CALGARY - There’s something about a loss like the one the Calgary Flames suffered Saturday at the Saddledome that tends to inspire a little more fire in the belly of those wearing the Flaming C.
Last season, the team — for the most part — found ways to rebound from similarly lopsided scores and go on winning runs.
“Well, that’s pretty embarrassing, what happened,” veteran Craig Conroy explained Monday after a brisk hour-long practice at the Saddle-dome following Saturday’s 7-2 loss to the Washington Capitals.
“As pro athletes, you come and you want to be your best. It’s embarrassing to get beat the way we did. All those goals.”
It happens. The key is not letting it happen again. At least, not before they forget the sting of this one.
“Everyone’s got a lot of pride in that room, so you want to bounce back,” Conroy said. “There’s probably as big a sense of urgency after those kind of games ... We would rather have played yesterday to get back going and to get an opportunity to put that behind us because that was an awful game.”
The worst this season, but not the worst they’ve suffered even in the last couple of years. Let’s go back to Nov. 19, 2009 ... a 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks that had featured bad penalties, poor line changes and harsh words from head coach Brent Sutter on a team that was playing too casual for his liking.
Then you’ll probably hope the Flames respond the way they did a year ago, winning five of their next six games — including a 3-0 win over Wednesday night’s opponent, the Detroit Red Wings.
A similar loss against the hated Vancouver Canucks on Dec. 27, an ugly 5-1 defeat at the hands of Cochrane product Mason Raymond’s natural hat-trick, spawned a five-game Flames winning streak.
They also got the best of the Canucks in the rematch a couple weeks later. Just don’t mention the nine-game losing skid that followed that one and forced GM Darryl Sutter to make drastic moves at the end of January.
That awful slump included the 9-1 thrashing by the Sharks in San Jose, after which the Flames dropped four more games before snapping out of it. That Sharks contest is evidence inspiration isn’t always found in embarrassment.
But the Flames will cling to the other examples for now.
And use the fresh pounding from the Caps to light their fires for Wednesday’s meeting with the Wings.
“We’re gonna draw on some of the good things we’ve done this year and in the past, too, to bounce back and use it as motivation — it’s something we don’t want to have happen again for a very long time,” said Flames captain Jarome Iginla.
“It’s obviously an embarrassing loss. Our last three games have been pretty disappointing “We’re in a little bit of a rut. But it’s a new month. We need to get back winning.”
With the Wings coming to town, that won’t be easy.