If Flames get 'board or anxious, they're out of luck

RANDY SPORTAK

, Last Updated: 7:58 AM ET

Players aren't supposed to scoreboard-watch during games.

That rule, however, doesn't apply to coaches.

But you'll be hard pressed to spot Flames coach Mike Keenan checking out-of-town scores during his team's contests at the Saddledome.

"I don't because I can't find the scoreboard here. I can't. I don't know where the out-of-town scores are. I still don't and I've been here almost a year," he said before looking at a team employee. "Where are they?"

He was promptly informed they are displayed sporadically on the main clock.

"For that reason, I don't watch. When we're out of town and they're on a scoreboard somewhere, I do."

As the regular season winds down, every night has a huge bearing on the standings. It's made for a wild ride for the fans, but imagine what it's like for the players.

So many games impact their situation, so emotions can run high.

"It's hard not to get a little bit angry or into the games," said defenceman Robyn Regehr.

"For example, I think it was last week Vancouver scored with a minute and a half left to go up 2-1, but Colorado came back and scored with 17 seconds left to go into overtime, and both teams ended up with points. I was watching and you get angry that stuff happens.

"But I think that drives the point home how important it is to take care of our own business and make sure it's only going on behind us."

Most players will tune in on nights they're not playing -- "It's just habit," said captain Jarome Iginla -- but there are exceptions to the rule.

"If I'm sitting around and flipping channels, I'll watch it, but I don't make a point of checking the scores before I go to bed," said defenceman Rhett Warrener. "In all reality, it doesn't matter what other teams do. We're in a position where we win our games, we're in good shape. If you go into a slump, then you have to.

"We're in a position where we don't have to watch scores."

Keenan's reasons for watching most every other game on off-nights aren't just to follow the scores.

"I watch games for the sake of pre-scouting, for the sake of learning different coaching strategies, to learn about systems other teams are using," he said. "And I definitely keep track of what the market is -- if you like -- the hockey market. That's my responsibility. That's all of us involved in the business.

"You watch the market every day, see if the Dow is up or down."

"You keep an eye on it because now, what comes out is what is going to be the approach with your group? Maybe it's a motivational technique, maybe it's a discussion with your group that you'll have the next day.

"In the context of where we are compared to the rest of the teams in the league, that's an important reason for watching the Dow."


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