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New Flames ready to strap on their workboots

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

by Mike Board
calgaryflames.com

Jeff Friesen knows what he is going to do for the Calgary Flames.

"Get out the workboots and get at it and help this team win the Stanley Cup," said Friesen.

Friesen, forward Alex Tanguay, goalie Jamie McLennan and defenceman Andrei Zyuzin were introduced to Calgary media on Thursday. The four players represent some major moves by the Flames this off-season. Tanguay was acquired in a draft day trade with Colorado while Friesen, Zyuzin and McLennan, who will start a second go-around with the Flames, were signed as free agents as the team retools for 2006-07.

Jeff Friesen bio and stats

The players donned their jerseys -- Tanguay will wear 40, Friesen 16, Zyuzin 7 and McLennan 29 -- for photo opportunities, did media interviews and then went house-hunting.

Friesen won a Stanley Cup playing alongside Jamie Langenbrunner and Joe Nieuwendyk in New Jersey in 2002-03 and would like nothing better than to drink from hockey's chalice once again. While he had other options, he really wanted to come to Calgary.

"There was no question in my mind where I wanted to be and what situation I wanted to be in," said Friesen, who finished last season in Anaheim by helping the Ducks eliminate the Flames from the playoffs. "Everything on my checklist is here. I'm ready to do whatever it takes to win."

Friesen has plenty of speed and has been a 20-goal scorer five times in his career. He had a career-high 31 goals in 1997-98 when he was coached by current Calgary general manager Darryl Sutter in San Jose.

"I worked with Darryl (Sutter) in San Jose for five years and knowing what Calgary has put together and what the expectations are of the team and seeing the excitement in the city and the pride, the identity is there. This is a place that has been built up and you hear a lot of players wanting to come to play here," said Friesen, who turns 30 in early August.

Friesen said he matured a lot in San Jose under Sutter and hopes to bring experience into the Flames dressing room -- the upcoming season will be his 13th in the National Hockey League -- to compliment the leadership that already exists.

"At that point of my career I was learning what it takes in this league," said Friesen, looking back on his days in San Jose. "There is good leadership here. I think I can help with experience."

Friesen has put last season behind him. It was a sub-par season offensively for the Meadow Lake, Sask., native as he scored four goals and 7 assists in 51 games. In 16 playoff games he added three goals and one assist.

"I've never set individual goals but I think that you learn in this game that you have to balance your production and realize that you are not being selfish but to help the team you have to score goals," said Friesen. "The goal is to win the Stanley Cup and the team is going to need you to produce to help do that.

"Since I started playing hockey things happen, You have good times and sometimes you don't. Sometimes you forget how good it was. Everey year there is good and bad," said Friesen. "It's all learning steps. I am here now. This is a team that has built a real identity and is focused on the Stanley Cup."

Drafted by San Jose 14th overall in 1994, Friesen has had stops in Anaheim, New Jersey and Washington. He was initially traded to Anaheim in 2001 in a deal that brought Teemu Selanne to the Sharks.

Friesen also has some familiarity in the dressing room. He has played with Flames captain Jarome Iginla in World Championships and knows centre Daymond Langkow and new assistant coach Wayne Fleming.

"It's great to have that. It makes the transition that much easier," said Friesen.

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