LOS ANGELES, CA - Other than a pair of games in late March, Curtis Lazar's tenure with the Flames has been limited to plenty of practice time and video sessions.
With the team on a run over the past couple of months, head coach Glen Gulutzan has been understandably hesitant to make lineup changes, putting Lazar's push to become a regular on the roster on hold.
While the situation could be frustrating for some, the easy-going winger has taken a more laid back approach to his circumstances.
"Patience," he grinned, "is the word of the past couple months for myself. Just try and wait my turn and all that. The guys have been doing a great job and I feel I'm ready for that next step, to step in the lineup here.
"I've got my feet wet but I can build off of my game and I'm looking forward to doing that, starting tomorrow."
Lazar will be in the lineup on Thursday in LA, hoping to aid his team in snapping a two-game losing skid that has seen them fall to the Anaheim Ducks in back-to-back games.
With ample time to absorb the team's systems and getting to play in the aforementioned couple of contests last month, Lazar is confident he'll be able to slide into the game with ease.
"The guys have been great. I've been doing a lot of work on the ice with the coaching staff and also watching a lot off the ice. It's helped me out a lot. In saying that, there's no better feeling than playing games."
In addition to working through the Flames' structure and details of the team's game, Lazar's downtime has been beneficial off the ice as well.
"I've seen my family a couple of times. I've got all my furniture out here. I'm finally getting settled into Calgary. That takes the pressure off playing. Now I get the chance where I am all settled, I want to be a big part of this team and it's all going to start tomorrow."
While Gulutzan has not confirmed his lineup for Thursday's clash with the Kings, he did note he would like to get Lazar back at center ice if possible. If that ends up being the case in LA, Lazar is more than willing to take on that role.
"I'm a natural centreman. Looking more and more into the system and the structure, I feel I'll really be able to excel down the middle. Speed is a big part of my game.
"I've only played two games on the wing but I was still doing a little bit of thinking. Skating the middle is really going to open up the ice for me. If I can catch my stride, then I feel I'll really be able to take off."