by Aaron Vickers
It may have come later than he would have liked, but trade deadline acquisition David Hale has finally made his debut on the blueline for the Calgary Flames.
And he did it in his home state, no less.
A native of Colorado Springs, CO., Hale pulled a Calgary Flames jersey over his head for the first time in front of a handful of friends and family in a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche last week.
While the outcome of the game wasn’t what he had hoped, the former New Jersey Devil said the game was special nonetheless.
“It was great,” said Hale, who has one point this season and is a plus-2 on the season with 26 penalty minutes. “You get a little extra boost because you know you have family and friends cheering for you. It was good.”
The debut comes after Hale was acquired on February 27 along with a fifth round pick by Flames general manager Darryl Sutter in exchange for a third round draft pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
The six-foot-two, 215-pound defenseman was forced out of the line-up for a span of 16 days in part because of kidney ailment but stepped on the ice with his teammates for the first time against the Avalanche. He has appeared in the Flames last two games, one against Minnesota and again Tuesday against Detroit.
Finally getting into the line-up couldn’t have come any sooner for Hale.
“I think it was a little bit of a relief because I’ve been here for a few weeks and I hadn’t gotten into the lineup and that’s certainly not how you want to start out with a new team,” said Hale, who played just over 12 minutes in the game and has averaged 9:45 in 44 contests this year with both the Devils and Flames.
Hale, who has dressed for the Flames last two games, including logging 14 minutes and getting three shots on net against Nashville in a 3-2 overtime win Thursday, could start seeing more minutes as Calgary looks to clinch a third-consecutive playoff berth.
The Flames now hit the road for four games, beginning with an afternoon game in Chicago on Sunday.Gametime is 1 p.m. MDT and will be broadcast on Sportsnet and can be heard live on The Fan 960 radio.
The Flames then play Tuesday and Thursday in Minnesota before visiting Vancouver on Saturday to complete the trip.