So who really are the lucky ones, Canucks or Flames?

 

 
 
 
 
Bob Hartley, head coach of the Calgary Flames, calls out from the bench during action in an NHL game against the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre on April 11, 2015 in Winnipeg.
 

Bob Hartley, head coach of the Calgary Flames, calls out from the bench during action in an NHL game against the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre on April 11, 2015 in Winnipeg.

Photograph by: Marianne Helm, Getty Images

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VANCOUVER - Gamesmanship and bombast are commonplace in playoff hockey, so no one should be surprised, or take seriously, the comments of Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley.

In case you missed it, here's what Bafflegab Bob had to say this week about the Vancouver Canucks: "We're facing a team with basically no weakness. They're favourites in all departments. We feel just lucky to be there."

Sure. The Flames had one less regulation victory than the Canucks (42 to 41) but averaged more goals per game (2.89 to 2.88) and permitted fewer goals against (2.60 to 2.68). They came from behind in the third period to win 10 times. The Canucks did it only five times.

So who is the better team here? The Canucks, naturally, were bemused by Hartley's remarks.

"I laugh at that," said winger Alex Burrows following Tuesday's final tune-up at UBC. "Bob Hartley has a lot of tricks. He's been a good coach for a long time. He's won some championships before. He's won the Stanley Cup. He goes way back. He's a great coach and you can see how good he has been coaching that team all year. But what's being said on the outside, it doesn't really matter."

Shutdown defenceman Chris Tanev had no idea what was being said on the outside.

"I haven't read a thing," responded Tanev. "That's the first I've heard from them. They're a very good team. We're not going to be fooled by any of that. We've played them four times and we know how skilled they are."

Radim Vrbata broke into the NHL in 2001-02 with the Colorado Avalanche. His first coach? None other than Bob Hartley.

"I think everyone is playing this card, saying they are lucky," chuckled Vrbata, who then played the card himself. "Calgary is good and they have no weaknesses."

So there.

TWEET, TWEET: Canucks netminder Eddie Lack, one of the more humorous tweeters in the NHL, is hanging up his hashtags for the playoffs. There will be no tweeting for him. He made the decision after hashing it out with athletic trainer Mike Burnstein.

"I was kind of thinking about it before," Lack explained. "I talked to Bernie a little bit and kind of came to a nice agreement to keep everything in the room here, just focus on everything we have to do and not let any unnecessary distractions come in."

Asked if going off Twitter was thus a medical decision, Lack replied (laughing): "It was . . . mental and medical. But my mom said yesterday she is going to take over the reins."

Within minutes, Mamma Mia Lack replied from Sweden that she was up for it. "I'm ready! #lordstanley," she tweeted.

Eddie then claimed Tuesday he was not going to follow anybody during the playoffs, not even Mamma Mia.

"I have deleted my Twitter app," he stated, perhaps indulging in a bit of playoff bafflegab himself.

LATVIA LOVING IT: The Republic of Latvia has two native sons in the NHL. One was a mid-season all-star and the other is a Vancouver Canuck.

Buffalo Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons famously led all players in fan voting for the 2015 all-star game. Many of those fans were ballot-box stuffing Latvians. But Girgensons didn't make the playoffs. Canucks rookie left-winger Ronalds Kenins did.

It appears that much of Latvia will now be joining Canuck Nation for the playoffs.

"Yeah, for sure," nodded Kenins, 24. "I read something in the news back home and on the websites and there are a lot of comments. They're pretty excited. They can't wait for the games to start."

They will have to set their alarm clocks, however, as the games will start just after 5 a.m. in Latvia.

"For sure, they will be waking up in the night to watch," Kenins said. "I know a lot of people who will be cheering for me and for the Canucks. They can get up, have breakfast, watch the game, or just read in the news what happened, and then go to work."

By the way, Kenins has found a way to keep the Latvian sports media at bay during the playoffs.

"My phone is broken so they can't reach me," he smiled.

epap@vancouversun.com

 
 
 
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Bob Hartley, head coach of the Calgary Flames, calls out from the bench during action in an NHL game against the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre on April 11, 2015 in Winnipeg.
 

Bob Hartley, head coach of the Calgary Flames, calls out from the bench during action in an NHL game against the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre on April 11, 2015 in Winnipeg.

Photograph by: Marianne Helm, Getty Images

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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