The Calgary Flames are already in a hole. They’ve played three games and only managed to get a point. Not the best start for a team that’s aiming to get back into the playoffs.
But if you ask them, not a massive surprise, either.
Following Saturday’s 2-1 shootout defeat in Vancouver, the Flames’ new head coach, Glen Gulutzan, talked about the challenges his squad was facing.
“We’re learning a lot of new things,” said Gulutzan. “We’re doing a lot of things different. You have to believe in it, right? You have to believe and go through the process of it. For us, that’s real important. We’re starting new. We don’t have the luxury of three or four training camps under our belts.”
Gulutzan, of course, replaced Bob Hartley after last season’s 12th-place finish in the Western Conference. The GM, Brad Treliving, didn’t like the “style” the Flames played under Hartley; hence, all the “new things” the players are trying to learn under Gulutzan.
“I think that people that know hockey know there is an adjustment period with a new coach and with new systems,” goalie Chad Johnson said, per the Calgary Herald. “We all want to come out right away and be as strong as the Chicago Blackhawks and the L.A. Kings. But they’ve been together for five or six years with the same coach and the same systems. There’s an adjustment period, especially for this group. Everybody has to be patient.”
Prior to the loss in Vancouver, the Flames had dropped a pair in regulation to the Oilers, getting outscored by a combined 12-7. It’s still very early, but there’s a hint of a potential goaltending controversy. Brian Elliott, the starter, was ventilated in the two games against Edmonton, while Johnson played well against the Canucks.
Gulutzan wouldn’t say who would start when the Flames host Buffalo Tuesday night. But against the injury-riddled Sabres, it’s a good opportunity for his team to notch its first win.
Another loss, on the other hand, and the hole only gets deeper.