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NHL debut lives up to expectation for Wolf

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

To reach the NHL was always my dream growing up back home in Germany. It’s an unbelievable feeling to just be a part of it tonight and play the game. It was just unbelievable. I can’t even explain it.David Wolf

CALGARY, AB -- The debut, David Wolf will admit, lived up to the billing.

An emergency replacement for the under-the-weather Jiri Hudler, the native of Duesseldorf, Germany was inserted into Saturday’s 4-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers for his first taste of National Hockey League action.

“To reach the NHL was always my dream growing up back home in Germany,” Wolf said. “It’s an unbelievable feeling to just be a part of it tonight and play the game. It was just unbelievable. I can’t even explain it.”

But Wolf, 25, didn’t get a full 60 minutes of action in.

His debut was cut short 42 seconds into the third period when he was forced from the game with a lower-body injury.

It didn’t dampen his spirits, though.

“I’m feeling alright,” said Wolf, who saw 7:27 of action. “It’s a part of the game, injuries and stitches and whatever. I’m doing good. I hope I can bounce back as soon as possible.

“It was a little bit disappointing but you know what? With a win in my first NHL game nothing can ruin my day, even a little injury like that. I’m really proud to play the game and proud the guys bounced back in the third period and won the game.”

He made the most of his 16 spins on home ice, recording a shot on his first shift that forced Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens to make a sharp blocker save early in the game.

He beat Scrivens on another in the second period, but not the crossbar.

The debut, which also included a pair of hits, impressed Wolf's boss.

“I like Wolfie,” coach Bob Hartley said. “He got two very good scoring chances, was physical, I thought he was on the puck. It's very special. When we found a few hours before the game that [Hudler] couldn't play, I got him in my office and told him he was going to play.

“There was a smile on this young man. It's pretty amazing.”

Wolf just tried to keep it simple.

And calm.

“I just tried to play my game, just try to be calm too and not to be that nervous,” he said. “I was nervous at the anthem. After the first shift, get it going and just tried to be as calm as possible for me and try to do the best every shift out there. There were a couple good shifts.

I kind of felt it tonight, too. I hit the post and had a couple good battles in the corner and tried to get my feet moving on the forecheck. All over I think it was a pretty good performance tonight from me and for the whole team.

“I’m just happy we won the first game.”

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