While the Calgary Flames aren’t off to as poor of a start as their Alberta rivals in Edmonton, there are aspects of their game that head coach Glen Gulutzan is not at all happy about. Namely their lack of discipline. After finishing last season as the most penalized team in the league with an average of 11.5 penalty minutes per game, Gulutzan expected improvement from his team this season. Through seven games they’re averaging 12.4 PIM/G, but because penalties are up around the league, they’re currently the ninth-most penalized team. But after a 2-1 loss to Carolina Thursday night, Gulutzan sounded off. Matthew Tkachuk took a needless roughing penalty at the end of the second period, which led to Carolina’s second, and eventual game-winning, goal a little more than a minute into the third period. The Flames head coach was frustrated that his team is slipping back into the bad habits from the start of last season. “We’re in the exact same situation that we were last year at this time,” Gulutzan said after the loss. “The only difference is we’re getting better goaltending and better special teams. “Sometimes when you have four days off between games you come out a little rusty. What’s disappointing is we’re doing the exact same thing we should have learned from last year and did learn from in the second half of the season. We’re right back to where we started.” Tkachuk’s penalty on Thursday was costly and afterwards the forward said he took the full blame for the loss. And while Gulutzan benched Tkachuk in the third period because of it, the coach didn’t feel it was fair to put the full blame of the loss on Tkachuk.
Flames coach angry with penalties, will start punishing players
Sportsnet | Oct 20