his team breaks a playoff drought; the dots are easy to connect. And to Gaudreau’s credit, it’s not as though he was the problem with the Flames this year.

But it does question just what others in the organization were thinking as they came into the season. They were thoroughly outclassed by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round; was there any thought put into why they just narrowly avoided being swept?

Did someone like Sean Monahan believe the Flames were for real, even though he spent his rookie season on a floundering team that had its worst finish in franchise history? Was someone like Mikael Backlund, who spent his entire NHL career until last season on Flames teams that failed to make the dance, thinking the team had turned the corner?

What about Brandon Bollig, who spent the first three seasons of his career on highly skilled Chicago Blackhawks teams, one of which won a Cup – did he feel these Flames were at that level? If being a Cup-winner is part of his resume, did his experience of seeing what a championship-caliber team is like firsthand never come into play?

What about Giordano himself, who hasn’t been in NHL playoffs since 2007? He’s looking at a decade-long absence at absolute minimum now; how is it anyone takes that for granted?

Now, I’m not here believing that just because a team tries really, really hard, that means they can do anything they set their minds to. That’s naive. But it showed in the Flames’ home opener, a 5-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. They were thoroughly outclassed by the team they’d sent packing just six months prior, and a near-winless October showed no reason to have faith in this group.

Not to pile on, but also, to kind of do exactly that: whose job is it to get a team ready for the season? Ultimately, that has to fall on the head coach. And when all said head coach can do is seem stunned that his methods were exposed, that third period comebacks were no longer a thing and his team was out-classed night after night, and merely offer up flabbergasted statements of there being doubt to his squad’s game… what is he doing, exactly? If he’s a motivational coach, when did that come into play?

If work ethic is supposed to be your thing, where was it throughout the season?

There are more reasons the Flames missed the playoffs. So many more. But to have a team enter the season apparently already resting on laurels, and have no solution as everything comes crumbling down almost instantly – that’s a massive failure. It showed a sign of unreadiness and an ego not even close to having been earned.

Though we already knew that “earned, never given” was a farce, didn’t we?

  • brodiegio4life

    anyone else see eric francis article saying it looks for sure that hartley is coming back next year and that he definitely deserves it. Man that guy is so stupid

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    Well, best case scenario is that it’s a learning experience for all the players, particularly the captain. If he can now call on this experience over the next 6 years to motivate his teammates, then fine. It’s not like they were going to win the Cup this year anyway.

    As for Eric Francis, he deliberately says things just to get a rise out of people, regardless of truth. So my advice is to never listen to or read anything he says. Never.

    • Greg

      Agreed. Young-ish team, works hard, has some success, looses no one but adds two big peices… I’d be more surprised if they didn’t think success might come a little too easy.

      I see this season as very positive still. A hard and valuable lesson learned by a young team who should come back now having really internalized the “never given always earned” mantra. Along with a better goalie, another big arrow in the future core quiver, and another year closer to ditching a lot of bad contracts.

  • Flames Fan in Edmonchuck

    Hey Ari, calm down. Read into comments much?? All he said was “hey maybe we thought this was going to be easy, we were wrong”. So what? Young team, it’s a lesson, Don’t make the same mistake again.

    • jakethesnail

      Yes, it is a young team…problem was that it was the young under 25 guys (and Gio) that made this team half respectable this season.

      The team was saddled with non-performing veterans like Wideman, Stajan, Smid, Bollig, Raymond, Hudler, Hiller to name a few, and a young newly acquired Doug Hamilton who looked like a deer caught in the headlights first half of the season.

      Enough has been said about Hartley’s utilization of players this year. And a pathetic PK and PP – Fire the guys responsible for that mess.

  • hulkingloooooob

    Ari, I’m so very tired of you complaining and cutting down the team in these articles without actually saying anything new. really like to hear your own voice hey? I’d really like you to just move on to some other team you actually can cheer for. it’s boring. you are reading way too much into this and using it as an excuse to press print on this trite dribble. blah blah. tell us something we don’t know.


    • monafan

      Couldn’t have said it better myself.

      You’re a good writer Ari but your content is getting quite annoying- in this case you’re over thinking and over analyzing a quote he said on an interview… a live interview. He didn’t have time to sit down and write out his thoughts and wording in a way that would appeal to you- he responded in seconds. You’re making a problem where there really isn’t one.

      As another poster said, move along there’s nothing to see here

      • BlueMoonNigel

        On the contrary, Gio had more than a day to script what he was going to say to the media. Moreover,virtually all the Flame players whose interviews I heard last evening said the same thing as Gio. That tells me that what they said was the official company line or that the players collectively believed when the season began that they were entitled to play in the post-season, so the regular season was just a hoop to jump through.

        If the latter is true, the there are a whole lot of guys on this team that need a major attitude adjustment as clearly the “nothing given, always earned” never resonated with this sad sack collection of losers.

        Was Gio just pitching the company line or did he really believe that being in the playoffs last season entitles the Flames to automatic playoff entry this season? If Gio wasn’t being King’s puppet yesterday and following the script, I seriously question his leadership abilities.

        Don’t drink the Kool-Aid. This was an awful team that was closer to the Leafs than the lowest ranked playoff team.

        This team is not a Mickey Vernon away from being back in the playoffs.

        • hulkingloooooob

          you see Ari, this is the kind of BS you encourage. no one in the nhl feels they are entitled to the playoffs. they do however all aim for the payoffs every year and realize anything less is failure. would you prefer they tank like the oilers….or just give up before they start. go cheer for the oil, you’d fit in up there….

          and who said anything about being vernon away? ha!

  • deantheraven

    Yeah, c’mon, Ari. You were all doom & gloom like the other fellas here on FN, and then when it was obvious that the Flames weren’t going to make it and the pressure was off, and the team started playing loose, and scoring shorties like nobody’s business you were all like, “this is so much fun”. And now it’s fire the coach. Giordano’s out of touch…

    “Not to pile on, but also, to kind of do exactly that: whose job is it to get a team ready for the season?”
    Don’t do it, Ari. I used to read your “Post Game Embers” because there was always at least a glimmer of optimism in there,or at least no hatchet- wielding, unlike many of the other writers here.
    This is a rebuild. You All predicted regression in September. It happened. Pats on backs and all that.
    Now let’s look at a few other numbers. Possession improved. Face off % improved (eventually). Career years (or at least marked improvement in counting numbers and/or fancy stats) for Gaudreau,Backlund, Colborne, Bennett,Monahan,Brodie Ortio, Ramo.. Hell, even Engelland took a step…

    You All predicted regression in September.Let’s just enjoy the fact that there are a lot of positives that happened in Year 3, and look forward to Steps Forward and Lessons Learned.

  • al rain

    “There are so many things wrong with this picture.”

    Yes, that’s correct. As long as you intentionally ignore the fact that the statement was overheard, contains no context and assumes the worst about the tone of it.

    Honestly, what you’re reading into this is ridiculous.

    And then:

    “If work ethic is supposed to be your thing, where was it throughout the season?”

    I’ve made this point before: we should endeavor to withhold judgements about things we can’t possibly know anything about. Things like what the coach’s motivation is or isn’t for playing your favourite player or how hard someone did or didn’t work over an 82-game season.

    But, as I’ve also said before, this is all filler in between Kent’s articles.

  • Kevin R

    Ari, I love ya but you really are reading into this too much & making it an issue that really isn’t there. Gio, Backlund, Monahan, Gaudraeu, Colborne all had career years. Hamilton’s numbers were good, Bennett was solid as a rookie, & Brodie was awesome, we just weren’t used to him missing so many games. The stars aligned last year for us, no one expected playoffs. Most of these guys are very young & i hope they are really pissed about not playing hockey this week. No big story, just one of the harder lessons of a rebuild, regression is the Buckley’s of hockey/Rebuilds.

  • Joe Flames

    I agree with the last line. “Always earned” went out the window this year.

    Last year very few players had a set position on a line, and many were able to be sent down without going through waivers.

    This year too many players were guaranteed to stay up with the big club, and most were identified as top six, bottom six, etc.

    All season it seemed like the hunger and intensity from last year was missing, this may have played a part in it.

    Nobody’s fault, just a reality of a rebuilding team’s core getting older.