When Brent Sutter gathered the troops before starting drills at yesterday's practice, it was nothing out of the ordinary.
Then the minutes ticked off.
The few words kept coming and coming.
For about 10 minutes, Sutter addressed the charges. Too far out of earshot for the media and not at a high decibel level, but it was a one-way conversation.
"Going through things and the way we want to play," Sutter said.
The bench boss clearly wasn't happy with the performance in Wednesday's 3-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Sure, the Flames have a 7-3-1 mark, but losing a game after scoring twice in the first 70 seconds against a team playing for the second time in as many nights won't cut it.
"We can't beat ourselves," right winger David Moss relayed of the message.
"It was a game we had control of, but we made a few mistakes and gave up two points we should have had."
However, it's curious to note the talking wasn't all chastising.
"He's very fair," Moss said. "We did some things well and didn't do some other things well. He's the first one to tell you when you make a mistake or aren't doing things right and the first one to tell you when you're doing a good job.
"It makes things clear from a player's point of view. There are no head games."
So, the Flames were snapped back to attention -- if the loss hadn't done that already -- in anticipation of tomorrow night's tilt with the Detroit Red Wings, the final affair of the five-game homestand.
The reminders ranged from too many turnovers at the offensive blueline to missed defensive-zone coverage at critical times -- especially on the winning goal and not being more assertive in the offensive zone.
"We never spent enough time or did enough things in the offensive zone to create enough offensively," Sutter said. "We never went into the tough areas enough, like we need to.
"When we got to the blueline, we weren't smart. It seemed like we slowed down or tried to make the fancy play instead of pushing pucks through.
"It was a disappointing loss."
Rest assured, though, the players heard it.
After being away from the team for four days due to the flu, forward Dustin Boyd skated yesterday, long after practice had finished and the rest of the players had cleared the dressing room.