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SMITH READY FOR DEBUT

New Flames netminder excited for game action

by ARI YANOVER @NHLFlames / calgaryflames.com

For the first time in six years, Mike Smith will be putting on a different jersey before a game.

Acquired by the Flames back in June, Smith has known he'd be playing for Calgary for months now - but tonight, it'll finally become a reality.

"It'll be good to get in part of the game tonight," said Smith, who is expected to play half of the game in Calgary, as the Flames host the Oilers in a pair of split squad games - the second game goes at Rogers Place - to kick off both clubs' pre-seasons.

Smith started 55 games for the Arizona Coyotes last season. The fact the veteran puck stopper is a tried and true starter was part of what drew the Flames to him.

Although his proclivity for playing the puck certainly doesn't hurt, either.

"It's part of my game that I really take pride in and really believe it can help the team get out of our zone quickly. It'll be nice to get into a game and get used to what's going on out there," Smith said following his group's morning skate.

With the Flames' projected top-four blueliners - Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, TJ Brodie, and Travis Hamonic - set to play in front of him tonight, Smith's puck handling will be one thing to watch.

And as for the new environment?

"I don't know if Smitty's quite played in front of as many people in a home game in an exhibition," coach Glen Gulutzan quipped. "So I think that'll be neat for him."

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