Hitmen itching to play

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:02 AM ET

So much for that adage: Waiting is the hardest part.

Yesterday's practice, if you can call it that, was hardly a chore for the Calgary Hitmen.

It was a lighthearted scrimmage, complete with GM/head coach Kelly Kisio, co-coach Dean Evason, assistant GM Blaine Forsythe and even athletic therapist Mike Elchuk taking part.

Wind sprints were nowhere to be found, since the idea was to just get them going again.

But there sure were plenty of guffaws, especially when word got out Kisio wasn't able to address the media because he was "icing his muscles" in the training room.

Defenceman Dustin Kohn was happy to ease back into the fray, since Saturday and Sunday were both off days after dispatching Lethbridge in the first round Friday night.

"Getting back today, everybody's anxious to get going to the next series," Kohn said.

Don't get too anxious. Looks like the earliest the charges will return to game action is Friday.

In fact, they won't even know their opponent until tonight's Game 7 in Medicine Hat ends between the Tigers and the Red Deer Rebels.

If Red Deer wins, it'll mean an all-Alberta matchup between Calgary and the Rebels, with Brandon meeting Prince Albert in the other set.

However, a Tigers victory sends the Hitmen to Brandon for a date with the Wheat Kings.

Facing the Rebels would mean a chance at revenge -- Red Deer punted the Hitmen from the playoffs in both the last two seasons and three of the last four years -- and home-ice advantage. But Calgary's charges won't come out and say that's their choice.

"I don't think it really matters who we play. Either Brandon or Red Deer would be a good opponent and a good series," Kohn said. "But, obviously, there's been a bit of a history between us and Red Deer. There's been a few meetings in the playoffs and there's good animosity."

Tickets for the first two Saddledome meetings of Round 2 go on sale today at 10 a.m.

Although this downtime allows players to heal a few wounds, there is the danger of collecting rust.

Plus, the Hitmen generated some pretty good momentum in beating Lethbridge so quickly.

Evason isn't too concerned.

"We had nearly the exact same layoff that we had prior to the playoffs starting," he said. "We're going to go about it the same way as we did prior to the first round and try to gear up the guys to peak when we start the series.

"It's nice to get some rest and we'll have to simplify things early in the first game."


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