SUN Hockey Pool

Team staying positive: Bourque

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:38 PM ET

Which came first isn’t entirely clear, but the Flames’ improved play over the last couple of weeks is paired with a better focus in the locker-room.

Head coach Brent Sutter has said on a couple of occasions he’s seeing signs of the team coming together for the first time in his time in Calgary.

“As players, we’re holding each other accountable,” said defenceman Mark Giordano.

“I think the mindset is if we keep playing the right way, eventually the pieces are going to fall and we’re going to move up.

“We sort of have that mentality now we’re the underdog and we’re coming from behind.”

They’re also not beating themselves up after a loss. They’re trying to learn from it and move on, while staying upbeat.

“I think we’re just trying to have a positive attitude. We’re trying to change the way things were done here in the past,” said winger Rene Bourque.

“We’ve got to come to the rink and enjoy it. A lot of times this year, we haven’t. Especially when you’re losing, it’s not a fun place to be.

“But we’re trying to get a different mindset and be loose.”

It’s taken some time, and Sutter says there’s still plenty of work to do, but he’s seeing signs of real team ownership for the first time since he came aboard at the start of last season.

“I see things that are really important of starting to form a culture here about what we are and how we are, and that never really takes a big step until you get interaction with individuals inside the room that want to hold each other accountable,” Sutter said. “I notice things on the bench with this group we never had a month ago, we never had last year.

“It’s just accountability, and guys taking it the right way and handling it the right way.”

PARDY TIME AGAIN

Watching his teammates play for a couple of months before his dislocated shoulder was healthy enough for him to return made Adam Pardy feel a little disconnected from his teammates.

But he was reminded just how important it is to have a good ones behind him when he made a couple of mistakes in his debut against the Lightning Tuesday night.

“It was easy to come back in and feel comfortable,” said Pardy, who had an assist on Cory Sarich’s goal.

“Guys did a great job of helping me out — I know Kipper (Miikka Kiprusoff) made a couple of great saves for me last night and I gave him a little tap and said thanks.”

GET READY FOR FIST PUMPS

Backup netminder Henrik Karlsson can expect to get the nod in either Los Angeles and Anaheim with the Flames playing on consecutive nights.

He played well in Minnesota against the Wild last week in a shootout win and coach Brent Sutter wants to see that continue.

“Carry on the way he was in Minny,” Sutter said. “He was rock-solid for us. Be a big guy in net and make saves.”

MOSS ODD-MAN OUT

David Moss was the odd-man out Tuesday and could sit again Thursday against the Kings. But head coach Brent Sutter says anybody is a candidate with two extra healthy forwards as options for insertion into the lineup.

“It’s really how individuals are playing,” Sutter said, singling out Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay as guys who have been solid. “But there’s a group of guys that we need to really step up here. That group needs to take onus and be responsible with that. Their play will determine whether they’re in or out of the lineup.

“We need consistency and we need guys to step up.”

steve.macfarlane@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/MacfarlaneSteve


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