January 22, 2013
Flames show finesse under coach Bob Hartley
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Flames forward Mikael Backlund gets slammed into goalie Jonas Hiller by defenceman Bryan Allen in the Ducks' 5-4 win at the Saddledome. Photo by Mike Drew/Calgary Sun

CALGARY - Suddenly, the Saddledome is the set of So You Think You Can Dangle?

Bob Hartley has a reputation as being a bit of a hard-ass, but the new Calgary Flames head coach obviously hasn’t been ripping any of his players for taking some risks with the puck in an effort to create offensive opportunities.

And yeah, that’s a good thing.

During the first period of Sunday’s 4-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks, slick centre Mikael Backlund danced between a pair of defencemen and raced in alone on a breakaway.

In the third period of Monday’s 5-4 setback to the Anaheim Ducks, fourth-line middle-man Blair Jones — a healthy scratch for the season-opener — dipsy-doodled around Ducks blueliner Cam Fowler and fired a shot wide.

In years past, it seemed like the established stars were the only guys willing to stick their necks out offensively for the Flames.