By Alan Y.
As the 2014-2015 NHL regular season comes to a close the Calgary Flames, a team that was projected to be one of the lowest ranks in the NHL, has surprisingly made the playoffs for the first time since the 2008-2009 NHL season. When Calgary’s captain, Mark Giordano, was injured the Flame’s playoffs chances were thought to be over by many. Despite feeling defeated an array of unsung players really stepped up their game and veterans helped the coaching staff in leading the Calgary Flames to a playoff appearance. The leadership of Bob Hartley, hard work and fitness levels of the Calgary Flames players were some of the biggest reasons for the team’s first playoff berth in a long awaited 6 years.
Head coach Bob Hartley of the Calgary Flames is one of the main reasons they are making an appearance in the playoffs. Bob Hartley has earned the respect of the community, the organization and the players. With this respect Hartley has put some new coaching strategies and ideas into his team, one of these coming to be known as Hartley’s 7 game segments. These segments were made at the start of the season to play the season 7 games at a time, therefore preparing the Flames for the 7 game series in the playoffs. His segments forced his team to play a consistent game and to not look too far ahead. After the Flames clinched a playoff spot Bob Hartley said, “You know what? We’re the team that’s ready to play those seven game-segments.” Arguably, the biggest part of Hartley’s success was getting every player in the dressing room to buy into the idea of these segments. Buying into the idea helped the Flames make the playoffs and has boosted the player’s confidence. Josh Jooris, a Flames rookie said,“We’ve had that mindset. No matter the outcome of a game, I think, we’ll be able to reset and focus on the next game.” Bob Hartley’s coaching style has been fundamental to this improbable season the Calgary Flames have accomplished.
Amazing recurring Flames 3rd period comebacks can be at least partially credited to the fitness level of this team. Ryan Van Asten, Calgary Flames new fitness coach, started the same day as Jonas Hiller and has helped the team score some crucial points to complete their run to the postseason. Head Coach Bob Hartley believes Ryan Van Asten is to be credited for this because of the creative new ideas he brings to the table every day. Calgary’s league leading 99 3rd period goals throughout the regular season is evidence to Calgary’s fitness levels and work ethic. Their improved endurance led to 3rd period goals resulting in 13 wins for the Flames when trailing after 1 period. This is quite a remarkable stat because these 13 comebacks gave the Flames 26 points, over a quarter of their total points in the season. Also, the Flames’ fitness levels will be helping them in the playoffs as the intensity of the game is highly raised. Being fit and being able to outplay and out skate the other team deeper in the game resulted in the Flames grabbing a playoff spot this season and should benefit them in the playoffs.
Although the Calgary Flames were not expected to do remotely well in the playoffs they had some things going for them. Bob Hartley has been playing playoff segments the entire season preparing the team for playoff hockey. Additionally, they are coming in as underdogs meaning opposing teams will underestimate the Flames. The Flames know how to play under pressure being one of the last teams to grab a playoff spot; this benefited them in the playoffs as every game had more pressure. While the Flames got eliminated by the Ducks in in the 2nd round fans have a lot to look forward to in the coming years.