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Nerves skip by Tkachuk in first skate with Flames

Matthew Tkachuk took his first spin on Saddledome ice Friday at Flames camp

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers /

CALGARY, AB -- Matthew Tkachuk is no stranger to an NHL dressing room. 

But wide eyes are understandable, at least a touch, when it's his NHL dressing room.

The Calgary Flames dressing room.

Leading to Scotiabank Saddledome ice, what could be his home ice, for the first time as on-ice sessions got underway with the Flames on Friday.

"I was (nervous) last night when I was about to go to bed," Tkachuk said. 

"I was wondering what tomorrow was going to be like the first day. I thought it went really well today. Once you get on the ice and you're shooting around and doing flow drills or just skating and shooting everything is blocked out."

Tkachuk comes in with certain expectations.

That will happen when you're the No. 6 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.

It's what's expected when your dad happens to have netted himself 538 career NHL goals, 1065 career NHL points, and a spot in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

And as far as first impressions, go, Tkachuk did well.

"Really, after I asked Matthew how he felt afterwards and he said he felt great," said Flames captain Mark Giordano, grouped with Tkachuk on Team McDonald. "It seems he has that confidence, which you need at this level. He didn't look out of place. He fit right in nicely."

Tkachuk has had a bit of time to feel out his fit. He jumped into Calgary early, and in advance of rookie camp and the Young Stars Classic last week, to skate with those members of the Flames who had already gathered.

He got his awe out then.

Video: Mangianpane, Tkachuk, Lomberg at Young Stars Classic

"I think it was more of an adjustment a couple weeks ago when I came and first started skating with them and the captain practices," said Tkachuk, who had 30 goals and 107 points with London of the Ontario Hockey League last season, and an overtime Memorial Cup winner to boot.

"That's where you're really open to how great of players they really are. Right now everybody is going full speed and we're all preparing for the season. You really see how good they are."

His goal is to join them.  

The quest started last week in Penticton. 

Tkachuk, for his peskiness as much as his prowess at the offensive end, turned heads in a strong showing at the Young Stars. The Scottsdale, AZ native netted one goal, and a team-leading 22 minutes in penalties, through the three-game exhibition tournament.

That was against peers in a rookie camp setting. 

Main camp has a decidedly different feel.

"It was nice to get into game shape, and as much as you say that, you just right into games at rookie camp is going to do it but practice out here with NHL players and NHL stars, it really makes you feel like you're moving in the right direction," Tkachuk said.

He's got help to push him in the right direction, if need be, in the form of some veterans.  

But he didn't need much.

Not on the first day.

Not after growing up with the game.

"With Tkachuk being around the game so much, being in NHL dressing rooms with his dad, he has some comfort," said Flames forward Troy Brouwer, who skated on a line with Tkachuk and Sam Bennett on the day. "I sat beside him in the dressing room and we had a good chat about St. Louis and just a lot of other things.

"I think he's doing well with being in the NHL for the first time for himself."

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