CALGARY -- Sven Baertschi
has had two nights to mull over his National Hockey League debut with the Calgary Flames
He didn't get much sleep in either of them.
The Portland Winterhawks standout admitted that, with his first game just hours away, catching up on sleep during his afternoon nap isn't likely.
"It's really hard to describe how I feel right now," Baertschi said. "It's pure excitement and a little bit nervous, but I'm pretty sure I won't be able to nap this afternoon. I'm just going to lay in bed and try to relax and settle things down."
An emergency recall from the Western Hockey League after a rash of injuries has ravaged the Flames' lineup, Baertschi is getting his professional career underway sooner than expected. It hasn't allowed the Langenthal, Switzerland product much time to prepare.
That's fine, said the reigning WHL player of the week.
"Probably better because it's my dream," Baertschi said. "I'm just a couple hours away and it's a really exciting time. It's the same as celebrating Christmas with your family."
Captain Jarome Iginla
is interested in seeing what kind of youthful exuberance Baertschi will bring in his first taste of the big leagues.
"I wouldn't be too surprised if you see him out there a lot," Iginla said. "It's nice to see the young guys bring that enthusiasm and energy and excitement. On the guys, we build on it."
Baertschi is expected to play on a line with fellow Flames' first-round pick Greg Nemisz
and veteran Tom Kostopoulos
. Kostopolous, who played in his 600th NHL game in Tuesday's win over the Montreal Canadiens
, will do what he can to keep the call-up level.
"I'll be yapping in his ear all game about nothing important, but everyone here just wants him to have fun and relax and enjoy it as much as possible," Kostopoulos said. "Sometimes talking too much is counterproductive. I'll help him out when I can, but we all just want to see him play and see what he can do."
The mandate for Baertschi from coach Brent Sutter
is simple -- enjoy.
"Number one is I want him to enjoy the fact that this is his first professional game," Sutter said. "It's something I want him to remember and have good memories about it."
And undoubtedly, sweet dreams.