It may be only the second day of the Calgary Flames training camp but fans and media alike
were clammering to see how Jarome Iginla
, Olli Jokinen
and Alex Tanguay
would perform together on a line.
"I think it was good. It was good step - a step in the right direction," Jokinen said of how well his line gelled.
"We obviously started building chemistry. It was a good day overall as a team. We had a really good practice and everybody is so positive and upbeat over here."
Iginla was cautiously optimistic about the immediate chemistry the three had, pointing out they only have one on-ice session under their belts so far.
"It felt good, first of all, to be out there and starting another training camp. Coming in and seeing the lines, I'm excited about it," he said with a grin. "I'm playing with Alex and Olli and I think we can be a really good line. It's just the first day but it was a good paced practice."
He also warned that placing three highly skilled players on a line doesn't always work out as planned.
"As far as chemistry, it's not something that you push or press. It's the best when we can all play to our strengths and those tend to mix well in the line.
"I think communication is important but then a lot of it's natural. Some of the best lines and the chemistry with guys you have over the years ... it happens. You work hard, you play together and you enjoy playing together and good things happen."
The line scored several goals together during drills and one aspect that was quite apparent was the trio's speed. Tanguay says that is something fans can expect to see through out the season.
"I think the key to our game is skating. If you guys watched practice, things were moving out there.
"We're going to try to use that speed to create a little more offense than the team did last year. It's fun to be moving."
Tanguay said he was happy with how he, Iginla and Jokinen performed today but believes they can be better.
"We did a lot of talking and trying to figure out where everybody's going to be on the ice. The first day was good. Let's hope it gets better tomorrow."SKATING WITH THE BIG BOYS
Jon Rheault was not expecting to spend his first on-ice session at his first NHL training camp skating on a line with Rene Bourque and Matt Stajan
. Fortunately for him, that is exactly what happened.
"That was unbelievable," he said afterwards. "It's funny because you see those guys playing on TV and everything and then you're on a line with them. They're top-end players and they make it easy."
Niklas Hagman came down the flu this weekend and was unable to skate with the club. With a spot needing to filled in the first group of skaters, the coaching staff evaluated the prospects who played at the Young Stars tourament in Penticton this past week.
Rheault was on fire for the Flames rookies at the tournament, scoring a hat trick in the team's first contest and went on to collect five points over the course of the week. This performance earned him the chance to skate with the likes of Iginla, Bourque and Stajan this morning.
"I actually didn't get the call until this morning, about an hour before we were on the ice, that I'd be skating with these guys. I had the jitters early but I felt like the wind came about," he grinned.
"You obviously push yourself harder when you're out with these guys and when you're trying that hard, you kind of get tight so you end up losing your breath but once I got past the early jitters, I felt good out there."
Given this is Rheault's first training camp with an NHL club, there was a lot for him to take in and learn from.
"There's good players in the American league and even the East Coast league but it's doing it every time," he said. "It's the hard pass, on the tape every time. These guys are fast, they're bigger so it's just a combination of all of that but you just notice every pass is hard and it's on the tape and everyone knows exactly where they've got to be and they know where the puck is going next. It's doing it over and over again, it's not just doing it one time and then messing up."
It's unclear as to whether or not Hagman will be able to skate on Sunday so Rheault may be back in Group A. If he is, he says he'll take it as another major learning experience in his career.
"There were times where I was going, I was zipping and I scored a couple out there. Then there were times where the puck would hop over your stick and instead of being calm like I would be last week, I kind of had the jitters but they'll get out of here. The more I skate with these guys, the better I'll feel."QUOTABLE
"Both Olli and Jarome both like to shoot the puck. Tangs is a real solid playmaking type of player. He sees the ice very well and he's one of those guys ... he can make plays and passes that other guys have a little bit more difficulty (with)." - Head coach Brent Sutter on what element Tanguay brings to the top line.
"We'll know tomorrow but it looks like it's not that serious so that's good." - B. Sutter on Mikael Backlund
's condition. Backlund was struck with a high-stick by his left eye in practice and did not return.
"I feel like I fit as an energy player, a role player. Just try to play physical, be a physical presence out there and hopefully chip in here and there." New Flame Tim Jackman
on what he feels he brings to the team.
"Obviously Iggy’s an outstanding player and it’s a lot of fun to play with him. He’s such a gifted goal scorer and we all know about his physical abilities and his skating. When you give him the puck in the slot, he always finds a way to put it in so it’s fun to be out there with him, but I’m just looking to do my thing. If I have the puck and I can pass it to him, I’ll find a way to get it to him for sure." - Tanguay on playing with Iginla.