Adrian Aucoin, the latest addition to the Calgary Flames blueline, is on the phone from Chicago. And he is one excited hockey player.
Acquired by the Calgary Flames on the eve of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft the veteran defenceman can't wait to get to Calgary. First there is a little family trip to Florida and then, well, he'll arrive in Calgary just in time for the Stampede.
"I'm ecstatic. It's a great move for me and for my career," said Aucoin from his Chicago home.Flames acquire defenceman Adrian Aucoin
Aucoin was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks along with a seventh round draft pick June 22 for defencemen Andrei Zyuzin and Steve Marr.
There is little doubt Aucoin, the Hawks captain, wants to play in Calgary -- he had to wave a no trade clause for the deal to go through. There is also little doubt about him playing for new head coach Mike Keenan. He wants to get back with the coach who helped him post impressive numbers in 1998-99 while with the Vancouver Canucks. That year, with Keenan at the Canucks helm, Aucoin had a career-high 23 goals.
"I really enjoyed playing for him," said Aucoin. "He is real tough but I think he can bring out the best in players. If you are performing and working hard, he is great to play for.
"He has a master plan. He might go about it in a different way but it is very effective. If you do what he tells you, you will have success and you will be winning."
The 33-year-old Aucoin played in just 92 games over two injury-plagued seasons with the Blackhawks. He had five goals and 17 assists in Chicago.
Last season injuries forced the former All-Star to sit out 21 games. In 2005-2006, he missed 49 games because of a groin injury and dislocated shoulder. But he now says he is healed up and that the groin problems came from trying to rush back and play too soon, further aggravating the injury.
Aucoin has played int he Western Conference and knows about the travel. It's a little different than when he was playing for the New York Islanders. "There I noticed it because you are always sleeping in your own bed. I don't mind the travel. You get with the team, you get with the guys, you play hockey. It's what we do. It's the best time of my life," said Aucoin.
The 29-year-old Zyuzin played in 49 games for the Flames last season, scoring one goal with five assists. He was the overall No. 2 pick in the 1996 draft by San Jose and has also played for Tampa Bay, New Jersey and Minnesota.
The 23-year-old Marr played 34 games for Omaha of the AHL, scoring one goal with four assists.
Aucoin can, when healthy, log plenty of ice time and that's what he expects to do during the upcoming season.
"They are bringing me in to play and it's exciting to work with a coach that knows me and coach that I know well," said Aucoin.