Those were the first words to come out of Brent Sutter's mouth to start last night's press conference. I was absolutely floored by that quote. And, this morning, I still can't get it out of my head.
If that "effort", last night, is what's considered ample or efficient - then the Calgary Flames are in for a very LONG season. Their LACK of "effort" is what cost them the game. The New York Rangers were ripe for the picking and the Flames let it get away because they refused to do the extra-effort things that win hockey games.
The expectations for this team have reached an all-time low. If you want to see real "effort", then you should have watched the Boston Bruins play last night. You can argue the Leafs were on a back to back, had to travel and were on the road... that's all well and good - but the Bruins went for the jugular. They weathered the early Leafs momentum and then gave them a beat-down. They hustle to loose pucks, they body their man off the puck to create turnovers and when the puck gets dumped behind the offensive zone net - THEY CHASE IT! <- Can you believe that?
Jay Bouwmeester's short-handed turnover was a direct result of laziness (plus, brainfart). Had he skated to that puck and beat his man to it and even poked it ahead - absorbing a hit in the process - that goal would have never happened. Instead, as Flames D are so apt to do, he refused to make the hard stride to the puck, let the forechecker overtake him (with ease) and, boom, puck in net. A little "effort" would have prevented that goal. A little "effort" would have seen our powerplay generate some offensive zone possession. A little "effort" would have won that game.
I had to get this out of my system. What I saw last night from my seat at the 'dome was nothing short of a lazy, lackadaisical team that's been getting away with a lack of effort and focus for far too long. I don't care about the shots or the positive possession numbers, obviously that didn't translate into a win did it? Nor did it last year. It's a problem when you lose to borderline playoff teams, at home, who aren't playing their 'A' game - end of story.
And, if Brent Sutter really believes what he said last night - then, unless the players can pick up the pace without the prodding of the coaches... missing the playoffs won't be the worst of this organizations fears.