I think it’s a nice experience and I enjoyed a lot of it. We didn’t get a win but overall it was a good experience for me. - Emile Poirier
NEW YORK CITY, NY -- Calgary Flames forward Emile Poirier wasn’t necessarily expecting to make his debut in the world’s most famous arena, but he’ll take it.
Originally expecting to be a spectator when the New York Rangers played host to the Flames on Tuesday, the 20-year-old Poirier was thrust into action with Mason Raymond returning to Calgary due to the expectant birth of his child and Brandon Bollig serving as a healthy scratch.
But he would’ve preferred to make his start in a win.
“I think it’s pretty great,” said Poirier, who with such short notice couldn’t get his parents to New York in time for the game. “I think it’s a nice experience and I enjoyed a lot of it. We didn’t get a win but overall it was a good experience for me.
“If I was playing I was prepared and they told me when I got here that I was in. I was pretty excited, actually. I was pretty nervous too. After a couple of shifts it went away and just played hockey.
“I think the more it goes it’s going to be less stressful. It’s good for that.”
The start, Poirier admitted, was unexpected.
Finding out he’d be suiting up after arriving to Madison Square Garden, Poirier didn’t have much time to let the nerves sink in.
It might’ve helped, linemate Michael Ferland suggested.
“I keep asking him ‘how are you doing’,” Ferland said. “He kept saying he was okay. That’s a good sign.
“I’m sure he was super excited. I was there when he got the call too and as soon as he hung up the phone he had the biggest smile. It was awesome to see him go through that. It’s something I remember how nervous I was when I went through that. I thought he handled it well.”
It helped skating alongside Ferland and Markus Granlund, two teammates he’s shared the ice with earlier this season while playing in Adirondack of the American Hockey League.
“Our line with Ferland and Granlund, I think we battled too and we had some good chances,” Poirier said. “That was good. I played with both of them at different times (in Adirondack). I think familiarity it’s better for me, yeah.”
Poirier, selected in the first round (No. 22) of the 2013 NHL Draft, skated 16 shifts for 8:10 and was credited with a hit. He also had a second period breakaway but didn’t manage to get a shot off before being hooked by a Rangers defender.
“I just saw the opening so I started skating and I saw the puck out there,” Poirier said. “I just went to the net. Unfortunately I didn’t get a good shot on net. I didn’t see the replay but I think maybe.”
Overall, Poirier came as advertised, Ferland declared.
“He’s a really fast skater and had that chance off the partial breakaway,” he said. “He’s a really offensive guy. I thought he did good tonight.”