What things are giving the Flames optimism?

The Calgary Flames have one victory to show for their first five games of the season. They’re starting a tough two game road trip early this week that takes them through Chicago and St. Louis, traditionally buildings that are tough to gain wins in if you’re a road team. The Flames have had flashes of good play here and there for the first few games (and haven’t been blown out), but they haven’t been able to string together a full game of good habits and efforts.

At Sunday’s practice, I was seeking some optimism. I asked around with a simple premise: what things are going right and giving the team some confidence that they can turn things around?

CHAD JOHNSON

I think for us the effort is there. There’s no quit. Obviously in the third period we were down a lot of goals and we were probably out played most of the game there, but the biggest thing is we stuck together and we had the effort there at the end and we pushed a little bit. We came back, and I think that’s something we can take out of last game. And even just building off Vancouver, it was our best game of the year. We have to learn from yesterday and all of our losses and the way we’ve been playing, which hasn’t been very well. I think there’s a bunch of different things.

MIKAEL BACKLUND

There hasn’t been just bad things. There’s been times in games we’ve been playing well. I thought yesterday in the second period, we had good success when we scored those two goals. And we had zone time and played well, and then we had that turnover that’s been killing us and they scored. When we get zone time and play our game, clean breakouts and play within our structure I think we play well. It’s just the turnovers that kills us.

GLEN GULUTZAN

The positives? I love the dressing room. We have a character group of guys. They want it in there. They want it. They care. They really care. I’ve been around as many locker rooms since I was 15 years old til I was 45 and every year, and I’ve been around team after team after team. That’s as good a group as there is that I’ve come across, in people and character, and you win with character. For me, that’s a positive. They’re really squeezing to try to find some wins, because they want it. We’re just going to try to do a couple things to make sure our focus is in the right place and we’re not over-trying.

  • jakethesnail

    It is too bad that the bad things overwhelm the good things by a wide margin! Maybe not in numbers but by the severity of them. Example, Dougie passing the puck on the stick to an opponent resulting in a break up the ice and a goal….

    Hope that they pull together and come up with at least a split. After all they are 1 point out of a wild card spot now…Flames are not the only team in the Conference struggling now.

  • Calgary Sun mentioned they had a team dinner after Sunday’s practice, which is a happier environment than a closed door, players-only meeting that I thought might be called soon. Everyone can still say it’s just a slow start to the season, only a few games in. I hope it’s just a case of players still on a steep learning curve trying to to apply Gulutzan’s system into real games and that they overcome this learning curve very soon.

  • Aadvarkian Abakeneezer

    The bright side here for me is that these don’t really sound like comments made about a team that has “lost its identity” or a bunch of punk kids “tuning out the coach”, it sounds like the same team we’ve come to love for their compete level and work ethic just genuinely sucking.

    I’m not a huge fan of my team crapping the bed, but I definitely prefer good honest struggling to a lack of effort.

  • snotss

    the next five games mean everything to this sinking club……play well and there is hope…play like they have been and it will be a very LONG season.the flames brass screwed up when they made the playoffs two years ago,they thought this team was ready to make a push for the west playoffs every year…..they quit the rebuild and started bringing in OLDER talent…didn’t work!!!!so by mid November if this sorry excuse for a team has not found it’s footing then ditch the VETS bring up the kids see what we have…let them play…continue the rebuild!!!!!!!!doh

  • Druds

    so out of 22+ players you got 3 guys to state some crap that was so called positive 1, 3rd liner,1 backup goalie and the coach mentioned how positive it is in the dressing room was…LOL

    ummm no one crys after the game…thats a positive!

    blogging at its finest!…keep drinking the koolaid Flamers…

  • Newbietwo

    1. Do whatever and trade whoever in order to get Nolan Patrick.. I am confident he is very close to mr McDavid and in some ways a better rounded game not to mention a right shot and 6ft3!!!!
    2. Our centres would be Patrick, Monohan, Bennet, Jankowski thus trade Backlund so we can get a real top line right winger
    3. Walk Bouma and do not re sign him!!!
    4. Find a true Top 4 defenceman that is stay at home and has grit!!
    5. If Elliot and Johnson sucks trade for Bishop and let him roll with Gillies for a few years
    6. If Johnny doesn’t get it together meaning isn’t able to create his own time and space out there he is basically irrelevant in a line up so find a trade partner he’ll eat $1 million a year for the dumb mistake but go separate paths
    7. Trade Giordano for a legit younger defender

    If these things happen we are good but till then it’s a reach regardless of what we do or do not achieve

  • Kdc

    Newbietoo,
    Are you crazy. Being a flames fan should not remove you from reality! Patrick is no doubt talented, but close to mcdavid! His numbers show he is more unbent Hopkins than mcdavid.

  • Danoilerfanincalgary

    The Canucks won 3 games without ever having a lead and are having a great start but the odds are against them. Eventually the real team shows up and they will be relegated to where they belong in the standings. The Flames are definitely better than what their record shows and eventually they will be where they belong in the standngs.Everything balances out eventually and peace will be restored at Flames Nation. If they win tonight against a great team it will prove the sky is not falling.