Ugly play nets lengthy Flames chat

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:18 PM ET

OTTAWA — While the Carolina Hurricanes were set for the faceoff to start the third period, the Calgary Flames bench remained empty.

Time ticked down on the intermission clock, and still no sign of the visitors.

Then, with 41 seconds before the buzzer sounded and a delay of game penalty would have to be handed out, Flames goaltender Henrik Karlsson popped through the gate.

The rest of the squad followed, had a quick warmup and then got set for the drop of the puck.

This is a struggling team accustomed to meetings.

They’ve had them post-game, they’ve had them before games.

Tuesday’s mid-game meeting, though, ran a little long as they talked about a horrible second period and what they need to do about it.

“I think we left with a minute to go,” veteran Brendan Morrison said after a 6-5 shootout loss to the Hurricanes.

“It was only a minute and a half longer than usual, but we broke routine a little bit.

“Sometimes when you’re having a discussion amongst yourselves, that happens.”

There was plenty to talk about. Before a late second-period goal from Niklas Hagman, the Flames found themselves trailing by three after playing a pretty strong first period on the road.

“We talked about everything,” said winger Curtis Glencross, who scored in the third period as the Flames managed to tie things up and force extra time.

“Kind of said we have to hold each other accountable. If we’re not going to hold each other accountable and win our battles, we’re not gonna give ourselves a chance to do anything this year.

“It should have never came to a shootout and overtime. We outplayed them for most of the night. Look at what happened in the third period when we played the way we should be playing. It’s unacceptable the way we played in that second period.”

It’s not the first time it’s happened. That’s one of the reasons the Flames sit 14th in the Western Conference.

It’s also a big source of frustration among the players, who said coaches and players took their time talking about the problems during the break in action before a big third period salvaged at least the one point.

“It was both. A little bit of both,” Glencross said of who was driving the discussion.

“It was a group effort.”

A group effort is something they aren’t getting consistently.

Still.

“Third period was a good character period by us, but so frustrating,” Morrison said. “When you see what you can do when you stick to the gameplan and when everyone buys in, you see the results you can have. When you don’t do that for a full game, it’s difficult to win in this league.

“It’s frustrating to see the way we can play and the results you can have when we all buy in.”

Frustrating for players and coaches alike.

“I’m not happy with the point,” head coach Brent Sutter said afterward when asked if he would take any solace in the three-goal comeback that went unfinished. “We need to win games. It was great we battled back and we played like we did in the third period, but we should never have a letdown like we did in the second.”

It had people wondering if they were going to bother coming out for the third.


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