TJ Galiardi grew up cheering for the Calgary Flames.

The Stampede City native dreamed of donning the Flaming ‘C’ sweater and skating on the Saddledome ice among the Sea of Red. He even asked San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson to trade him to his hometown upon being told he was to be dealt this summer knowing full well it was a club in rebuild mode.

The fortunes of the Flames are more than just because of a paycheque for the left winger.

It’s personal. It irks Galiardi to hear predictions of his new team finishing at the bottom of the standings and the insults which come toward a last-place team.

“It kinda pisses me off when I hear people say all these negative things ‘Oh yeah have fun finishing last’ stuff like that even from people from Calgary” Galiardi said Wednesday when the veterans gathered at the University of Calgary for fitness testing. “People like that should just not bother talking.

“I don’t really care what the media says about where we’re going to finish and stuff like that. I don’t want to go out there and lose games” Galiardi added. “I didn’t come here to do that and I’m going to personally do everything I can to make sure we don’t. And I know there are 20-plus guys that are going to do the same thing.

“If we’re not working our hardest that’s when people can have the right to complain and get on us but if we go out there and play our hardest every game I think the results will show.”

The Flames have become a big target for the naysayers. On top of having missed the playoffs each of the last four seasons they’re now without the star power Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff brought and with question marks up and down the roster.

Galiardi however can point out being part of the 2009-10 Colorado Avalanche team that was the surprise of the league by making the second season.

“People are going to say what they want to say the so-called experts or whatever everyone is. It all depends on what kind of product you put together and how the team gels” he said.

“When I was in Colorado we made the playoffs when we were supposed to be getting the first-overall draft pick or whatever. We just all liked each other played the right way listened to our systems and had a good goalie. I think we can get all those things going here.”