Sergeant back in town

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:08 AM ET

Sgt. Schultz is back patrolling the blueline.

Jeff Schultz practised for the first time with the Calgary Hitmen yesterday since being cut from the Washington Capitals training camp Tuesday.

The towering 6-ft. 6-in. defenceman was just a little bit tired after playing in four NHL exhibition games, then embarking on a marathon travel session to get back to Calgary.

"We were up in Hershey, Pennsylvania, then I had to take the bus back to Baltimore, fly into Toronto then on to Calgary," said Schultz, 19, who was a first round Capitals draft selection in 2004.

"I got into four games and did lots of penalty killing. It was good and I really enjoyed it.

"The pace was real quick but it seemed like you can't touch anybody out there without getting a penalty. In our first game, we had almost 20 penalties."

Schultz got some positive feedback from Capitals brass, who realize he's still a kid -- albeit a big one -- playing against men.

"They thought I was getting better with each game and it was a good learning experience. They just told me the biggest difference between me and (NHL regulars) was strength," said Schultz, who weighs 215 lb.

"These guys are three and four years older and more mature than me. I can just work out and nothing will happen. I found that out playing against guys like Keith Primeau and Turner Stevenson.

"You run into them and they don't even move. They just kind of hold one arm out there and push you away."

But back in the WHL, it'll be Schultz doing the pushing when he sees his first action tonight against the 2-0 Kootenay Ice (Saddledome, 7 p.m.).

The Hitmen have burst out of the gate with two straight wins and, with the season debuts tonight of Schultz and fellow blueliner Dustin Kohn, Calgary will be that much stronger on the back end.

LETTER TIME: Calgary Hitmen GM and head coach Kelly Kisio let the players select the team's captains and they've had their say.

Defenceman Brett Carson, 20, is the 2005-06 captain, while blueliners Dustin Kohn and Jeff Schultz, as well as forward Brodie Dupont are the three alternates.


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