Call it youthful enthusiasm, or straight naivete — whatever the case, Flames rookie Sean Monahan is talking playoffs.
“We’re going to push for a spot to get in the playoffs and we think we can do it,” Monahan told the Calgary Sun. “We’re going to push every game and see what we can do.”
The Flames sit second from last in the Western Conference at the time of writing, 13 points shy of Dallas for the last wild card playoff spot. According to Sports Club Stats, Calgary has a zero percent chance of making the postseason.
So yes, Monahan’s view of his team’s chances seems ambitious.
But it’s easy to see the big picture here. Head coach Bob Hartley was hired to teach his young team, and he sees a learning opportunity on the horizon. If he can get his players to buy into the theory they still have a chance at the postseason — and treat pending matchups against teams jockeying for postseason position like playoff games — the Flames stand to gain something from these final 24 games. More than they would by simply playing out the string, anyway.
“We told the players that we’re entering playoff mentality,” he explained. “You’ll see it in practices where our entire environment will be around playoffs. Just like we’re going to approach every game like a playoff game.”