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New faces anxious to help Flames move ahead

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

Calgary marks the seventh team Wayne Primeau will suit up for since being drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in 1994.

And, in doing the math, it always seems like he is traded during the season, not in the off-season, when there might be more time to get organized.

"Yeah, I don't know why that is," said Primeau, the younger brother of Keith Primeau, who was forced to retire earlier this season because of concussion concerns. "It would be a lot easier in the off-season."

Primeau's latest trading of places came Saturday when the Flames acquired him and defenceman Brad Stuart from the Boston Bruins in exchange for Chuck Kobasew and Andrew Ference.

In a whirlwind of activity, Primeau went home to his wife after playing a game Saturday night, talked with his daughter about being traded, slept a couple of hours and jumped on an early plane to Detroit to play for his new team.

"My son was sleeping when I got home and he was sleeping when I left. He left me a message and was pretty upset but I talked to him and he's over it now. I told him I would get him a Flames jersey so he's very happy about that," said Primeau.

A gritty player who has had stops in Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Boston, and now Calgary, is used to the trade concept and knows it is part of the business. "It's never easy being traded," said Primeau. "It's part of the game that is not enjoyable but this is a chance to play on a very good team that has a chance to win a Stanley Cup. The reason you play this game is to win a Stanley Cup. They have a great leader in Jarome Iginla and a lot of young talent."

Wayne Primeau, Forward
Hometown:Scarborough, Ont.
Age:30 Vitals: 6 '4 " 231 lbs
Drafted: Buffalo, 1994, 17th overall
  621 60 105 165 678

Coincidentally, his last two trades have also involved Brad Stuart, a defenceman who played for the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL eight seasons ago. The pair, along with Marco Sturm, were traded to Boston last season the blockbuster that sent Joe Thornton to the Sharks.

"He (Stuart) must have something in his contract that says he can't be traded anywhere without me going with him," laughed Primeau.


Brad Stuart, Defence
Hometown: Rocky Mountain House
Age: 27 Vitals: 6 '2 " 213 lbs
Drafted: San Jose, 1998, third overall
  480 53 148 201 285

In Boston this season, Primeau had seven goals and eight assists while averaging 15 minutes of ice time per game. Stuart had seven goal and 10 assists in a Bruins uniform while averaging about 22 minutes a game.

Both players dressed for Sunday's game against Detroit. Stuart was paired with Robyn Regehr while Primeau played on the third line with Matthew Lombardi and Byron Ritchie.

The Flames did not have one of their best outings, a 7-4 loss to the Red Wings.

"The whole thing about hockey is that you play the next day," said Primeau. "Yeah, it was a rough start. You have to put a game like that behind you and get ready for the next one."

That would be the home debut for the new pair, Tuesday, when the Flames host the Atlanta Thrashers (7:30 p.m., Pengrowth Saddledome, Sportsnet West and The Fan 960).

Stuart was mentored in San Jose by a former Flame defenceman, Gary Suter, and slides into the Flames top four defencemen because he is steady, can play a lot of minutes and has some offensive flare.

"I'm excited about it. It's a great hockey team, a great hockey town and a good atmosphere. This is a good opportunity for Wayne and I," said Stuart. "I'm positive about the chance to make a run here."

That the pair have been through this together before will make the transition to Calgary that much easier, noted Primeau.

Primeau's older brother, Keith, who played for Detroit, Carolina and Philadelphia, racking up more than 900 games, will be honoured by the Flyers this week. After calling his wife to let her know he had been traded to Calgary, he phoned his brother.

"He was excited for me. He said it is a great opportunity," said Primeau.

And, knowing what his brother has been through and not being able to end his career on his own terms, makes a trade seem rather easy.

"There are worse things in life than being traded," noted Primeau. "This is nothing compared to what is going on in the world."





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