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LACK EAGER TO GET STARTED IN CALGARY

The netminder sees plenty of potential with his new club

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / CalgaryFlames.com

Lazing out on the balcony, the Bay of Naples spreading out in front of him in a kind of right-off-the-pages-of-Condé-Nast perfection, Eddie Lack was blissfully taking it all in.

"It is,'' he reports, "perfect.

"Thirty degrees celcius.

"Right now the sun just popped behind the clouds.

"We got in yesterday. And we're falling in love already."

In clarification: That'd be falling in love with Sorrento along Italy's famed Amalfi Coast. He and bride Johanna were already well and truly smitten, of course.

Wedding vows between the couple were exchanged Tuesday on the equally picture-postcard-pretty island of Santorini, Greece, attended by family from Sweden and friends.

The short flight to romantic Italy. A quick unpack. A scoop of gelato. A glass of chilled limoncello. A plate of seafood risotto, maybe. 

And then …

"I was actually sleeping,'' recalls Lack. "I woke up this morning and my wife was like: 'Hey, maybe you should check your phone.' She had this weird look on her face and I'm like: 'What?'

"So I checked my phone. Just endless texts and missed calls and everything.

"And I'm thinking 'Okay …'

"The perfect start to our honeymoon."

The it-can't-wait barrage of messages were to inform Lack that the Carolina Hurricanes had dealt the 29-year-old goaltender and defenceman Ryan Murphy to the Calgary Flames.

"I'm just extremely happy. Super-excited. I was kind hoping I'd wind up in Calgary when I got traded from Vancouver two years ago.

"I've heard so many good things about the organization. The goalie coach you've got there, Siggy (Jordan Sigalet). I've heard endless good stuff about him.

"Obviously I know Gully (Glen Gulutzan) from my time in Vancouver, as well. It seems like a great fit."

Tweet from @mammamialack: Beware @NHLFlames here comes the Lack family - we all longing to get to know you and Calgary ���������� pic.twitter.com/j6j1DADYOH

The rangy puck-repeller from Norrtälje, Sweden is indisputably one of the most gregarious, positive people currently working in the game. Calgary partisans got know the 6-foot-5-inch Lack a bit from his two 41-appearance seasons, 2013 through 2015, out on the west coast, as a Canuck.

He also clocked four appearances during Calgary's six-game playoff ouster of the Canucks in the spring of 2015.

Times, they do change. Lack is on their side now.

"The hockey interest there, the fans, it's something I thrive in,'' says Lack cheerily. "I really like the tension of playing in a Canadian city, the fans pumping you up when you're down. That's what I'm used to. That kind of atmosphere really helps.

"The fans they have in Carolina are great and they're loud. But there aren't as many of them as there are in Calgary. Or there are for any other team in Canada, for that matter.

"That's definitely something I've missed."

Lack, with 136 NHL games on his resume, joins the newly-installed Mike Smith in forming a completely new goaltending battery for the Flames.

The Smith-Lack tandem, by the way, isn't quite starting from scratch.

"I've known him for four or five years,'' Lack says. "We spent a little time in the summer together, in Vancouver. We've been texting a little bit back and forth now, too.

"Feels like we're both happy about this opportunity."

Understanding the hothouse environment of a Canadian market, Lack knows there'll be no honeymoon here starting early in September.

Given the moves that Calgary's answer to Monty Hall, the dealmaking GM Brad Treliving, has been wheeling off at a breathtaking rate lately - adding Smith as Guardians of the Flames Galaxy, along with defenceman Travis Hamonic - there will be no shortage of scrutiny and expectation to hit the 2017-18 season running.

That degree of organizational and supporter ambition, says Lack, is fine - no, welcomed - by him.

"I talked to Brad about that. It was like: 'We want to win. And we want to win now.' Obviously that's something I want to be a part of. I played against most of those guys a lot. It seems like a great group of guys. First and foremost there's a lot of good hockey players there.

"I'm looking forward to getting familiar and comfortable with the group when training camp starts."

That, of course, is still a ways off. There's sun and pasta and sightseeing to be enjoyed right now.

The plan of the newlyweds is to spend a week touring Italy and then return home to Sweden.

Where training proper can begin.

"Actually,'' a bemused Lack sighs, "the last time I was traded I was in Ibiza, Spain.

"So I don't know what it is about me and vacations …"

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