‘I think our game has gotten better as we’ve progressed throughout the season’: Flames head coach Ryan Huska talks about team headed into the Christmas holiday

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Middleton
5 months ago
With the Christmas holiday finally arriving and the final days of the calendar year slowly ticking away, it gives everyone time to spend with their families and loved ones, as well as reflect on what is most important in life. Families sit around their televisions watching the National Football League or National Basketball Association, and for hockey fans, that includes spending time watching the final games of the year for their favourite NHL teams, as well as the World Junior Championships, which are a staple of the days after Christmas and into the new year.
With the NHL headed into its Christmas break before getting everything started back up again, it gave players and staff the final chance to talk to the media and give their two cents on the state of their teams. Calgary Flames head coach Ryan Huska met with the media after suffering a 5-3 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, and he had some comments on his team and their recent performances before the break.
“I think our game has gotten better as we’ve progressed throughout the season. And there’s areas when you play against the top teams in your division or league that you have to be really good in. There’s certain things that you can do a little bit differently to allow yourself to have a little bit more success than we did tonight, but it’s things we are going to continue to work on.”
There is a clear difference in the quality of play by the entire Flames team when looking at the first month or two of the season and the most recent month or two. The five-on-five play is much better, and the goaltending has been pretty steady throughout, but the power play and lack of finishing on chances that need to be buried have ultimately cost them wins and points in the standings. The work ethic is there, and Huska addressed that as well in the availability.
“They’re competitive every night. When you look at our team and the way they play the games, they’re never out of a game. They always stick around, and they always fight back in those games, and they can compete with the best teams. You’ve seen a team that’s been good with their work ethic. There’s been a couple games only this year where we’ve been disappointed with that. Now, it’s about stringing more than just that together.”
Obviously, it’s frustrating as a fan to hear about all of this hard work constantly when the results aren’t showing anything different than what we already knew to be true. But, considering the kind of jump their play made just in terms of cohesiveness over the course of the first half of the season, there may still be hope that they can make things interesting down the stretch (even if you just want them to lose and get all of this over with, at least make it fun, right?).
At the end of the day, the scoring needs to start happening from other players than the usual suspects. The young players are pulling their end of the bargain, and so are players like Mikael Backlund, Blake Coleman, Nazem Kadri, MacKenzie Weegar, and a few others. The work ethic is there, and with this Christmas break arriving (and hard set of games behind them), things need to change coming into the new year.

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