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Kostopoulos ready for Cammalleri's return

Friday, 01.13.2012 / 10:19 PM / NHL Insider

By Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

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Kostopoulos ready for Cammalleri's return
When Tom Kostopoulos heard Michael Cammalleri would be coming back to Calgary, the Flames went to work on a housewarming present.
CALGARY -- From the moment he heard former teammate Michael Cammalleri would be coming back to Calgary, Flames forward Tom Kostopoulos went to work on a housewarming present.

Little did Cammalleri know a footstool, complete with his No. 93, would be waiting for him upon his arrival, a subtle shot at the 5-foot-9 forward's height – or lack thereof. It's just one of many ways Kostopoulos plans on welcoming the Flames' newest acquisition back into the fold.  

"There's too many things to give it to him about,” Kostopoulos said before Cammalleri's arrival in Calgary on Friday night. "His height, the size of his head. It goes on and on. He's a good guy. Everyone's looking forward to seeing him.”

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Just minutes after stepping into Scotiabank Saddledome as a member of the Flames for the first time since 2009, Cammalleri was put on high alert for Kostopoulos' hijinks.

"Thankfully we're having this scrum in front of my stall otherwise there'd be a plethora of pranks from Tommy,” Cammalleri said. "It's almost exhausting. You have to be on guard all the time. I'd like to say I'm looking forward to it but I'm not.”

That's not to say Cammalleri isn't looking forward to reuniting with his former L.A. teammate -- but not over dinner at Kostopoulos' expense, Cammalleri was quick to point out.

"To break his streak? It's been like six years he hasn't paid for dinner,” Cammalleri said.

Still, Cammalleri said he couldn't wait to catch up with Kostopoulos.

"It'll be fun,” Cammalleri said. "He's one of the glue guys. He's a great teammate, great guy to play with. He always seems to know when to make things serious or lighten things up in the dressing room. He's a great friend as well.”

Perhaps a great target as well. Kostopoulos admitted the Richmond Hill, Ont., native isn't shy about returning a well-timed prank.

"We've had our battles, him and I,” Kostopoulos said. "We've played together a few years. He's gotten me a number of times too. He lightens the room. He's an easy guy for everyone to make fun of and have laughs at. It'll be good to have him here.”

Cammalleri didn't hesitate to confirm that fact, using an example as a warning to Kostopoulos or any other teammate looking to have some fun at his expense.

"I remember the one, I think we did it to (Kostopoulos), where we had the equipment guy sew his car keys into his pocket and it was a long walk to the car where we were playing,” Cammalleri said. "By the time we got there 10 minutes later he couldn't get in his pocket and had to come back to the rink to get his pocket unsewed.”

While the game is far from over, Kostopoulos is quick to keep score in the battle of wits and occasionally sewn pockets.

"I've probably got him more times but he's gotten me with better ones,” Kostopoulos said. "Quantity versus quality, I guess.”
Quote of the Day

We want to make sure that whoever makes our team really makes our team by earning it and not putting them in situations where they get preference because of their status as a first-round pick or whatever it might be. That's not going to happen. Everybody has to earn their way on our team.

— Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen on the team's prospects at development camp