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The Official Site of the Calgary Flames

Training camp notebook 21.09.09

by Mike Board / Calgary Flames
Mark Giordano
After a season in Russia with Moscow Dynamo, Mark Giordano is back on the Calgary Flames blueline.

And this time he is expected to more than a part-time player like he was the last time he wore the Flames colours in 2006-07. That year he played in 48 games and tallied 15 points. Those numbers are expected to increase this season. Early in camp Giordano is paired with Dion Phaneuf, the Flames top producer on the back end last seson and his off-ice buddy.

"It's good, obviously, to get a chance early in camp like this," said Giordano. "We talk a lot out there and we are not afraid to tell each other where we are. We have lots of communication. It's nice to play with a good friend."

Giordano noted the pace at camp has been very up-tempo.

"It feels really good. The tempo is up in camp. I'm just getting the timing and things like that back ," said Giordano.

And the Russian experience?

"It was a little tough at first. As the season went on you get used to it. It is obviously a different culture."

Back in Calgary is where Giordano wants to be this season, no doubt.

"I'm ready for the exhibition season and getting things going. I'm just happy to be back in Calgary," said Giordano.

Brandon Prust is healthy, happy and ready to crack the Calgary Flames line-up.

Armed with a new contract and with a hip injury that kept him out of training camp last season, the fourth-year pro is expected to bring energy to the Flames line-up. He is, quite frankly, being paid to be a pest and deal with the likes of other middleweight pests like Steve Ott and Sean Avery in Dallas and Ryan Kesler in Vancouver.

"This is definitely the biggest hockey year of my life. I have to make the best of it," said Prust, who, after recovering form surgery on his hip last August, spent the season toiling in the American Hockey League with the Flames top affiliate in Quad City where he racked up 248 penalty minutes, 10 goals and 37 points.

"It meant a lot that they had the trust and the faith in me. They are letting me know that they are going to give me an opportunity," said Prust of the two-year contract.

"I'm not going to change my game. That's the way I play. If the physical stuff needs to be taken care of, I'll be there. I am going to try and make sure I am good offensively and defensively out there," said the former London Knight.

In 2006-07 Prust had a cup of coffee with the Flames, playing in 10 games with the big club. His goal was to crack the line-up last season but the injury set him back. Now that he is healthy he is working on being mentally ready to play his role with the team.

"It's tough to be mentally prepared every night but that's what you have to do. No nights off, no shifts off. You have to be ready. You have to make sure you are 100 per cent each shift," said Prust.


Matthew Lombardi, who will be given every chance to become the No. 2 centre on the Flames this season, was flying in practice Sunday. He is slightly leaner than in previous seasons, which can only help his speed, already a strong asset.

Lombardi had some naggin injuries last season but played in all 82 games, tallying 14 goals and 22 assists. The previous season he had 20 goals and 46 points. There are those who believe he can be a consistent 20-goal scorer in the league.

"He's had some good years but I think he is ready for a breakout season. He looks awesome," said Flames captain Jarome Iginla.


Adam Cracknell wants to make the jump.

After playing in the East Coast Hockey League last season -- and going to the league championship -- he feels it's time to move upwards. That would mean leaving the lights of Las Vegas behind and moving to Quad City to join the Flames top affiliate in the American Hockey League.

In 31 games with the Las Vegas Wranglers, Cracknell had eight goals and 14 assists. He'd like to improve on those numbers in the AHL this season.

"I have to show them I can be seen out there and be one of the top guys," said Cracknell, 23. "I want to bring my physical game and make room for myself out there."

At 6'3" and 212 pounds, Cracknell certainly has the build to play a big game.

"I have to work on my mental game. You have to be focused. I want to make the jump to the next level and that's being more consistent."

Playing hockey in Las Vegas, especially when it extends into the summer months, comes with challenges. For one, it's awfully hot in Las Vegas in June, as it was when the Wranglers were playing in the Kelly Cup championship, eventually losing to Cincinnati

"You have to take care of yourself," said Cracknell. "It was really hot in Las Vegas. But we didn't pay for the air conditioning so I had that going all the time. It was a great feeling going on that run. The teams we played weren't easy, either. It was a great experience."

NOTEWORTHY: The big hit Sunday was delivered by Flames d-man Rhett Warrener who corked Kris Chucko with an open ice hit...G Miikka Kiprusoff did not practice on Sunday because of flu-like symptoms...G Kevin Lalande is still on crutches after suffering a high ankle sprain during the prospects camp which preceded main camp...For the second straight day Jarome Iginla, Daymond Langkow and Todd Bertuzzi skated on a line...Rookie Mikael Backlund skated on a line with necomers Rene Bourque and Mike Cammalleri.

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