SUN Hockey Pool

Sutter peddles soft approach

TODD SAELHOF, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:28 AM ET

Fourteen hours after the hard-paddling they took the night before, Brent Sutter peddled the soft approach regarding his troops.

At least, that's what the head coach was selling yesterday outside the Calgary Flames dressing room.

"I know we have a caring group," said Sutter, speaking softly to reporters, all expecting him to emerge from morning meetings hot under the collar.

"It's a great group of guys, and they want to have success. It's a very caring group."

Cue colourful Craig Conroy, who was especially lively while talking to the media just a few minutes after his head coach.

Not only did he ooze care in the wake of the 7-1 spanking at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks, but the Flames veteran proved pointedly passionate.

"It's embarrassing -- we're pissed," said an animated Conroy, moments after being told Sutter used the word 'casual' to describe the reaction of the Flames to Thursday night's debacle before an awestruck crowd at the Saddledome.

"I have a big problem with that," Conroy continued. "We're trying to lead the best we can and be positive. There is some times when there's yelling and guys are on each other. We try to hold each other accountable all the time.

"You don't sleep at night after that (bad of a loss). This is your job. and it's embarrassing. I take my kids to school in the morning, and the teacher feels bad for me."

A lesson learned is what Conroy hopes the Flames take away from the beating and take into today's matinee with the host Los Angeles Kings.

"You're not going to forget about those games -- no one is taking it lightly," Conroy said. "That was unacceptable, and we embarrassed ourselves, and we're going to move on.

"We're tentative more than anything. We have to play with confidence and a swagger. Sometimes when things don't go our way, we sit back and don't assert ourselves the way we should. We get hesitant."

Sutter echoed the assistant captain's sentiment.

"I just don't want anything to creep in here," said Sutter when asked to expand on his choice of the word 'casual' to describe his club's attitude. "We're a team that plays better when we have emotion. We're a good team when we're assertive.

"You're going to have times through your career when things like (Thursday) night happen, and you have to recognize it, understand why it happened and resolve it. And the biggest thing is you're going to have to learn from it and move forward quickly."

TODD.SAELHOF@SUNMEDIA.CA


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