Sutter: No more 'stinkers'

Oilers forward Lennart Petrell collides with Flames defenceman Cory Sarich at the Scotiabank...

Oilers forward Lennart Petrell collides with Flames defenceman Cory Sarich at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alta., Feb. 21, 2012. (AL CHAREST/QMI Agency)

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:28 AM ET

CALGARY - Head coach Brent Sutter had a lengthy chat with his team in the corner of the rink before getting down to business Wednesday.

Aside from goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, not a single member of the team bothered to work hard during a disappointing 6-1 loss Tuesday night to the Edmonton Oilers. So he wanted to make sure they were ready to perform during practice the following day.

How they respond to their second worst outing of the year could determine their playoff fate.

If they bounce back the way they did following the infamous 9-0 toasting at the hands of the Bruins in Boston in January, they should be fine.

If they drop any more “stinkers,” as Sutter calls them, they could be in trouble.

“I just want their attitudes to be right. This game is all mental,” Sutter said after practice. “Mentally, we weren’t there last night. We weren’t engaged like we needed to be as a whole group. Right from the opening faceoff, our sharpness wasn’t where it needed to be. They exploited it very well, the Oilers. We never got our game on track at any point in time.

“Let’s make sure our attitudes are still the right attitudes. Let’s make sure that we get focused the way we need to be focused. And let’s get back to where we need to be as a team, and how we have to play to have success.”

Between that blowout in Boston and before the slaughter at the Saddledome, the Flames had piled up an impressive 10-3-4 record to climb into eighth spot in the Western Conference standings.

Thursday night at the Dome, they host the Phoenix Coyotes — a team that is right there in the hunt for the final playoff position.

So like the days following the 9-0 loss, Sutter had his players doing battle drills in the corner and competing all throughout practice.

“I would expect nothing less from a man with the last name Sutter. Pretty pointed and direct, getting back to the details,” said Michael Cammalleri.

“I thought the drills were very obvious and detailed and I thought our execution was fantastic today in practice so we’re hoping that really carries into the game tomorrow.

“It’s all about those habits. (Tuesday) night was a game with very little execution and detail.”

They can’t afford too many more of those. If the Boston game served as a wakeup call, the Flames hit snooze before the Oilers outing.

“We know that. We’ve just got to get back to the way we were playing and bounce back,” said defenceman T.J. Brodie. “It’s tough to lose a game like that, especially how close the standings are right now.

“Could be a good thing. Maybe a little bit of a wakeup call.”

Not a big deal if they change that in time for the battle with the Coyotes.

“We’ve got a big game ahead,” Sutter said.

Plenty of them, in fact.

steve.macfarlane@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNMacfarlane


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