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GOOD AS NEW

Monahan says his wrist 'feels great' after first test in game situation

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / calgaryflames.com

Saying and wishing and even believing is all well and good. 

In the actual doing is always where the proof of the pudding lies.

"My wrist,'' announced Sean Monahan, passing his first in-combat test since undergoing surgery with flying colours, "feels great.

"Not taking face-offs was just kind of precautionary. Being a centreman and being a hockey player, you want to play your role so I started off, took the first draw, won it, so you want to get back in the circle.

"I let Lindy (Elias Lindholm) go in there a couple times. He's a good in the circle.

"So that's a nice little piece for our line."

Monahan had to travel 'round the world, to Shenzhen, China, to get the final OK on a battered wrist that had slowed him immeasurably heading down the stretch of last season.

So, great news that he experienced nary an impediment nor compromise in a typically strong turn during the Flames' rollicking 4-3 shootout loss Saturday morning to open the O.R.G. NHL China Games, 2018 edition.

Strong inside the circle (acquiescing, as he pointed out, to a few guest appearances from right-winger Lindholm), he also buried a trademark wrist shot to open scoring for his side.

Yes, the full, flat-out, give-him-a-free-foot-at-your-peril Monahan is officially back.

Hallelujah, new Flames' coach Bill Peters must've been exclaiming under his breath, watching Monahan and familiar sidekick Johnny Gaudreau, in tandem with recruit Lindholm, start to warm to each other's abilities.

"Real good player,'' he praised. "Johnny's more of a playmaking winger and Mony's more of a scoring centre. It was the other way around back in the '80s and '90s.

"They complement each other really well and Lindy is a very smart player."

Precisely who would man the right side on the No.-1 line has been a popular parlour game in Calgary for weeks.  

If you live and work in Calgary, the chance to hang with Nos. 23 and 13 is sort of the local equivalent of suddenly discovering you've been holding the winning Powerball ticket or discovering a fortune hidden away among the cobwebs in your attic.

"We had a lot of looks there and we're still getting to get know each other,'' said Monahan, with undisguised optimism. "Obviously it's the first pre-season game and, like I said, those chances come. He made it easy to play out there, moving the puck, protecting the puck, getting open, going to the soft areas.

"It was fun to play with him out there."

The tempo and timbre of the first game certainly didn't hurt the 'get-to-know-you-on-the-ice' process.

"Started off with a bit of pace and, I mean, we kinda put the puck in our own net there,'' said Monahan of the rat-a-tat-tat three first-period goals that shoved his Flames squarely behind the 8-ball. "We've gotta clean that up but we found a way to come back and go a shootout.

"A lot of stuff to learn but overall a good start."

For them.

Him, too.
 

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