No time to waste

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:19 PM ET

Maybe the Calgary Hitmen need to postpone the start time by 15 minutes or so. Perhaps retire another jersey (that Pavel Brendl kid had a pretty good run, didn't he?)

Or chop a large enough hole in the ice that would cause a lengthy delay.

Whatever the cause, the Hitmen, by all indications, would benefit from dropping the puck just a bit later.

After all, they don't seem to realize the puck has been dropped until at least 10 minutes into the game.

To say the locals have been slow out of the blocks this post-season would be an understatement.

They've surrendered the first goal in each of the last four games.

Captain Ryan Getzlaf said it's a problem that needs to be addressed immediately.

"We're going to focus on our start," Getzlaf said.

"That's going to be the main focus for the next couple of days -- that first 10 minutes of the hockey game.

"That's what has killed us in the games we've lost."

During the regular season, the Hitmen posted a 6-13-3-2 record when the opposition found the net first.

Against all odds, they're 5-2 in the playoffs when giving up the ice-breaker.

But both losses have come in the last four games, including Friday's Game 5 in Brandon, where the Wheaties jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the game was five minutes old.

It proved to be a hole too deep to climb out of.

Throw out those first few disastrous shifts and the Hitmen are sitting at home watching movies for the next week, waiting to see who their next challenger would be.

Getzlaf is at a loss to explain why his team has fallen behind early in seven of its 10 games.

"Maybe it's a lack of preparation, I don't know," the Anaheim Mighty Ducks prospect said.

"We're going to look at that problem over the next couple of days and go after it. Everybody has to look within themselves and get the group ready. Everybody prepares a different way. Guys just have to make sure they're ready to go."

Freshman Ryan White, who led Calgary's unsuccessful rally with two goals over the final 50 minutes Friday night, said his squad needs to take a page out of the Wheat Kings playbook and play desperate hockey.

"We were too relaxed out there in the first 10 minutes," White said.

"Those first two goals put us behind the eight ball right away.

"We have to go into this game with the mentality that it's do or die.

"We have to finish them off right away. We don't want to give them another shot, another life."


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